A Sandia Mountain High

Sunday, May 7, 2023

After having just returned from a fabulous week in southern New Mexico (blog posts to come) where we hiked and hiked, and got reacquainted with the Spring-time desert flora and fauna, we seemed to be craving pine and fir trees and some mountain air. How high do we dare hike? Would there still be snow? These and more questions rattled about in my mind as we headed the truck up the 13 mile long and winding Sandia Mountain Crest Road (central New Mexico).  Ahhhhh …… so invigorating!

Satisfying our craving (at 8500 feet in elevation) and answering the question about leftover winter snow (not a single snowflake to be found), we pulled up to the Tecolote Trail trailhead and began our ascent, in shorts and T-shirts. The first half mile up was brisk, both in temperature and pace, but after I was well warmed up it was time to open my eyes to investigate anything and everything growing, sprouting and blooming.

This was the earliest date (May 7th) in the Spring we’ve hiked Tecolote, so I was hoping to see a variety of wildflowers that were new-to-me species. I wasn’t disappointed! Blooming beautifully were the minuscule Pygmy-flower rock jasmine (in the primrose family), Arizona valerian (a species of honeysuckle), along with lance-leaf bluebells (borage family), and White Mountain bladderpod (a brilliant yellow 4-petaled member of the mustard family). Covering the slopes everywhere we’re the bright yellow flowers of Oregon creeping grape (aka creeping mahonia), and common along the trail were flats and flats of the dwarf purple and white lousewort (in the broomrape family), it’s flowers growing close to the ground amongst its deep green dense and curly margined fern-like leaves.  Perky Sue (a happy yellow daisy) and the soft-like-a-teddy-bear prairie pasque flower (a type of buttercup) rounded out the bloomers that I could find.

These pages in my journal focused on the shrubs and trees showing growth alongside the trail, drawn from snippets collected during the hike.

It was a perfect morning for a hike! Wished you’d been there with us.

Until next time …… How’s your Spring is shaping up! Do you have a favorite plant that’s blooming, or a singing bird tending chicks? I’d love to hear your story.

P.S. This journal page layout was inspired by an amazing nature journaler, artist and teacher, Jean Mackay who loves all of nature and sharing her discoveries through illustration. Thanks Jean!


  1. So happy to read your hiking experiences and inspiring the beauty of the nature 🌹🙏♥️👍🏻
    Now there spring time weather also nice to travel 🧳 your drawing photo so marvellous and
    Your enjoyment is so grace 👏Thank you so much for sharing dear friend 💝💐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the lovely comments Thattamma. I love our Spring in the desert Southwest, but hiking high up in our scattered mountain mountain ranges is a year-round treat.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So welcome and well wishes to you dear friend 🌹🙏🥰👍🏻🌹


  2. Michele Lee says:

    I enjoyed reading about your hiking and what you found while doing so. My brother and I did some hiking yesterday in the desert. Gorgeous time to be out! A little early for blooming saguaro though… soon! Beautiful art, as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the comments Michele! We just returned from a week hiking about southern NM (not a saguaro in sight tho). It’s exciting to see the desert come alive with color. Our local Sandia Mountain, similar to Mt Lemmon, seems to be blooming spring through late fall and a wonderful place to cool down when the desert is hot and dry! Enjoy your Sonoran desert.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michele Lee says:

        My pleasure, Barb. Your work is beautiful. Your trip sounds lovely. I will probably share a few desert photos tomorrow and then get out again to catch the blooming saguaro. 🌵🌸

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic page layout, Barb – inspired by the wonderful Jean Mackay! So much to discover up on Sandia Crest, and you enjoyed many sightings! We enjoyed our trip up to the top last year with the most spectacular view! Missed hiking, though, as the trails at the top were slushy snow in March! Thanks for sharing your wonderful discoveries!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the comments, Karen! I often think of you and your family traveling up the crest road and enjoying the fabulous view from the top! Had the trail conditions been better, you would’ve loved a hike too. You must come back someday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Barb- Wonderful post and thanks for the shout out. By the sound of it, I would love that hike. But given the distance, I’m glad you took me along and shared your discoveries here. Lovely page. I look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Jean! I really appreciate your feedback and inspiration. And the hike …… mine are never rushed. Too much to discover. You would’ve been very welcome and would’ve done wonderfully (lots to sketch along the way!)

      Liked by 1 person

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