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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Break Hike

Today, my sister Diane and I went on a quest to find some birds within Franklin Mountain State Park in El Paso, TX. I am in town for spring break, and I thought it would be fun to see if we could spot some birds of prey up in the mountain. We headed up Transmountain Road, a highway that climbs up the mountain as it connects both west and east parts of town, on the search for a picnic area where we could find a trail. Unfortunately, the area surrounding the road was once used to test military ammunition and the multiple warning signs scared us away. We managed to get directions towards McKelligon Canyon, which possesses several trails. As we approach the end of the canyon by car, we are marveled by the colors and textures that the desert ecosystem provided. The light green colors and small leaves on the sage shrubs are evidence of an adaptive morphology to the harsh dry desert conditions. White limestone seems to govern the terrestrial composition throughout the trail, proof that the area we live in was once under water.

We came up to a trail that lead up to a set of caves named Aztec Caves, 1.2 miles up the mountain from the parking lot. As we hiked up the trail, we opened our ears to the sound of birds. We could hear many calls, but with no luck of a sighting. Hiking up the trail became harder the further we went. The trail got steeper with every foot we advanced, and I feared the risk of injury. We decided to climb up to the first cave, and search from that altitude for the birds we kept hearing. To our misfortune we had no luck. However, the view from the top was astonishing! One could see the evidence of small streams flowing down the mountain on those rare rainy days.

While my sister and I failed to find any of the birds we were hoping to see, I was still happy to have the opportunity to share a moment in nature with my her. Our session was different, informative, and definitely entertaining. Finding the desert beautiful is a hard task for many, but I am sure that my sibling and I share a joy for this unique ecosystem. It is home. She is a culinary student at El Paso Community College, and states that she truly enjoys seeing what I am learning in school. I indeed enjoy tasting what she learns too!

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