Exploring the Lost Mesa

Over the Labor Day holiday I went west for a quick trip.  At first I had thought of backpacking up and camping on Guadalupe Peak, but in the days leading up to the trip it was forecast for thunderstorms I changed my plans to not be on a summit in a thunderstorm.  I like being outside but I also do not like to put myself in unsafe situations.

So I modified the trip to spend a night on the Lost Mesa and then a couple of nights around the Guadalupe Mountains.

September in the southwest is the monsoon season when the tropical activity of storms and hurricanes pushes moisture and rain into the area.  So September is usually the greenest time of the year here.

I found there were a few wildflowers, the grass looked healthy, and the ocotillo had leaves and were green.

Tlaloc Man Petroglyph on the Lost Mesa
The plan was to look for petroglyphs and then campout to see the Milky Way.  We got there and did a good hike checking out some of the rock art that you can find on boulders in the area.  There are several good examples to be seen here and I photographed a few favorites.

Knowing it would be dark skies until about midnight and that the Milky Way would be about due south, we picked our camp to take advantage of what a good night image might be.

After watching an ok sunset, I set up my tent and waited for dark.  The clouds seemed to be building and when it got dark they covered enough of the sky to make it difficult to see the stars.  Still there was just enough gaps I was able to get some of the Milky Way in the images.

I stayed up for a few hours photographing the night sky and occasionally my tent (one of the reasons I love a yellow tent is how it glows in a night image).

The clouds were mostly gone by sunrise but there was some nice morning light the next day.

After the sun rose and we lost the interesting light, we broke camp and headed toward the Guadalupe Mountains.  It would be a few hour drive but I had some ideas on a possible camp and off we went down the dusty roads.


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