I spot a plant and wonder if it is Mormon Tea which Cara verifies that it is. Mormon Tea or Ephedra was used by Native Americans and Mormon pioneers for medicinal purposes. Ephedra looks like a leafless plant with many stalks that remind me of tiny bamboo shoots. With a closer look though, you can see that it actually has tiny scale like leaves. The “tea” acts as a stimulant, diuretic, and decongestant, but has been used for many ailments over the years.
After a mile we start to climb up passing many boulders and interesting desert plants. We see Prickly Pear and Cholla cacti as well as Blue Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, Shin dagger, and Sotol. Sotol have long narrow serrated leaves that hang over the trail which really do a number on your legs when you run through them wearing only shorts. Fortunately we have our long pants on and are able to push them out of the way. I can’t help thinking that this area looks more like some otherworldly place because of all the strange plants, lichens, and various colored rock formations. One lichen actually looks like “The Blob”.
Aguirre Springs Campground for a total of 5.25 miles (one way).
Alligator Juniper which is named for the bark of the tree that actually looks like alligator skin. A while later the dogs are interested in one of the rocks we pass. I hear lapping noises and realize that they have found a water filled indentation in the rock. When I look, I see that the “tank” is a beautiful algae green filled pool. Yum! Our friends appear to like this water much better than the H2O that they have been carrying on their backs.
P.S. We made Lucy take a few days off and she is feeling much better now. I suspect she will be back on the trail in another day or so.
"Little Boy" sporting his Ruff Wear Saddle Bags
Cara and Adelle enjoying the view
View of the valley and sotol stalk