Monday, November 2, 2009

Photo: The Mesilla Valley

Here's a lovely aerial shot of nearly the entire Mesilla Valley (click to enlarge). (El Paso is not visible, but is downstream, to the right.) Most obvious is the narrow course of the Rio Grande river, which nourishes the Mesilla Valley in New Mexico, with the city of Las Cruces at the left. Our extraterrestrial heroine Ana Darcy* and her husband and family live near the green areas (pecan orchards, mostly) at the center of the photo. The pod is kept in one of those orchards.

We're looking roughly northeast: the scalding sand dunes of the Chihuahuan desert are at the bottom, and along the top, slanting down diagonally, is the tail end of the Rocky Mountains. The darkest mountains are the Organ Mountains, which loom over Las Cruces in another photo in an earlier post. Readers will remember an exciting event at the end of the first volume, Distant Cousin, which took place directly over these mountains. In the far distance, probably 100 miles away, the snow-topped peak of Sierra Blanca is visible, one of New Mexico's excellent ski areas. The large white area, slightly below the top of the picture, is probably White Sands National Monument, a giant deposit of gypsum dunes, which is mentioned in Distant Cousin: Regeneration.

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