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Southwestern Winter Deserts

Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas

Our flat tire repaired we left Arizona and continued our journey east. Tess, with lots of assistance from Julia and me, drove down the long and lonely highway 10 into New Mexico. We left behind the majestic Joshua Trees and bristly Saguaros and entered a landscape filled with tumbleweeds, sage-bushes, and agave plants. The short squat agaves were everywhere, with their (now barren) single flower stalks poking straight up from the desert floor they were easy to spot.

This most southwesterly part of New Mexico is indistinguishable from the deserts in Arizona. However, as we arrived at Las Cruces in New Mexico and drove south to El Paso in Texas, we encountered what seemed to be one enormous factory farm. The intensely packed cows caused the already very dry and sandy desert to turn to dust. This dust blew high up into the air and created a vast dust storm. Tess, and every other car and truck, was engulfed by a choking dust storm.

We will not realize that this way of producing meat is completely unsustainable until it is way too late. We do it because we think we can buy cheap hamburgers. When will we ever learn the true cost of these supposedly cheap meats? I say cutout the middleman and let's stop growing soybeans to feed these tortured cattle and eat the soybeans directly.

After the horrors of dusty factory farms, we fought our way through the crazed highway traffic in El Paso, Texas. Cars and trucks darted about and pushed and shoved as crazed people rushed home from a long day's work. Eventually, we came to rest and sought recovery from witnessing the suffering livestock and breathing toxic gases emitted by the copious pickup-trucks.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The next morning, we left El Paso behind us and drove off into the freezing air and remote blue-sky wilderness that exists between the city and the tallest mountain in Texas: the Guadalupe Mountains. Truly, this is big-sky country. You can see off to the distant horizon, almost unblocked for 60 miles. You see the curvature of the Earth (sorry my flat-Earth friends, but the Earth is a sphere).

We hiked to a slot canyon at the Guadalupe Mountains. We encountered a young Texas man hiking alone. He was very friendly and so he joined us on our trek up the trail.

Guadalupe Mountain is the tallest in Texas but is still only some 8,000 feet above sea level, tiny in relation to the mighty Sierra Nevada back home.

The entire area surrounding the Guadalupe Mountains, and the peak itself, are what remains of the now dried up ancient Delaware Sea. This means that the Guadalupe Mountains are composed of relatively soft sedimentary rock as distinct from the hard-igneous granite of the Sierra Nevada.

According to Wikipedia: “the Delaware Basin is a geologic depositional and structural basin in West Texas and southern New Mexico, famous for holding large oil fields and for a fossilized reef exposed at the surface. Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park protect part of the basin. It is part of the larger Permian Basin, itself contained within the Mid-Continent oil province.'

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

The Cave Enterance

The next day we spent the entire day at the stupendous Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Julia and I have visited caves all around the world and the USA, but we have never experienced anything remotely like Carlsbad Caverns. Firstly, the caves are cavernous, no, really, they are mammoth, indeed they are gigantic! We walked for miles 750 feet underground with only LED lights insulating us from the eye-sucking pitch-black caves.

Carlsbad Cavern includes a large limestone chamber, named simply the Big Room, which is almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet high at its highest point. But the Big Room is only one part of this beautiful place. Also, the speleothems (structures formed in the cave) are intricate, sometimes enormous, and very colorful.

The air is heavy at these depths and so our breathing labored as we navigated the many passageways that make up this subterranean labyrinth. What an amazing place. This is a must see for all.

Leaving New Mexico

As we left New Mexico to return to Texas, it became apparent to us that the current environment and climate of the Earth is doomed to become unsustainable for human life. We came to this conclusion as we spent hours on remote roads that were heavily trafficked by pickup and heavy trucks. The pristine desert of the day before was now filled with burning gas jets everywhere; it was as if the desert was on fire. Their orange flames and thick sooty smoke rose high into the cold desert air. Accompanying the flames were untold amounts of constantly nodding oil-pumps. They pumped the remains of the dead creatures of the Delaware Basin up from the depths for us to burn in our internal combustion engines. Discarded plastic bags covered the desert and barbed wire fences carved up what was once a pristine environment. Thick black oils spills were visible everywhere. Men and women in pickup trucks spewing carbon dioxide darted about in every direction. The scene was reminiscent of the dystopian world of the film Blade Runner.

I'm afraid it is over for humanity.

We continued to glide along in our electric car through this seemingly never-ending dystopian scene. What a futile effort we are making against this unstoppable and unreasoning force of human ignorance and greed. Humanity is literally committing suicide.


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