Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Perfect Hike to Cerro Grande

Four of us hiked up Cerro Grande this morning.  What a perfect day - no wind, no looming thunderstorms.  The new route traverses back and forth making it slightly longer than the old, straight-up path but easier.   Lots of wild iris, mountain parsley and dandelions made for a colorful hike!  

A crew of firefighters stationed at Bandelier, both men and women, preceded us up the mountain.  They  hauled up large, rectangular plastic containers (looked like jerrycans) full of water.  On the summit, they practiced walking while holding 20 pounds of water overhead, lifting a container that resembled a giant, round football.  

The spindly trees surrounding the summit are courtesy of last summer's Las Conchas wildfire.   The trees had nicely survived the 2000 Cerro Grande fire.  In many instances, though, what Cerro Grande didn't burn, Las Conchas finished off!

After the group drove away, I sat on a shady log to eat.  Then, it being such a beautiful day, I stalled going home by picking up trash around the trailhead which included a Fosters beer can and plastic bag of dog poop, both which someone had "thoughtfully" tucked into the crook of a tree near the trailhead sign!

Redondo from Cerro Grande

looking north from Cerro Grande's summit

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hillsides of Golden Smoke Wildflowers

Could it be cosmic irony when today I beheld hillsides of golden smoke wildflowers along the Cañada Bonita Trail, in the Las Conchas burn area?

golden smoke (Corydalis aurea) carpets a burnt hillside above Cañada Bonita Trail

looking south from Cañada Bonita Trail at slopes of Pajarito Mountain Ski Area

clouds beginning - thunder rumbles heard on walk back

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Enchanted Canyon

I am enchanted by this tiny canyon.  Actually, it's the mouth of the canyon between Kwage Mesa and the Big Rock Loop-Sioux Street area of North Mesa.  It meets Pueblo Canyon right across from the eastern outlet of the Tent Rocks Trail.  So far, I've only gone into the canyon to where the double headwalls are, where the canyon seems to split.  This small chunk of canyon has it all - pumice walls, perched boulders, tent rocks, a sandy arroyo bottom.  It would be worth exploring further one day.