The White Mountains, Before the Flames

Yellow Grass, White Mountains

Right now I’m living on the road but part of me is back in my beloved New Mexico. News from home is not good. My neighbors in Cerrillos tell me three wildfires are visible on the horizons. The fires are not a direct threat, but some days, depending on how the high desert wind blows, the smoke is so thick that it’s impossible to be outside.

One of these blazes, the Little Bear Fire, is burning near the tiny mountain town of Ruidoso, in the White Mountains, where my neighbors and I took a three day horse packing trip last spring. Fires are a natural and necessary part of forest life cycles, especially in forests with oases of grasslands like the Whites, but watching places you know and love go up in flames is always wrenching. Here’s hoping the Whites will grow back, more glorious than ever.

White Mountain Wilderness

G.B. & Dio on the trail, approaching 9,957-foot Nogal Peak, the highest mountain in the Whites

Lunch Spot

Self Portrait As A Cowgirl

Happy Hungry Horses

Me & GB in the Whites

Happy Dogs

Life is Good in the White Mountains

Leaving Argentina Springs

White Mountains Panorama, looking north

For more on horseback riding in New Mexico check out my previous posts Healing Horses and Supervolcano Trail Ride.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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3 Responses to The White Mountains, Before the Flames

  1. Love the yellow grass – Awesome pix!

  2. So sad. The Lincoln National Forest looked like a dry, brittle, tinder box even in your photos. New Mexico has been suffering from this drought for way too long. It’s just going to get worse until we receive our precious rains.

    Tijeras, NM

  3. The High park fire here in Colorado (about 15 mile west of Fort Collins ) is up to 46,000 and is 10% contained..

    its going be a long hot summer

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