Was it only just last week that it snowed?
In what seems like a few short days, our New Mexico landscape is rapidy transforming from the crisp and crunchy brown leaves of winter to hints of spring green everywhere! Of course with the promise of spring comes the inevitable dust storm of juniper and pine pollen being whisked along by strong seasonal winds, but sneezing and the sniffles are a small price to pay. I’m prepared to welcome spring with open arms (albeit armed with a box of tissues).
Returning again to one of our favorite series of Open Space trails, Copper, we hiked about 3 miles into the back country to check on a familiar patch of wild rhubarb. I’d noticed a few leaves had broken through the ground several weeks ago, but with the recent bout of cold weather it was a surprise to see that big bunches of new growth had pushed up about 4” above the soil. And not only was this patch doing well, we discovered several more patches in the area also growing aggressively. How happy the deer will be to discover this soon-to-be bounty.
Around another bend in the trail, we found two roadrunners having an animated discussion with each other from neighboring boulders. Perhaps this would have developed into a territorial dispute, or maybe a male was wooing a female and a clutch of little roadrunner chicks are in their future? Still wondering, we left the birds to work it out for themselves and continued down the trail.
No sooner did we resume our normal hiking speed, when Roy came to an abrupt stop. He was standing motionless, so I approached cautiously, knowing he had spotted something of interest. The first snake of the season! We knew snakes were out and about already, as Luna has been scenting lizards, but the first is always a surprise. And this was a good snake to get our ”snake spotting” eyes adjusted. This guy was a beautiful garter snake, about 4 feet long. Cool!
Noting lots of new green leaves everywhere, and not expecting to see any flowers yet, near the end of our hike I was taken by surprise. right at my feet and in full bloom was a gorgeous pinky-purple verbena! What a perfect ending to our early morning trek, enjoying full sun and 73F temps, in familiar country. There’s always something new to discover along the Cooper Trails.
I’d love to know what seasonal changes you’re observing too.