Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pre-Tday Grocery Shopping

Leafless Ocotillos along the dirt road heading northwest
Becca and I did our normal Tuesday morning hike today--no extra mileage--so I could get back and do the weekly grocery shopping.  It slipped my mind that this was Thanksgiving Day week, but that fact was immediately made clear upon my entering Albertsons; the store was absolutely packed with pre-holiday shoppers.  After purchasing the requisite staples I felt fortunate to find an uncrowded checkout aisle and to get out in less than ninety minutes.  I find myself becoming more and more of a Scrooge each holiday season.  Next year I expect them to cancel Thanksgiving altogether so they can declare all of Thursday "Black Friday" in order for Christmas gift buying to get a proper start.
Sands of Mars

Action!

Looking back at the way we've just come

You can hike this road all the way back to Las Alturas

Lanky Ocotillo

Desert Marigold

November 21st and Blackfoot Daisies are still flowering

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tire Day

Torrey Yucca in Tortugas's western foothills
Becca and I did a moderately long hike west of the mountain this morning, but I had to get home to take a quick shower before heading over to Discount Tire to have a new set of Michelin Defenders mounted on the Jeep Commander.  I learned an important lesson about going to Discount Tire:  if you make an appointment online you're guaranteed to be in and out of there in forty-five minutes.  Fortunately I had scheduled an appointment that way, and guess what?--I was in and out in the specified time period.  I won't divulge the amount of money I spent on those tires; suffice it to say I won't be shopping for any groceries for the entire month of December. :)
Through the Ocotillo

What's up that-a-way?

On the lower section of Tortugas Mountain's western slope

Can't tell from here if it's a Say's Phoebe or Western Kingbird

Looks like Say's Phoebe from the back

Something of a symbiotic relationship:  Yucca and Ocotillo

Odd clouds

How to account for those clouds: almost no wind

Hanger-on: Hairy False Goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa)

Hairy False Goldenast seed balls

Former Hairy False Goldenasters

Various stages of being a former Hairy False Goldenaster

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Single-Tracking in OMDPNM

Do not drive off roads
Dr. K, Becca and I headed out to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument this morning to hike a short section of the Sierra Vista Trail Norte before heading east along one of the well-maintained single-track trails in the direction of the namesake mountains.  Although there were three or four RVs parked in the camping area we ran into not a single soul during a two-hour trek.  It was a tad chilly at start (37F), but the day warmed up nicely; Dr. K removed her vest a quarter of the way in.  When we were leaving we waved to one of the campers, a man outside of his Fleetwood Discovery RV.  He was from South Dakota.  Since the area has been designated a national monument we've seen tourists visitation increase dramatically.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Secretary Ryan Zinke.
This way my peeps

Demised Stingleaf flower

Two paths diverged in a yellow grassland . . .

Former Barrel Cactus

Send in the clones

Fishhook Barrel Cactus

Don't kink your neck

Barrel and Becca

Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)

Ocotillo in the grassland

Prickly Pear Cactus pad skeleton

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Same Loggerhead Shrike

Rugged mountains

Seeing images in the shadows

The peaks

Ocotillos here have lost all leaves

Leafless Ocotillos

Just off the road

Barrel Cacti

Single Barrel

Ahead of the pack as usual

Where in the world is Becca Sandiego?

Barrel and Becca

A look at an especially rugged section of the Organs

Eroded into fantastic forms

Headed away from the mountains

Even further away

Christmas Cactus (Cylindropuntia leptocaulis) and the Organ Mountains