I am become Death
Trinity Site, in the northern reaches of the vast White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), is where the first atomic bomb was exploded on July 16, 1945. Normally, the base is a highly restricted area, but twice a year -- on the first Saturday in April and October -- WSMR hosts an open house at Trinity Site.
There are two ways in: 1) Via convoy from Tularosa H.S., departing at precisely 8:00 a.m. 2) By self-directed drive via Stallion Gate, which is 15 miles east of San Antonio and 50 west of Carrizozo, on US-380. Stallion Gate opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 3:00 p.m. Regardless, there is plenty of security presence and no possibility of driving astray. It is illegal to film or photo anything on post until you arrive at Trinity Site.
At the Trinity Site gate, by the parking lot, there was a table with several booklets of information about Trinity Site and White Sands Missile Range. Jumbo, the once 214-ton steel container built to contain any accidental plutonium spillage in event of a misfire, is between parking and the food vendor (hot dogs, breakfast burritos, sodas, etc.)
Ground Zero itself is fenced off, and a quarter mile also fenced off walk from the parking lot, but there is a 8-seat golf cart shuttle for elderly or handicapped folks.
Just outside the Ground Zero fence are several souvenir kiosks.
Trinitite is a green glassy mineral created by the nuclear explosion. Most of what was not cleaned up decades ago is housed under a low building to the left. Unfortunately, the window into the building is currently shuttered.
A full size Fat Man bomb casing was on a flat bed truck. It was the same type of 'gadget' that was exploded during the Trinity Test.
It is crowded at all the exhibits, but the most crowded was the obelisk at precisely Ground Zero, where the 100 ft. tower once stood.
There are a number of photo & info signs along the perimeter fence.
From the parking area, you can take a shuttle bus to the McDonald Ranch house where the "gadget" was assembled. Although when exiting Trinity Site you drive past the McDonald Ranch, you are not allowed to drive there. You must take the shuttle, which runs every few minutes.
The whole is well-supported by WSMR tenants; Morale, Welfare & Recreation; and the New Mexico National Guard. In fact, it was the smoothest running military operation this retired soldier has ever been involved in. I guess that's what happens when you have 64 years of practice!*
* The first Trinity Site open house was in 1953.
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Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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