Today's goal was to walk and bike in the thin air at 8000 feet up. After Beez set out on his bike, I followed on foot. This is little Weetzie, my excellent hiking companion. We headed up (why is it always up?) this logging road, keeping a careful eye out for lovely deer and fierce, protective, and combative mother bears.
At one point, Weetzie made an unexpectedly loud snuffly noise which made my hair literally stand up all over my head. Once I had ascertained that no mother bears were charging, we decided to wander back down the road toward the car, my chair, and a book for some nice forest-y contemplation.
Looking closely at the ground, we could see that there were tiny little wildflowers, which you will hardly be able to make out in these iPhone photos I took. In my defense, I have a very difficult time making out what I am taking a photo of when then sun is shining on the screen. But, oh dear, I do wish they would be in focus just for once.
Think of these as impressionist photos of flowers.
The mixed pine, aspen, and spruce (I think) forest was beautiful (except for where someone had thrown empty beer cans into the woods). Everything was so quiet, except for the birdsong, the whirring sound of iridescent green hummingbirds going about their business, and the wind sighing through the pines.
The smell of the piney air was delicious.
I must give a plug to the beautiful Sacramento Ranger District Visitor Center. It was like a lodge inside, with a stone fireplace and lots of natural wood everywhere. The rangers were friendly and eager to introduce us to their forest home. And I must say, the restrooms were pretty amazing, with advanced technology toilets that could flush two ways, depending on need--a water-saving feature for this drought stricken part of the country.
We met some people from New Hampshire out in the parking lot and, as people will do, established that we knew someone in common within the first 25 words of our conversation. It was a pretty good example of our small world.
On the drive back home, there was a turnout for gazing at this view of the Tularosa Basin, with the White Sands National Monument sparkling out there in the middle.