Day 201

Socorro, NM to Datil, NM
11441 mi

A nice calm morning greets me. I fill up on cereal and donuts at the motel then head for the mountains. They make it look like I have a tough climb ahead, but after about 1000 feet I pop out into a valley headed west, the peaks on either side looking cut off at the knees. They’re shaped like immense waves crashing together.

At 10:13, near the head of the valley, the wind appears again out of nowhere. Instantly. In my face, of course.

I find a place that reluctantly makes me a latte in Magdalena. The terrain is slowly getting higher, still wide plains with bunches of peaks poking up here and there. Soon some nice sheltering spruce and pinon appear.

I take an 8 mile detour to visit the Very Large Array radio telescope. It occupies the immense San Augustin plains, which seem way too big to be up this high. I spend hours, it seems, passing one giant radio dish after another.

The visitor center is interesting, informative, and vacant. Self-guided tours, videos, exhibits, and slide shows occupy me. If these plains seem vast, I think, what about our galaxy? Our family of galaxies? Our supercluser? And all the others? I wonder why we humans can sense only a tiny piece of the electromagnetic spectrum, where it ends, and what goes on there.

I keep climbing for the rest of the day, to become the sole resident of the Datil campground. It seems I’ve climbed forever and still stopped well short of the continental divide. The crescent moon appears. I reach for it, and she sits in the palm of the left. Maybe Ann is thinking of me. Close by, coyotes begin to wail.

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