Thursday, December 13, 2007

Around Socorro

Just a quick post today.

I thought I'd mention a few of the great things there are to do in this area.

Of course the Bosque del Apache is a huge draw, but there's a lot of other things to do.

We're about 25 miles from the lovely little town of Magdalena, which sits in the foothills above Socorro. A true old west town, it now boasts a rustic feel, full of old buildings, lots of atmosphere and a great collection of art galleries.

It sits on the road that leads to the Very Large Array (VLA).

The VLA is a true wonder of the modern world, a Radio Astronomy Telescope consisting of twenty seven giant dishes. Each dish has a diameter of eighty two feet and weighs a whopping two hundred and thirty tons. They are all connected via a set of rails which allows one or all of them to be moved into different configurations.

This array is a site to behold (I would love to see them in motion!) and something you should definitely visit if you are ever in this area. If you've ever seen the film Contact with Jodie Foster, then you've had a taste of this place, but no film can capture the surreal beauty of this place.

It made me feel like I had landed on another planet.

The El Camino Real International Heritage Center is located some 25 miles south of Socorro.

It's a relatively new museum chronicling the history of the El Camino Real. This road began in Mexico City and stretched all the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It follows a route that was used by the ancients, then the native Americans, then the Spaniards, and now the current residents of North America. Believed to be the oldest highway in the United States, the original path of the El Camino Real has been somewhat forgotten, but this heritage center hopes to remedy that situation.

Located out in the middle of nowhere (literally, it stands out in the desert, solitary and beautiful) this facility rises from the geography like some ancient edifice. You just can't prepare yourself for the experience of this place, both the museum itself and the outside grounds.

I've included just one photo of the rear area that sits above the Rio Grand River.

I realize I haven't covered these places very thoroughly but I find I get all caught up in the writing details, then I never post.

Figuring it was better to give you a small taste of the area, I'll just post these bits and pieces and hopefully whet your appetite for this wonderful area.

Life is good.

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