On May 18, 2021, the Albuquerque Journal reported on the rescue of 24 hikers from El Paso, Texas. The group attempted to hike to the highest point in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The elevation of that high point, Organ Needle, is 8990 feet (2740 meters) above sea level. The route to the high point rises 4000 feet (1220 meters) over four miles (6.4 km), an average grade of 19 percent. The route includes trails, off-trail route finding, and a short climb.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How much water do you need in the desert, on a hot summer day? Let's take a look.
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.
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.
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.
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.