Three Rivers Petroglyphs

Located about 35 miles north of Alamogordo and 15 from Tularosa, a hill is home to as many as 21,400 petroglyphs.  The trail is probably ¾ mile up a rocky trail flanked with mesquite and sage.  The Three Rivers markings are so prolific, you wonder if they really are that real.  The docent down in the office said most are authentic,  but you couldn't help but notice the occasional "J M" or a peace sign someone had decorated a rock with.  Not knowing the reason for the Indian artwork, you might wonder if somehow this could also be some ancient graffiti.  Maybe the quadruped with the geometric design on the belly really said, "Grumbling Buffalo loves Squawking Bird."  Five thousand years from now, after our society has completely crashed, some budding anthropologist may think the graffiti painted on the side of some building is a discovery of social importance too.

Since the hill is several miles from the Sacramento Mountains, you have to speculate that this was either a burial or religious site to the Mogollon Indians who lived here for hundreds of years prior to the Mescalero Apaches.  I could imagine a burial party making their way to the top bringing with them, the body of a dead chief or medicine man.  The higher up the hill, the more important the deceased.

Although there is somewhat of a designated path, you are told that it is not necessary to stay on it.  The prehistoric markings are on virtually every rock with any size to it at all.

Looking to the west in the Chihuahuan Desert, you can see the glistening White Sands dunes and the San Andres mountain range. While the park literature advises you that rattlesnakes are common among the rocks, lizards were far more visible in the noon day heat.

The Desert

Leaving the San Francisco east bay, I landed in El Paso, Texas and headed north.   As I drove north into the New Mexico desert, I could hear strains of Eagles music drifting into my thoughts.

It's been several years since I'd been in the area and looked forward to working in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The springtime still left some greenery in the plants and made you wonder how far you could wander out there in the desert before you stepped on a rattlesnake as big as your leg.

One particular place I was excited about was visiting White Sands National Monument.  Having walked the dunes back in 2004, I knew what to expect, so naturally my first Saturday gave me the opportunity.

Late in the afternoon, I took part in a "Sunset Stroll" hosted by a park ranger who pointed out some of the curiosities of the sands.

It's not the typical quartz beach sand but instead, it's gypsum and the same thing you find in drywall inside your home.  When it's wet, it crystallizes and when winds reach 16 miles an hour, the flakes move along breaking into smaller flakes and collects in the Tularosa Basin.  White Sands is the largest collection of this kind of sand in the world and encompasses 575 square miles of it.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get some very spectacular shots out there if I'm assigned here long enough.
Nice sunsets too.