The Trinity Site — Day One, double sunrise

Black and white photo of the Ground Zero tower, displayed along the north fence.Photo by Jim Reed Day One of the Atomic Age, I imagine during the eighty mile drive from Alamogordo to Trinity Site, New Mexico, was much like today except for the early morning rain postponing the experiment from 4:00 to 5:30 a.m. Darkness filled the elongated valley bordered by mountains of hard granite, solidified lava flows and eroded mesas. The rain was undoubtedly welcomed by the sparse […] Read more »

Gran Quivira — a part of Salinas National Monument

Church ruins at Gran Quivera Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks. The Spanish gave this Anasazi village the name of Pueblo de Las Humanas (a thriving pueblo) when Oñate first approached it in 1598 to accept the oath of allegiance to Spain. Largest of the Salinas pueblos, it was occupied for nearly nine centuries, 800 A.D. to 1672 A.D. Later, Spaniards called it Gran Quivira, the object of Coronado’s and Oñate’s futile search for gold. Coronado had taken his search for […] Read more »

Flocking to the Bosque

Sandhill cranes at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Carla DeMarco Fall and winter are perfect times to trade the baster for the binoculars and head for the birds at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, New Mexico. Here, a temperate Rio Grande Valley climate and 57,000 acres of wetlands, wilderness and cultivated fields comprise a comfortable stay for thousands of waterfowl and sandhill cranes seeking refuge from northerly ice-covered waters, short daylight hours, cold nights and […] Read more »

Elfego Baca — taming Socorro

Elfego Baca Silver was discovered in the Magdalena Mountains west of Socorro in 1867, creating growth in that army town. (Ft. Craig was 20 miles to the south.) By 1890, Socorro was the largest city in New Mexico. Reportedly 3,000 miners made it their home and their trading, gambling, and drinking center. Between thirty and forty saloons were built to accommodate their demands. It became evident before long that law and order were unknown qualities. Enter Elfego Baca. Born in […] Read more »

The Bosque del Apache in Winter — a refuge from phone and fax

Marsh Trail overlook. Photo by Leonard Padilla. It is late winter, a Monday afternoon, in New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande Valley. The temperature outside hovers at sixty degrees. For one person, the temptation to remove his coat and tie and play hooky from work is too compelling to resist. From Socorro, our adventurer drives south on New Mexico Highway 1 toward the entrancing and renowned Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge. He must, for obvious reasons, remain anonymous. South of town, […] Read more »

Socorro — an uncommon place

Socorro’s Downtown Plaza. Photo by Carla DeMarco Socorro, a community of 9,000 in the sunny Rio Grande Valley, is the seat of Socorro County. While it is distinguished by history as one of the oldest settlements in the Southwest, its present and discernable future is based on the technology of tomorrow. The name “Socorro” means “refuge” and dates back to 1598 when the people of the Pilabo Pueblo fed and sheltered weary members of the Juan de Onate expeditions that […] Read more »

Trail ride fulfills dream and renews family’s faith in humanity

The Baca family riding into Magdalena Photo by Jacky Barrington It was Cruz Baca’s dream. Having grown up in the Riley area, then living around the high country, he wanted to ride the Rio Salado from its beginning all the way to Riley. Coming into Magdalena, New Mexico on horseback in time for the Old Timers’ Reunion was an added incentive. “We tried it last year but just couldn’t get it together.” Baca said. This year the family started planning […] Read more »

Magdalena — watched over by Mary Magdalene

Cattle made from recycled materials relax by the Rodeo Grounds. Photo by Kelly D. Gatlin Magdalena has seen it all. From the days of lead, zinc and silver mining in the 1880s and cattle shipping when the railroad spur from Socorro reached the town in 1884 to test missies flying overhead, Magdalena has grown and shrunk and grown again. One of the largest shipping centers west of Chicago, Magdalena was known as the Trail’s End of the livestock driveway from […] Read more »

San Antonio, New Mexico — not Texas

Place Names of New Mexico by Robert Julyan indicates there are 36 places in New Mexico where St. Anthony is mentioned. However, San Antonio at the junction of US 380 and one mile east of I-25 is the only one listed on the current New Mexico map. It is located ten miles south of Socorro and ten miles north of the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. The post office was established in 1870, and is still in existence. The site […] Read more »

The Very Large Array (VLA) — Listening to the Stars in New Mexico

Today, this vast, arid desert valley is now home to the most powerful radio telescope in the world, the Very Large Array. With its twenty-seven dish antennas, each connected to the other, spread out over 22 miles in a “Y” formation, the Very Large Array, or VLA, is capable of detecting extremely faint radio emissions from the distant stars. Read more »