Monday, August 9, 2010

Take a Hike

Sign directing us at Aguirre Spring Campground

To me, "take a hike" is not a rude way of saying "go away" or "buzz off." Rather, it's a generous invitation. And if someone tells me to "take a hike," I excitedly smile and exclaim, "Yes, please! When and where to? It will only take me a minute to grab my Keens and Nalgene!"

Waterfall at Soledad Canyon

Recognizing that my exaggerated scenario is abnormal and a bit bizarre, allow me to elaborate on my fondness for hiking and the outdoors. Just miles away from highways filled with fuming cars and neighborhoods packed with adobe homes, lies the untamed wilderness swelling with a serenity that only nature can supply. 

One of 5 mule deer we saw one morning at Dripping Springs Natural Area

Colorful bug at Prehistoric Trackway National Monument

Taking advantage of this gift as often as possible, Kyle and I plan weekend hiking trips to explore nature at its best. While trekking along the rolling gravel paths, steep rocky inclines and clay canyons of nearby Cruces parks, we often spot jack rabbits, deer, hummingbirds, cottontails, lizards, hawks and bugs of all sorts. So, as you can imagine, our camera rarely gets a break in this plentiful paradise that is crawling with fascinating critters. Not to mention, the gorgeous mountain landscapes literally take our breath away... Or maybe that's just an effect of the extremely high altitudes. Either way, there's no denying the infinite natural beauty and abounding wildlife that exist in the great outdoors of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

WARNING: High altitudes have been known to cause delirium among hikers.

Our view pulling up to Aguirre Spring Campground

So far, my favorite Cruces hiking experience has been my trip to Aguirre Spring Campground. It was an overcast morning and so chilly that I had to begin the hike wearing a jacket. However, I didn't mind having the sun tucked behind the clouds because it wasn't long into the intense 4-mile journey that my body temperature and heart rate began to rapidly rise. Although we didn't see many animals on the path, the refreshing weather and vast views of the majestic Organ Mountains had us in awe and praising God for his glorious creation. 

Path at Dripping Springs Natural Area

Hopefully now you'll agree how awesome hiking can be! So the next time someone tells you to "take a hike," I hope you'll consider abandoning your offensive hand gesture, ruffled feathers and wadded panties. You could accept the proposition and go on an  exciting excursion.  Or if your schedule's too full to fit in a hike, try the next best thing. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, let your mind wander to the tranquil thoughts and serene scenes of nature, and be filled with the peace of the great outdoors. 

One of many wildflowers at Aguirre Spring Campground