About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Friday, June 17, 2016

Life in the Desert

The desert here in the Southwest has been teeming with life even though the mercury has soared into the triple digits. I’ve spent a lot of time running the trails in the Franklin Mountains State Park lately and have come across plenty of beauty as well as a few surprises. 

Eagle claw cactus
On one very long and scorching run, the eagle claw cacti were in full bloom. I’ve never seen so many splashes of purple along the trail. You hardly notice these inconspicuous barrel cacti at other times of the year because they blend in with the landscape and some barely protrude above the ground.  

As one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one man’s weed is another’s rose. Stinging cevallia has its own beauty especially if you observe it up close. 

Stinging Serpent (Cevallia)
I had quite a few surprises on another morning run following a night of thunder showers. I saw five snakes in about an hour's time. The first was a rattler, the second a western patchnose snake, the third and fourth were striped whipsnakes and the fifth was another rattlesnake stretch out across the trail. Whew! I was able to get pictures of most, but the whipsnakes usually bolt into the brush as soon as they see you. 

Patchnose snake
It has a large scale (patch) on its nose.

Another Rattlesnake

Gopher snake (Mt Cristo Rey, NM)
Earless lizard
Besides many snakes and lizards, I've also seen an abundance of birds including the Scott's oriole, Western kingbird, Gamble's quail, Common nighthawk, and Greater roadrunner. Cottontail and jackrabbits keep me company on the trails early in the morning and I was surprised to see so many ladybugs up at North Franklin Peak.

I believe this is a wren.
Western kingbird
Cottontail rabbit

Ladybugs at N. Franklin Peak

Lastly I spooked a few mule deer while approaching the West Cottonwood Spring early one morning. I felt bad because I know there are only a few places in these mountains where animals can get a drink. Despite the lack of water, life still thrives in the Desert Southwest. See you on the trail. 

"Are you talkin' to me!"
Watch video of ladybugs:

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