Stretching across 12 miles on the high desert near Deming, Florida Mountains are magnificent with numerous peaks. I especially like the Needle’s Eye, a peak with a natural bridge. It was a beautiful cool morning in the late fall. The long feathery clouds seemed to add wings to the mountains. Cattle were chewing on prickly pears cacti on the open ranch by the road. Driving on the 17% grade road to Florida Mountains crossing the hill was like riding a roller coaster.
Despite the sign noting that the Lovers’ Leap Trail was very steep, we chose to hike on it. There were boulders in light purple and green colors in the canyon. The green colored rocks might be chlorites. Looking up from the rocky trail, the light brown peaks were towering above the canyon. Evidence of poops and chewed up cacti showed that cattle have wandered onto the trail. Besides desert plants, there were pines and other trees in the canyon. A contrast to the desert scenery surrounding Deming. Small unknown birds sang happy tunes. There were no more sight of cattle poops half way up. The vista was gorgeous with stately peaks framing the lush green canyon. A sea of clouds covered the blue sky like ripples on a blue lake. Distant mountains flanked the flat land of Deming. The jagged peaks of the Floridas varied with interesting shapes. Looking closely through the binoculars, I saw a small boulder sitting between the gap of two peaks.
Because of the high elevation, we had to take frequent breaks on the way. The backpack felt heavier on my back as we climbed higher. After one hour and forty minutes, we climbed over 1.2 miles. I asked Stephen if he wanted to continue. He said absolutely. We took a good break and Stephen rose up and led the way. I was impressed by his strength. The last 1/3 mile of the trail was very steep, narrow and slippery. Walking sticks were great tools on this trail. I used them to anchor my footing, keep my balance, and push the spiky branches away from the trail. After two hours climbing, with an elevation gain of about 800 feet, we finally reached the viewpoint on the saddle of the Floridas. We were probably above 5,100 feet. Yeah!!! We made it. I was so proud of Stephen. I couldn’t climb up here without his company. It was windy up there. The other side of the Florida Mountains was an extensive flat land with grids of farm lands. Lines of trees filled some fields. Those might be pecan trees. Farmers in Deming also grow chili peppers, onions, cotton, wine grapes, and hay.
Going downhill on the rocky trail was slippery. I slipped twice on the loose gravel. Thankfully I didn’t lose my footing because of my walking sticks. Some big birds flew across the canyon towards the peaks and circled above. We didn’t meet any other hikers on our way up. But we met three elderly hikers on our way back. They didn’t proceed to climb up after we told them the trail was steep up there. It only took us twenty minutes to go down the trail. On our way back to our campground, we saw those Texas cattle on the ranch from the truck again. They had long and sharp horns. It was amazing that they also hiked on the rocky trail. The three-mile Lovers’ Leap Trail was a tough hike. We did it!