Monday, March 28, 2016

Smith and Manzanita Springs Trail, Guadalupe Mtns NP, TX

Our last hike in the Guadalupe Mountains took place in the foothills and we saw a couple of nice, clear springs and got a little history on the Frijole Ranch.

As I mentioned at the beginning of our stay near the park, there are many trails there for serious hikers.  We would have liked to attempted a couple of the longer, steeper ones but for the weather!!  Maybe next time,  whenever that may be:)

Before we headed to the Springs Trail, we drove up towards Carlsbad Caverns to, hopefully, stop on the roadside and see some bighorn sheep.  The sheep did not make an appearance but this beautiful golden eagle did!:

Manzanita Springs

Smith Springs

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Devils Hall Trail, Guadalupe Mtns NP, TX

This trail is a must do if ever you go to Guadalupe Mtns NP!  Scenic and fun!  It involves quite a bit of easy boulder hopping as half the trail, including "devils hall" is in a boulder strewn canyon.  It is not a long trail, about 4.5 out and back but it takes a bit longer with the boulder hopping.

A crisp day, we were once again protected in the canyon and a cloudless sky ensured plenty of sun!

off we go on another beautiful hike

down into the canyon....

adventure awaits 

ah the scenery!!!

a seeming dead end, we realized we had to climb the steps into a narrowing canyon

Mike waiting for me to join him at the top of the "stairs"

surprised to see a large tinaja, this one with very little water though

looking down canyon over the top of the tinaja

the canyon narrows still more....

until we find ourselves at Devils Hall!  Very cool!

the canyon continues so we do too.....

until we come across a sign requesting we go no further to protect wildlife areas

so back we go....what a place!

great hike!!

On the way back to White city after the hike we stopped to check out an area called Rattlesnake Springs which had a nice picnic area.  We saw a large flock of turkeys and the toms were so much fun!  When we "gobbled" at them they would respond!  We did this for a while and had quite a conversation with them;)  Didn't know we could talk turkey;)

toms on this side of fence and hens on the other....I guess just cause they wanted to be!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sitting Bull Falls, NM

Our second day (out of 4) in White City, we could not go to Guadalupe Mtns NP to hike as the weather was nasty!  Icy rain and wind chill of 19 degrees!  So we bundled up and headed the opposite direction to Sitting Bull Falls on the other side of Carlsbad Caverns.  We had tried to see the falls when in the area 2 years ago but it was closed for upgrades.

We drove through Dark Canyon to get to the falls.  We saw lots of vultures and wondered if that was where the name came from;)

this walkway and viewing area had been added when the falls were "closed"

Sitting Bull Falls, a very colorful area

we were able to walk up to the top of the falls and look down into the falls canyon

here we are looking down into the creek that runs off the ledge forming the falls

the canyon walls leading into the falls area had lots of bushes with beautiful purple blooms

We watched a red tail hawk land on her nest, she is looking at us I'm sure:)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Guadalupe Mtns NP, TX, McKittrick Canyon Trl

We are staying in White City, NM, to visit Guadalupe Mountains NP, TX.  Guadalupe Mtns NP is all about hiking.  Several trails many of which are strenuous. A very scenic area of course!  We decided to see what we could in the 4 days we allowed for this area and dealing with adverse weather conditions.  Cold and windy!!

Our first hike was McKittrick Canyon and the hike and the day turned out to be lovely, you never know this time of year here.   A few points of interest on this hike, an old ranch, a grotto and hunters cabin,  and great scenery!

getting ready to head up canyon

very excited to see madrones!!  love these beautiful trees......

and they are blooming and smell great!

huge alligator junipers also lined the way

the old ranch, made out of stone carried up into the canyon, even the roof is stone!

our first view of the "grotto"

a constant dripping spring

hmmm, what is it?

stone tables were built near the grotto for picnicking

Mike heading to the hunters cabin

grotto on the way down

lovely canyon!

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...