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Monsoon Canyon

Sunday, August 25th, 2019: Black Range, Hikes, Railroad, Southwest New Mexico.

I hadn’t been able to do a serious hike for the past three weeks, due to problems in both feet, a knee and a shin. So I needed a recovery hike on a well-maintained trail without any long, steep grades. This canyon, less than an hour from home and between 7,000′ and 9,000′ elevation, fit the bill.

While I was out of commission, our monsoon had been delivering some good rain. The flowers were outrageous, there were still red raspberries available, and a huge crop of rose hips would be ripe in a few more weeks.

My lower body felt so good that when I got to the steep part near the end of the trail, I wanted to keep going. But I’d already hiked farther than I’d planned – the round-trip would be almost 8 miles and over 1300′ – so I decided not to take any chances.

In addition to the wildlife I got pictures of, I saw two garter snakes and a bridled titmouse – first ever in the wild! And in the lower part of the canyon, I heard an invisible owl calling – in the middle of the afternoon!

The Arizona Sister is a big butterfly, like a swallowtail, and the dark band of color along the front of the wings is iridescent.

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