The Road Between El Paso and Palomas


The Rains Have Arrived to the Chihuahuan Desert

The Rains Have Arrived to the Chihuahuan Desert

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:

Dry Desert

To this:

Green Desert

Green Desert

And you thought the desert was lifeless, didn’t you.  Come on, admit it.

Desert Green

Ranch Fencing

Our rainy season generally lasts well into September, awakening in its fall to Earth myriad species of blossoming plants.

IMG_4648

Desert Brush

Some plants, such as the yucca, have already blossomed and lost their short-lived flowers.

Desert Yucca Post-Bloom

Desert Yucca Post-Bloom

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 RangeDistance 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.

Columbus (CUS) VOR-DME

Columbus (CUS) VOR-DME

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.

Ranch Land

Ranch Land

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.

Volcanic Cone

Volcanic Cone

There are other reminders along the way — reminders of railroads, telegraph lines, and the Old West.

Abandoned Railroad Line and Forgotten Telegraph Pole

Abandoned Railroad Line and Forgotten Telegraph Pole

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.

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