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Where Texas Ends

The Franklin Mountains are the southernmost expression of the Rio Grande rift, an uplift of Precambrian rock that runs from Colorado down through New Mexico. The ridge dissipates long enough to create El Paso del Norte, a gap formed by the Rio Grande that holds the cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. A military base and cement factory mar the range’s leeward side, but its windward side, intact and austere, looks out over the cityscape to Juárez beyond. This slope, littered with lechuguilla as well as weathered gray stones and quartz crystals from an abandoned mine, is the site…