Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lots of Pictures

It's been a few days since I wrote, so there's a bit of catching up to do, and LOTS of pictures to post.

Remember when we first arrived at Oliver Lee State Park? All the yuccas were blooming and it was a beautiful sight. In speaking with the Ranger, she said she had never seen so many blooming at one time, but everyone thought that it might have something to do with the flooding last fall. I didn't get a really good picture of the blooming yucca forest, but this will give you some idea. Remember that you can click on the picture for a larger image, most look much better at a higher resolution.

Here's a shot of Cholula Red in our campsite here at Oliver Lee. This is a wonderful campground, and with the great weather lately, it's been truly spectacular.

Another shot of a blooming yucca with the ocatillos just getting ready to burst forth with their orange flowers. Today we saw our first barrel cactus flowers so we'll be posting pictures of those soon. Terry also took some beautiful shots of the desert garden here at the park.

One more yucca bloom against the blue New Mexico sky.

A few days ago, we took another trip to White Sands National Monument. When we visited on our last time in Alamogordo, the drive was closed at the five mile mark. Also, since there was snow on the ground, the sand was kind of beige. It made for nice photos, but this trip proved much more impressive.

One more shot of the dunes. What's so amazing about this photo is that the plants adapt to the sand, so this yucca is actually about fifteen feet tall. When the dunes eventually move along, the plant will die as it won't be strong enough to support it's weight without the surrounding sand.

We see signs all over Alamogordo for the Hubbard Museum of the American West, located up in Ruidoso. All the billboards are advertising an exhibit called Wyatt Earp Goes to the Movies, Hollywood Myth and Reality. Movie buffs that we are, we had to take a look.

When we arrived, we were just blown away by a sculpture garden located in front of the Museum. The whole affair is known as Free Spirits at Noisy Water and consists of eight AMAZING statues of American horses. Each weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds, and I can't even begin to describe these beauties. I will just show my photos and you can see for yourself.
These have all been sculpted by an Artist named Dave McGary.

Both this pinto and her baby stand on only one foot, as do many of the horses. Not only are they beautifully realistic, but the balance and detail are truly breathtaking.

I wanted to show a few of the horses faces so you could get a feel for the realism.

Another closeup. I was astounded by how each horse was so detailed and still retained a true sense of individuality.
The sense of movement Mr. McGary has captured is so impressive, they do look like they've been flash frozen while in full stride.
The way the foliage has grown, this fellow seems to be galloping down a mountainside.

And this shot is my favorite. Doesn't this look like a photo of actual live horses?

If you are ever within spitting distance of Ruidoso, do yourself a favor and come and see this monument to the American Horse. The whole display will stay with you forever.

Finally, we made it inside the Museum. What a treat this was, since the 1993 film Tombstone is a special favorite of both of ours. Starring Kurt Russel, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn and a plethora of memorable supporting actors, this film just sparkles. Well, you can imagine how excited we were to see that much of the exhibit dealt with one of our favorite films!

This is the sash and gun belt worn by Powers Boothe in the film. He played Curly Bill Brocious, one of the leaders of the Cowboys, a gang of hooligans that terrorized the old west.

The gun belt worn by Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo.

The body holster worn by Val Kilmer, who played Doc Holliday. This portrayal almost walked away with the entire film.
And finally, the saddle and gun used by Kurt Russell in his fine performance as Wyatt Earp. This was a character he always wanted to play (he and Goldie Hawn named their son Wyatt in honor of Earp) and his performance is one of his best.
The rest of the museum was also quite impressive, containing the collection of Anne C. Stradling, a wealthy woman who had a love of horses and the old west.

This is just a small sample of her pottery and basket collection.

The lower floor of the museum is about half filled with old wagons and carriages. This is an authentic hearse from the old west.

Here's another buggy.

And I'll close this entry with this photo. It was included in the Hollywood exhibit, with no credit given, but I just loved his face, If I can find any more info, I'll post it later.

A great day, I can completely recommend any of these attractions with no reservations whatsoever. We had a wonderful time.

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