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A(nother) little walk in the park


On a chilly Sunday, when just about the whole western) world was feasting (again), ostensibly this time because of the birth of a saviour over 20 centuries ago, I took myself on a little walk in Elephant Butte Lake State Park.

I am still in search of the painted mile markers on the West Lake Shore Trail. I chose to start at the first entry point after the municipal boundary this time. Much of the information board was bare - the map had been removed - but I did note the useful graphic as to who has right of way.

The day was still and clear, just warm enough to be comfortable.

Midday light with its hard shadows and high contrasts, isn't my favourite time to be out in a landscape, but I chose this time of day for maximum sun and warmth in these short days of thin, faraway sun.

At a point where the trail was showing some signs of damage, probably from last season's monsoon storms, I discovered a weathered lizard one mile marker.

Not long after, I lost the trail completely and turned back.

The desert winter colour palette is soothing.

Always there's something a bit prickly.

This floral kingdom often has subtle little hooks and spikes to grab onto passing socks.

The scent on the air was was warm dust and creosote bush (Larrea tridentata).

It felt good to be out in a landscape, breathing that air.

At around 3 miles total, it wasn't a very long walk but it was enough.

Shadows were already growing long and cold as I returned to the trailhead.

There's peace in walking these paths in the desert. I rarely encounter others though I do see fresh signs of bicycles, dogs and other boot prints each time I go out.

I'm grateful to have this doorway to the desert so near by.

Besides finding the above unofficial trail art on this walk, I now have found mile markers of 2 lizards (#1) a fish (#10) and humans (#11). There are still miles of trail to explore.

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