Take advantage of local treasures

"While the landscape around Santa Rosa is more semi-arid ranch country than desert, it's true! Santa Rosa is a scuba diving mecca. There's the famous Blue Hole, a geological phenomenon. The natural, bell-shaped pool is 80 feet deep and has astonishing clarity and a constant water temperature of 64 degrees. There's even a training platform at 20 and 25 feet." — Santa Rosa chamber of commerce website

It's an essential that, at least once during the summer, I ensure that my grandkids, usually with a friend or two, make a trip to the Blue Hole. Like so many near at hand attractions, it is easy for those of us who live relatively close to any fun destination to miss out on it. I lived in northeast Ohio for 10 years and never made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

There are stories galore, many of them at least half-true, around any natural wonder, and the Blue Hole is no exception.

There seems to be some adequate proof that the underground springs which feed the Blue Hole actually do, somehow, connect to similar water bodies in Carlsbad.

There is a real likelihood that, at some point, cave divers really did get trapped in the caves which honeycomb the Santa Rosa site, and that this inspired the placing of grates over the aforementioned cave entrances.

"Bless Me, Ultima," which is Rudolfo Anaya's classic autobiographical novel of growing up in 1940s New Mexico, really does feature The Blue Hole, under a slight name change. It's that fact which allows teachers to schedule field trips to the site, under the double goal of exposing the kids to a literature lesson, and allowing them to swim.

Just as an aside, anyone who has not read that novel, should put it on your summer reading list before you forget. It's awesome.

Santa Rosa itself is a great day trip destination. If you are like me, and like to torment your spouse with what he or she considers questionable taste in food, there is a cafe you ought to try. I love their New Mexican Spanish cooking. My wife, whose Spanish roots in New Mexico go back 400 years, has a much lower opinion of it.

She's probably better equipped to judge.

If you tire of the Blue Hole, or begin to freeze, you can take the short drive to Santa Rosa Lake, a goodsize lake with plenty of picnic and sunbathing area.

"Santa Rosa Lake State Park, a high plains Pecos River reservoir, offers a variety of water sports. Anglers often catch bass, catfish, and walleye." — NM State Parks website

In this case, a picture is worth far more than words. Visit that site, under the appropriate key words, and you will see how very near breathtaking the lake is. It's a bit off the beaten path, so may not get as much attention as some other lakes, but it's well worth the drive, about ten miles from Santa Rosa.

Well, we ourselves are heading to the Blue Hole today, so maybe before summer ends, you will also make it up there.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at: clyde_davis@yahoo.com

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