The Franklins of El Paso

“They headed down to, ooh, old El Paso
That’s where they ran into a great big hassle
Billy Joe shot a man while robbing his castle
Bobbie Sue took the money and run.” – Steve Miller

… And…

So after the White Sands National Monument, on the recommendation from an individual who I was speaking with outside of Las Cruces, I headed to El Paso, Texas, to visit the Franklin Mountains State Park. The park lies within the city limits of El Paso. It is the largest urban park covering over 24,000 acres.

Some of the Franklin Mountains

The Franklins

The Franklin Mountains State Park offers its visitors opportunities to hike, picnic, bike, nature watch and more. For me, that means photography.

As well as being home to several species of mammals, including elusive mountain lions, the Franklins are the only known location for the southwestern barrel cactus.

Barrel Cactus
Ocotillo Cactus

Benny and Liz

There are many trails you can choose to embark on. Choosing the right trail, for me, usually includes the word “nature” in the trail name. The Nature Walk Trail is a one mile loop around an arroyo. At the head of the trail is a bird blind that has assorted info on the various birds and mammals that can be encountered in the Franklin Mountains.

And if you are even luckier, like I was, you might have the chance to meet two volunteers who are stewards for this trail. Among a plethora of responsibilities for park volunteers, Benny and Liz, care for the trail and engage the guests of the park.

This is a great trail, and if you are fortunate to bump into the two, you will have the advantage to tap into their data base. There is an abundance of cacti and other succulents (native species) that cover the landscape from agave, barrel cacti, too creosote.

El Paso wasn’t on the original itinerary, but that’s part of going with the flow, I guess. Of course I am glad I did. It gave me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, and I got to see some wildlife. Next stop, Arizona…. Peace.

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