Saturday, May 20, 2017

#62 - Saturday, 20 May 2017 - Rodeo, New Mexico

Good morning and Happy Saturday.

I realized that I forgot to include the promised map in my last blog entry. I've corrected that, but I assume that most of my readers are seeing the posts within the first 24 hours so I will duplicate it here.

The red star above shows the location of Rusty's RV Ranch. It is on Hwy. 80 just north of Hwy. 9, which heads east to Animas, Hachita and beyond. As you can see, you could walk into Arizona from Rusty's. Animas to the east is 16 miles or so and there Valley Mercantile is my closest source for fuel and groceries and other sundries. West into Arizona, Portal is where the cafe I have had breakfast twice is and is the entrance to the Chiricahua Mountains.

The orange stars represent frequented destinations. In New Mexico the stars designate the Whitmire Canyon Wilderness in the Peloncillo Mountains where I have found the scorpion Diplocentrus peloncillensis, which is my new favorite U.S. species, and where I have unsuccessfully searched for the tarantula Aphonopelma peloncillo (in the green in the extreme southwest), and the road north of the Antelope Wells port-of-entry into Mexico where I have road cruised and found four Painted Desert Glossy Snakes so far.

The orange stars in Arizona are random spots (approximations) in the Chiricahuas, with the farthest northwest being the Chiricahua National Monument (CNM). The black pen lines show my frequent paths and shows the big loop I made when I drove to the top of the Chiricahuas, then visited the CNM and drove about two hours back to New Mexico and camp.

I had really wanted to meet back up with arachnologist Dr. Brent Hendrixson and his three students doing scorpion research. Yesterday I made plans to leave Rusty's one day early and drive 500 miles to Lajitas, Texas and Big Bend Ranch State Park to see them again. The plan was to then return to Big Bend National Park the following day and once again black light for scorpions in Boquillas Canyon. This morning I began to further make preparations, and yesterday I told Rusty that I would be shortening my stay here by one day and leaving tomorrow at dawn. This morning I called my sister Lisa (no cell signal here, but I drove 16 miles to Animas to make the call) and told her everything and hearing myself say it made me realize just how crazy an idea it was. My pace is more slug-like than that of my tent-camping friends who only have a few weeks for this field trip. I plan to revisit everywhere I've been, but I need to do it at my own speed, on my own terms. If I had my tent and sleeping bag I might have just left my RV here and camped with them (I will get them when I return to Chicago!). Without that option, I sent Brent an email explaining the situation. As much as I'd love to spend time in the field with him again, it will have to wait until another time. He's headed back west in July and that might be another opportunity.

Now that I am remaining in New Mexico I have done some more reconsidering. My original booking here at Rusty's RV Ranch was to leave Monday morning, and I was then going to head back to the Deming area and visit Rockhound State Park for a few nights. Instead I think I will stay at Rusty's for one more week. I love this area and want to enjoy it some more. I also want to just relax. Today I think I will just read and play guitar. Staying here for another week would require some more groceries and my next big decision is whether to be limited by the meager selection and expensive prices in nearby Animas, or to just drive 100 miles roundtrip to Lordsburg, New Mexico, which is the closest town of any size.

Take care, MJ

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