Dripping Springs Trail

Dripping Springs Natural Area has a number of easy hiking trails, where you can see La Cueva where the hermit lived, walk through the location of an old mining town, and visit an old hotel and sanatorium. It’s located in the Organ Mountains just east of Las Cruces, and I went hiking there at the beginning of September.

From the visitors center, we hiked to La Cueva. The informational placard says that a hermit born to Italian nobility lived here after refusing to make his vows after seminary. He made a fire outside the cave every Friday to let friends in Mesilla know he was alive. When the fire didn’t appear in 1869, they sent a search party and found him face down, stabbed in the back.

La Cueva

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From here, we hiked around the backside of a large rock outcropping to reach the Fillmore Trail. This trail passes through an old silver and lead mining town that closed down in 1907. We were fortunate to hike while there was a stream of running water; the trail terminated in a waterfall with nice, cool water we definitely appreciated by this point.

After hanging out at the waterfall for a while, we headed back down the Fillmore Trail to the Crawford Trail, taking it south until it met up with the Dripping Springs Trail. Along it you’ll pass the location of the barn and livery for the Van Patten Camp and old hotel-turned-sanatorium, which are to the left and right – respectively – of the spring and reservoir, which has been filled over time. (Lame.)

All of this took us 3-4 hours at a comfortable pace. Dripping Springs Trail is the most popular trail, which is why we started in the opposite direction and finished there. The park also has a few nice picnic/recreation areas available. It’s always nice, but especially so when the water flows.

At the end of April, I made my way to Tent Rocks. Located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it’s really a fantastic little park. Volcanic activity and erosion have made for a very interesting landscape and hike. The Canyon Trail is 1.5 miles long, one-way, and finishes at the top of a mesa overlooking the canyon. There’s an isolated outcropping that’s great for resting.

I didn’t find the hike especially difficult, but there are places where the path is only as wide as your foot. Also, there is a 630 foot climb to reach the top of the mesa.

Again, it’s really a great place to go; I’ll definitely hike there again. Going in the morning was ideal since it warmed up considerably by noon, and also became significantly busier.

Last Thursday, 5 May 2016, I went to the Pentatonix concert at the NMSU Pan-Am Center. Us the Duo and Pentatonix both put on fantastic performances; I readily recommend that you see them if possible.

Us the Duo

Us the Duo

I hadn’t heard of this group before. It’s a husband and wife, and I might classify them as indie pop. I don’t usually enjoy indie music, but I really enjoyed these two. Their music is overall very positive, and it’s evident they enjoy what they do. They made this large arena feel like an intimate music bar.

Pentatonix

I wanted to see these guys because I find it absolutely fascinating that they are doing covers and original music with only their voices, hands, and feet.

They did 3 medleys I think: 2015 hits, Michael Jackson, and Daft Punk. I was especially happy to see that last oneā€”their arrangement, as well as the light show, was spot on.

Pentatonix during their Daft Punk medley

When the end of the show came, I was disappointed that one of my favorite originals by them, Sing, wasn’t performed. So, good thing we managed to get an encore out of them! Before this song, they did something I found just amazing.

Amazing encore performance

‘We love to sing, so we want to do something special. But we need you to be very, very quiet. We’re going to do this next song without any sound equipment.’ Then all the lights went out except for one “Edison bulb” at center stage. Gathered around it, they performed Light in the Hallway. It was an emotional experience that I really didn’t expect going in.

These two groups were really fantastic, and together, made for a very enjoyable concert experience. I’m so happy we get so many good acts in Las Cruces, thanks to the efforts of the Pan-Am staff.

Taken from the west mesa in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Would’ve been an even better shot if:

  • my Canon T1i had been charged
  • I had a tripod
  • I had a remote shutter release

It was taken with an iPhone 6; I applied an Instagram filter and cropped out a chimney. I better get that tripod and remote shutter release.