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Friday, May 13, 2011

DAY 117: SALT FLAT, TEXAS - CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO




Pre-dawn is one of my favorite times of the day. All my life I have risen about 4:30am, so I have seen lots of pre-dawns.




But, when Ole Sol peeks above the Eastern Horizon, it is a magical moment...






US 180 looking back West...a never ending long road...that is US 180.






SALT FLAT is a small collection of buildings, with a very nice Cafe Owned and Operated by Keith and Shirley Richardson. Shirley prepared my usual scrambled with Hash Browns & Toast.




Down the road - to the East - about 8 miles - are the Salt Flats. Remnants of a one-time Salt Water Sea of about 250 million years ago, these salt deposits witnessed thousands of years of trading...right up to the 1800's. The White Man arrived, took possession of the Salt Flats, ending with a local war and exclusion of Native Americans - Indians - from the salt...available to them only if they paid the White Man.





Rising above the Salt Flats is a range of steep mountains, the Guadalupe Mountains. US 180 passes over these mountains where a US National Park is situated. This mountain range runs from North to South and is about 20 miles wide. It is the remains of an ancient Sea Water Reef of 250 million years ago. A good part of the South West of the United States consists of mountains risen from that ancient sea...I fantasize that the Sea Of Cortez to the South is part of that old Sea.









US 180 approaching the steep pass up to the US National Park of the Guadalupe Mountains.






That cliff in the background has an interesting parallel...according to the Park Ranger at the visitors center, the stone and fossils of that cliff consist mostly of sponges...EXACTLY the same rock and fossils found in the large chamber of the CARLSBAD CAVERNS located about 30 miles North.


I drove past the Carlsbad Caverns, but did not stop...they were 7 miles back into the mountains - the old reef - and I needed to reach CARLSBAD before dark. I had made the decision that since there was no VERIZON Signal along US 180 in Texas, I must head North to CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO, where more traffic predicted the presence of VERIZON Towers. This was the only way I could update this Blog for a couple hundred miles if I remained in Texas.







Guadalupe National Park.







Rest Stop near the top of Guadalupe Pass.





Interesting shale stone along US 180 as it climbs the steep Guadalupe Pass.









Walking down the East side of Guadalupe Pass - looking back up US 180.






These violet blossoms were being whipped by a savage wind.






A few hundred feet further down, the same flower, but this time white.





A peek at the Texas Prairie below Guadalupe Pass...our intended route; alas, was not to be.






Looking at the incredible scenery, I nearly stepped on this critter...he was not dead, but had been hit and stunned...it is NOT a rattlesnake, but I gave him a wide berth anyway.


US 180 continued North to CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO. We arrived shortly before dark and took a motel where I hand washed several yuckier things, watched a bit of TV, and got a good night sleep.




DAILY REPORT: Walked about 28 miles - I say about, because I lost track.




SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 28 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.56 for the day.




In the morning, got an early bite at DENNYS in CARLSBAD, drove out US 180, parked, took SAM off her perch, and walked all day - no pics.




See Narrative under separate Blog.




SPIA is parked alongside US 180 (about 15 feet from passing 18-wheelers) which make SPIA sway and shake as they roar past. Hope they stay on the road.




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