Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Mexico

The drive from Oklahoma through Texas and down to New Mexico was a very strange trek. The scenery stayed the same most of the time, bright red dirt (the only white-ish shirt I own is now orange spotted haha), bristly sage brush and yuccas dotting the desert floor, and a bright blue sky that goes on forever! Through Texas though the scenery was broke up by factory farms. I had only read about them/saw photos in text books but seeing them in real life is an experience in itself! I'm still not sure how I feel about them, the cattle get plenty of room to move, they have food bins and water troffs everywhere so they're not dehydrating/starving, but all they do is stand in acres and acres of red dirt-sand in the hot sun. I saw a couple fighting over a little hill to stand on (playing king of the mountain?haha) But I felt like I was looking at a concentration camp. Like that would be what Auschwitz looked like from a distance (with similar end results).
Those lasted all through the Texas Panhandle (yeah I know it's not a panhandle but that's what they call it) right up to the TX - NM border. From there it was desert, desert, desert. After driving too long through the desert it really does do something to your head. The map would say there's a town ahead, then I would pass a house and it'd be back to desert. This was very unhandy when the gas gauge kept creeping lower and lower and I'd tell my truck, "There's a town on the map, we can make it to there.", and it'd be a house. Light reflecting off some distant semi looks like a town in the distance, when it drives past you, you start questioning yourself. When I came upon Roswell I didn't believe it at first, I thought it another mirage till exit signs came into view and I knew I finally made it!
I had contemplated camping in Roswell, it was still a few more hours drive to Traci's house, so I drove around town for a bit. What a mess of a town, there really isn't anything in Roswell, other than very rude people! So I got my gas and a 99cent hot dog and left! The rest of the drive wasn't as bad as before, I had to travel through the mountains so it gave me something new to look at! And Oh My Goodness the mountains were soooo cool! Temperature and scenery wise. Evergreens, rocky cliffs, resorts, Smokey Bear's home... so very different from the desert! When I got to the other side of the mountains the view over town was breathtaking! The world went on forever! I made it down the mountain and caught up with Traci and settled in! What a drive!
The next day Traci had to work so I went out exploring! I went over to White Sands National Monument, WOW it's incredible there!
White Sand Dunes NM
White Sand Dunes NM
White Sand Dunes NM
That little black dot in the mid right of the photo is a person!
Some of the dunes are 30-60ft high!
White Sand Dunes NM
The only way the plants can grow here is by tunneling all the way down through the sand into the desert soil below to find water. Some of the yuccas that looked 2ft tall on the dunes were really 32ft tall! Then when the winds move the dunes the yuccas being too top heavy fall over and die.
You might be asking, how is there white sand in the red desert? Well I'll tell you hahaha. The mountains you see in the far distance of some of the photos are full of gypsum that washes down from the mountains and fills the Tularosa Basin (the area between the San Andres and Sacramento mountain ranges) With no outlet to the sea, water flowing into the Tularosa Basin either sinks into the ground or pools up in low spots. One of the lowest points in the basin is a large playa called Lake Lucero. Occasionally, this dry lakebed fills with water. As the water evaporates, the dissolved gypsum is deposited on the surface. Even more gypsum deposition occurred during the last Ice Age when a larger lake, Lake Otero, covered much of the basin. The Alkali Flat area is the exposed bed of this Ice Age lake. In wet periods, water evaporating slowly on the playa floor causes gypsum to be deposited in a crystalline form called selenite. Along Lake Lucero's shore and in the Alkali Flat, beds of selenite crystals—some three feet long—cover the ground. The forces of nature— freezing and thawing, wetting and drying—eventually break down the crystals into sand-size particles light enough to be moved by the wind.
Really awesome!!!
White Sand Dunes NM
Then the storms started rolling in so I went back home.
The next day Traci got off work so she and I went to the Air Force Base where she worked (haha leave work and end up back at work) It was pretty neat! It's its own world there!
Air Force Base NM

Then we went touring a pistachio farm! I had never tried a pistachio before, omg yum!!
Pistachio Field NM
Field of Pistachios
Pistachios NM
Fresh from the tree-bush!

The next day she and I went up in the mountains to the casino (since neither of us have ever been to one) then to see the old train trellis in Cloud Croft.
Casino View NM
View from the casino!
The casino was a lot of fun! I can see how easy it would be to get in trouble there! The best I did was won $100, then thinking I could make more than that on a dollar 5card machine I went down to $52. Haha $100's about the best you can do on one of those machines, but I still went home with a profit so it's all good! :)
We then drove to Cloud Croft, such a pretty drive! The mountains are beautiful!! We then hiked down a twisty turny up and down hill trail back to the train trellis.
Train Trellis Cloud Croft NM
When we were just a hundred feet or so from the end of the trail it starts pouring! So we wait, and wait, and I ask the sky to stop so I can get a few photos, so it stops and I run out from under the trees, grab a few shots, then it starts pouring again! I thank the sky and we head back. It was really neat there though, I can't imagine being on a train going over that! (A lot of the trains couldn't imagine it either since many jumped the tracks!) The hike back was nice, eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out, but the thunder was picking up so we headed to the car before it started storming storming!
Mountains NM
View of the mountains from the mountains
The next day (Saturday) she and I went to Las Cruces to go shopping and see the sites over there. Super adorable town just past Las Cruces (can't remember the name) but it's exactly what you'd imagine when you think of NM. Little shops built to look old in the Adobe style with chili peppers hanging everywhere! From there we
headed towards the Rio Grande, but on the way saw something very interesting...
Road Runner Statue NM
It was really neat, he was made out of recycled shoes/odds and ends!
We then made it to the Rio Grande!
Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
With all the rain lately the river was flowing pretty strong!!
From there we headed back to Alamogordo, but on the way we stopped at the Organ Mountains!
Organ Mountains NM
What a sight!!!
Then from the mountains looking toward the desert
Mountain View NM
It just goes on forever and ever!
Desert Flowers NM
It's amazing the amount of color in the desert!
I've had a great time here and Traci makes amazing food!!! But it's time to move along, Rocky Mountains here I come!!
then stopped to take photos of the Organ Mountains


  1. It's a whole different world out there. Glad you're having a great time!

  2. I loved NM! The big sky and yes, the colors (who'da thunk it??), were truly breathtaking!
    I have a friend/mentor who lives in Socorro, and her daughter lives in Las Cruces.
    I am so enjoying your adventures, Emily--hope you are , too, lol! :)
    love and light