The Bosque Chronicles–Epiloge
I have been writing about the Bosque Del Apache NWR for several weeks now, some of you may think I am milking it for everything it is worth. You would not be wrong. It is worth milking though, so here goes one more. It is a Mecca of sorts for birders and photographers, with tens of thousands of Cranes, Snow Geese, Ducks, Egrets, and Raptors. Affectionately known as “The Bosque” people flock there every year to make images different from anywhere else in the world.When you are “on the Bosque” always be at the ready because there are photographic opportunities at all times in all places.
Located in central New Mexico the refuge is fairly easy to get to. If you are flying, Albuquerque is the closest major airport, about 90 miles north but I recommend, if you have time, flying to Phoenix AZ and driving east along highway 60 where you will find some beautiful landscapes in the Apache National Forest, and Petrified Forest. Spending a half day at the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park is well worth it. Just before getting to the town of Sororro NM you will encounter the VLA or the Very Large Array. The VLA is a Y shaped array of 27 very large radio telescopes that can spread across a valley about 13 miles wide. Each telescope is about 6 stories high so it is a massive complex and well deserving of the name “very large”. Wonderful photos can be made there and if you drive up the road to the complex facilities there is a nice welcome center. Weather you are flying or driving I recommend you make some time to visit the VLA, it too is a once in a lifetime experience.
When you get to the Bosque you will have the choice of camping right outside the refuge at the Bird Watchers RV Park or heading a short drive north to Socorro to get a room. The Town of San Antonio is very close to Bosque but does not have lodging, There are a couple of legendary restaurants though, The Buckhorn and The Owl both compete for the title of world’s best chili cheese burgers. They are both crowded, serve good food, and are great places to grab a burger and a beer in the off hours. About 20 miles north, Sorocco is the full service town where you will find most everything you could ever need. Unless you are camping it will be your base of operations. A couple of “do’s and don’t’s” for visiting the area:
Do stay at The Best Western or Holiday Inn. They are the best places in Socorro and not very expensive.
Do support the local economy. Socorro has many of the usual eating establishments, but really, eat local, the food is very good at many places with very reasonable prices.
Do try The Socorro Springs Brewery. Bodega Burger, or The Manzanares Cafe.
Don’t worry about connectivity. Cell service is fine at Bosque and there is plenty of WiFi available in Socorro.
Don’t drink and drive. Highway speeds tend to be higher and line of sight shorter on rural roads and highways and that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for drivers who are unfamiliar and impaired. Don’t be tempted into drinking a few beers somewhere thinking it is just a quick trip back to town. There is no future in it Holmes.
If you are considering a photo tour or photography workshop I recommend Wildlife/Nature Photography Workshops from Juan Pons. Juan is a great instructor, very knowledgable about wildlife, the Bosque terrain and his tales of lore are legendary. Workshops are well worth the money even if you are an accomplished photographer, there is always stuff to learn, friends to be made and Juan does that as well as anyone I know. It is where I spend my money.
If planning a workshop:
Don’t worry about skill level. Beginners do great, it is really about the experience of being there.
Don’t be overly concerned about gear. If you are a gadget hound that is fine but if you don’t have big long lenses don’t worry you will do just fine. There are plenty of opportunities to use any gear. If you do want to rent gear I recommend Borrowlenses.com and Lensrentals.com. I have used them both and they are great companies with great gear.
Do ask for UPS shipping. There are no staffed Fed Ex locations in the Bosque area so if you need to ship something out you are going to have problems. UPS has a facility at the Socorro Airport but be warned-it is only open 2 hours a day.
Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by and reading the Bosque Chronicles the past several weeks. It was great to go there and wonderful that I was able to share some it with you. I really appreciate your taking the time to read, look at and comment on the photos.
I hope many of you got a new iPad or iPad Mini for the holidays because in a few week I am going to have something special for you. Until next time, keep punching those doggies.
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