Saturday, October 8, 2022

Short Wander, Day 5: Headed Home

I left Guadalupe Mountains National Park dashed to — and through — El Paso. My goal was the Dripping Springs dispersed camping area on the east side of Las Cruces. The Organ Mountains were cloud shrouded, so I expected it to be a wet night. I didn’t expect it to be as windy as it was. The van got shaken and knocked around all night.

Short Wander, Day 4: National Park Trifecta

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (featuring the highest point in Texas) is just down the highway from Carlsbad Caverns. I didn’t really expect much, especially compared to the caverns, but it was an enjoyable time.

I was feeling a little... blah that morning. It was a little chilly and overcast. It had rained during the night and probably would again during the day. Not the kind of weather I’d choose for hiking. Maybe I would just hit the visitor center for a sticker to add to my collection then take off for home. Nah, it would be cheating to say I’d been to Guadalupe Mountains if I didn’t at least stroll a little down a trail.

So I did. I set off without any gear other than my phone. No water, no jacket, no hat, no trail map... because I was just going a hundred yards or so. However, the trail and scenery were nice, so I kept on walking. And walking. I passed people with backpacks and hiking poles. I was the foolish old man heading into the wilderness totally unprepared.

After about a mile and a half the clouds closed up, the breeze increased, and the temperature dropped. Most likely rain was on its way. So I turned around. Just in time. I got to the Rolling Steel Tent and started on a fruit & cereal bar when the sky opened. I must be getting more savvy about this outdoors awareness stuff.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Short Wander, Day 3: New Place

Back in 2014 I had planned on visiting Carlsbad Caverns as I headed north from Big Bend. But a combination of things put me in a horrible mood and I didn’t stop. I figured it was time to come back. It’s actually the main purpose of this trip.

Also, in the meantime, the cameras on smartphones have become amazing. The NightSight mode on my Pixel 4a takes amazing photos in very low light situations. It practically sees in the dark. Here’s evidence.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Up early for the first stop on a National Park triple header

The last time I was at White Sands it was a National Monument. Now it’s a National Park. Also, it was sunny the previous visit. This morning it was overcast, making the sands look beige instead of blindingly white. Kind of a moody morning.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Short Wander, Day 1: Back to a favorite place

 I’m taking a few Me Days, traveling a bit, but sticking to southern New Mexico. First stop, Aguirre Springs campground, nestled against the base of the Organ Mountains, overlooking White Sands. I’ve stayed here a couple of times before and I’ve been too long coming back. Took a short hike from the campground.

I found the right trail