New Mexico Part 2

In Albuquerque, we spent a few days with our traveling friends Mark and Liesbet. They were pet-sitting three big dogs. Here we are celebrating a Cinco de Mayo supper.

May 3 – May 13, 2019 – (This post is from our travels this past May).

Our last travel post covered the beginning of our time in New Mexico, with visits to Earthships, the Rio Grande Gorge. Santa Fe, and Los Alamos. In this post, we visit Albuquerque, El Malpaís, Fort Stanton, and Roswell.


How can you celebrate Cinco de Mayo without some genuine Mexican Micheladas? As we saw in Mexico, plain old beer just isn’t good enough for the locals. You need to add lime, chili powder, and other spices to a double beer. (Best enjoyed with Dorilocos, onion, jicama, sauce, and spices poured into an open bag of Doritos.)
Ballena Blanca parked beside Zesty in Albuquerque.
Mark found us a nice hiking trail up the side of a mountain.
Mark and Liesbet on the trail. Mark led the way most of the time. Usually, Duwan followed, then me, then Liesbet. Mark was good about stopping occasionally and letting us catch up.
One by one we caught up with Mark on one of his stops. When Liesbet came up behind me she quietly told Duwan and me to move closer to Mark. This two-foot rattler was coiled at my feet. We watched as the diamondback eased away. Good thing none of us were struck. As it turns out, all the snake bite remedies I heard of as a youth are useless (tourniquet, sucking out venom, and ice).
Cacti on the trail.

El Malpaís National Monument

This area was named El Malpaís (the bad country) by the first Hispanic visitors. The landscape is young in geologic time. Lava flowed from the McCarty’s Crater around 3900 years ago. The lava quickly cooled, leaving volcanic rock over much of the surface. Imagine the surprise of the indigenous hunter-gathering people who lived here!
Opening of a lava tube at El Malpaís.
Pressure ridge in the lava falls.
Pahoehoe lava. Pahoehoe (pa-hoy-hoy) is a Hawaiian term for “ropy” lava like this.
A closer look at a Pahoehoe formation.
Pahoehoe flow in the foreground with smoother tachylite in the background.
Lava flows contain gas bubbles. After cooling, this bubble collapsed creating a sinkhole.
It was once easy to walk across this plain. Not now!
Life struggles to take hold here. Even mature trees don’t get enough nutrients to grow to their normal height.
But some plants do well.
Speckled Earless Lizard beside cactus blossom.
Natural bridge at Malpaís.
Bird nest in a yucca cactus at El Malpaís.
We hiked a short section of the Continental Divide Trail.
Looking down into a cinder cone. All the “soil” here is composed of pumice, small bits of lava which cooled in the air after erupting from the cone.
The sides of the cinder cone are made of black and red pieces of pumice. The black rock contains silicates, and the red rock has traces of iron.
Looking out from the top of the cinder cone.
New Mexico Thistle grows in the volcanic pumice.

Fort Stanton

View from a hiking trail close to our campsite near Fort Stanton. The fort was built in 1855 to protect pioneer settlers from the Mescalero Apaches that had roamed the area for many years.
Officers’ quarters at Fort Stanton. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Union soldiers set fire to the fort and left. A rainstorm put the fire out. Confederate soldiers came and stayed here long enough to collect unburnt supplies. Union Colonel Kit Carson was stationed here afterward. His regiment, mostly Hispanic volunteers, fought the Mescaleros and helped stop Confederate attempts to claim western territory.
Soldiers’ quarters.
Soldiers’ uniforms: orange for dragoons, emerald for mounted rifles, and yellow for cavalry.
The sergeants’ quarters were a little nicer.
The interiors of officers’ quarters were nicer still.
Stone Chapel at Fort Stanton.
The white scourge, TB, robbed the health of many in the early 1900s. Fort Stanton was used as a TB hospital for Merchant Marines.
Fresh air and rest were essential to recovery from TB. These “open-air” houses were built for patients.
Interior of TB quarters. The buildings did have roofs, but air traveled freely between the glassless windows. I bet the coal heating stoves got plenty of use in this high desert climate.
Blood bank chamber at Fort Stanton.
Seats and projector from the theater at Fort Stanton. In the 1930s a local Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was across the river from the fort. Workers came here to make improvements.
In 1939 the crew of the German Luxury liner SS Columbus scuttled their ship to avoid capture by the British. The US was not yet involved in the European conflict. American vessel USS Tuscaloosa rescued the crew. Eventually, the Germans became POWs here at Fort Stanton. They brought some of the finery from Columbus with them. Later, the fort was used as a mental hospital and a women’s’ prison.


When I say the words “Roswell, New Mexico” I bet the first word that pops into your mind is “ART”. No? Well, it might be if you visited the Anderson Contemporary Museum of Art. I like this dining room table, which is a little bigger than our dining surface in the van. “Hon, would you slide the mashed potatoes down to my end?? BTW – this museum has no entry fee.
Flying hammerhead shark golf bags are just some of the interesting works here. The museum provides residency and studio space for a different artist each year. Most of the works here are by the resident artists.
OK. Admit it. THIS is what you think of when I say “Roswell”. ALIENS!
UFOs are studied here at the Center for UFO Research. First, some examples of UFO hoaxes. Here is a picture of a hub cap tossed into the air.
And this cloud looks a lot like an invading ship from space.
UFO sightings are studied here.
Re-enactment of the 1947 alien visit to Roswell. Except the ship is supposed to have crashed, digging a trench into the ground, and leaving no survivors. Anecdotal evidence and an enlarged photo of a secret document suggest that the government covered up the real alien story by saying a weather balloon crashed.
Re-enactment of how we treat alien visitors.
Genuine alien corpse recovered from Area 51 (not really).

6 thoughts on “New Mexico Part 2

  1. I almost forgot about that rattle snake. Good we didn’t have Maya yet back in May. And oh, that sun on the patio… I smile just thinking about the warmer weather. Those are some amazing photos, Duwan. You sure you needed that new camera? 🙂

    Reading about your New Mexico adventures makes me miss the West even more. I’m so glad you guys managed to swing by in Albuquerque – and that we met up again already since then.

    We never made it to Fort Stanton, so I appreciate the virtual tour. And El Malpais offers some amazing hikes and sites as well. Those lava rocks are well-captured!

    1. I miss the southwest too but I am excited to explore some new places. Hopefully we will get around to writing about those in the blog soon. And soon after that posting pics with my new camera. I like it a lot.

      That snake blends in with the scenery so much in the photo – so glad you spotted it and that you didn’t have Maya. I wonder if she would have seen it since three of us missed it.

      So glad we got to see you in Albuquerque too! It was big fun!

  2. Nice tour!
    I live in Roswell, GA. No aliens here; that I know of. Our town was named after Roswell King, one of the founders/settlers who moved here from Savannah (after the Cherokees were persuaded to move to OK at gunpoint). They wanted to get above the lowlands so when they found Vickery Falls they stopped and that’s how Roswell got started.

    1. Thanks! I never really think about how different cities get their names but I’m sure there is a fascinating (and sometime ugly) story in every one.

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