This is the third post for our trip to Texas to visit our oldest son, Andrew. It was a trip filled with interesting places.
Leaving the Lodge at Cloudcroft for the last time, we stop for a bagel breakfast. Before heading out of the Sacramento Mountains, we hiked the OSHA Trail in Lincoln National Forest. This is a 2.2 mile trail but I think we hiked more than 3 miles somehow. Beautiful, and with snow to remind us of Michigan.
Next stop White Sands National Monument, about 35 miles from Cloudcroft.
Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders, the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dune field, along with the plants and animals that live here.
This is a big cottonwood tree. It is almost completely buried by the dune, but as long as it can keep some leaves above the sand, it can survive until the dune moves on.
Now south 100 miles to El Paso, Texas to go for a ride on the Wyler Aerial Tramway.
The Wyler Aerial Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park features an aerial cable car (gondola) situated on 195 acres of rugged mountain and rock formations on the east side of the Franklin Mountains.
The Swiss-made gondolas travel to Ranger Peak on a 2,600 feet long, 1 3/8 inch diameter steel cable. While waiting to depart, you can view part of the machinery and mechanism of the system through a window located on the south side of the base station. The 4 minute ride soars above a vast canyon that is 240 feet deep in some places. From Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet above sea level, you can enjoy the view of 7,000 square miles encompassing three states and two nations.
Looking south to Mexico, the Rio Grande and the U.S./Mexico border runs across the center of the photo.
So now we are to head back to home in Midland, some 300 miles away. It still amazes me how huge Texas is!
We need to get out of the big city of El Paso, find something to eat and drive home. We stopped at Brisket Bar-B-Q another place where you get a nice chunk of meat right off the pit.
I dozed in the truck on the way home, but suddenly there was a border patrol officer looking in through the open window. He asked me if I was a U.S. citizen. I mumbled, "Si Senor".
This was a long day but again so much fun.