|Monsoon clouds over the San Simon Valley|
With over 300 days/yr of sunny skies in New Mexico, clouds are a big deal. Clouds signal the monsoon and are hopeful signs of the summer rains so important to renewing the landscape and providing water to the aquifer on which residents depend. On an active monsoon day clouds begin forming early, frequently just after sunrise, they build and scattered rains can be seen around the valley. These clouds dissipate and sunny skies return. Later in the afternoon the process begins again. Clouds begin to build, frequently over Portal Peak, and a second round of showers begin which last till after dark. These moisture laden cumulus clouds are illuminated by the setting sun creating stark contrasts of light and shadow which stretch across the valley creating beautiful sunsets.