NM monsoon season brings out all our wildflowers


Common Yarrow

Bandelier National Monument will change the park visitor center hours from 9 AM to 4:30 PM to 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM on August 1, 2021. Good summer rains have produced a massive wildflower bloom in Bandelier’s high country that should last for at least several more weeks…

Abundant moisture in the parks high country has created the perfect conditions for a wildflower bonanza. Hiking trails such as Cerro Grande and Alamo Boundary are the best places to see a wide assortment of moisture loving blooms including mariposa lilies, harebells, and shooting stars. Cerro Grande starts on Highway 4, is approximately 2 ¼ miles each way and climbs 1200 feet in elevation. Alamo Boundary Trail is located on Forest Service Road 289 (Dome Road) and is about 1.5 miles one way but relatively level. Alamo Boundary Trail connects with the Coyote Call Trail on the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Both trailheads have small parking areas, so it is best to arrive early in the morning. Afternoon thunderstorms should also be a consideration when planning any hikes. Acting Superintendent Dennis Milligan reminds visitors to look for flowers. “Feel free to enjoy and photograph them but don’t pick them. They need to remain in place so all visitors can enjoy their beauty.”

RTFA for charges, regulations. I’ve been in Bandelier in seasons like the one we’re experiencing, this year. It’s glorious.

Wildflowers are burgeoning all over northern New Mexico, this year. I’m constantly distracted on my daily exercise walks by flowers I’ve not seen in a few decades.

Anthropocene disaster in Southeast Asia heads for Bangkok

As some of Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century bears down on Bangkok — submerging cities, industrial parks and ancient temples as it comes — experts in water management are blaming human activity for turning an unusually heavy monsoon season into a disaster.

The main factors, they say, are deforestation, overbuilding in catchment areas, the damming and diversion of natural waterways, urban sprawl, and the filling-in of canals, combined with bad planning. Warnings to the authorities, they say, have been in vain.

“I have tried to inform them many times, but they tell me I am a crazy man,” said Smith Dharmasaroja, former director general of the Thai Meteorological Department, who is famous here for predicting a major tsunami years before the one that devastated coastal towns in 2004.

The monsoon season this year has brought disaster to Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as Thailand, where 283 people are reported to have died.

Thousands of people have been displaced as typhoons have battered the Philippines, and the country’s steep rice terraces of Banaue are reported to have been damaged by mudslides.

Floods have spread through Cambodia, where the city of Siem Reap is reported to be knee-deep in water, with floodwaters reaching the nearby temples of Angkor.

Thai officials are warning that, in the next few days, Bangkok could be inundated by a combination of heavy floodwaters from the north, unusually high tides and monsoon rains. People in some of the most threatened neighborhoods are building sandbag barriers around their homes and emptying shops of food, drinking water, batteries and candles…

Once the floodwaters reach Bangkok, they will pour into a city that has lost its natural defenses: a huge network of canals that have been filled in — or clogged with garbage — as the city has become an overcrowded behemoth.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. It doesn’t require warnings on a biblical scale to explain that stupidity and greed combine and grow over time to produce an almighty disaster.

Afternoon walk, Apache Plume

Apache Plume small
Click on photo to enlarge

We’re into monsoon season earlier than ever. The clouds in the background are fair weather, high altitude clouds. Out of frame, the lower, puffier, wetter clouds are starting to ballloon into the air as moist breezes from the south and west reach our mountains and are forced upwards into colder air.

Should have some scattered thunder showers by mid-afternoon.

And the Apache Plume is one of my favorite summer blooming bushes.