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:
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:
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.
In a mile or less, we came to the following 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:
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.
In the drainage between the check dam and pour-off are these polished and/or sculpted basalt rocks:
Other cacti and flowers seen along the trail:
Here’s a Google map of the hike:
We drove through a brief shower as we headed home, and we were treated to this evening rainbow set into orange-hued clouds:
It was another day of New Mexico Great Outdoors!