El Paso Conspires to Keep us in Town

 

 We wandered west to El Paso as a brief waystation to Carlsbad Caverns and some other New Mexico sites that are warmer than Guadelupe Mountains, which had been reported to be seeing snow and sub-freezing temps (for that, we could be in Michigan!).

But fate took a hand, and we ended up “stuck” here for four days while our Moho furnace was being fixed. Making the most of this delay entailed sightseeing in the city’s historic district,

hiking in the Franklin Mountains State Park,

and taking in the Archaeology and Art Museums downtown. Saw a fascinating National Monument called Chamizal, commemorating a land dispute between the US and Mexico that was settled amicably…after 100 years of conflict over 600 acres of river bottom land.

We also scooted up to Truth or Consequences, NM for their lovely hot springs baths,

and over to White Sands National Monument for a 4.5-mile hike over the sands and alkali flats. White Sands offers sand dune surfing, but we opted for the walk instead. From the sands you can see all the way to the snow covered peak of Sierra Blanca near Ruidoso, NM (20 miles away).

The El Paso Art Museum’s featured an historic grouping of African American artists’ works on paper, which was marvelous.

Then we made a trip to one of the only rock shops in the city, where George bought my Valentine’s Day gift: two beautiful cabochons, one of mookaite jasper and one of sarape jasper. The first is from Australia, the second from Chihuahua, MX. We seriously considered going into Juarez for an afternoon, but called it off as an underprepared jaunt…maybe next time. All in all, we were taken with El Paso, which has the nation’s most beautiful urban freeway, the Transmountain Highway up across the Franklin Mountains on the edge of the urban zone.

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