New Mexico

March 10, 2007

Mimi and I finally got our show on the road and departed Austin earlier this week. We pulled into Las Cruces only a couple hours ago. COAS My Bookstore in Las Cruces is one of the best used bookstores we’ve found in our travels, so we make it a point to stop whenever we pass through this part of New Mexico. They have a particularly generous paperback policy, and we have a box of paperbacks to sell them. It’s more of an exchange, really, in that we usually end up buying nearly as many as we sell.

Arizona will be our next stop. We’ve just learned that good friends of ours are volunteering at Patagonia Lake State Park in southern AZ, so we’re hoping to meet up with them before cutting north at Tucson. If the weather looks favorable later this week, we’ll drive into southern Utah to visit the amazing national parks there, Zion and Bryce Canyon being at the top of our list.

We were blown away by our Thursday visit to Carlsbad Caverns NP — the most impressive and diverse cave either of us have ever seen. We hiked to Lower Cave guided by Ranger John Reeves, who did an excellent job of feeding us interesting facts but not overloading us with data…and giving us time to simply appreciate the cave on our own terms.

Our hike to Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains NP yesterday was less exciting — basically 4.2 miles up (a pretty agressive 3000-foot elevation change) and 4.2 miles back down the same trail — but it was a perfect day for hiking (sunny, warm, and no wind) and we enjoyed some dramatic vistas. In the end, we wished we had walked the riparian trail through McKittrick Canyon, rather than summiting. But hey, I can say I’ve been to the highest point in Texas.

We did have a bit of fun on the summit hike trying to figure out what animal had left scat on the tops of rocks on much of the trail. After lots of discussion and speculation, we decided it must be the ‘work’ of a ringtail.


Ringtail Scat (the pen is for scale)

We were also puzzled by the large number of yucca and agave plants with detached leaves lying beside the trail. After much discussion (again), Mimi suggested that perhaps a gopher or mole was eating the roots from below and leaving the leaves to fall to the ground.

After our hike, a ranger confirmed our speculation on both questions, so we felt like top-notch science investigators!


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