New Mexico Great Outdoors, May 22, 2017

New Mexico Great Outdoors, May 22, 2017. As far as the Great Outdoors is concerned, yesterday (5-22-17) started with some of the wild cacti that have begun to bloom around our house. We have been keeping a particular  eye on the pincushion cactus:

Pincushion cactus

Pincushion cactus

Pincushion cactus

BTW, some sources identify this cactus as a beehive cactus. If anyone can help me out in confirming which cactus this is, I’d be very grateful. The pricklypear are also beginning to bloom:

Pricklypear cactus

Then, at the stroke of 5 PM, Kathy and I headed up the Rio Grande to take a quickie hike. We decided to search out a spot off the Petaca Point Trail (in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument) that Kathy had been told about. We drove up the dirt road from Taos Junction Bridge to the rim of the gorge (Hwy 567), where the trailhead is located. Our destination was a pour-off on the rim that can be seen from the parking lot of the Vista Verde Trail, below.

Pinon pines and the opposite side of the gorge, near the beginning of the walk

In a mile or less, we came to the following sign:

BLM trail sign

Here, we’ve descended into a drainage, and are looking southeast, and across the gorge to the Picuris Mountains. In mid-distance is an impoundment on this drainage, marked by the large juniper tree. Just past this check dam the drainage resumes and leads directly to the pour-off.  Kathy had been told that we would find petroglyphs in the mini-gorge that precedes the pour-off:





Claretcup, at the pour-off

Indian paintbrush, at the pour-off

Taken from the pour-off are these two telephoto views: Screaming Right-hand Turn Rapid, in the Taos Box section of the Rio Grande, upstream of Taos Junction Bridge, and Taos Creek.

Screaming Right-hand Turn Rapid

Taos Creek is roaring

In the drainage between the check dam and pour-off are these polished and/or sculpted basalt rocks:

Polished basalt, Kathy

Polished basalt

Polished and sculpted basalt

Other cacti and flowers seen along the trail:


Sego lily


Here’s a Google map of the hike:

Petaca Point pour-off

We drove through a brief shower as we headed home, and we were treated to this evening rainbow set into orange-hued clouds:

Rainbow against orange-hued clouds

It was another day of New Mexico Great Outdoors!


About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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1 Response to New Mexico Great Outdoors, May 22, 2017

  1. Maggie says:

    What a great hike… The cacti flowers are so colourful… I am glad you found the petroglyphs.


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