We had a lovely hike yesterday down Bandelier's Frijoles Canyon, from Ponderosa to Upper Crossing then down the canyon to the Visitor Center (where we'd left a shuttle car), for a one-way total about eight miles.
Our hiking group had missed the peak of the aspens last week at Santa Barbara, so we were happy to discover that fall is still in full swing in Frijoles.
There are no aspens down this low, but there are plenty of
cottonwoods, a related tree that turns the same vibrant yellow.
Plus maples, Gambel oaks giving a nice multicolored show this year,
and plenty of other trees I can't identify.
(For people who really need a dose of aspen, the slopes of
Pajarito Mountain still have some nice bright yellow patches.)
We had lunch by the natural bridge: a huge rock slab that collapsed
into the opposite canyon wall, probably some time in the last ten years.
No one is sure exactly when it happened because the canyon was
impassable after the floods of 2013 and not very passable even in
the decade before that. But old-timers who used to hike the canyon
decades ago swear there was nothing like the natural bridge there, and it's
the sort of thing you'd remember. When the trail was cleared out and
made passable again a couple of years ago, the bridge was a surprise
to everyone. Geology in action in our lifetimes!
I started the hike in two sweaters and gloves, but was down to a t-shirt by the time we got to the canyon.
The next day, today, the temperature was around 31 at the house, and it snowed! New Mexico weather is so much more fun than California.
As I write this, there's still snow on the ground, the juncos are going crazy fueling up for winter, the sun is out here but I'm looking down at drifting fog over White Rock Canyon. And the oatmeal cookies just came out of the oven.
More photos from Frijoles Canyon:
Frijoles Canyon Trail in October 2019.
[ 14:18 Oct 24, 2019 More nature | permalink to this entry | comments ]