Pine Tree Trail — OMDP NM, Las Cruces, NM

Pine Tree Trail has been (rightfully) purported to be one of the premier hikes in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDP) in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Loop hikes are of a special appeal; and a trail that provides an opportunity to experience new terrain with each step coupled with significant canopy is especially attractive. The trailhead starts at the Aguirre Springs Campground and the hike is fairly well marked.


Moon setting over the needles of the Organ Mountains

Pine Tree Trail Sign

Appropriate caveats are provided.

Warning Sign

The trail gained 1000 feet in elevation via gradual switchbacks around the edge of a depression created by Anvil and Sotol Creeks.

The needles as seen from the trail

The trail upward traversed lush vegetation, occasional rocky (dry) riverbeds, with some melt-off (in early May) noted seeping through some rocks. Varied wild flowers (Apache Plume and Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)) and ferns are evident on the trail.

River bed with some water

Beautiful Apache Plume

Indian Blanket Gallardia

A rock squirrel provided the requisite wildlife sighting!

Squirrel posing for the picture

Boulders along the path required some occasional negotiation.

Boulders along the path

The hollowed base of a dead tree conjured imagines of forest trolls!!
Spooky hollowed tree

The treeless expanse of Sugarloaf to the south was occasionally visible.
Sugarloaf Mountain

To the east, White Sands Missile Range came into intermittent view.
White Sands Missile Range

A primitive camp located at the top of the trail offered comfortable seating (note horizontal log!). Signage provided the reassurance that the hike was halfway complete!

Primitive camp; no amenities

Sign Marks Camp Location

White Sands National Monument is clearly seen on the descent, but the trail still remains fairly well-forested.

White Sands National Monument just below horizon

Completing the second half of the hike in a fraction of the time of the ascent, Pine Tree Trail definitely warranted favored hike status in the OMDP!!

Another picture of the trail

Lightroom 6 First Panorama – Las Cruces, NM

Readers of my blog may have noticed that I enjoy the outdoors, hiking, birding, etc. My wife and I were recently hiking in the recently created Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

There were many excellent sightings that I hope to write about in the future, but for now I want to tell you about my very first attempt at creating a Panorama using Lightroom 6.

I have only been using LR for less than a year and I have been making progress in learning about the various tools. When LR 6 arrived with “built-in” panorama creation tools, I couldn’t wait to try it.

The Organ Mountains are very large and cannot be captured easily in one shot so I decided to create a Panorama.

I took the following seven pictures with hopes of being able to “stitch” them together using LR.

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 1

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 2

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 3

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 4

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 5

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 6

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama Picture 7

I wasn’t sure exactly how to accomplish this task so I searched online and found Julieanne Kost’s blog post about it. She is an excellent and gifted instructor. I have used several of her videos before. If you are interested, you can watch her video below:

I heard that when doing a panorama, one should have about a 30% overlap and although I wasn’t too exact about this, I took a guestimation as I captured the various pictures while moving my camera as level as I could across the distant view.

Here is the final result via a thumbnail-ish rendering.

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM - Panorama

You can see a large-sized image here at the link below:

Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, NM

The image needs a bit more editing, perhaps reducing the “noise” in the sky, etc., but I am pleased with my first attempt. Are you encouraged to try creating a panorama?