Monday, October 10, 2011

Wind Mountain, Otero Mesa

Wind Mountain

I woke up this morning and decided that I was in the mood for adventure. I decided that I didn't want to drive too far, but that I wanted to see something new, experience something I had never experienced before. After some contemplation I figured that Otero Mesa fit the bill perfectly.

I packed up my camping gear and a jug of water and hit the road. I drove south along the Guadalupe Mountains and past the imposing prow of El Capitan. At Dell City, Texas I left the pavement and headed off into a maze of dirt roads hoping I could figure out the right one to take me back into New Mexico and the Otero Mesa.I only made one wrong turn and after a quick backtrack I was on my way.

As I drove I saw a solitary pronghorn and later a tarantula cross the road. I saw more pronghorn than people though. Soon I started to approach the Cornudas Mountains and in particular Wind Mountain which I planned to ascend. I drove as close to the base of Wind Mountain as I thought was possible in a Honda Civic and then set off on foot. The lowlands were a forest of creosotebush
Creosotebush Flowers

and ocotillo. As I started to ascend the vegetation changed a bit. There were lots of cacti and yucca, and even a few wildflowers including this smelly one which I think may be some type of pea.
Smelly Pea

There were lots of things to stab at me and I was glad I had packed the bottoms to my convertible pants.

The going up Wind was tough, not only because of the vegetation, but because of the boulder hopping that was required. Luckily there were nice views of the surrounding Cornudas Peaks and Guadalupes as I ascended.
Wind Mountain Overlook

Eventually I made my way up the steepest part of the climb and soon the summit was in view.
Wind Summit Signatures

As usual, I signed the summit register
Wind Register

and relaxed a bit before taking a self-portrait.  
Wind Mountain Summit

On the way down the mountain I decided to take a different route. I passed this "umbrella" which is used to collect rainwater for the surrounding wildlife.

However, the descent route proved to be a more difficult route than the one I used to ascend. There were a lot of tough climbs with quite a bit of exposure. There was also more vegetation to make my way through. Eventually I made it back to the car and made my way further west in Otero Mesa to Alamo Mountain. Tomorrow I plan an ascent of this interesting mountain.
Alamo Mountain Moonrise

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