photograph of badlands in snow
image © Robert Luis Chavez

NM Highway 550...
These formations are part of a large area of badlands along highway 550.


I've looked at this area of badlands near the Chaco turnoff many times while driving through. This time the temptation was too much to resist, and I spent the afternoon taking pictures in the area. The image above was taken on my return to Santa Fe.

Little did I realize, the severe storm I drove through several nights before would yield these interesting snow melt patterns. Driving through the storm, visibility was less than 20 feet at times. When pulling over to de-ice the wipers, I saw a line of cars led by a big rig coming up behind me. I followed the caravan and managed to crawl through the storm more easily, still all the while, my thoughts were in the Bisti: I was wondering how much snow was there?

The big rig we were following eventually punched through the storm and onto an amazingly clear highway, all to the north were stars and moonlight. The suddenness of the change was just like passing through the well defined edge of a summer thunder storm: a feast or famine proposition that leaves a visible line between drought and flood.