It was Thursday morning, when Christian (also-know-as Cheech Montezuma) and I finally bugged out of work and beat feet towards Albuquerque. We had an 11:30 flight, but at Socorro, we were only ninety minutes from the airport, and it was still only 7:30. We had time for an excursion. I should have honored my promise to the Perma-Bear and fetched chili powder to him, but I’m just that bad. Socorro’s chilies are world renown. On the way out-of-town I spied a roadside chili shack, belching black smoke up its chimney, making fresh herb. By that time though, we were headed north at 75 MPH, a plane to catch, and no more margin left to compromise, but before then, we did catch a few shots.
We got the photo of the setting moon first. We pulled off the road, just out-of-town and caught the moon just before it disappeared behind a distant ridge line. I finished shooting, while Christian continued to photograph. I needed to take a leak, something about drinking coffee all night and then driving for an hour. So, during a break in the traffic, I did it. Not five minutes later, a law officer pulled up. He had stopped to see if we needed assistance. We explained ourselves and he was good with that. I can only wonder how this meeting would have gone down, if he had showed up a few minutes earlier.
Our next stop was “The Box”. The Box Recreation Area is a rugged area, which is very popular for technical rock climbing and bouldering. The five cliffs on either side of this box canyon provide popular rock climbing for even highly skilled technical climbers. Challenging climbing opportunities include the Waterfall Wall, Corner Block and the colorfully named, Fillet a Papillion Wall.
If we had had the time, we could have continued down this road to the Very Large Array (VLA). It was only thirty minutes away at this point. The VLA is a set of large, sixty foot diameter radio telescopes. It was used as backdrop by Jodie Foster in the movie, “Contact”. That will have to wait until next time though. Also, yet to be seen are any of the bird sanctuaries along I-25. Crane-Fest, with 10,000 Sandhill Cranes was said to be spectacular this year. There is El Paso too. Maybe next time, I’ll get to see these sights.