Small World isn't it. I used to work at WSMR as a civilian employee (Rocket Scientist). I've been all up and down the range from one end to the other. I've been to Trinity Site (the site of the first atomic blast) and the MacDonald Ranch house where the Plutonium core was assembled.
Have you ever been to the White Sands National Park during one of the summer "Moonlight Madness" times. Every full moon during the summer they leave the park open till about 11:00 p.m. and it is just as bright as daylight there. Very spectacular.
I have hiked in the Orgon mountains lots of times, just south east of Las Crucus. The last time about 10 years ago. There are some wonderful spanish sites in the pass to the south of the St. Augistine pass. The area with the old rock bootleggers cabin, etc. Have you been there?
I was also stationed at White Sands in the Army, so I know the area pretty well.
Also on that same hike as we reached the peak of the boulder field we were climbing inside of a cloud. We could see just far enough to see the next stone marker. At the top we could see only 10 ft (3 meters). So on that day the views were much better from the base of the boulder field looking across that meadow with Mt. Washington in the background.
I like high desert hiking. I am always amazed at things like seeing a 200 year old tree that is a foot tall growing in a crack in the middle of a big boulder, or the evidence that you see that early settlers (indians, etc) lived there. Lots of places like that in the southwest. (US). It really is rugged hiking though. Water is always a problem, and you have to learn a lot about sources of water, how to purify it, etc.
Six, the last big hike tI did because of my knees was one of the best. It was Mount Jefferson in NH and at the base of the boulder field is one of the prettiest alpine meadows that I've found... its called Montecellos Lawn. Just covered with very delicate purple flowers about an inch high. So fragile that if you disturbed them that it would take 20 years for them to recover. Kind of helps put things in perspective.
The poles help more going down steep places than uphill. I always carried one to increase safety. Also plenty of the thin nylon strapping (3/4 inch roll). Much more compact than ropes and plenty strong.
Yes Six, I do enjoy hiking although my age is starting to show in aching knees. I am currently trying out the trekking poles to see if that helps. So that I may once again see the high alpine meadows with their ever so delicate and fragile flowers.