It’s vacation time for many people in the U.S. this week. I’m going to take a little break too. Rather than contemplate heady concepts about marketing, writing, or the mystery community, I thought it’d be nice to show you some pictures from our three-day family vacation to Ruidoso, NM. Okay, there was a little work there; I had a book signing in that small mountain town, but the bulk of our time was spent exploring South Central NM.
I had difficult time getting all the photos to line up with my narrative captions in this entry. Please pardon any of the confusion. When I tried to move them, it didn’t work and I decided to get this post up before the entire day passed. If you can’t figure anything out, just post a comment and I’ll explain it.
Here goes . . .
Acomilla rest stop is about 60 miles south of Albuquerque. It’s one of my favorites because of its spectacular setting. As you can see, it’s built on stilts. I assume that’s to keep some of the dust out when the wind sweeps this landscape.
The photo to the right shows a bit of the view from the rest stop.
Heading into Carizozo, you come upon an unlikely landscape of black lava rock. Here, in the distance, you can see El Capitan, the volcano that erupted to produce this particular anamoly.
The following are two photos from Bonita Lake a few miles outside of Ruidoso. They show both the landscape and the fact that the lake is far below its normal level due to the drought. The picture on the right is exposed lake bed.
Ah, here we get to the business of the trip. On the left are Becky and Myk Ewing of Books, Etc. This couple is an example of the best in booksellers. They live in a fairly conservative town and make a point of bringing as much variety to their bookstore as possible. Notice Myk’s tee-shirt.
So many of New Mexico’s
museums are located in improbable places. To the left is the "Cube," the interior of the NM Museum of Space History. We arrived too late to enter, but it didn’t matter. Outside there is a park with space and military objects.
Southwest of Alamogordo is one of the most marvelous national parks in our country. White Sands is a place you mustn’t miss. In the summer, the park is open until 10 pm most evenings. On full moon nights, it stays open until midnight. People come to have dinner — as we did — and then play on the dunes until it gets too dark to see. The sand here is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. It embraces you in fine warmth. My husband, who eschews most "spiritual" references said that he felt healed after spending time in the park.
The little pod-like structures are small picnic shelters. It’s wonderful to be in this frozen tundra landscape and to feel such warmth. Of course, you can see 40-60 miles in any direction as well — but that’s common in NM.
Many people bring sleds to slide down the dunes. We brought old aluminum snow dishes–but they were too sticky for the gypsum sand. It didn’t matter one iota.
The last day of our trip, we drove from Ruidoso to Cloudcroft in the heart of the Sacramento Mountains. Much of this land is owned by the Mescalero Apache tribe. While many Native Americans ended up with horrid, waterless reservations when they dealt with the U.S. Government, the Mescaleros had the opposite experience. They own some of the most gorgeous and fertile acres in our state. The pictures below show a bit of the mountains and, distressingly, evidence of poaching.
While taking a short hike,
in the area to the left, we found two elk carcasses. Both had been left just off of the path — and both had been killed for their antlers which had been sawed off. It was sad to see these mighty animals so wasted. The hunters didn’t even bother to harvest the meat. I’d say this was the only low point of our trip.
Finally, I’m going to end this little travelogue with pictures from another one of my favorite places in the world. Three Rivers Petroglyphs Park is located between Tularosa and Carizozo. Nearly 20 years ago, I went there with some friends. At the time, these petroglyphs weren’t protected. I’m grateful they now are. The thing that shocked me then, and still does, is that visitors can walk among them — they can leave the path and climb over rocks to see as many as they want. Granted, they might find a rattlesnake or two — but that’s kind of cool, too.
On the left is a butterfly. I could have taken — and inserted many more pictures of Three Rivers, but just wanted to give you a small feel of the place. The last photo in this missive is, to me, one of the most precious.
When I came to this site nearly 20 years ago, I found this face and stopped dead in my walk. Most of you don’t know that my mom collected Asian art and I got my undergrad degree in Asian Studies. One particular interest of mine was Tibetan art. This face looked so Tibetan to me, I never forgot it. It also convinces me that many of the "primitive" cultures of the U.S. came from Asia. What do you think?
Well, thank you for indulging me. I hope all of you have a safe 4th of July — if you celebrate it — and if you don’t.
This trip through a small part of New Mexico gives you an idea of how large my homestate is. I hope it also gives you an inkling of why I adore my home so very much.