A page for (occasional) blogs


A Hiking Fiasco in the Organ Mountains

(and lessons for large hiking groups)

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A porcupine in May

 

What happens to the porcupines in the Rio Grande Bosque, once springs arrives? Up to now I merely assumed that they're still in the treetops, but are hidden by all the leaves. This year I hope to verify that assumption. That's if I'm allowed in the Bosque. This spring it's very dry and there have been several incidents of arson. In response, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) is thinking of closing the bosque.

 

But one step at a time. The bosque canopy is in full leaf, so time to start testing my hypothesis that the porcupines are still there. On May 12 I found one fairly low down, splayed out and napping. It awoke in response to my thrashing through the brush, but other than opening its eyes it didn't move a muscle. 

 

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Clams in the desert

Clams, clamshells, Rio Grande, Corrales, New Mexico
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The medallion trees in the Sandia Mountains

1st Romanov Russian Tsar tree, GD 1613, 81, Sandia Mountains, New Mexico
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Say's Phoebes in the middle of the Rio Grande

(Revised Jan. 29, 2021)

 

I have multiple identification photos for Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) on a different page. Here I'll document a couple of individuals I saw perching just above the Rio Grande.

 

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A Hiker Rescue in the Sandias

On August 31 the Albuquerque Journal published a story about a hiker rescue in the Sandia Mountains. I’ll quote the article in full, because this time I want to comment on the story as well as the incident.

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Two More Hikers Get into Trouble

In the space of three days, New Mexico news services posted two stories about hikers who got into trouble. Happily, both survived. As usual, I’ll break down the stories to see what hikers can learn from them.

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A Nectar-Robbing Carpenter Bee

 

Two days ago I caught a carpenter bee (Xylocopa sp.) engaging in nectar robbing. I do have a few words to say in favor of the defendant.

 

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Three Photos, One Story

Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii, Albuquerque
The first hawk
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The Irises at the Domingo Baca Cabin

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A fall, an injury, and an intelligent response

 

A hiking companion passed along a story about a hiking accident in The Taos News (June 20–26, 2019). You can find the story online here. There’s a happy ending: the victim will make a full recovery.

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Another Fall in the Sandias

hiker injury, Embudo Trail, first responders, Albuquerque Fire Department
Part of the response to the report of a hiker injury along the Embudo Trail.
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Dehydration in the Desert

 

How much water do you need in the desert, on a hot summer day? Let's take a look.

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More on survival shelters

Brush shelter, Tree Spring Trail, Sandia Mountains, Cibola National Forest, New Mexico, survival, bushcraft
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Another hiker's death from falling

 

On July 27 last year I wrote a blog titled, "Want to die? Falling is all it takes." On May 17 the Albuquerque Journal carried a brief story, "Hiker killed in fall near Questa." I'll repeat the full story.

  

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Deuce of Spades Hiker's Trowel

Deuce of Spades, trowel, hike, hiking, backpacking
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A bear encounter and a newspaper column

On August 9 I put up a YouTube video about a bear encounter, and on August 10 the Albuquerque Journal published my guest column on Forrest Fenn's treasure.

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Want to die? Falling is all it takes.

This morning's Albuquerque Journal carried a story titled "Hiker dies in fall at White Rock Canyon." Hikers tend to be most worried about lightning or bears, but many hiking deaths are due to falls.

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The Better Bear Bell?

 

For me, hiking is not about distances or other goals, but about a healthy aesthetic experience. I want to be in a beautiful place—so I'm a lousy candidate for through-hiking the CDT and its long stretches of road. And when I eat on the trail, I like the food to taste good—no ramen packets for me! Hence my previous blog on taking red and green chile on a hike

 

Given that attitude, it's no surprise that I wasn't fond of my standard bear bell. It warns bears as well as any other bell, I'm sure, but the sound is harsh. When I wear it all day, it gets downright annoying. For anyone else out there whose bear bell annoys them, here's one solution.

 

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Red or Green? New Mexico Chile for the Trail

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