West-bound again and down from the mountains across the Rio Grande where there was not a single drop of agua in the parched and sandy river bed. I was shocked that such a symbolic waterway was high and dry.
West of that once mighty-river turned dusty-trail we climbed back into the mountains eventually reaching 7500 feet and the BLM campground at Datil, NM. With highs in the 70’s and lows near freezing the temperature was delightful. The 22-spot campground is tucked into the trees, has almost 4 miles of hiking trails, and a visitors center with a WiFi hot-spot. We were here the last weekend in April and there were only 4 other campers.
I took a side trip to visit the Very Large Array (VLA) Radio Telescope on the Plains of San Agustin valley. The visitors center is open from 8am to sunset. Since the array is closed on T-day, X-mas and new-years day I suspect the visitors center might be too. There is a nice walking tour of the grounds near the visitors center and descriptions of all the gizmos and do-hickeys. There is a short orientation movie (I skipped it because I wanted to be dis-oriented), an inside exhibit space, and the walking tour all for just $6 admission. I spent about 1.5 hours on the walking tour including walking to the antenna barn instead of driving.