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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

View from above

I decided to finally climb the mountain above the oasis. I hadn't been up there for quite a few years and wanted to look for butterflies, old Lucifer Hummingbird nests, and take photos of how it's recovering since the drought. Right from the start, things didn't go so good. I usually don't like to eat breakfast, so today just took a peanut butter sandwich, trail mix, and some potato chips with me. I didn't take my heavy camera, just the little point and shoot. I accidentally left the trail mix in the pickup, then took a wrong ascent. The treacherous steep part. It's impossible to see the right way from the gullies below, but I should have known better. White line shows my general ascent.

Somehow, my sandwich detached itself from the pocket of my camera case. Left with just the small bag of chips, I didn't even eat them. My mouth and throat were dry and I couldn't swallow them. I could have washed them down with water, but that would have been a desperate measure. Soggy chips didn't appeal to me. I did have plenty of water, though. Climbing through the weeds and brush mostly on all fours, got me covered with some sticky seed pods that caused me to break out in an itchy rash. One of my knees got tricky. But eventually I made it through the saddle onto the mountaintop. This isn't a great photo of the oasis because of the distance, and poor camera quality.

I didn't find any old Lucifer nests, though a few cholla (that they nest in) had survived the drought. The top of the mountain had abundant native grasses, but little else of interest. This view is looking across the mesa top toward the north where Nine Point Mesa is in the background.

For the descent I broke a stout sotol stalk in half, and used it to help stabilize me as I made my way carefully down a safer route. I photographed a couple butterflies when I got to my pickup and got my big lens camera. Here is a lovely Reakirt's Blue.

It was a bit sad to know that I was taking my last ever look at my mountaintop, but what is, is. I will not go up there again.

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