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Sunday, March 22, 2015

North Along the Organs

Organ Mountains Evening Primrose
The Sierra Norte Trail is one of the newest in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, a national monument created by President Obama just last year.  It's a high desert trail that parallels the Organ Mountains north and south.  It is an area with abundant plant and wildlife.  There are more Barrel Cactus in this section of the monument than any other area I've seen.  Becca and I got an early start on the trail this morning, and we included a trek along the extreme outer loop for a grand total of between five and six miles.
This primrose is endemic to the Organ Mountains of southern New Mexico

Getting started on the Sierra Norte Trail

The way we've just come

No happier hiker this morning

Beginning the long descent toward Dripping Springs

One of several deep gorges the trail passes through

Heading north along the high foothills of the Organ Mountains

High desert grassland

Dove watching us like a hawk

The trail skirts some rocky outcroppings

Gully through the grassland

Another look back at the trail we've traversed

Pyrrhuloxia (Desert Cardinal)

Six Barrel Cacti in this grassy area

Sand Verbena

The rugged Organ Mountains (part of the Rocky Mountains chain)

Large Barrel cactus (Becca is a medium-sized dog)

There are literally thousands of Barrel Cacti in this area

Barrels everywhere

Mexican Gold Poppy

Single-track trail

Barrel Cacti and Yuccas growing side-by-side

Not pineapples, but fruit of the Barrel Cactus

A long stretch of desert ahead

The plant is a Sotol (aka "Desert Spoon")
These Prickly Pear Cactus pads are the size of large dinner plates

Flower girl

Crescent Milkvetch

Torrey Yucca
Barrel Cacti in the foothills

Pincushion Cactus

Waiting for her hiking companion

Heading back

Soledad Rocks
Cholla and Sotol in symbiotic relationship

Soledad Rocks

Almost back at the trailhead

1 comment:

Dr. K said...

What a great hike, bookended by the Organ Mountain evening primrose.

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