Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Alien Beauty of the New Mexico Desert



If as a child, you dreamed of exploring space, you’ll be happy to learn that there is a place that looks as alien as anything you may have seen in the movies, and it’s right here on Earth. Located in San Juan County, in the north of New Mexico, USA, lie the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah and Bitzi/De-Na-Zin Wilderness areas. Anyone stepping into this land will feel as if they’ve landed on the set of a sci-fi film.

In Navajo, Bitzi means ‘cranes’, and researchers have found many petroglyphs (ancient drawings) of cranes in the area. Looking at these amazing rock formations, it’s easy to tell why the Navajo called it that.
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“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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This part of the Bitzi Badlands is known as the “Queen’s Chamber”. The bizarre rock formation is the result of an ancient river that used to flow in the area millions of years ago.
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“The desert, when the sun comes up... I couldn't tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.” - Tom Hanks
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“If the desert allows the trees to proliferate, the desert shall disappear! Therefore the desert has no choice but to be the enemy of the trees!” - Mehmet Murat Ildan
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First by water, then by the wind, years of exposure to the elements have eroded these rocks to their current formation.
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“In the desert I had found a freedom unattainable in civilization; a life unhampered by possessions, since everything that was not a necessity was an encumbrance. I had found too, a comradeship inherent in the circumstances, and the belief that tranquility was to be found there.” - Wilfred Thesiger
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Natural forces carved the Bitzi Wilderness into the stuff of science fiction. Various geological sediments deposited by the primordial sea that covered this region give the now-exposed land its magnificently colorful characteristics.
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“Where is my oasis? Too far from
here for me to crawl with these
dead legs, refusing to co-operate
Hands and fingers clawing uselessly
through the grains of sand...” - Kiera Woodhull
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“If you want water, do not go to desert...” - Alen Sargsyan
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These formations are called “Hoodoos”. A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos, which may range from 1.5–45 metres (4.9–147.6 ft), typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations. (source)
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“In a heartbeat, he understands why religions are born on the sands – there is nothing here for a man but his own mind.” - Sara Sheridan
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"What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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"The desert does not mean the absence of men, it means the presence of God." - Carlo Carretto
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"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name,
It felt good to be out of the rain.
In the desert you can remember your name,
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain." - Dewey Bunnell
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"A desert is a place without expectation." - Nadine Gordimer
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"The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." - Isaiah 35:1
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"The desert is no longer a landscape, it is a pure form produced by the abstraction of all others." - Jean Baudrillard
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"You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst." - William Langewiesche
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"The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides." - Jules Verne
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"The desert has its holiness of silence, the crowd its holiness of conversation." - Walter Elliot
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Should you choose to stay the night, you may be fortunate enough to see the arms of the Milky Way galaxy, thanks to the low light-pollution in the area. It is a sight that makes the area’s nickname – “The Valley of Dreams” seem very appropriate.
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"I think the American West really attracts me because it's romantic. The desert, the empty space, the drama." - Ang Lee
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"When you're on a highway, viewing the western U.S. with the mountains and the flatness and the desert and all that, it's very much like my paintings." - Edward Ruscha
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"I'd had no particular interest in the Southwest at all as a young girl, and I was completely surprised that the desert stole my heart to the extent it did." - Terri Windling
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"The vast sage desert undulates with almost imperceptible tides like the oceans." - Frank Waters
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"Never thank anybody for anything, except a drink of water in the desert - and then make it brief." - Gene Fowler
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"I love the desert and its incomparable sense of space." - Robyn Davidson
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"The desert is cold early in the morning. Laying down on that sand is like laying on a block of ice." - Steven Michael Quezada
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As the sun sets in the wilderness on a cloudy day, visitors will be treated to a light show the likes they have never seen before…

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