Friday, June 19, 2009

longing for green

I left Wisconsin just as spring was getting into full swing and my favorite flowers (if I actually had to choose one single type of flower as a favorite) were just beginning to bloom. There are no irises here in El Paso, or they've already done their blooming before I got here. So, I posted a whiney plea on FaceBook for someone, anyone to send some pictures of things green and growing. Here's what I got:

And the best of all. . .

I went hiking today in Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso. This is the largest urban state park in the nation, and is nearly 37 square miles. I asked everyone at the clinic who lives in or near El Paso about the park, and almost without exception they all said, "what park?" Anyway, it's quite beautiful in a reddish brown sort of way. I hiked 1.2 miles uphill (some parts were pretty steep) to an Aztec cave. Since there are signs all over the park that caution you to watch for snakes, and since I'm pretty sure there were probably bats hanging from the ceiling in the cave, I just waved to it from the outside instead of going in. I rested a little bit, took some pictures, caught my breath and headed down the hill. The hike up the hill was quite aerobic, and the hike down was an exercise in quad strength to keep myself from sliding down the hill on my butt. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow. But it's a good kind of tired, and one that will hopefully help me to sleep well tonight for my next shift tomorrow.
Something about this landscape makes me expect a Tyrannosaurus rex to come around the next bend at any moment.
Not quite an iris, but a bit of purple in the desert nonetheless.

I really did do the hike, I didn't just scan in some cool postcards or something. Here I am all sweaty and red-faced to prove it.
I think that Opuntia cactus are pretty cool. You can find them on the menu in restaurants here. I've never tried to eat them.
It was soooo quiet here--no phones, no one talking in any language, no traffic. It was heavenly. I did meet two people coming up the trail when I was going down, but other than that it was just me and the birds. Nice.
The last few steps up to the cave. I stopped to catch my breath here, because it had been quite a climb.The entrance to the cave. I would have been interested to go in if I hadn't been alone. As it was, I didn't think my camera or my cell phone would help me very much if a rattler was lurking.

The view from the top was pretty impressive.


Erika said...

The fear of snakes kept me from hiking anywhere where there was nature. I went out to Hueco Tanks when I was there with another intern and we were planning on hiking around, but we saw the signs about snakes and looked down at our birkenstock sandals and got back in my car and drove away :)

Weather-wise you aren't missing anything today. It is humid and muggy and grey out.

Anja said...

I was wearing birkis, too, and didn't really consider them a snake hazard until just now! LOL