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Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Sunset, Petroglyphs, and a Chapel

Rick Morgan

We were wondering why we weren’t getting the beautiful sunsets we had while in Arizona, so Thursday we decided to “stay out” until there was no-more light in the sky. Guess what? We were treated to a marvelous sunset!  Dah! Maybe we need to hang outside a little longer in the evening!

Friday we planned to drive the 40 miles from Oliver Lee State Park in Alamogordo to see the Three Rivers Petroglyphs which is on BLM land. So we did just that and headed out on our journey. We drove past McGinn’s, the World’s Largest Winery and Pistachio Ranch, as well as the World Famous Three Rivers Trading Post in Tularosa with plans to make a stop on our way back to Alamogordo.

 Arriving at the petroglyph site, you are surrounded by the San Andreas Mountain Range with a spectacular view of Sierra Blanca. We parked the car and traveled out to see how many of the 600 to 2,000 year old petroglyphs we could actually find. No problem, as there is over 21,000 petroglyphs at Three Rivers. There are numbers along the long, rocky ascent to the top of the rock art site indicating the most notable and most photographed depictions. However as you travel the trails you see petroglyphs virtually everywhere, and yes, sadly there is some contemporary graffiti.

It was all very exciting to see and photograph and along the way learning more about the Jornada Mogollon people and the art depicting their lives.

As a side note to fellow RVers, there are two full hook-up sites, and numerous dry-camping spots in the parking area at the Three Rivers Petroglyph site.

While driving towards the site, we saw signs for a chapel 4 miles down the road. So after our exploration of the petroglyphs, we headed that 4 miles and found the historic Santo Niño de Atocha Chapel. What a beautiful and enchanting place devoted to The Holy Child of Antioch. It is remarkable, filled with religious artifacts, and icons honoring the small pilgrim boy, Santo Niño de Atocha.

Heading back down the road we did stop at the trading post, and yes, they do have some amazing art work and jewelry, but we’re still not sure about the “world famous” claim. The next stop was McGinn’s winery and pistachio ranch, again we’re not sure about the “world’s largest” claim…but they do the tallest pistachio (see photo). On site is their winery and orchard, inside were delicious tastings of both the wine and pistachios offered.  So yummy - of course we could not leave the ranch without purchasing some “samples” of our own.

Then it’s back to camp for one more day at Oliver Lee State Park and on to Valley of Fires Sunday.