Driving around the refuge before dawn was like saying good-bye to old friends. The now familiar peaks on the horizon were painted with light by the sun rising on the final day of our adventure. As if to give us a special send-off, wisps of clouds appeared and accentuated the impossible array of pinks, purples, blues, oranges and reds of a cold mountain morning.
We skipped the scheduled snow goose extravaganza and decided on a leisurely drive around the refuge for a few last minute impressions. Animals, birds, scenery. Was it all a dream?
Within the dream, I imagined:
A doe. A deer. A female deer. (In this case, a Mule Deer, Odocoileus hemionus.)
Snow Geese. Whether as a blizzard in the sky or lined up like some avian army in a corn field, they were magnificent to behold.
Small creatures, such as the Song Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco, filled in the details of this vast mural created by nature.
Occasional surprises (coyote encounters, skunk escapades, weasel pop-ups, javelina stampedes) kept us alert, entertained and content. (The javelina, or Collared Peccary – Pecari tajacu – resembles domestic and feral pigs but is a distant biological cousin.)
Unique desert plants (such as the century plant – Agave americana – below) and never-before-seen-by-me birds (like this dapper Gambel’s Quail) really provided a satisfying “sauce” atop our New Mexican feast for the senses.
We departed the “Woods of the Apache” National Wildlife Refuge with mixed feelings. Regret for not experiencing even more (which led to guilt because we had seen so much); joy at having shared an unforgettable experience with someone we love; anticipation of reuniting with someone we love.
Our mixed feelings evolved into grumbling stomachs. We had skipped breakfast. Early afternoon: “Welcome To Texas”! The friendly sign meant one thing, El Paso and Texas barbeque! We made it safely back to Houston a little after 2:00 a.m. and my brown-eyed beauty looked better than ever! Gosh I missed Her!!
Thanks for putting up with the blogging equivalent of that crazy relative who makes you sit through those long vacation slide shows! You are now free to move about the room.
Oh, and if you should ever find yourself within a few thousand miles of New Mexico, remember the Bosque del Apache – and GO!
We hope you find your natural place and come back for a visit!