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A Week in New Mexico

April 27, 2006

Greetings. Well we left Davis Mountain last Wednesday the 19th. We went north on Hwy 54 past the Guadalupe Mountains which at 8764 feet is the highest point in Texas. From there we merged onto Hwy 62/100 which took us into New Mexico, right into Carlsbad.

Our first stop was the Carlsbad Caverns. This place was huge! It took about two hours to walk through it. I think the largest room in the cavern was about 14 football fields long. And that was just the one room. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to take my tripod for taking photos and most of them came out blurry. I did manage to get a few good ones though.

After we left the Caverns. we headed up Hwy 285 to the town of Roswell. Now there wasn't much to Roswell until the 1960's. Then it became the Alien capital of the world it seems. Supposedly a UFO crashed landed on a farm, then the government came along, took all the evidence and said it was just a weather balloon.

We stayed two nights at the campground so we could check out the town. On Thursday we went to the UFO museum. They had a lot of displays, drawings, and "official documentation" from eyewitnesses, military personnel, and others concerning the visitors from outer space. It was all interesting, but I'm still not sure where I stand on the whole issue of extraterrestrials and visitors from outer space.

From my Christian perspective, yes God could create life on another planet if He wanted to. He did create everything. It isn't mentioned in the Bible, but the Bible was written for us and deals with our sin and the plan for our salvation.

On the other hand, knowing the way the government keeps secret many things, they could have covered up the whole alien invasion thing. Speaking to my brother-in-law on the issue, he said the military could have played both sides of the issue. They could have been working on some secret flying machine at the time. When it crashed, they spread rumors about visitors from outer space and at the same time claimed it was just a weather balloon to create even more confusion. My guess is that we won't really know until we stand before the Lord and can ask him directly.

OK, enough about aliens.

On Friday we continued up Hwy 285 and arrived in Santa Fe. Santa Fe is the capital of New Mexico. Here we also decided to stay a while so we can receive our mail. We haven't gotten mail since we left Florida.

Saturday we drove into the older part of Santa Fe where the capital building is located. Almost all of the buildings here resemble the adobe style of architecture. We walked around downtown stopping by the capital building first. It was closed so we could not go inside. The building itself didn't look like the typical capital building either. It was round with a flat roof and did not have a dome on top.

We continued walking around town visiting some of the many art museums there. Most of the sculpture was simply incredible. As to be expected the theme of the art was Native American, Western Life, and Cowboys.

Also in Santa Fe is the famous Lorreto Chapel, home of the miraculous stairway. The Lorreto Chapel was a mission built in 1873. Oddly enough, it had a choir loft without a permanent staircase. The Sisters had to use a ladder to get into it. After a while they began to seek someone to build a permanent staircase. Before long a stranger came to town and offered to build it. Nobody knew who this carpenter was. He built this double spiral wooden staircase with 33 steps and no center or outside support beams. It literally just hung there. After it was completed, he left town without asking for any payment or compensation for the work he completed. Nobody ever saw him again. To this day it is unknown how the staircase managed to support itself.

(artist rendering of original staircase before the railing)

A few years later, the Sisters had another carpenter add side rails to the staircase. Then not to long ago as traffic began to increase within the city they added a few metal supports connecting the staircase to the walls to compensate for the vibrations from passing trucks. They didn't want this miraculous and historical staircase to collapse.

Also in Santa Fe is the San Miguel Church which is supposed to be the oldest church structure in the USA. The original adobe walls and altar were built by the Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico in 1610 under the direction of Franciscan Padres. Much of the original flooring and altar have since been covered with wood, but they have left open a few panels so visitors can see the original pieces.

The past few days, since we're still waiting for our mail to arrive, we've been searching for some GeoCache's and exploring the area at the same time. Once it was just Lucas and I looking, then another time we all went out searching. One of the interesting places we searched for a cache was at the Old Pecos Ruins. The Pecos National Historical Park preserves the ruins of a Pecos pueblo and Spanish Mission. It is located at the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The settlements began around 800 A.D. with pithouses leading to rock-and-mud villages by the 1100's. By 1450, it had become a frontier fortress five stories high with a population of about 2,000. Spanish explorers arrived up from Mexico in the 1540's and soon established a mission at Pecos.

Now today is Thursday and hopefully our mail will arrive this afternoon. Under normal circumstances it would have been here yesterday. However, after speaking to the campground managers here, Santa Fe is pretty relaxed about the mail. That doesn't sound good to me. Hopefully it will arrive today and we can be on the road to Arizona tomorrow.

I'll let you know in my next update. Be sure to say hi in the forums.

The entrance to Carlsbad Caverns.

Sculptures in Santa Fe

(above) outside of the Lorreto Chapel

(below) inside the chapel

Some flowers located outside the capital building.

Cricket and the boys having fun with a statue outside the capital.

Finding the "Stagecoach Robbery" GeoCaching treasure.

Sun setting over Santa Fe

whats left of the Spanish mission at the Pecos Ruins

(above) inside one of the pithouses

outside the pithouse (below)