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We took a part of the spring break to re-visit some of the southern New Mexico highlight. We had visited all these places several times, but they are so beautiful that even after this trip we are eager to go back. The only "problem" with New Mexico is that it is HUGE (5th largest state in the U.S.), so we had to drive very long distances. Luckily we have a nice car with satellite radio. Our friend Bob joined us on this trip and made it more fun.
We picked up amazingly tasty Vietnamese sandwiches (beef lemongrass) and picked up Bob at ABQ International, then drove to Roswell. What a weird/interesting/unique town! We laughed a lot just walking around the city center.
Drunk aliens in a "research facility".
We camped at a state park and drove to Carlsbad Caverns the next morning.
This is the natural entrance.
We have been to these caves several times, and they are breathtaking every time.
Pictures do not do them justice. Everyone should go see them.
One of the big rooms.
One of my favorite structures. I think it's called Cave Man, but I call it Wookie.
This is the Big Room, and I can spend hours here, given the number and diversity of cave features.
Hanging curtains are beautiful.
We then drove to White Sands National Monument, packed the camping gear, lots of water, dinner, and backpacked to a campsite in the sand dunes. Photo by Bob.
After dinner, Grace and Alex stayed in camp and played frisbee before bedtime.
Bob and I hiked for three hours, without seeing another person. The changing light was changing the color of the sand, and the dunes were beautiful.
Just before sunset, the sand was yellowish. I liked these shapes.
The hazy sunset was nice, but the best was yet to come.
The clouds to the south turned fiery red and reflected the color onto the sand.
Well after sunset, the sand started to turn blue from the blue sky.
This is 15-20 min after sunset.
This is about 30 min after sunset and was getting pretty dark.
The sand is blue and beautiful.
The full Moon came out, and we hiked around without flashlights.
The sand looked like snow.
Found this pretty cactus on top of a dune with Moon in the back.
Looking west towards Orion, and I think Jupiter (the bright one).
Got back to the tent pretty late. Grace and Alex were sleeping and
it was starting to get pretty chilly by now.
Next morning we went to Oliver Lee state park to shower and eat brunch.
We hiked here before and it is beautiful.
We then visited Alamogordo Space Museum (great place) and watched the IMAX movie Mount Everest. It is one of my favorite IMAX movies.
By dinner time, we drove to a little known Emory pass, between I-25 and Silver City.
We set up camp on the west side of the pass. It froze that night.
We hiked in this area a long time ago and it is very scenic.
Next morning we went to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
This guy was trying to warm up in the weak morning sun.
Approaching the dwellings.
A panorama of the first dwelling (Cave 2).
I spent a couple of hours enjoying and photographing the ruins.
We then visited the Catwalk on Whitewater creek, on the west side of Gila mountains.
Alex loves rock climbing, so he practiced a bit here.