Yes, This is How It Really Looks

Many westerners brag about the sunsets; we get so many.  And more iPhone photos from my quick work trip to Las Cruces.

From just NW of Austin…..625 miles, or so :-)

Looking S and E – 

Sierra Vista trail looking S towards El Paso

I’ve mountain biked part of this trail a few times, though it’s a bit chunky and crosses many arroyos…but the 360 degree view is great, so is that I’ve seen few others riding there.

those watermelon reds on the foothills & mountains

The blue-green foliage and golden stalks of Sotol / Dasylirion wheeleri make this even better. See the young Fishhook Barrel Cactus / Ferocactus wislizenii at the bases of a pair of sotols?

There’s also no El Paso heat island! Following a 97F high hours earlier, it was already below 80 at 7:30 pm. I think that spot is 5000′ elevation, so that cooled it several degrees from in town, 1000′ lower.  Oh yeah!

plants aren’t icing on the cake, they’re part of the cake


Looking west –

about to set
Ocotillo / Fouquieria splendens all on fire

The calm was a rarity in that spot. When I would come down for work and stay overnight, I often drove up the road nearby with a cup of coffee, and just watch the stars or moon and feel the cool breeze. I sometimes take a drive to my nearby trailhead, before bed, and do the same.

A bit of solace during late nights working in my motel room, and like home away from home.

Do you have a favorite place outside for solitude?

8 Replies to “Yes, This is How It Really Looks”

  1. These are stunning photos…in great light…of beautiful subjects.
    The sun setting, the stars, the moon, the cool breeze in the desert among the lovely plants, they do allow the mind to rest, and give the spirit a place to feel peaceful.

    Glad you like! I’m not sure if my timing qualifies as “crazy light”, but evening light is amazing. If only I could plop a house right in that spot…


  2. Yeah, nice ‘cake’ and I don’t even like cake! Very nice pics. makes me want to go ride!

    Not bad for the desert:-)


  3. Aren’t the colours of arid places just spectacular! It is so worth getting out to see what a proper spacing of plants looks like, too. As TexasDeb says, solitude is still easy to come by. If a place has no AC you can be sure it also lacks people. =)

    Very true, there’s a spot above that trail where one of the buttes looks like Sedona w/ red rock, with a juniper savannah like the highlands above the desert. My first heat wave in NM, I drove past bumper-to-bumper traffic exiting to the malls, and in 20 minutes, it was 10,000′ elevation on the Sandia Crest – few to no people all afternoon.


  4. That’s why I love out west. These views are everywhere and all the time. You captured them very well!

    Paraphrase of an old Texan saying – “once you live west of the Pecos, you won’t want to live anywhere else.” *

    * If not from a native Texan, it might apply to all the west. Many can’t imagine living beyond the TX border for long, especially if they could get back NM east of the Rio Grande and the Colo. Rockies, like the old days:

    1836 TX Map

    With hospitality common in TX, and having lived in NM and CO, they have a point.


  5. island life is quiet so I don’t need escapes now, I have named my garden the solitude garden, I like going down to the little cove near here and listening to the sea, but the sort of escape and solitude you mean (I think), when I worked in London, I knew all the many little parks down side streets away from the crowds so where ever I was in London I had somewhere to slip away to, with the tall buildings hiding the noise of traffic, under cover of tall trees listening to the birds and bees you could forget you were in London,
    your desert sunsets are beautiful, when the clouds go we get some amazing sunsets (and sunrises) here too, Frances

    I wish I could say that, but then again, I enjoyed that 30 minute side trip…and I get to go to that tiny, international mecca of ranching and modern art next week! Great point – solitude can be found in a huge population center like London, and perhaps that makes it more special?

    I bet your sunsets are amazing when they happen – our best ones are in the cooler months, with high clouds often.


  6. Honestly David, with the temperatures running all hot the way they have throughout September so far, I only have to go outside my house to experience solitude. For the most part not many people are out. Mad dogs and gardeners….

    Though it represents an opposite to your panoramic wildscapes, under more pleasant weather circumstances I walk down to a spot by the koi pond in the Japanese garden at Zilker Park. It is somewhat hidden by surrounding foliage and invariably peaceful there.

    We had one of the hottest Augusts on record, and yesterday barely ended the longest 90+ streak by a long shot (I think 2-3 weeks over the record)…I hear you. With El Nino, I think all the weather systems are going the wrong way, so we’re getting stuck in weather we don’t get. Yet, I think by Oct, we’ll be back to Sept weather…still August now. And more hiking. Hang in there in ATX!


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