New Mexico has state parks in some really beautiful desert locations, making it hard for me to pick a favorite. Rockhound State Park, about 10 miles out of Deming, is probably in my top three so far. Every time I make the final turn towards the campground and see that familiar view ahead, I can’t help but grin.
It’s the light that makes Rockhound so special to me. Something about the mountain ranges on either side of it combined with the long, flat basin stretching all the way out to Lordsburg gives the sunlight and clouds plenty of space to play.
Every full-timer has a favorite site at their favorite places, and here mine is Site 15. It’s high up on the loop so you can see for miles, and it’s backed up to the edge of the campground, so it’s silent and remote, and both those things work for me.
Yes, I am fascinated by the yucca plants and the old, dried-out seed pods they hang on to long after the seeds have gone.
The sunsets at Rockhound can be gorgeous, especially when the light frames those yucca seed pods.
When the moon isn’t out at night, the dark sky is amazing. It was a new moon while I was there, so perfect for stargazing. And also for learning more about how to use my camera for long-exposure night photography. I still have quite a ways to go to get things right, but this image gives you an idea of how many stars there are up there.
That line of three bright dots in the lower middle are Orion’s sward and the biggest of those dots is the Orion nebula (M42), the largest star-making nursery closest to Earth. To give you a better view, here’s how NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble telescopes combined to see it in 2008.
The desert is so huge, and the horizon so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.