It was difficult to leave T or C. It always is. But we got up early and took a good soak.
Then we bypassed the Happy Belly Deli and went to a new place called Passion Pie Café.
I won’t tell you what I ate, but it contained enough fat and cholesterol for a week. Debbie ordered The Elvis, because she read the name but then read the wrong description. She calls it her Once In a Blue Moon Breakfast: waffles with peanut butter and bananas, topped with whipped cream. Where was Cinda the whipped cream junkie when we needed her? The Elvis looked pretty awful to me, but Debbie said it was actually good, though she might not be ready for another one until the next blue moon.
Then a sad goodbye to Riverbend and the Rio Grande. We took a back road back down to Hatch where the chile festival http://www.hatchchilefest.com/ was in full swing. We got out fast, bypassing the Dead Kennedy Café and headed into Las Cruces on back roads.
We took a quick visit to the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park where it was too hot to wander the grounds, then checked into a motel. Soon I was off to White Sands.
A detour. Another friggin’ border patrol checkpoint. A major wreck. But I got to the park around 5:15. It was too early, and in a sense it was too late.
Too late, because to get good photos, it’s good to know the park well. I needed a day to explore, find the right dune, and really know the area. Too early, because it was quite hot still, too hot to wander the dunes.
I drove the whole area and finally found a spot that would work. Not many people, not too many footprints in the sand, close to the road. I didn’t want to hike back to the car after dark.
I grabbed my camera, tripod, and water and got set up over an hour before sundown. I walked a bit but mostly hid in the shade.
People arrived. More people arrived. And then still more people arrived. I swear, thousands of people showed up for this moonrise. Streams of cars full of moon seekers came down the road. But miraculously, most drove on past, and almost all who stopped wend the other direction from me.
I began to set up the camera and tripod. DISASTER! The tripod didn’t fit the camera! I couldn’t believe it. A tripod’s a tripod, right? I have used it on other cameras in the past. But without getting technical, just believe me, the camera didn’t fit on the tripod. I had to resort to lightly balancing it on top. The result is lots and lots of fuzzy photos.
I am heartbroken. But then the silver lining: I have to come back!
The crowds of people were talking and laughing, and the whole thing was much too raucous for me.
And then the moon peeked over the mountains. Everyone went quiet. Loud teenage boys, crabby old ladies, and shrieking children fell silent.
I don’t have words to capture the beauty and reverence that filled the valley. Truly the best moonrise and one of the best moments (barring tripod disaster) of my life.
And now I know a few good places for photos and as a bonus I have my new free Senior National Parks pass!