Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Lost Mesa

The Lost Mesa is one of the finest areas I have ever visited. This is easily one of the most remote and hard to get to places I have ever been.

Where is it you ask?

It is in New Mexico. It is a wild lonely area of grasslands, open range, and a few stray mountains. The actual name is Otero Mesa. Otero meaning hill (or mesa), but I do not think that name is becoming such a grand landscape. As such I have taken to calling it the Lost Mesa as it gives it that Shangri-La mythic quality of a name that this place truly should have.

This is big open range country. Rolling grasslands extend in every direction. "Forests" of yucca can be seen. Pronghorn roam the open areas. A few lonely mountains pop out of the sea of grass. It is an area that has few signs of man. Only a few ranches that are out here and the occasional cow. But mostly it is big and empty. If John Wayne came riding across the range-you would not be surprised.
It is bounded by three mountain ranges on the north, east, and south. It 's western neighbor is the Tularosa basin and more importantly Fort Bliss. This all makes this one of the most isolated places in the lower 48. It's geography makes it a difficult location to find or get to. There are not any paved roads here. There are no towns here. A few gravel roads enter from the outside, but unless you want to get here-you never will.

It is an area I have seen from a distance and always wondered about. Wondered what it was like. Wondered how to get there. I spent hours looking at maps finding a road here or there. This is not a roadside scenic overlook, this is a destination you have to try and try and drive and drive to get to. When I finally made it there, I was amazed. This is a very special place. A wild place. A place I am glad I made it to and a place I will be going back to again and again.There is really no way to capture this landscape in an image. The distances involved, the enormous quality of the sky and the endless range-it all confounds the photographer in me. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but being here is worth a million pictures.

The images here are but a sliver of what this area is. I can only hope you can feel the empty quality of this landscape by these few pictures.

The first and third images show the open quality of the range land here. It is big and empty with a view for miles. The second image is at the southern end of the mesa where a few solitary mountains rise out of the grass. This is Alamo Mountain. A lonely mountain that marks the western end of the Horned Mountains. The Fourth image is of Wind Mountain over the ridge of Flat Top Mountain. You can just make out a few head of cattle feeding across the grassland.


Expect to see more images from and read more about this area. This is a place I have just scratched the surface on and it will be a location I will keep returning to.

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