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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Green Desert

The loop trail in Soledad Canyon
These images were taken in Soledad Canyon, which lies in the western section of the Organ Mountains about ten miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.  The elevation along the loop trail ranges from 4500 to slightly over 6,000 feet.  The result of an abundance of rain over the past month or so is evident:  a high desert that is downright "lush" by desert standards.  The canyon supports an abundance of wildlife, including mule deer, mountain lions and even the exotic Oryx Gazelle, a species imported (ignorantly) from the Kalahari Desert and released in southern New Mexico for big-game-hunting purposes.
A lot of territory to explore

Apache Plume flower and visitor

Whiteball Acacia (Acacia angustissima)

Indian Paintbrush

Hikers (center right) heading up a steep section of the loop trail

High desert grassland filled with Juniper and Mesquite

Sotol growing alongside a rigorous incline on the trail

Spotting other hikers in the canyon

Casita Grande

Looking down canyon toward the Mesilla Valley

In the foreground a dangerous patch of Yucca

The view from the parking area


Dr. K said...

We'll have to remember this lushness when the desert dries out again.

Scott said...

Now, Soledad Canyon approaches a jungle, at least after this much rain, Packrat. Really nice!

Isn't Casita Grande sort of an oxymoron?

packrat said...

Thanks, Scott.

Casita Grande is an oxymoron, in the same way "Little Big Man" is one. If you've ever visited Big Bend National Park you'll be familiar with Casa Grande, the huge monolith in the Chisos Mountains. "Casita Grande" is a tyke compared to the former, but it's shaped very much like its big sister in the national park.

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