A couple weeks ago, some of the rangers and I decided to go for a short hike up one of the cinder cones. While we were only out for a couple hours, we saw a huge variety of interesting things.
Whereupon, one of the more experienced rangers reminded me that there are no cows in the National Monument.
We’re not in rangeland anymore, Toto.
This is a dead Limber Pine tree. These trees are very bendy, in order to cope with the wind, and frequently only have branches on one side. This one may have been killed by Dwarf Mistletoe, a native parasite that attacks the limber pine.
Living where you work can be kind of strange and stressful, but the location entirely makes up for it. When I have time, I really relish getting out of the house, off the beaten path, and into the sunshine – especially since the rocks and plants are fantastic.