Earth Day Love Letter from the Arroyo

Arroyo Self-Portrait

Arroyo Self-Portrait

Arroyos are the great gutters of the desert. As dry as this place appears much of the year, its shape is dominated by the rare running of water. Before I came to New Mexico, I had never even heard the word arroyo. I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch farm country and I had no concept of what a dry river bed might look like; all the rivers I knew were wet. And even if I had tried to picture such thing as a dry river bed, with its intricate erosive layers, twists and turns, treasures and debris, I never would have imagined the Earth’s basement to be quite so beautiful.

In celebration of Earth Day, my favorite holiday, here are a few of my favorite shots from the arroyo in my big backyard. Enjoy!


Into the Arroyo

Into the Arroyo

Erosion is Beautiful

Erosion is Beautiful

Erosion is magnificent!

Arroyo Window

Natural Bridge: Erosion is improbable.

Natural Bridge

Arroyo Dogdoor

Arroyo Dogdoor


Watch Your Step!

Watch Your Step!

Desert Sandstorm: Erosion is happening all the time.

Wind Between the Walls

Shale Spillway

Shale Spillway, Filled With Tumbleweeds

Spillway Self Portrait

Spillway Self Portrait

Desert Dogs Bruce & D.O.G.

Desert Dogs Bruce & D.O.G.

Four Dog Hike

Four Dog Hike

Blue Eyes Bruce

Blue Eyes Bruce/ Salty Dog

Desert Seep


Desert Seep

Desert Seep

Desert Treasure: A giant bivalve from the deep blue sea

Desert Treasure: A giant bivalve from the deep blue sea!

Desert Seashell

Desert Seashell

Here was once an ocean

Here was once an ocean…

Swirly Juniper

Swirly Juniper

Epic Taproot!

Two-story Taproot!

Chimesa Bruce

Chimesa Bruce

Desert Denizen

Desert Denizen. Notice the cactus stuck to his face. I wanted to pull it off but I chickened out.

For more on water in the desert, check out my previous posts: Desert Snow, the Weight of Water and Flash Flood! Thanks to WordPress for featuring the Blonde Coyote on Earth Day!

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 Big Sky, Montana. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
This entry was posted in Bowie & D.O.G., Hiking!, New Mexico, Photography, Science Writing, Sustainable Living, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Earth Day Love Letter from the Arroyo

  1. chris339 says:

    Blue-eyed Bruce is so well camouflaged against the salty soil!

  2. Anthony says:

    As usual, wonderful work and photo graphs to match.

  3. I’m gong to miss those beautiful Junipers this summer!
    Great photos, and its so neat that you found some fossils.

  4. I always enjoy your photos, Mary. Happy Earth Day to you and the pack out roaming the desert.

  5. mithriluna says:

    Wow, wonderful and interesting post! Gorgeous pictures.

  6. Such gorgeous and INTERESTING photos!! Thank you for sharing!


  7. Wow! If only I had somewhere like there to take my puppa

  8. martin watkins says:

    When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Eastertime too… Happy Earth Day! 😊

  9. Beachman says:

    Really nice! The spidy kinda scared me :).

  10. Wow, the photo “Blue Eyes Bruce/ Salty Dog” is so amazing! The dog is almost the same (by colour) as the background and it looks great 🙂

  11. swanview says:

    Brilliant pictures!

  12. I love this post, and your links to other desert-and-water matters. Bryce in the snow: beautiful. Nice photos, all through.

  13. hobopals says:

    Aren’t dog’s wonderful companions to hike with…well, to do anything with, really. Beautiful pictures.

  14. Jill Hancock says:

    Where in Pennsylvania Dutch country did you grow up? I live in Suburban Philadelphia but grew up in SE Idaho. I envy your adventures!

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