03-Dec-2000 -- The week following Thanksgiving was
quite warm and dry for November, so I decided to go for this point on
the map. It was a bit of a drive from where I live in Socorro, but it
was worth it. And even though a black cat crossed my path earlier in
the week, and this was the 13th confluence point for New Mexico,
everything went fine.
The point itself is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, which,
of course, describes most of New Mexico (and we like it that way :-).
It is very peaceful and quiet. There is a dirt road that runs about .5
miles (1km) from the point, so a small hike is required to reach it.
The area is covered with cacti and pinon pine trees -- until you get to
the point. There is a small clearing right around the area. Spooky.
The town of Claunch, which is about 10 miles (16km) straight north, is
smaller than I thought it would be. I only saw about 10 houses in the
area, but they do have a general store/post office, a nice church, and
even a women's club.
About 4 miles (6.5km) west of the town of Carrizozo on US380 (and
about 20 miles (32km) south of the point) is the area known as The
Malpais Lava Beds. About 5000 years ago vents in the floor of the
valley opened up and spewed out enough lava to cover an area over 40
miles (64km) long, and 2-5 miles (3-8km) wide to an average depth of 45
feet (14m). The recreation area, and the visitor center are worth a
The last point of interest on my trip was the Trinity Site. This is
the location of the first atomic bomb blast. The sky was lit up early
in the morning of July 16, 1945. The test paved the way for the
dropping of the two atomic bombs in Japan toward the end of WWII. The
site, which is about 15 miles (24km) into the White Sands Missile Test
Range, is only open to the public on the first Saturday of April and
October, so all I was able to get today was a photograph of the
mountains which are near the site south of US380. Visiting the site
when it is open is quite interesting.