Into a stiff wind and spits of rain we climbed high on a Triassic ridge. Among the gray mudstone was a spill of red ochre. One chunk was handy as a pencil: I tried it on a rock, thinking about how our Paleolithic ancestors used ochre to paint bodies for dance, delight and death.
Afterward I turned the rock over to hide that a human had left a mark in that remote place. The next good rain will wash it away.
The day began with mottled clouds that later burned off. No friendly sand to walk in, just acrid mud dust, with now and then a stiff, dried place where a cow had pissed. We hiked down terrifying deep arroyos whose walls, scored by mud-laden runnels, were poised to collapse.
Mudstone concretions: eyeballs and entrails lay in drifts on the yellow-red dirt. We came across two half-buried spheres, both about twelve feet in diameter, like the backs of two huge skulls: Baba Yaga and her daughter.
Hiking the Piedra Lumbre area of La Leña. A cold, dry day with a storm moving in.
Lots of petrified wood. Not the brilliant agates we see so often but a frail, glittering mudstone that preserves knotholes and wormholes, almost the worm itself.
Fossil tree trunks dissolve into perfect wood chips: the desert floor is littered as though a stone woodcutter had passed, chopping stone trees for a stone fire.