Sorry for the late post, but this was one heck of a busy weekend.
First, I suppose I should mention something work related. The bug hasn't been fixed, my plot is still kinky, but our results are solid everywhere else and the project is drawing to a close. This week we will be giving our final presentations and I can't wait to do so. I've always enjoyed giving talks and I've been sitting with this data for so long that it will be nice to talk about it with some strangers. It also sounds like we might get a paper out of this summer which is nice.
On to the fun though. On Friday, myself and four other students piled into the back of a Subaru Outback and began traveling towards southern New Mexico. The first destination on our list was White Sands National Monument. If you're ever in New Mexico, you need to make it a point to get down there. The park is completely covered in white gypsum sand and is so large that you can very clearly see it on google maps. We spent the better part of an evening there and camped nearby overnight. Seeing the moonrise over that place was seriously spine tingling.
Then things got even better. We broke down camp and traveled over to Carlsbad Caverns, the largest cave in the US (contiguous maybe? I don't remember). The cave itself is broken down into a few rooms that have paths laid out for you to walk on. Pictures don't do it justice (and also I haven't ripped them off my phone yet). The cave was originally a sea and most of the features down there are either fossilized coral or stalagmites which have formed from drips and drops over the course of millions of years. If you head there and have somewhere nearby to stay at for the night, you can watch the bats fly out around 7 pm. We however needed to find another place to camp, so we left after doing the hike.
We ended up camping at Bottomless Lakes State Park, a place I'd happily camp at again. The views were lovely and we got to watch a series of thunder storms (that were safely far away from us) light up the sky. The clouds recessed and left us with an incredibly clear sky full of stars and another beautiful moon.
Moral of the story: if you like to be outside, you need to head to New Mexico at least once. Possibly twice.
I know I'll certainly be back before too long. Oh also, 748 miles is how far we drove. Over the course of three days. I'm just now starting to get feeling back in my legs.