As I drove to the trailhead, I imagined it being full like it was the last time I was there. If so, I would park at the overflow lot and take the alternate route to Garden Valley. No problemo. I was surprised to see only 4 vehicles in the lot. I guess it's gotten too warm for most people to hike out there. It was supposed to be a few degrees cooler yesterday, and windy. It was only about 92 when I started out. I thought the wind would make the gnats less annoying, and it did for a while. We seem to have a bumper crop of gnats this year. Now I can't wait for it to get really hot and scorch their squeaky little wings off.
I saw lots of lizards and rabbits on this hike. I got pictures of a few of the lizards.
This is a big one. I saw a couple of these. They are very shy. This is the best picture I could get. They almost look like a giant skink as they slink away, but they don't have skink legs.
The walk out to Black Mesa was pleasant. The exuberance of spring seems to have subsided and the birds were much quieter than they have been. I heard cactus wrens warbling and hawks screeching; I like the sounds they make. The wind kept the gnats from being too annoying. Most of the plants that carpeted Garden Valley after the winter rains are brown now. Of the four cars in the parking lot, I came across the occupants of 3 of them. I walked along the Black Mesa trail for a little way, looking for an easy way up. I didn't see one. I think maybe I didn't go far enough on the trail. That means I have to go back. Shucks.
As I started back, I noticed I was walking slow and decided that was because I wasn't in any hurry. That seems strange, but I didn't think I should be tired. Before long, though, it was obvious I should rest and eat a snack. I stopped at a rock that was in a breezy spot on the way out and was now in the shade. The wind had died down, though. The gnats were just too pesky to sit still. I ate as I walked, hoping to ingest a few gnats with the food bar.
For some reason, the gnats were very attracted to my right forearm. I'd look down and see from 4 to a dozen on there. I'd sweep my left hand up my arm and squash most of them. Before long, my left hand was sticky with gnat guts. It seems they have an earlier bed time than I do; I didn't get back to the parking lot until around sunset and the gnats were mostly gone by then. My legs were really tired towards the end. Click below to see all of the pictures.