Tour 2015 – Day 15: Dripping Springs, Organ Mountains National Monument

Dona Ana Peak, early morning.

With prediction of high winds in mid-afternoon, we met another granddaughter and family in late morning for a picnic excursion to Dripping Springs, the long-time local name for and a prominent feature of the Organ Mountains National Monument – Desert Peaks. Packed into four vehicles, including a bus our daughter had recently refurbished with the help of her two sons, the entourage drove up to the lower picnic area for a light lunch and a hike up into the rock formation nearby.

No distances or destinations on the trail signs, only this message that, if you don’t know exactly what you are doing, you will die. We went anyway.

Most of the teen-agers headed quickly ahead of parents and elders, in several directions. As it turned out, us oldsters, used to hiking and bicycling, were perhaps in better shape than some of the younger set. With the group ranging in age from 2 to 71, we were soon scattered the length of the trail, making it difficult to keep track of everyone.

The main group of us turned back before reaching the trail junction at the uphill end of the loop, but it was still a fun expedition. Part of the reason for keeping the hike short was the uncertain weather, but the winds didn’t begin to pick up until well after we returned to the city below.

It was good to see the great-grandchildren again and meet new faces in the family. We got to present great-grandson Paul’s high school graduation present to him in person: unfortunately, we will be in Iowa celebrating another graduation, from college, that took place a half-century ago, on the actual day of his ceremony. We missed one great-grandson, who was in school today.

The Organ Mountains are unique to the region, an island of granite and rhyolite between the sedimentary San Andreas and Franklin ranges.

We ended the day with a pizza party at our daughter’s house, with wonderful home-made pizza, and were joined by two more grandsons after work. The mountain outing was held on a school day mainly because our granddaughter is scheduled for a weekend shift at the hospital, where she is a nurse in the OB ward.

Windy weather moving into the Mesilla Valley. We were off the mountain before the winds built up and lowered visibility.