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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Another Struggle

Cloud over the peak
One of these days I'm going to get the Heelers under control so they don't have to drag me forward while they're locked onto a scent.  Today wasn't that day.  I struggled to keep them in check while they eagerly pursued whatever aroma some critters(s) exuded as they went their merry way.

Other than the Beagles my cousin Joan and her husband Rich raised at their place in the Adirondack Mountains I've never seen a dog like Willow, whose nose is glued to the ground for 98 or 99 percent of the hike.  I'm just not sure there is a way I can train her not to be so nosey during our treks.

Although Frio and Willow acted as if a sighting of a desert denizen or two was imminent we never actually spotted any, with the exception of the Black-throated Sparrows who were playing aerial tag up in the mouth of Right Branch Arroyo.

Large Soaptree Yuccas

Clouds over the Organs

Frio and Willow

The Arroyo we came up

Typical Chihuahuan Desert view

Allthorn (Koeberlinia spinosa)

Torrey Yuccas

Prickly Pear with a heart

Soaptree Yuccas

This & next:  large Soaptrees from the east


This & next:  Torrey X


Cloud over the peaks

Clouds over the Organ Mountains

This & next:  Willow and Frio


Soaptrees in Right Branch Arroyo

Observatory and Soaptree

 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Shortening It a Bit

First 4:  vistas from LDR-A
I had to abbreviate our morning hike today because an HVAC worker was coming to the house to replace the furnace blower motor, which was still under warranty.  The bearings in the original motor (less than two years old) were failing.

The trek today was characterized by cold weather and two rowdy Heelers who could barely contain their enthusiasm for our outing in the desert.  I really had to struggle to constrain them as they tried to go every which way in following fresh critter scents.  Fortunately we encountered no desert denizens.

The HVAC guy showed up at 8:40 and was finished with the job by 9:30.




Soaptrees and the Organs

This & next:  hills west of the Organ Mountains


This & next:  Prickly Pear in B&W and in color


Heelers in B&W

Torrey Yuccas

Soaptree Yucca at right, Torrey Yuccas in distance

This & next:  swirly cloud


Last 2:  Tortugas and the Organs


 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Cold to Chilly

Ice on the back window of the CR-V this morning
26F at start, with a wind chill of 21F.  It was cold enough for me to wear an ear band and to don my gloves as soon as the Heelers and I began our morning hike.  At least the sun was shining brightly, thereby ameliorating the cold somewhat.

We trekked down LDR-A, crossed over to the new arroyo, and then did both the left and right branches before heading out on the steep hill just west of the upper flatland road.

Both Frio and Willow were straining at their leads as we hiked today, picking up on numerous scents that overrode their critical thinking skills and allowed them to pull despite being held back constantly.  Wish they'd use their heads for something other than sniffing and trying to spot critters.

Frio and Willow spotting a jackrabbit

Long view of Tortugas and the Organ Mountains

Ridge west of the Organs

Tortugas Mountain and the Organs

Soaptree Yucca

Illusion or are these jets close together?

Last 2:  contrail cloud?


 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Away From the Beaten Path

Last night's moon
Willow, Frio and I did the exploration I outlined yesterday:  down LDR-A arroyo, across to Right Branch Arroyo, and then up Middle Branch into its higher reaches.

Some of the hiking involved passing through some gnarly stretches that--at one point--saw the human hiker stooping over as far as he could to pass under the thorny branches of a low mesquite.

The effort was worth it, though, as we discovered an area populated by larger Barrel Cacti; amazingly, a lot of the barrels were leaning quite dramatically.

Exiting a particularly narrow section of Middle Arroyo required us to climb a steep hill to our east, and from there we were able to bushwhack across a treacherous stretch of ridge, and then descend a steeper hill into Left Branch Arroyo.  From there we followed our normal route back to the CR-V.

This & next 2:  exploring Middle Arroyo



This & next:  leaning 4' Barrel Cactus


2 1/2-foot Barrel

Another leaning Barrel, this one about 3'

This Barrel has leaned so far it's nearly prone

This & next 4:  hot air balloons





This & next 2:  we descended a steep hill into Left Branch



Artsy (computer enhanced) balloon shot

Last 2:  Frio and Willow in Right Branch Arroyo


 

Another Struggle

Cloud over the peak One of these days I'm going to get the Heelers under control so they don't have to drag me forward while they...