A partial meeting of the library drinking club (I’m an emertius member since I no longer work for the university and moved onto the Flood Commission) did a little social distancing together with a nature walk around Pena Blanca South of Las Cruces. There were three of us, and we hiked along the lines of a field patrol maintaining a minimum dispersal of 3-5 meters.
Our wet spring in Southern NM has left us with more than double our usual precipitation for this point in the year, and the poppies are blooming in force right now along the higher bits of the desert floor up against the foothills of the Organ mountains. There’s always a few in the spring, but in 10 years I’ve never seen a bloom like this.
Pena Blanca is an geologically and archaeologically interesting rock outcropping along the Southern end of the Organ mountains. All along the sides are shallow caves, with a few petroglyphs in places. The North side also has a bunch morteros where ancient peoples ground meal, both large and small.
Up top has nice views of the surrounding area, extending all the way to the Black Range. Off in the distance was the soft sound of artillery shots on nearby Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range.
The Pajero got a little exercise today, although it is still pissing a socially unacceptable amount of coolant out the weephole on the water pump. I plan to replace the water pump and radiator hoses tomorrow. I’ve got an appointment on Monday to finally get it titled and registered in NM.
While waiting for my compatriots to arrive and give one of them a ride to the trail head (certainly a doable trail in a Subaru, but not in his Civic), I took a few pictures of the truck before it got all dusty. In the spirit of social distancing he sat in the jump seats in the very back. He may be the only person to ever ride in those before I pull them out of the truck.
It was a fantastic way to spend a few hours with some of my favorite people. Aside from a few places scrambling up to the top, this was a nice little nature walk of probably around 5-6 miles in total. To keep with the social distancing theme, we sent each other pictures of the beer drinking upon returning to our respective homes.