Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The View from El Paso's Trans-Mountain Road

The Rio Grande flows south the length of New Mexico, along the Rocky Mountains to the east, finally passing through the Mesilla Valley before it reaches El Paso, Texas, where it becomes the border between the United States and Mexico as it flows on to the Gulf of Mexico, over 1,000 miles south. The nearest airport to Las Cruces is in El Paso, on the other side of those mountains. To get there, one can either drive through the pass ("El Paso") or take a more recent, spectacular shortcut through the mountains on the Woodrow Bean Trans-Mountain Road.

Ana and Matt have taken the Trans-Mountain Road many times. Ana particularly likes to stop at the observation point to admire the scenic vista. She is from the planet Thomo, after all, and this vantage point, over a mile in elevation and with the horizon over 100 miles away, gives her the unmistakeable impression that she is on a planet, something that does not seem quite as obvious in a forest, for example, or a city. The family enjoyed a fun bicycle ride down this road in Distant Cousin: Reincarnation.

The photo above shows the Rocky Mountains spreading south from Las Cruces (out of the photo to the top left perhaps 40 miles) towards El Paso, which leads south from the bottom of the picture. The Trans-Mountain road can be seen crossing the mountains. The red dot shows the approximate location of the observation point. (Right click any photo to another tab for more detail.) Several mountain-top vistas of El Paso to the south are visible elsewhere--see below.

The next three photos show the view from the observation point, left to right. The green band is the river valley; closer to the camera are small towns, farms, businesses, and roads, including IH 10. Compare to the photo above. Those green fields, only a few miles further north, include the extensive irrigated pecan groves the area is famous for. The Mendez family lives there, just south of Las Cruces. The two peaks on the horizon in the second photo below are Cox Peak and Mount Riley, hills, really, rather than mountains. They are roughly 35 miles distant. On the other side of the river is the Chihuahuan Desert.

See also many ground-level photos in the column on the right, under the picture of the blue-eyed kitty

1 comment:

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Awesome pix, Al!
My class was just learning about the Rio Grande yesterday while studying Francisco Coronado.