My spotting scope or field scope was earning its keep in the number of pennies spent to purchase this treasure. I needed this compact high-powered telescope for my new position in the company, as I took a 180 degree turn from the one, I had just left. Now, instead of sitting back taking notes, I am the one on the front line. The vetting process I had to go through to get to this next level was insane! I'm so loving the change this has brought to my day and to my life. I've always had a sharp eye for images and color and now I can use that to an interesting advantage. The company that I started working for a year or so ago, now had a new mission evolving, and that was to see and categorize the landscape, noting the variety of sunsets, starlight and sunrise in particular desert areas of the United States.
This week the destination was to be the White Sands National Park area in south-central New Mexico, and just a short drive to El Paso Texas. This would be a new path for me coming from the east coast, and one that I am looking forward to exploring. I'll be just little ol' me and no one else. But I did have someone in my life, and not that long ago. I gained a lot knowing and spending time with him in such a short time, but then I lost myself, when he needed to leave for parts unknown. Things happen. You adjust and go with the moment.
At first, life for me was just your average twenty-something self, venturing out into the wide-open world. It really wasn't that wide open as I had a telemarketer job from home in a little town in New Hampshire, yet far north of the White Mountains. Berlin to be exact. Way in the middle of nowhere and there I was living the dream. I went hiking on my days off with a pack of wolves also better known as Women of the Wild. We followed every trail we could, sometimes dawn til nightfall. They were the best friends I ever had. Then life calls you to go forward, and one by one, we each went our own way. But we were determined to stay in touch and made a pact to stay hiking as it became our strength and bonding thread to keep us together, no matter what life threw at us.
One spring day, I solo hiked, but made sure my neighbor had my contact info in the event of a catastrophic event happening along the way where I tripped over my two left feet and fell headfirst down a ravine spinning my way to a permanent and most unforeseen ending as a flat pancake. That would be such a made-up story, as I am such a pro at telling tales. My new book is sure to grab the attention of the faint of heart, titled, I FELL: OH, WELL.
It was on this short hike that I met someone who had fallen and bumped his knee pretty bad. He was lying on his back with a leg propped up on the side of a tree.
My fun side kicked in. "Oh, hi." I said with a weak, and soft manner. "Are you okay?" I offered him a candy bar in case he needed a little comfort food. "Did you fall?" Okay this was lame. He was not happy and just said a bland hello back, shook his head, and tried to get up. The next thing was, that he nearly fell over and the better person in me came out, grabbed him, held on, and helped him sit on a tree stump.
"Wow. That was not going well." He thanked me for aiding him and we began to talk. I confessed to having a heavy abundance of trail knowledge and he chuckled at the first impression of what he saw. It appeared though, from what he said, that he was taking a break from his work and took the road less travelled. But I thought he seemed to be not quite as prepared for any 'what ifs', hence the fall. I was glad to have happened down that part of the trail to help. After a while, he seemed to be able to hobble and I guided him down a shorter version of the path and back to the trailhead. He lived south of the Kancamagus, and that proved to be great, since we were able to meet more often than not. I did find out after a while that he was back from a tour overseas as an Army Ranger. His fall on the trail was a major misstep in his opinion since he was in the number one bush league. He had been prepared on the trail; it was a subtly I hadn't observed. Direct operations, raids, and personnel and special equipment recovery was part of their military goals. He shared just enough to make me feel comfortable, leaving out most of the hard-core part. I get it.
He and I clicked from the moment we met. Time kept us together and apart. He was due to leave at a moment's notice to report to somewhere. He never told me exactly where his next go-to place was, but I was okay, but not okay with that. When it did happen, I knew it was time for me to leave, for now anyway and go away, far away. My gal pals sensed my need and made me promise to come back for our next long trek.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico, was on the horizon as my flight landed. Reporting to the group leader, we all met at the airport and then proceeded to drive to the lodge. Everyone was on board with this area and getting the most out of our time here. It was magnificent and I so appreciated the opportunity to work my skills and accomplish our goal as yet to be determined.
The detailed observation using my spotting scope was perfect for this gig. Although, someday, I do want to be part of the team permanently, following targets and hunting to verify a marksman's shot placement. That is certainly an interesting scenario and also it seemed as though there was much more going on for the need of our eye pieces to be used for tactical ranging and surveillance. I'm getting a feeling there's more to this company, EAGLE EYE VIEW.
We had a moment to unwind from the day and chillax. Supper and a brew at the hotel pub were very inviting as we got a feel for one another's purpose. All of us had intense backgrounds in using telescopes, riflescopes, rangefinders, night vision, and more. There were four of us from different parts of the country and we each brought an interesting perspective to what we thought was the true nature of this company. Each of us shared the same intense vetting to gain entry this far. Two girls, two guys. There was a scheduled meeting first thing tomorrow to hopefully, clear up the real reason we were all here. Soon enough, I hoped we could gain more understanding of the intention that each of us were brought here. I sensed it wasn't to focus on the bird life.
Morning was here and breakfast was simple. I just needed to unwind and enjoy my coffee with my new scope friend. Her and I got into so much detail about our optical enhancement devices for skygazing and bird watching. We were crazy about so many ideas we shared. We definitely were on the same page. It was great to have a like-minded new friend that felt the same way. The rest of us chatted for a bit until we were met by the commander of the company who we found out was part of the military. Now we all stood at attention. This was going further than expected. He addressed us all with a polite introduction to something we had not expected; to be part of a military operation, yet as civilians. We looked at each other with unexpected surprise. Wow. This was going up the ladder to a place none of us expected. We were told to opt out if there were any issues, but the job would be explained next.
White Sands is a national park area in New Mexico. It was and surrounded by a missile range in Tularosa Basin. One highlight in history was the Manhattan Project that produced the first nuclear weapons. DoDs had an open-air range with training facilities to ensure our nation's defense readiness.
But there's more to the picture. The white dunes are part of an amazing ecosystem that encourages one to explore the area. We were here to be one with each of these parts; the Army and in working with the park service.
The meeting was brief and to the point. We were needed to assist in stopping an infiltration of unknowns breaching the security of the area. We would take our various scopes and be secluded in certain areas at various time frames. There we would record and take note of anything out of the ordinary. The knockout color fidelity and edge to edge sharpness of our scopes would improve the images. The four of us signed an agreement that we would to the best of our ability and for the United States of America, work to be at the ready to bring any and all observations to the commander.
Each of us were brought to a spot in the gypsum sands area that was seeing more activity. I was still shocked and surprised that I was in such an interesting and highly classified yet public situation. We all had several different spotting scopes and I quickly settled in to get a sense of place. Suddenly, I focused in, as a clear image was in my sight. It was a true to life image, I kid you not, similar to the real Batmobile and it suddenly stopped. Two men were seen assembling what looked to be drones. I radioed my observations and waited. Military vehicles quickly arrived, creating a dust storm. My vision became blurry, but I kept a focus on the scene. What the heck was happening? Who would ever believe me reporting this mess?
Later on, as we all were done with each of our situations for the day, the story came to light as to what I observed. It turned out that a new Batman movie scene was happening in the White Sands National Park. I just happened to spy a legitimate scene with Batman and Robin in the Batmobile that the film studio was creating using drones.
I didn't recognize the actor playing Batman, but the Robin character I did recognize, and my chin dropped. It was the guy I met in New Hampshire! He is a movie actor and an Army Ranger?
The quality of the image is not determined by the lens itself but rather the diameter of the primary lens. The image was pretty true-to-life and focused.