Sunday, April 18, 2021

Beautiful but cool day in the desert and mountains

Thursday and Friday the highs were near 90.  Saturday we woke to 55° and strong winds.  It didn't get much over 60°, but the sun did come out mid-afternoon.  We decided to do a little more auto exploration and took the Dagger Flat Auto Tour, stopped at the Fossil Discover Exhibit (over 90 dinosaur species have been discovered here), and we finished the day on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

It was hard to tell where the mountains ended and the clouds began.  Beautiful scenery today.

Dagger Yucca's.  We didn't make it to the actual forest where some are as tall as 30'.

Calyophus also known as Sundrops or Square-Bud Primrose

The road on the Dagger Yucca Auto Tour was gravel and started out okay.  It said it was an okay route for cars, but like other reviewers, we thought it got too rough about 5 miles into the 7.4 miles and turned around.

In 2019 a wild fire jumped the Rio Grande from Mexico covering over 900 acres, including the Castilon Visitor's Center.  The Visitor's Center and store have been relocated during restoration of some of the adobe buildings.

A view from the Visitor's Center

Some of the burnt trees can be seen behind the building.

Fouquieria can reach heights of 20'.  It is often used as fencing because it's spiny stems prevent passage.  We saw this in the desert today but there is one at our campsite.

To the right the Rio Grande runs behind the mountains and comes out in the middle, Santa Helena Canyon, and to the left runs in front of the Mexican cliffs.  This is a popular place to canoe.

The tall and long Mexican cliff.

Volcanic ash called "tuff"

Mule Ear Overlook

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