Smokey the Bear, Billy the Kid, and ETs: a trip to Roswell
My recent vacation in New Mexico was combined with a work trip for my wife. Leaving Albuquerque, we took a longer but more interesting route south and east. We couldn’t take a picture of the “Very Large Array” of radio telescopes (Featured in book/movie Contact), as it was 50 miles off the highway. But the site of the first nuclear detonation was a bonus, if a bit depressing. The drive was boring for a long way until we neared Capitan, where the landscape got greener as we gained elevation.
Capitan offered a Smokey the Bear museum, but we simply took a quick look around the gift shop. Apparently Smokey the Bear was already an advertising concept, when a real black bear cub was orphaned in a fire here. in 1950. After attaining some celebrity, Smokey was later shipped off to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. to amuse onlookers and eat bon bons.
The next town, Lincoln, was more famous for the carnage that emerged from a power struggle between rival factions. Henry McCarty, aka William Bonney, later known as Billy the Kid, happened to be on one side. It was a bloody time of back and forth revenge killings. In 2013, the town is remarkably quiet, but there are lots of great interpretive signs to peruse. Again, we opted not to pay for the museum. So much to do, so little time!
From Lincoln, we powered straight through to Roswell, and hour away, where it was a bit warmer. Did I mention it was hot? Okay, Roswell was baking. Of course, it was a dry heat. Still, we were thankful for air conditioning.
The next day, while Denise worked, I headed for water. Jackie Chan and I drove east of Roswell to Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. I didn’t know what to expect, and ended up doing a nice little driving tour around multiple lakes. At one point we got out and walked, but it was soon too hot for much walking, even before noon, and Jackie was a bit under the weather.
I did enjoy the bit of walking we did. The trail took us away from the lakes in a forbidding landscape. I saw few birds, but appreciated the plant life.
Before leaving town the next day we hit the UFO Museum. It had some cheese factor to its displays, to be sure, but it also offered food for thought. What if aliens did land near Roswell in 1947? Would that change our world today? Fun things to consider, but it was time to leave and return to Oregon
Posted on August 7, 2013, in Desert, Flora and Fauna, Hiking with dogs, Historical sites, Outdoors, Uncategorized, vacations and tagged Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Desert hiking, Easy hikes in New Mexico, Lincoln NM, Roswell NM, Roswell UFO Museum, Smokey Bear. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.