I celebrated solstice with a little walk in the park, making the most of the thin early afternoon sun after an unusually foggy morning which had me cancel my plans to take the canoe out.
Heading north from a trailhead near the southern end of the West Lakeshore Trail I met my old friend, the Turtle mile marker #2 . Full disclosure: I knew I would, remembering last year's venturing here.
Returning to the trailhead (so heading south) I found the Fish for 10 miles from the northern start of this 11 mile long trail which I am fortunate enough to be able to wander whenever I want, which works out to be about once a week in the cooler months.
Larrea tridentata (aka creosote bush or greasewood), is the main shrubby vegetation here in the northern Chihuahuan desert. The trail also gives me another view of Turtleback Mountain (Caballo Cone on maps) more commonly photographed from my front porch or farmer's market booth.
While still perfuming the air with the distinctive desert petrichor, the creosote bushes are in winter mode with slightly dry, yellowed leaves and festooned with fuzzy seasonal baubles.
Who needs store bought ornaments? These little lights are decoration enough for me.
Lucky Lizard of mile marker # 1 was my reward for last week's wander on the trail.
Though you will just have to believe me on that 1 mile, since the number has completely weathered away. It only a matter of time before lizard goes too.
Someone has been vandalizing the trail all along this section with rocks arranged in smiling faces.
Obviously this person, like those driven to stack rocks in beautiful, wild places, is not familiar with the "leave no trace" or "leave only footprints" wilderness hiking ethos. I personally do not enjoy finding this person's crude rock emoji installations along the trail. They distract from the myriad beautiful and subtle signs left by other desert denizens: javelina, deer, snakes and birds.
Last week I returned home from the trail with a crescent moon hanging in the western sky.
Today a half moon high in the blue blue sky accompanied me as I walked.
Big flocks of pelicans are currently overwintering on the lake.
It’s always a treat to encounter them.
They seem to swim, as they fly, in formation.
This sun lover welcomes of the return of the light, especially the promise of longer days and warmer nights. I know I am lucky to live in such a sunshiny place of huge blue skies and easily accessed (mostly) unspoiled natural beauty. I also know, this earth tilt solstice point notwithstanding, that January and February, typically the coldest months here, are still to come.