Hiking around rocky Rock Hound St Pk -- Mon, 1/14

As many times as I've traversed I-10 and seen the exit for Rockhound State Park, I never stopped.  Always wanted to.  So, even tho we're slap in the middle of winter and the elevation of the park is approx 4550', this time we got off the freeway.  A bit south of Deming, New Mexico, the park is located on the western slope of the Little Florida (that would be pronounced Flo-REE-da) Mountains.  Flo-REE-da - reminds me of a song.  The park offers water and electric, but after Jimmy filled our fresh water tank, he disconnected the hose and put it away.  Why?  Because after we signed up for two nights, we found out the low temperature was forecast go to into the low 20's.  We weren't even sure our rig could handle that kind of cold.  As it turned out, the low temps for the two nights we spent there were 19 and 20 degrees.  We even had ice form on the windowsills inside!  We kept warm by way of a small electric heater and our small propane catalytic heater - both on all night.  Kinda dries out the nasal passages, but it's better than ice forming on our feet!  And the rig did just fine.

Thanx to a miracle shot of cortisone in my right heel (ow-ow-ow!) for painful plantar fasciitis and new orthodics and wearing ONLY my athletic shoes, I've been able to hike this week w/o pain.  Thanx, Dr. Runte.  Rockhound is the only state park that I know of that sez visitors are welcome to take 15 pounds of rock per person.  Well, is that an invitation or what!!  I filled my pockets and Jimmy filled his backpack.  We found silica, quartz crystals, chalcedony, jasper, and one thunderegg.  Plus, one nice big specimen of banded rhyolite.  Cool beans!

Jimmy beginning our hike on the Thunder Egg Trail.  We would eventually climb up to the ridge on the right.

I'm not holding a walking stick.  It's a spent sotol flower spike.  It was so hard I could've used it as a walking stick!  I have my rock hammer in my other hand.  And four layers of clothes on.  Temp at hike time was 39 degrees.  In fact, that was the high for the day - hoy!  And very windy!  But, so sunny!

Jimmy - off the trail - hiking up the rocky ravine toward the lower ridge.

The red arrow points to Tergel.  We made our way up thru the rocks, boulders, and lotsa sharp stuff.

Looking for unique rocks and minerals at a different ravine.

Really a neat place to tromp around.

Unlike the Sonoran Desert, where large cacti and small trees are prominent, this area is considered part of the Chihuahuan Desert, which is predominantly a shrub desert.  Creosote bush is nearly ubiquitous. Sotol is the spiky green plant.  We were surrounded by Englemann's and Purple Prickly Pear cacti, as well as lots of neat barrel and fishhook cactus.  Jimmy "kinda fell back" into a prickly pear pad, knew he'd been stabbed in the leg, but tho't no more about it till we got back to the RV.  That's when he asked me to pull "something" out of his leg, and handed me the tweezers.  Not much was showing, so I just about died when I pulled out an inch-long cactus needle from his lower calf.  YIKES!

Sure, it was cold and so windy on the exposed ridges it hurt our faces, but sometimes you have to endure a little discomfort to experience the beauty of the desert.

Next up:  A warmer climate?  South Texas here we come!


  1. Anonymous9:26 AM

    Where's the picture of your 15lbs of rock loot?! And the prickly pear needle you pulled from Jim's leg?! And wut's a thunderegg?? Inquiring readers want to know. -Fran

    1. It was too cold to do anything w/ the rock loot (like clean it, sort it, and photo it), so all the stuff is on the floor by the door. Correction: NOT a prickly pear needle, Jimmy told me today. It was some kind of spike (looked like a spike). A thunderegg is like a geode - look on Wikipedia. And yes, the desert is wildly beautiful!

  2. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Ditto to what Fran said. And the desert is so wildly beautiful! love from Nanie


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