Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Last Stop in NM: City of Rocks

Our last stop in New Mexico was the City of Rocks State Park. We've been camping in the desert or near-desert for quite awhile and, as beautiful as it is, we've about exhausted our tolerance for all things dry, dusty, and windy. I am crying in the wilderness for the sight of something green and for some humidity. The City of Rocks is pretty cool, though, if you're a fan of megaliths rising from the desert floor. It's like a natural Stonehenge rising from the desert floor, with the campsites nestled among giant boulders. 

Here's the approach: You're riding through the desert and you go
over a rise and there it is: a large pile of boulders.

There's only one hiking trail and, not surprisingly, it wends its
way through boulders.

Suddenly a meteor crashed to earth. Just kidding. We were there during
an episode of the 'super moon', when the full moon occurs while
the moon's orbit is closest to earth. My camera (Astral Wendy's
not at fault for these), was set to auto-exposure and was apparently
using a slow shutter speed because it was getting rather dark.

Once I discovered that, I tried to make a carbon atom.

Cows? Of course.

This nearby mountain has yet to undergo the erosive forces that
will someday turn it too into a City of Rocks. Or, perhaps, just
an outlying Suburb of Rocks.

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks.

This cactus looks like it belongs on another planet.

Astral Wendy sees a rabbit here. I see something else.

Yes, more rocks.

Not quite the regularity of Stonehenge. If anything special happens
here on the Winter Solstice, it's purely by chance.

Otis has his spot in the shade and, apparently, doesn't give a crap about rocks.

The super-moon also rises.

Way to shoot Astral Wendy! Take that, Ansel Adams.
Here's the Eurovan, nestled amongst the boulders.

Time for the winning field goal attempt.

It was a super moon indeed. It was so bright that night you didn't even need
a flashlight to walk to the bathroom.

We did a bit of hiking and it was dry and dusty.

One day it was so windy, we just mostly stayed in and read, We are
sick of eating dust.

Luckily, it was not hot, so we could keep the flaps mostly zippered
to keep out the dust.

The hiking trail.

If this doesn't look like a mountain lion resting its head, I don't know
what it looks like.

There were lots of huge boulders balancing on other boulders.

Yeah, these rocks are huge.

Here I am lounging out in the dust. 

Except for Otis and some vireos, there was very little wildlife here.

There were more trees than we've seen anywhere else in the desert.
We really have the jones for some temperate environs or, at least,
a beach. I need to see some green soon. 

Here's a final shot of the super-moon.

We're currently hunkered down in Tucson AZ. Gonna see what's going on here but I think we're done with desert camping so we need to also figure out our next steps. 


  1. Yeah, I don't think it's a rabbit either.

  2. ya'll are my heroes

  3. @debra: :-)

    @Anonymous: Cheers. Glad you're following.

  4. It's raining here in SD.. maybe you'll enjoy that!?

  5. @Jennifer: Rain would be paradise. See ya tomorrow.

  6. here its snow and hale on the second day of spring.

  7. @Erica: Hail can be hale. I say 'Hail hail'!

  8. Well it is warming up now so you can head north like the rest of the snowbirds. I walked out of the house without a jacket for the first time this year on Sunday.

    Enjoy Tuscon. Visit the air museum there. It is kind of a junkyard of old planes but I have to stop every time I am through there.

    John Cortesy

  9. Gerry, Loved Wendy's picture," look out Ansel Adams". There are trees and green north of Phoenix toward Flagstaff. Right now, like the comments above, I am tired of cold, rain, snow, and even green. It is forecast for more rain this whole week in N. Calif. I am ready fore spring weather. Give us a change, I don't mean sleet. We took our first van outing last night. Went to McD. for $1 Sunday, even took our own banana. Saw the wifi sticker in the window. We sat in the store and looked, longingly at our van out in the rain. Soon big fellow, soon. Queston, do you find leveling the van important to you? Do you work on it much? Enjoy Tuscon. Sierra Ken

  10. @Ken: Thanks. The van was leveled when I got it so I can't say if it's important because I have no experience with an unleveled van. I am not too mechanically inclined so, no, I don't really work on it. I just drive it and use it.

  11. @trikepilot: thanks. we were going to hang in Tucson but decided to head directly to San Diego tomorrow.

  12. it's a shame you didn't go on to Silver City, the gateway to the Gila Wilderness (cliff dwellings and such). you might also have gone to Mogollon, higher elevation, very cool (literally and figuratively), and is mostly ghost town. maybe next time!

  13. @Anonymous: Maybe on the way back. We needed to get out of the desert. Stat.

  14. Gerry, Another place to visit on your return is Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, along the I 40 corridor, south of you, but more desert. Acoma, Sky City, is a 1000 year old Native city built on a high mesa. Another spiritual locaton. There are so many wonder places to visit in the southwest. It is difficult to choose. The van leveling I was asking about is not mechanical. It is on a nightly basis for sleeping, using blocks or a jack. Do you feel it is necessary for sleeping? Has just pulling the van in been good enough?
    Sierra Ken

  15. @Ken: We have always been able to park level enough for sleeping, etc. so haven't found it necessary to use blocks or a jack. The fridge needs level within a certain tolerance to work properly but ours came with a little bubble-level disk to make sure it's ok. So far, it has not been a problem.