Peggy and I are sitting in our van on the edge of the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Reserve on the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico. It’s supposed to be a major winter gathering place for numerous species of waterfowl, even the close to extinct whooping crane. We are watching as sandhill cranes return to the reserve in long lines after a day feeding along the river. At least a thousand have flown by so far.
We were greeted by a road runner when we came into the campground. The owner told us to watch out for wild pigs. I wonder if he meant peccaries. They are nastier than pigs and come with razor sharp tusks, great for rooting up food— or doing serious damage to pesky tourists. Here piggy, piggy, piggy. We saw lots of fresh tracks this morning when we were hiking up a desert wash near Los Lunas looking for petroglyphs, but there were no peccaries.
Other than the train that just roared by and the sound of sandhill cranes settling in for the night, it seems extraordinarily quiet here. If you travel 30 miles due east from where we are, however, you come on the Trinity site where the first atomic bomb was blown up on July 16, 1945, forever changing the world. A bit farther east, Smokey the Bear was discovered in a tree hiding out from a wildfire in 1950, and Billy the Kid practiced his fast-gun draws in the Lincoln County War of 1878. Continue on and you come to Roswell where UFO fans will forever declare that flying saucers crashed in 1947 and the government hid the fact. Traveling the opposite direction into the Rockies some 60 miles, the Very Large Array of radio telescopes searches the skies for alien life and other astronomical wonders. Lots has happened in this quiet place.
I rode my bike through here in 1989 as part of my 10,000-mile bike trek around North America. I crossed the Rockies in one day, bicycling 100 miles. If that seems a bit daunting, like it did to me at the time, the second 50-miles were all downhill. Woohoo!
We have just completed a delightful few days of exploring Taos, Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch following in the footsteps of Georgia O’Keefe and her friend Ansel Adams. It should make a fun blog. But that is all in the future. Today I want to share a few of the photos we took at the Hubble Trading Post, Canyon De Chelly and at Monument Valley. (Written a few days ago.)
NEXT POST: The New Mexico world of Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams.