Yet, I rarely spend much time there - almost across the freeway, 1/2 mile away. I'm back!
Plant hunting included, of course. Photos in early January 2013.
|Gray Oak / Quercus grisea.|
|Nice leaf - an evergreen leaf|
|Remember that agave or yucca sculpture? Right across from that Gray Oak; more oaks, too. El Pedregal!|
|Looking at it from the east|
|"No one loves you or your money more than Southwest Airlines."|
|Looking the other way, Banana Yucca or Datil / Yucca baccata on the sandy arroyo|
|Look way up, it's where I'm headed - still must get in my workout hike today - it isn't all plant nerdiness.|
But down here, it still is - a Chihuahuan Desert native is tucked in, lower left.
|On a previous sunset hike, I spotted some fuzziness among the Black Grama / Bouteloua eriopoda stands|
|I thought it was Tiquilia canescens...|
|Not sure what it is, but it isn't that in better lighting.|
|This is Tiquilia canescens, just 25 miles south, but a different soil. I didn't find any.|
Onward, to something else reported near this mid-winter hike, way in the past but never documented.
|Blue Barrel or Eagle Claws Cactus / Echinocactus horizonthalonius - but this stand is near Alamogordo, and the green grama grasses show that it's well into spring, not winter like my trek nearer home.|
|I didn't even find a solitary plant like this one on a hill near Fort Sumner, one summer years ago.|
|Like it? I bet Billy the Kid did...|
|...so did I. I liberated one to re-root and enjoy being in my own garden, which cows on that hill near Fort Sumner had already uprooted or otherwise hooved out. But I didn't find any near me in the wild.|
|But my hiking around did reveal what looks to be a young Opuntia orbiculata|
|Nice round pads, though stressed from the drought, discolored and limp|
|Now, I'm heading up...that sculpture still visible, but getting further below|
Among the Black Grama clumps, Opuntia valida is also looking a bit limp
|Further up. Wright's Silktassel Bush / Garrya wrightii perched on some east-facing granite.|
I've known this plant since my hiking companion spotted it a decade ago, wondering
if it was a Manzanita. Nope, but almost as good.
|If the HOG were not so obsessed with pimping exotic fare, with cute names and often a drinking problem, they could grow stunning natives like this. Year-round good looks even in drought; beyond brown and gray!|
|And below that...|
|...some desert fern, which I'll need to look at my notes for it's ID. And this link - here.|
|Always look the other way - I-40 in Tijeras Canyon. So brown and dry this winter...|
|Still going up - but check out the yucca among the chaparral, barely catching the light of the sinking sun.|
|One of a number of very old Datil / Yucca baccata I've seen in the mountains nearby, |
or a northern population of Arizona Yucca / Y. arizonica or Y. baccata var. thornberi
|Piñon / Pinus edulis, in the boulders with Beargrass and some not-so-live oaks|
|Almost to the top - some of the same plants, but on a cold, north-facing microclimate|
|At the top!|
|Sunset over Albuquerque...|