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Archive for March 20, 2009

Friday 20 March 2009 – Creel to La Junta

First an update to yesterday’s missive: The Echeveria found at S1363 was Echeveria chihuahuensis.

Today’s target was the waterfall at Basaseachi in the north west of Chihuahua with a stop on the way to attempt to find Mammillaria saboa. We had a GPS location on the Cta. de los Peyotes, so I was quite optimistic that we would find the plants. That soon changed when I saw my first cactus here (S1366), Echinocereus polyancistrus, at least that is the name reported from this general area. The plant was so dry that it was difficult to recognise. The exceptions were two Coryphanta sp. plants found by Eunice that looked almost nursery grown, in excellent shape. We were on the exact GPS coordinates and searched meticulously in a 15 m. diameter circle around it. No saboas. I did record Opuntia sp. as well. We decided that we could waste hours here without finding the plants and that I’d have to come back at a time that the plants might be in flower. Looking at the location data it turned out that the eagle eyed mam. spotter recorded his find on 12 March! So also in the dry.

S1367 was just a quick leg stretch along MEX 16 with only an Opuntia sp (boring) spotted.

S1368 was our target, Basaseachi. The walk to the falls took us through exceptional scenery. I have said it numerous times on this trip – the scenery was worth coming for, even if we did not see any cacti or other succulent plants. The bonus was again that we did: A couple of Agave sp. (one probably A. filifera), Echinocereus sp. (E. scheeri or E. polyancistrus) and a Sedum sp.

Cliff had somehow become detached from the party and in the morning had not been feeling his best – overtired due to lack of sleep. Eunice and Alain asked if we should go back to look for him, but Cliff had enjoyed wandering off in different directions in the past – no need to walk in each other’s footsteps and as we got lower to the floor of the canyon the temperature increased quite noticeably. The distances sign posted to the various view points seemed very optimistic and I began to get worried that something had happened to him and even if he had just returned to the car for a rest, we would not be able to get in as we had the keys. I decided to march back with the keys, arriving some 25 minutes ahead of Alain & Eunice. I need not have worried, Cliff came wandering from behind some rocks, had followed some different trails and had returned to the car at various intervals. Our next concern was where to sleep. The accommodation in Basaseachi itself seemed half built and did not appeal.

We decided to make a run for it to La Junta – a larger town some 130 km away. We arrived in the dark, but found a very reasonable hotel that even had the benefit of wifi so that I can send out today’s missive on time.