You’ll recall that the last time we drove through High Chaparral and Rifleman Country that the vegetation was brown, the landscape dusty, and the desert foreboding. Oh, what a difference just over two months can make. Early July signals the start of our “rainy season,” if you can call El Paso’s annual average 9.43 inches (23.9 centimeters) “rainy.”
But that little bit of rain is enough to take this desert from this:
And you thought the desert was lifeless, didn’t you. Come on, admit it.
Our rainy season generally lasts well into September, awakening in its fall to Earth myriad species of blossoming plants.
Some plants, such as the yucca, have already blossomed and lost their short-lived flowers.
Along the route between El Paso and Palomas you’ll find other points of interest. The picture below depicts the Columbus VOR-DME (VHF Omnidirectional Range — Distance Measuring Equipment), a ground-based navigational signal that, along with other VOR and VORTAC transmitters, form those Jet Route and Victor Airway “Highways in the Sky” that help air traffic controllers get those aircraft you fly get from Point A to Point B. Those stations are slowly disappearing, gradually being replaced by RNAV “Q” (high altitude) and “T” (low altitude) Routes using GPS and other navigational enhancements.
And, of course being High Chaparral and Rifleman Country, you’ll also find ranches lining both sides of the highway with their endless barbed wire and ubiquitous cattle pens and wind-driven water pumps.
There are also geological wonders along this route, as well. You’ll pass through the Potrillo Volcanic Field, an area littered with lava rock lying in the shadow of volcanic cones rising up from the surrounding desert floor.
There are other reminders along the way — reminders of railroads, telegraph lines, and the Old West.
Wednesday I’ll show you our destination for this road trip — Palomas, Mexico, and The Pink Store and Restaurant. Fun Photo Friday will be a collection of favorite photographs from this short trip into the Chihuahuan Desert.