A Stark Beauty All Its Own

Taos Junction"It has a stark beauty all its own. It's like much of the high desert of the United States. It's different, but it's very pretty out here."
— Neil Armstrong, describing the lunar surface to the people of the earth.

When I first reviewed this photo, I thought of Neil Armstrong's first impressions of the lunar surface. What I didn't know at the time was that Apollo 15 astronauts had trained just a few feet from where I was standing.

It had been an awful autumn. Mornings in the outdoors, always a cure for melancholy, had no more appeal.

Still, I needed a change of scenery. After a half-day of procrastination I drove north to the Orilla Verde Recreation Area.

It was early December, and I was hoping to see at least a couple of bighorn rams butting heads. This, too, was procrastination: I had been trying to work up the courage to call John Nichols, who in 2015 had told me to give him a call if I ever wanted to drive out to the gorge to watch the rut. "I'll just see if anything's happening, to make sure it's worth disturbing him."


Apollo 15

NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources

Bajadas and sheep, wild and domestic