This is another shot of Santa Rosa Lake from near the dam. The campground is just left center out of the picture. The low this morning was 8F and it was around 20F when I took the picture. New Mexico has an alluring beauty to it. On down the road…
From Santa Rosa to Carrizozo is 120 miles. This little diner is in Vaughn, about midway. They are open 24 hours a day to support the railroad crews who sleep in the various small motels here. Otherwise, there is not much here. But, the food was decent. Elevation is pushing 6000 feet here along Highway 54, which we got on at Wichita, Kansas.
This is the Valley of Fires Recreation Area, our camping spot for the next couple of days. Note we are all by ourselves, the way we like it. To the left is a large lava field, only 5000 years old, and the second youngest in the continental U.S. The youngest is around 3000 years old near Grants, NM. This is a very well maintained island surrounded by lava with 19 campsites. This view is looking northward.
This is an east southeast view, looking back to Roswell beyond the mountain range to the right. Carrizozo is in the distance, about 4 miles. Distances in New Mexico are deceiving.
A view of the lava field. The lava here is pahoehoe (pronounced 'paw-hoey-hoey") and aa (pronounced "ah-ah"). Both are basaltic lavas that are very similiar to those in Hawaii. The field is 160 feet deep in places and 44 miles long. Check out the links to get a view from space. In the foreground you can see a walkway into the field.
This is a view to the west, and to a location just across that mountain range, 30 miles away, the first atomic bomb was detonated. The Trinity Site. Due to budget cutbacks, you can only visit it once a year now, instead of twice a year. Since I was born in Las Vegas, NV, while above ground nuclear shots were still common; I would like to visit the site, but you have to wait until the first Saturday in April. That valley has an apt name, Jornada del Muerto (Spanish for "single day's journey of the dead man" hence "route of the dead man" was the name given by the Spanish conquistadors.
The kid on her way back from dropping off our camping fee near the entrance.
I believe that is Carrizozo Mountain around 9000 feet. The town of Carrizozo has quite an interesting history. We will be checking it out!