The Tres Hermanas, three sisters, of Southwestern New Mexico all offer different challenges for the hiker, trekker, photographer. The South Hermana is in another article posted on www.associatedcontent.com. The Middle Hermana offers the photographer the most opportunity. The North Hermana, even though it is the tallest of the three, offered little challenge for hiking and not many photo opportunities.
Columbus, NM is the closest town and it has two B&B’s, restaurants, a historical society museum and a large NM Sate Park with many RV sites. There’s also a motel and a studio apartment that’s offered as a short term rental. The access to the Tres Hermanas is at mile post 9. Directions can be gotten at Wind Walker B&B. For more information go to www.windwalkerflyinb-b.com or www.marthasplacenm.com.
My friend, and fellow photographer, Mike Helfrich accompanied me on the trek up the Middle Hermana. We didn’t make it all the way to the summit, there were so many opportunities for photos we ran out of time.
The rock formations on all three mountains were formed by ancient volcanoes, with many giant boulders standing on end. Single seeded Juniper grows well on the north side along with cactus and mesquite. A trekker has to be careful where he puts his hands and feet.
From where we parked the pickup, it’s about a mile walk to where the real climbing begins. The trail to that point is up a dry, at that time of the year, sandy wash. During the monsoon season there are times when water fills the arroyos and washes and a person has to be aware of what’s going on around them and what may be happening miles away at higher altitudes. Winter and early spring are the best time to hike the desert mountains. It’s cool, there are no snakes out, usually, and generally there aren’t any heavy rains.
Once we started up the north side we encountered plant and terrain changes. At the bottom cactus held dominance but the further up we went it turned to mesquite, then Juniper and dry grasses. The terrain changed from fairly steep slope to slopes with flat areas and then large boulders. See my accompanying slideshows.
Boulders a big as a small truck were balanced on points of stone no larger than the end of my thumb. Rock chutes and long vistas made for interesting climbing. Boulders on end resembled sentries watching over the valley that stretches between the Tres Hermanas and the Florida Mountains that lie north and east.
Views from the false summit, as high as we went because the weather was deteriorating and I had an appointment with a client, made our trip a success in both trekking and photography.
We saw lots of coyote, javelina, bird and one mountain lion track. I’ve been interested in tracking and animal track identification for years, I only wish I knew more about bird tracks. Road Runners tracks are easy to ID, they look the same facing frontward as they do facing back. You can’t tell which way they came from or which way they’re going unless they’re running and the front claws are digging in.
It was a great trek with good company and we got lots of pictures, some of which are posted as a slideshow on www.associatedcontent.com. If a picture is worth a thousand words, volumes await the slideshow viewer.
I will be posting a longer article and photos of my trek up the west side of the Southern Florida mountains as soon as time permits. Health is a high priority for me. Good health allows me to do the adventures I love. I have health, adventure and other articles posted on www.associatedcontent.com under my name, Larry R. Miller.