In ufology, a close encounter is an event in which a person witnesses and/or interacts with an unidentified flying object. A system of event classifications was introduced by an astronomer and UFO researcher, J. Allen Hynek. According to him , Close Encounters of the First Kind refers to visual sightings of an unidentified flying object seemingly less than 500 feet away. A Close Encounter of the Second Kind is a UFO event in which a physical effect is alleged, such as animals reacting or physical trace-like impressions on the ground. Close Encounters of the Third Kind refers to encounters in which one or more animated aliens are present, as was reported in the 1947 Roswell incident. We learned these classifications, along with some other interesting factoids during our visit to the UFO Museum in Roswell .
When most people hear a reference to Roswell, they’re reminded of the 1947 UFO incident. Since we weren’t around at that time, we relied on the information we read at the museum. The story of the Roswell Incident has been painstakingly documented, as has information about aspects of other UFO phenomena, crop circles, UFO sightings and Nevada’s Area 51. Only those who are “believers” or are really interested in this subject will spend the many hours required to read all of the museum’s displays and exhibits. There was so much material that we basically skimmed through what most interested us, then we watched the showtime movie “Roswell” at the museum’s theater.
After a couple of hours reading about witness stories and government cover-ups, we drove around town. We quickly noticed these folks really play up the UFO thing – many of the store facades were alien-themed.
Roswell has other museums that are not about UFO’s or Aliens. Our blogger friends Hans and Lisa of Metamorphosis Road, who were only a few days behind us, visited several other museums in town. Check out their site to see what fascinating things they discovered during their stay.
Lee, the owner of the Red Barn RV Park (Steve’s review here), gave us a list of things to do while in town. One of her suggestions that I followed was a trip to the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge to see if any migratory birds might be hanging around.
I had my priorities straight, and went to visit some of my feathered friends. Steve tagged along so he could walk some of the four trails there, and we ended up following the easy 2-mile Oxbow Trail. We didn’t see any birds close-up on that walk, but we spotted a few during the 8-mile wildlife drive within the refuge.
The Bitter Lake NWR was only about 12 miles from our home base and consisted of over 24,000 acres in three units along the Pecos River.
After our walk we continued on the driving tour and stopped at a few overlooks. We finally saw some White Pelicans and a variety of ducks in the distance. The park ranger informed us that fall and late winter are the best times to see Sandhill Cranes, ducks and geese.
If you happen to be in the Roswell area in September, be aware that the 14th Annual Dragonfly Festival at the Refuge will be held then. The refuge boasts having the most diverse population of dragonflies and damselflies in North America, and they will be there in great numbers by fall. Access to the refuge is free, so you can visit as many times as you like.
After three nights in UFO land, we packed up and resumed our northward trek.
Next up: Venturing off of the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway