Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Green Explosion

With the exception of the two images of the intrepid hiker Becca all other photos are shots of the burgeoning green Ocotillos which have suddenly leafed out in spectacular fashion.  I was so astonished at how rapidly they had turned green overnight that I snapped more than thirty pics of them during an hour-long trek.  On our way back in we ran into our pal Jimmy, and he and I stood talking for about twenty minutes while Becca lay in the shade of a giant yucca.  We're going to be much hotter today, and it was already evident in the early morning.  The Beckster seemed somewhat sapped by the heat; therefore I cut the hike short.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Parched Land

Somebody lost a feather
Becca and I got a fairly early start on a morning trek on the west side of Tortugas Mountain.  We saw a few other hikers and bikers out there, but the area wasn't very crowded today.  Clearly the heat is on again, and our temperature is supposed to climb to 94F later this afternoon.  And the dewpoint and humidity have fallen noticeably as the desert dries out.  The effects of our recent rain are obvious on the parched desert, but it's going to take a lot more precipitation for us to even begin approaching normal conditions again.
Becca at the trail crossing

Old flower on an Ocotillo

Prickly Pear pad and Devil's Head

Long view of Tortugas and the Organ Mountains

Allthorn blossoming

Buds of the Allthorn (aka Crucifixion Thorn)

Desert Cottontail

The obvious benefit of rain

Ocotillo leafing out

This and the next two:  Pyrrhuloxia on a wire

Even an old Ocotillo benefits from the rain

Old Ocotillo leafing out

Interesting Mesquite bean

Mesquite bean

Mobius Mesquite Bean

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Post-Precip Steam

Creative cairn craft (Franklin Mts. near El Paso, Texas in background)
Dr. K, Becca and I did a hike on the far side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and there was only one car parked in the Monte Vista lot when we got there.  We ran into five mountain bikers in three different locations during our trek, and though we saw one hiker in the distance upon our return we didn't encounter any foot travelers.  We did a longer hike today, but Becca seemed to do just fine.  After yesterday's rain the desert felt rather steamy this morning, but a cool breeze helped ameliorate the heat.  Without the breeze our excursion would have been a lot less satisfying than it was.
Same cairns

Edge of the mountain

Long view south

High desert mountain biking

Looking back at the way we'd just come

Trail around the mountain

Further along the trail around the mountain

Trekking on the moon

Is Dr. K's back aching?

She appears to be OK

Becca scoping out the territory

Road south

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Much Needed Rain

Rainy weather at start
Because of the rain falling this morning Becca and I weren't able to start off until 8:30 when, according to Weather.com, it was supposed to clear up for a spell.  Somebody forgot to tell the weather gods.  Becca and I got wet stepping out of our house, and we got extra wet when we began hiking out of the Monte Vista area on the east side of Tortugas Mountain.  Twice I had to put the camera case waterproof cover over the case.  It did clear a little during our trek, and I was able to capture some images of the environs.  By the time we got back to the car it looked as if it could start raining again at any moment, and it did after we reached home.  Nevertheless, Becca and I had a good time on our morning outing.
Ten minutes into the hike and we were already wet

Due to the rain I almost didn't take my camera out for this shot

The Organ Mountains are out there somewhere

Trekking behind the mountain

Long, straight shot

Something we don't see often:  Becca reflected in a rainwater puddle

Same puddle

Approaching the yucca forest

Some individuals behind Tortugas

More yuccas

Can't get my fill of these yucca shots

Even more

Still more

Muddy trail

Never did see what Becca spotted

Barrel Cactus

Accordion-like ribs will expand with more rainwater

This is how it looked on the way back

The way to the Monte Vista trailhead


More boulders

On the north side of the mountain

This and the next two:  same Scaled Quail