It was a day for romance at the Bosque del Apache.

On the North tour loop drive, I saw a pair of coyotes wandering the marsh. Just a few miles down, two turkeys crossed the road, their steps sure and slow. A herd of deer or elk—I really cannot tell the difference—meandered in the grass. One crane lingered on its own in a field, while a small flock with babies leisured in the water.

Spring is finally here. You can see it in the bright green trees swaying by the river, and retailers at least think summer is right around the corner. All those slip and slides and volleyballs and water guns are stocked already on store shelves.

Before visiting Bosque del Apache, I had breakfast down the road at San Antonio’s Crane, on what was apparently its last day of operations. The green chile was sweet and the burritos delicious. It was a serendipitous day indeed.

The Bosque del Apache is one of many beautiful natural spaces we have in Socorro County. I’m a little ashamed to say, I’ve only visited the Bosque three times—all in the off-season. Twice in spring, and once in the early fall before the flocks and flocks of birds blanketed the fields. At peak Bosque del Apache season, with the Crane Festival in full swing, seems like the right moment to go.

This may sound silly since I do cover events and sometimes large ones—and usually with a great deal of glee—but pandemic years of avoiding large crowds when possible have left me squeamish of masses of people gathered. Sometimes I brave a crowd, and sometimes I opt out. Pre-pandemic, I probably would never opt out of a crowded event because of the crowd. The crowd was part of the appeal. But I skipped the 2022 Festival, letting our assistant editor and resident photojournalist handle the bulk of the Crane Festival coverage.

The Crane Festival is on my list of Socorro things to do this year. That and visit the Trinity Site, which only opens to the public twice a year (and always on a weekend when I seem to have a prior engagement).

I haven’t totally neglected to enjoy the natural wonders plentiful in Socorro. I’ve visited Sevilleta and seen the rock formations and art installations. Sevilleta will celebrate 50 years as a wildlife refuge next month. Wow.

I’ve hiked in Box Canyon, both to document trail-building days and to enjoy downtime outside. I keep encountering herds of cattle at the canyon. They always seem surprised to see me. In June, a Box Canyon celebration event should raise the profile of the trail network expansion plans and highlight the lease agreement between the City of Socorro and the Bureau of Land Management, which makes it easier to access trails and climbing on state lands adjacent to Box Canyon. There are many trail-building days to come in the Box Canyon Recreation Area.

Earth Day was celebrated Saturday in Socorro by New Mexico Tech’s Tribeta Biological Honor Society Epsilon Chi Chapter, who were scheduled to clean up garbage, and by the Magdalena Public Library with a “Lorax” watch party and craft hour.

There’s a lot of Earth to celebrate in Socorro.