Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 4, 2022

Las Cruces By the Chihuahuan Desert

Our armchair travels across the US have taken us to the southwestern state of New Mexico which is one of the Mountain States of the southern Rocky Mountains.

Our first stop is Las Cruces a city on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Old Mesilla Village and plaza dating back to 1848 and is a favorite tourist attraction. Its most famous feature is the courthouse where Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang in the county jail.

It is a well-preserved adobe building with 18 inch thick walls. In the village, you can enjoy art galleries, look at gift shops, and dine in restaurants.

The Basilica of San Albino is a church that dominates the plaza. La Posta de Mesilla restaurant is in the spot where people and mail were once dispatched by stagecoach through the Butterfield Overland Mail.

The Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument is just a half-hour from Las Cruces and was established in 2014 to preserve half a million acres of awesome mountain scenery, There are many different trails to explore with the most popular one in the Dripping Springs Natural Area. Within the habitat, you’ll find grasslands, desert shrubs, pinyon pine, juniper, and oak. As you hike along the way you might see rock squirrels and mule deer. There is also the Gambel’s quail with its unique topknot also red-tailed hawks and golden eagles.

The gatekeeper for Las Cruces is the roadrunner, the state bird of New Mexico. It is great to see this bird in person and its nickname in Mexican is “Paisano” but if you do not spot the roadrunner you’ll enjoy seeing its facsimile which measures 40 feet long by 20 feet tall at a scenic rest area. Local artist Olin Calk created the sculpture in 1993. The sculpture is an amazing creation made from recycled materials.

If you love spicy food head for the Chile Pepper Institute at the New Mexico State University. One of the hottest chillies ever is the Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper which measures about one million units on the Scoville heat scale and was discovered here. However, the world’s hottest pepper is the Carolina Reaper at over two million. The institute grows 150 varieties of chile peppers and you can buy seeds here.

La Llorona Park (named for the “weeping woman” legend of Hispanic culture) is a city park that has a six-mile paved trail. You can walk or bike along the Rio Grande and enjoy seeing herons, egrets, and ducks.

Mesquite Street was once a rough route between Mexico City and Santa Fe that was traveled by traders and Spanish conquistadors. This part of Las Cruces is now a living museum of history and culture where you can see the adobe buildings of settlers, parks, gardens, art galleries, and artist studios.

Jardin de Mesquite is the place where you can find murals that show you how life was during the days of the Wild West.

You can visit a ghost town the Lake Valley Historic Townsite. In 1878 Lake Valley has become a thriving community of miners. When silver ran out the town was abandoned, You can see the original buildings which have been preserved. A museum is part of the old schoolhouse and there is a chapel.

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