Archive for the ‘New Mexico’ Tag

The Colors Above   Leave a comment

For beauty off the beaten path, venture two hours southwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico to the Sierra Ladrones Wilderness Study Area. There are no trails through the area’s diverse landscapes of high mountain peaks, isolated canyons and badlands. Hiking to the top of Ladrones Mountain – pictured here during a storm – rewards visitors with stunning panoramic views of the area’s mesa grasslands and piñon-juniper woodland. Photo by Julie Aguirre, Bureau of Land Management. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/7/17.

For beauty off the beaten path, venture two hours southwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico to the Sierra Ladrones Wilderness Study Area. There are no trails through the area’s diverse landscapes of high mountain peaks, isolated canyons and badlands. Hiking to the top of Ladrones Mountain – pictured here during a storm – rewards visitors with stunning panoramic views of the area’s mesa grasslands and piñon-juniper woodland. Photo by Julie Aguirre, Bureau of Land Management. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 2/7/17.

Posted February 10, 2017 by henrymowry in Photography

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New Mexico Vista   Leave a comment

Posted December 29, 2016 by henrymowry in Photography

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Fall Is Orange   Leave a comment

Fall foliage lights up the lakeshore at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Along with changing leaves, late season sunflowers provide a colorful contrast to red-wing blackbirds that swoop and dart through grasses. The refuge protects a wide stretch of the Rio Grande river where sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl spend the winter each year. Photo by Robert Dunn. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 10/7/16.

Fall foliage lights up the lakeshore at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Along with changing leaves, late season sunflowers provide a colorful contrast to red-wing blackbirds that swoop and dart through grasses. The refuge protects a wide stretch of the Rio Grande river where sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl spend the winter each year. Photo by Robert Dunn. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 10/7/16.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park   5 comments

Where Is It: 150 miles east of El Paso, TX, or 300 miles southeast of Albuquerque, NM.

The Birth: In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge established Carlsbad Cave National Monument. In 1930, Congress authorized and then President Herbert Hoover approved the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Size: 46,766 acres.

# Visitors: 2012 visitation was 381,058 people. July was the peak month, and January the least attended … even though the cave is a constant 56*, year round.

Plants: From the Park’s website:

The park’s diverse ecosystem provides habitat for many plants that are at the geographic limits of their ranges. For example, the Ponderosa Pine reaches its extreme eastern limit here and Chinkapin Oak is at the western edge of its range.

There is more diversity of cacti in the Chihuahuan Desert than in any other region. Experts believe that this plant family originated here or to the south, and expanded out through the New World. The park’s vascular plant list notes 26 species or subspecies of cacti, including two species that are federally listed.

The plant families with the most species in the park are species in the sunflower family, with 153 species, and grasses, with 135 species. There are more than 60 known species of the legume family and more than 30 each from the mustard and poinsettia families.

Animals: 17 species of bats live in the Park, including Mexican free-tailed bats. That species’ population in the Park was once estimated in the millions, but is now a fraction of that number. A study published in 2009 by a team from Boston University questions whether millions of bats ever existed in the caverns.

Choices: From NationalGeographic.com:

One full day allows you time to tour the main cavern and take a nature walk or a drive before watching the bats fly at sunset. For a second day’s activity, reserve space on a tour of “unimproved” Slaughter Canyon Cave, if you’re ready for a more rugged caving experience.

At the visitor center, select either the Natural Entrance Tour or the Big Room Tour (both are 1.25-mile walks). Try the first unless you have walking, breathing, or heart problems. It starts at the natural entrance and is mostly downhill, except for one stretch where you climb 83 feet; an elevator whisks you back to ground level. The Natural Entrance Tour is more intimate and may be less crowded than the Big Room.

Fees: Any tour costs each visitor $10.

Staying There: There are no campgrounds and no lodges in the Park. Backcountry camping is by permit; permits are free.

Contact Info:

3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
 
Visitor Information: 575.785.2232
 
Bat Flight Information: 575.785.3012

Current Issues: From Albuquerque Journal:

It’s been more than two decades since a discovery this big has been made at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico.

Park officials announced this week that a new room has been discovered high in the ceiling of the main cavern. It was found on Halloween night by Derek Bristol, a caver and volunteer with the Cave Research Foundation, and Shawn Thomas, a cave technician at the park.

The two had climbed more than 250 feet to the “Spirit World” area to finish surveying as part of work to create a new map of the caverns. Once inside, they decided to make their way to a ledge about 15 feet away. The ledge had been observed on previous trips but never explored.

“Most of the time, obscure leads like this go nowhere,” Thomas said.

To their surprise, it opened up to a long passage.

“I remember being really shocked. I couldn’t believe this was happening,” said Thomas, who followed Bristol through the passage and into the large room they dubbed Halloween Hall. “There hasn’t been a room this big discovered in decades.”

Inside the colorful room were football-size crystal formations, light-blue endellite clay, a cascade of flow stone left behind by mineral deposits and thousands of bat bones. The room is about 100 feet in diameter.

Don’t Miss This: From GORP.com:

More than 300 known caves lie beneath the surface of the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas. The Carlsbad Caverns National Park contains 113 of these caves, two of which—Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave—are among the largest and most magnificent underground formations in the world.

More

National Park Service: Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Jason’s Travels: My Favorite National Parks Of The West

Terra Galleria: Carlsbad Caverns

Get Big Ones   3 comments

I grew up on a small family farm in rural Missouri.  My world was pretty small … a trip to St Joseph, 32 miles away, was a very big deal.

I joined Scouting while in second grade, and loved reading Boy’s Life and dreaming big dreams about what I would do in Scouting.  One of my biggest dreams was to go on the ultimate Scouting adventure:  backpacking at tbe Philmont Scout Reservation, near Cimarron, New Mexico.  Understand, my Troop never went backpacking.  Such a trip was way, way beyond the resources of my family, and of my troop.  It simply wasn’t going to happen.  But the dream … did not die.

1970, after receiving my God & Country award. I was 14 years old, and wouldn’t have lasted on the trails of Philmont, even if I could have gotten there.

It’s important to have goals.  Really, really big goals.  You need to get big ones.

I wrote in a recent post about “The 2012 Plan.”  This plan took 15 years to complete, and the best part was that I didn’t have to do the work!  I graduated from Mizzou in 1978.  Beginning in 1997, it was up to the wife and 3 kids for them to earn their degrees.  15 years and 5 degrees later, we deserve the family celebration that’s just a few days away.

I’m sure that Velda will say that the worst part of the Plan was that the family had to eat my cooking while she was studying for her Masters in Nursing from UCLA.  I never understood what the problem was: not only am I proficient in the kitchen, I prepare dishes that Velda never will.  And the kids didn’t complain (too much) about the 3 dishes they said I prepared … not even the Hamburger Helper!  Good news:  we all survived!

No one will mistake what I do for the artistry that Velda performs in the kitchen.  But the choice to miss her cooking for a few meals in order for her to achieve one of her big goals was not a choice at all.  She’s been happy as a nurse practitioner ever since.

But, back to Philmont. I did not reach that goal until I was 46.  But that’s really not the story.

Climbing the Tooth of Time is a part of the Philmont experience that no backpacker should miss!

The problem for me was that Boy Scouts are serious about backpacking, and, thank goodness, they expect the boys and leaders to be in shape.  You have to make a goal weight based on your height … or you don’t go on the trail.  Once I understood that my boys wanted to go to Philmont, I had to prepare myself.  And lose about 60 pounds.

I’ve never been a gym rat.  Velda had achieved great success with Weight Watchers, but that didn’t seem like my thing, either.  I started doing what I had not done since high school:  I decided to run.

The problem, though, was that I wasn’t able to run any distance at all.  I started walking in my cross trainer Reeboks, wearing sweats … and worked myself up from there.  Eventually, I could run 2 miles without walking.  That was a very big day, let me assure you!  But I was not nearly done.

I fixed my diet (a calorie-counting shake from Costco in the morning, a banana and an apple for snacks, Subway for lunch, and a sensible dinner from Velda.  I kept pushing.  And the weight fell off.  Running became a daily obsession, and I eventually got up to 7-mile runs on the weekends.  I faithfully kept a running log every day, and used a GPS system to track my times for each segment of the runs I did.

By the time I went to Philmont with my boys, I was in the best shape of my life.  I had lost 70 pounds.  Hitting the trail with 50+ pounds on my back for a 10-day, 52-mile trek was still nothing to sneeze at, but I was ready.  I was 46, but keeping up with 17-year old boys was not a problem.  We sat on the Tooth of Time at sunrise, and we proudly proclaimed “Go Big or Go Home” while we reveled in the burro races, the trail food, and a feeling of self reliance that’s very difficult to discover if you’re sitting on your sofa.

It was the most personally fulfilling thing I have done in Scouting.  And I got there because I had a goal.  A big one.

We made it: Michael Mowry, Christopher Mowry, myself, and Lyle “The Destroyer” Wohlfarth with the map he was in charge of for all 52 miles. 2003.

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