the wandering chick
and points north

Of course, the biggest draw to Alamogordo is the White Sands National Monument about 13 miles south of town. But, by staying a few days longer, I realized there's a lot more to see in the area.

After visiting the sands a couple of times, I headed north as far as Three Rivers and east a little past Cloudcroft on Highway 82. In either direction, there are highlights that shouldn't be missed if time allows.

It is believed the petroglyphs were carved by Jornada Mogollon (hor-NAH-dah Muggy-OWN) more than 600 years ago. No known descendents exist today.

Probably the most impressive sight near Alamogordo outside the whte sands is the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. It almost takes longer to get there than it does to view it, but it's worth the miles. And one can stay and try to count all 21,000 glyphs if they want, I suppose. Good luck. It took a field school team six years! It is believed the petroglyphs were carved by Jornada Mogollon (hor-NAH-dah Muggy-OWN) more than 600 years ago. No known descendents of that tribe exist today.

Located some 30 miles north of Alamogordo, it's five miles off Highway 54 on the right. It is one of the few concentrations of petroglyphs in the U.S. and is well-known because the glyphs are so accessible to the public. About a 1/2-mile trail leads through the rock.

,A brochure is available that describes 11 glyphs that are representative of those found at the site. On the trail, a numbered marker corresponds to the glyph description in the brochure. This is Number 1, a circle and dot pattern, and seems to be prevalent only at this petroglyph site.
Number 2: Masks are often used in religious ceremonies to depict supernatural beings.
Number 4 (I couldn't find Number 3): Bighorn sheep
Number 5: Animal tracks, bear or mountain lion. And along with the track is an animal being pierced by an arrow.
Number 6: Thought to be either roadrunner or turkey tracks
Number 7: A bighorn sheep pierced by three arrows.
Number 8: Another face or mask
Number 9:All the faces are drawn round, and with almond-shaped eyes. This one has ears.
Number 10: A bird, styled like a thunderbird
Number 11: An animal, with a geometric design in the body
In the background, looking west, is the Tularosa Basin, 50 miles wide and 200 miles long, it is, today, a desert scrubland.
Tularosa Basin, west
Godfrey Hills
To the east are the Godfrey Hills, and further, the Sacramento Mountains.
Three Rivers Gift Shop exterior
Three Rivers gift shop
In the early 1870s, Three Rivers was a ranching village that took its name from three creeks that converged there. It fell on bad times, and all that remains today is this "World Famous" gift shop. It sits on the corner of Highway 54 and the road B30 that leads to the petroglyphs site.
sign to chapel
I was five miles off the beaten track when I pulled out frm the petroglyphs site and saw this sign leading further still down the old forsaken road. My soul made me check it out.
Santo Nino Chapel
chapel direction sign
chapel interior
closeup of chapel bellfrey
old buildings in Tularosa
A roadrunner - where else: in the road.
old door
A block of old buildings in the Village of Tularosa, a town of 2,000 i nhabitants on Highway 54 north of Alamogordo. It got its name by Spanish explorers who noted the rose-colored reeds along the Tularosa River.
old door, Tularosa
church exterior
The St. Francis de Paula Church, Tularosa, is more than 100 years old.
giant pistachio sign at tree farm
Along Highway 54 between Tulrosa and Alamogordo are a couple of pistachio farms. This one, McGinn's, is quite proud of its giant pistachio.
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Lincoln National Forest from Highway 82
A drive east from Alamogordo on Highway 87 throught the Lincoln National Forest proved scenic, interesting and fun. Here are a few shots from that trek.
It is believed the petroglyphs were carved by Jornada Mogollon (hor-NAH-dah Muggy-OWN) more than 600 years ago. No known descendents exist today.
wildflowers in a garden
Lincoln National Forest
gallery window decor
Interesting galleries and shops can be found along the way. A nicely decorated window outside The Tunnel Shop caught my eye. Inside was pretty dang cool, too. It's located in High Rolls.
Old Apple Barn, exterior of building
old apple barn pickup truck
porch of old apple barn
One of the most interesting is the Old Apple Barn located on Highway 82 in High Rolls. Many visitors come in for gifts, cider and fresh apple pie.
The Tunnel Shop
On the more quirky side is the front porch of the Old Apple Barn.
train trestle

In an effort in the 1890s to continue passageway north from Alamogordo, a team of the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad (EP&NE) noticed the lush forests of the Sacramento Mountains. Not only did they need the timber for their lines, but also noticed the potential for passenger excursions into the forest to view the natural beauty and scenes there. Hence, a number of trestles, 58 of them in fact, were constructed along the 26-mile stretch to the summit. The town of Cloudcroft ("clearing in the clouds") was born, and the railroad, the Alamogordo-Sacramento Mountain Railway became known as the Cloud-Climbing Railway. Once completed, the line transported both freight and passengers, many of them movie stars, along ridges and across canyons into the mountains of what is now The Lincoln National Forest.

But then came the highway system in the 1940s. The railroad became less popular, eventually falling into disarray. Passenger service was discontinued in 1938, and freight in 1947. Other than the thriving town of Cloudcroft, little evidence of the feat remains today.

On Highway 82, an overlook provides a view of one of the trestles, the Mexican Canyon Trestle. It was the highest of the trestles at 60 feet above the canyon and 323 feet long. It is the last remaining one of the 58. In 2009- 2010 the U.S. Forest Service, New Mexico Rails-to-Trails and Cloudcroft locals acted to restore and preserve what is left. Additionally, the Trestle Recreation Area was opened, providing day service picnic areas as well as walking trails along the route through the forest. Remains of the trestles can be seen upclose and personal from the easy-to-walk trails.

From Highway 82 west of Cloudcroft, this view of the Mexican Canyon Trestle can be had.
trestle remains
trestle remains
Remains of some of the other trestles can be seen upclose from the hiking trails leading from the Trestle Recreation Area outside Cloudcroft.