Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rockhound State Park, New Mexico

Driving east from Tucson into New Mexico, we realized that the wildflowers we hoped to see haven't bloomed yet. After lunch at Deming, we made our way to Rockhound State Park and nearby Spring Canyon, in the Chiricahua-like Florida Mountains.

As the name implies, Rockhound is more known for geology---it is the only New Mexico state park that allows visitors to go off the beaten path and collect rocks, including the not-uncommon geodes---though there's also a wild herd of ibex, Iranian mountain goats, imported back in the 1970s I think. We saw neither geodes nor ibexes (ibeces, ibi?), but once in Spring Canyon saw a few verbena, vetch, and other small wildflowers.

For the two-day trip, which also brought us to the Organ Mountains, White Sands National Monument, and Old Mesilla (photos for all in separate posts, below), landscape was more the order of photographic business than wildflowers:

Don't let this photo of Mexican gold-poppies fool you, with one or two exceptions, we saw these only in a hillside garden adjacent to the Rockhound visitor's center.

The jagged peaks above Spring Canyon remind me of the odd, lichen-covered rock columns at Chiricahua National Monument. Cliff swallows abound in both places.

Though my older daughter couldn't make the trip because she's sick (poor thing), my younger did, and was a great travel companion and trail guide.

If you look closely in the lower middle foreground you can see pink verbena and yellow deer vetch. Look very closely.

I did see a few of these little white beauties, interesting in this case, I think, because of the flower itself as well as its leaning shadow.


LB said...

Amazing photos as always Simmons! Thanks for sharing. - LB

jd said...

I've not been to that area of New Mexico, unless you count Hobbs, which is indistinguishable from the flatness of West Texas.

Your photos inspire me to head down to the Las Cruces area sometime. Mesilla seemed eerily empty. Was it a slow day or were all the people huddled around your Subaru admiring it, freeing you to take pictures sin gente.

Sheryl said...

These photos make me homesick!


I can't wait to visit the area this summer now.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

Sheryl, I can see why you'd be homesick for such a place!

JD, it wasn't really empty---I just waited for folks to float by, generally, before taking photos. It wasn't packed, but then it was Thursday morning about 10 a.m., too; not a weekend when I imagine there are plenty more people there.

Lauren said...

Lovely pictures, Simmons! I'm jealous. How are the wildflowers doing now? I'd like to go see them soon. Are they out yet?

Simmons B. Buntin said...

Hey Lauren, thanks for checking in! It's still too early for wildflowers, at least above 4,500 feet. They're saying early April now before the bloom. We're heading back in May/June for the soapbox yucca and claret cup cactus blooms at White Sands, Organ Mountains, and Carlsbad Caverns, I think (hope).

Lauren said...

again, jealous! What about the wildflowers here in Tucson, though? Or are they not going to make an appearance this year?