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Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - Bottomless Lakes State Park, Roswell NM

Thumper, near Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad, New Mexico, January 16, 2008
Thumper, near Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad, New Mexico, January 16, 2008

Thump, thump, thump

All day, all night, thump, thump, thump. Sounds like an old 2 cylinder John Deere tractor idling off in the distance. What could it be? Nobody runs those things full time. Certainly not out here in the desert. I'll find out - when I leave the park I'll head toward the thump and see if I can find the source. And find it I did, a couple of miles east of the park - a large two cylinder pumping engine; pumping what I'm going to guess is natural gas and I'm also going to guess it's running on the gas it's pumping. But then what's in those storage tanks? Crude?

Heading out

Farther west, eventually, but to get there I have to get around the mountins just west of Carlsbad. That means either a run around the south end through El Paso, TX or heading north to Artesia or Roswell, NM and from there head over the mountains to Alamogordo, NM. I'm choosing the later, mainly to stay avoid driving the interstates around El Paso. First stop: Bottomless Lakes State Park, Roswell, New Mexico, at least for the night.

Today's journey: US 285 north from Brantley Lake State Park, Carlsbad, New Mexico to Roswell, New Mexico then US 380 east to Bottomless Lakes State Park

Night camp

Bottomless Lakes State Park, Roswell NM


As the poet Gary Snyder said so well, "Beyond all this studying and managing and calculating, there's another level to nature. You can go about learning the names of things and doing inventories of trees, bushes, and flowers. But nature often just flits by and is not easily seen in a hard, clear light. Our actual experience of many birds and wildlife is chancy and quick. Wildlife is known as a call, a cough in the dark, a shadow in the shrubs. You can watch a cougar on a wildlife video for hours, but the real cougar shows herself only once or twice in a lifetime. One must be tuned to hints and nuances." After more than thirty years of living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and spending a great deal of that time out-of-doors, Snyder has seen the mountain lion on just a few occasions. One of these sightings was most unusual. Gary had been visiting a neighbor and was walking down from the nearby ridge to his home when he observed a cougar sitting near one of the windows of the house. The animal appeared to be listening intently as one of Snyder's stepdaughters practiced the piano.