La Cienega / Faulty / Armijo Trail Hike

I didn’t get out much at all last week as my work pile had gotten deep! But I did get out for a long hike one day.  Scarlett and I needed it! I decided to do a loop trail I hadn’t hiked in a few years.  The last time I hiked it I did it in the reverse order of Armijo / Faulty / La Cienega.  I remember doing a lot of steady climbing for most of the hike.  So I decided to do it counterclockwise this time.  This way I did much shorter  but steeper climbs at the beginning and end.  I liked the route much better!  Overall Scarlett and I hiked 5.3 miles with a 1,000 foot elevation gain.

Looking at my hiking trail book, I noticed that La Cienega and the Pino trail connect at the top.  Some day I’m going to hike up the east side of the Sandia Mountain starting at La Cienega and go back down the west side on Pino.  Should be a fun, long hike!

It was a gorgeous summer day and Scarlett and I got an early start.

20160706_082616

We hit the trail as the sun was rising

Since it was so early, there were lots of birds about.  Most of them were way up high in the canopy or moving too fast to catch a pic.

DSC_8612

Red-Naped Sapsucker

DSC_8607

Western Scrub Jay

DSC_7629

Hairy Woodpecker

DSC_7636

Spotted Towhee

As I moved up the canyon, I noticed quite a few hummingbirds feeding on the hillside.  The summer foliage was thick with blooms so it was a challenge to capture photos of them.

DSC_7763

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

DSC_7780

Rufous Hummingbird

Then I noticed quite a number of MacGillivray’s Warblers about.  They are such beautiful birds but so very difficult to capture on film.  They are small and move so FAST! After taking probably 30o photos, I managed to get maybe 3 or 4 decent ones.

DSC_7668

MacGillivray’s Warbler

DSC_7846

MacGillivray’s Warbler

As I was coming down the Armijo trail, I noticed that the spring was flowing in one small area creating a pool.  There were lots of birds visiting this pool.  I couldn’t resist staying awhile and watching what came in to drink.  The birds mostly stayed deep in the brush bordering the water, but a few came out in the open.

DSC_7897

Chipping Sparrow

DSC_7977

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

The Pine Siskins came in great numbers to bathe.  So adorable to watch.

DSC_8107

Pine Siskins

The a lone chickadee landed right at my feet and started to bathe.  I was thrilled!

DSC_8214

Mountain Chickadee

DSC_8298

Mountain Chickadee

DSC_8317

He was really enjoying his bath!

As I was making my way to my car, I realized I was a quarter-mile short of hiking 5 miles.  I couldn’t stop then! So I headed back up the Cienega trail to see what butterflies might be about as the day had warmed up nicely.  There were butterflies all about enjoying the summer wildflowers.

DSC_8410

Common Checkered Skipper

DSC_8412

I think this is a Pearl Crescent female

DSC_8425

Russet Skipperling

DSC_8483

Western Tiger Swallowtail

DSC_8680

Margined Mustard  White

DSC_8740

Popular sunflower!!!  This Juniper Hairstreak is having to share this flower with quite a few other bugs.

Here’s a pic of Scarlett showing how the trail was almost choked by the summer foliage.

20160710_094846

But the best spot was at the side of the stream where the soil was moist.  A real party was going on.  I just had to sit on a rock and watch and stayed there for about 15 minutes.  So many beautiful butterflies about.

20160706_120537

Lots of butterflies enjoying the wet soil.

Here’s some closeups of the butterflies there.

DSC_8402

American Lady

DSC_8341

Acmon Blue

DSC_8432

Atlantis Frittilary in front

DSC_8439

Small Wood-Nymph

DSC_8460

Atlantis Frittilary

DSC_8464

Marine Blue

DSC_8468

Weidemeyer’s Admiral

DSC_8516

Hoary Comma

DSC_8507

Margined Mustard White

DSC_8505

Some kind of Skipper.  That group is difficult for me to identify.

DSC_8499

Silver-Spotted Skipper

DSC_8539

Spring Azure

DSC_8546

Mourning Cloak

DSC_8549

Weidemeyer’s Admiral

DSC_8559

Mourning Cloak

DSC_7945

California Sister

I guess after hiking 5 miles I had quite a bit of salty sweat on my skin.  The butterflies were attracted to it and flew around me.  One got brave enough to land and enjoy.  🙂

20160706_121001

Orange Skipperling

I had thought all the white butterflies were Margined Mustard Whites.  But then I noticed one that looked different.  I realized it was a Mexican Yellow.

DSC_8533

Mexican Yellow

While sitting there, I noticed little Miss Scarlett was about to nod off.

20160706_121351

Miss Scarlett resting…almost asleep sitting up 🙂

Eventually she gave in and took a nap. 🙂

20160706_122425

Miss Scarlett enjoying a snooze in the shade.

What a wonderful morning out!  Overall I ended up hiking 5.3 miles.  🙂

20160710_094938

My sweet Miss Scarlett

At the home front, the baby Cooper’s Hawk is growing up quickly.  I’ve mostly avoided the nest so as to not disturb the family.  I check in about once a week.

DSC_8598

Baby Cooper’s Hawk

I’ve also had a Ladderback Woodpecker show up recently to get bark butter to feed its young.  I wasn’t able to get a pic of it feeding, as the baby insisted on staying up in the pine needles just out of view.  But they have been coming by almost every day this week.

DSC_8759

Ladderback Woodpecker

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “La Cienega / Faulty / Armijo Trail Hike

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s