Thursday, May 9, 2019

Flying In Grant County New Mexico

I don't think we would have ever heard about the Silver City area if it wasn't for my former Plano Parks and Recreation co-worker, Lynn Welsch, who told us about this area of New Mexico. Lynn and her husband, Phillip, retired to this area several years ago. They both keep busy in retirement - Lynn is a very gifted art quilter (Mountain Spirits Studio) and Phillips flies his experimental airplane. Phillip offered me a ride in his plane to see some of the area from a better perspective.

I met Phillip at 7 a.m. at the Grant County County Airport just south of Hurley, New Mexico. Phillip keeps his Flight Design CTLS in Deming and flew up to Grant County Airport to pick me up. The CTLS is a very unique experimental aircraft from Germany with over 95% of the structure being carbon fiber. After a short safety briefing from Phillip, we were heading down the runway for takeoff.

Starting to taxi at the Grant County Airport. The cockpit area was actually very roomy for a plane of this size.

The control panel area was very impressive - Phillip also has an iPad on a bracket (you can just see the right edge in the far left of this photo) for all his navigation charts.

We first flew north and then east over the Santa Rita (Chino) Open Pit Copper Mine - once the largest in the world. It is really hard to get a grasp on how large the mine really is until you realize how much of the surrounding mountains it has consumed.

Next we started to enter the Mimbres River valley, just north and east of the Santa Rita Mine. Phillip and Lynn live in this area just near the small communities of San Lorenzo and Mimbres.

The view looking south down the Mimbres River Valley. On the far horizon in the center is Cookes Peak - 8,408 feet.

We flew south down the Mimbres Valley and then headed west as we crossed the mountains between Mimbres Peak and Cookes Peak towards the city of Rocks State Park.

Approaching the City of Rocks State Park - center of the photo above.

City of Rocks State Park... rock formations formed from volcanic ash 30 million years ago and sculpted by the wind and rain. Rock formations so unique they are only known in six other places in the world today. Definitely on our list of places to visit while we are here.

Back on the ground safe and sound - Phillip is an excellent pilot and tour-guide. I really appreciate him taking me for a ride in his plane and showing me some of the sights from above. It had been many years since I had been up in a small plane and I am pretty sure this is the smallest plane I have ever flown in.

Parting shot - Heather and Lynn at the top of Emory Pass. Lynn and Phillip took us for a nice drive and picnic to the top of the pass on the previous Monday.