Friday, April 12, 2013

More ugly country and boring driving. More straight highway. More trucks rumbling by at 75 MPH. The morning drive from Lordsburg to nearly Las Cruces was just   B O R I N G and ugly.

They do have nice rest stops in New Mexico. I am, thinking about doing a photo story about road side rest stops.
This one is overlooking Las Cruces. The drive started looking up a little about here.

Our stop for Thursday was the Hueco (pronounced like "waco) Tanks State Park 30 miles east of El Paso.

If you have never driven through El Paso - congratulations on your good sense. El Paso may be the ugliest city in the US. Having driven through El Paso several times this time we skirted it to the west and the north. The route we drove took us through Fort Bliss. This wasn't much of an improvement in scenery over I-10 through El Paso but it was something new. We saw some great trash piles and abandoned mobile homes along the way. At least this kept s awake.

Hueco Tanks is worth getting there.  The geology is awesome. The park includes three exposed and eroded granitic monoliths (now called "mountains"). Erosion has created sinks that trap water - these are the tanks. Erosion also created many handholds in the cliff faces. Rock climbers come here from all over the world.  Imagine the Alabama Hills and Joshua Tree on a grander scale. It is a beautiful place.

People have lived here for thousands of years. These folks were her before "leave no trace" became in. There are many pictoglyphs here, some ancient, many modern graffiti.

This is also a good birding spot. 

We tried to visit here around 1999 but the park was closed because  it was getting trashed and suffering from extreme overuse. To save the place they now limit the numbers of visitors and require reservations in order to visit. They also require visitors to watch a very good 15 minute video explaining why this is a treasure and listing the do's and don'ts.

One of the requirements is that you can only enter about one third of the grounds unescorted. You must take a guided tour to enter the rest. We were going to spend just a night here but we stayed to take one of the guided tours. The tour was led by an 83 year old ex pediatrician. We enjoyed it a lot.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of the place.

Butterfield Stagecoach Stop
Cup ofGold "Hedge Hog" cactus

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