Monday, September 5, 2011

Black River at Cottonwood Day Use Area

Black River Mirror

This morning I wanted to go on a little adventure, yet stay close to home. I had read about some trails new trails that have been built on the BLM lands that you pass on the way to Slaughter Canyon, so I decided to go check them out. I parked in the small parking lot there and then hit the trail following an old road. It was interesting to see some desert plants again. I saw some mesquite with seed pods
Mesquite Seed Pods

and lots of flowers in bloom.


Some of the flowers, like this primrose,

are closely related to flowers I would commonly see in Minnesota.  The trail eventually led to an old dam, and at the dam I crossed the Black River and explored a bit on the other side.  
Black River
The trail on the other side of the river was a bit over grown.
Trail Sign

I found the skull of a small coyote and saw lots more wildflowers in bloom.
Buffalo Gourd Flower

There were great views of the river and even a nice view of the distant Guadalupe Mountains.
Cottonwoods and the Guads

As I returned to the car on a short paved path I even saw a pair of dung beetles hard at work.
Dung Beetles

Upon leaving the Cottonwood Day Use area I made the short drive to the Rattlesnake Springs unit of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Spring and Cottonwood

There is a pleasant but little-used picnic area there under some big cottonwood trees. The springs also happen to be the park’s water source and are quite the desert oasis. I walked around the improved pond there and saw lots of little fish swimming around.  A nice relaxing little adventure!

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