Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Really Late

Early morning hiker
Really late posting today because we had to make a trip up to our place in High Rolls to do some work.  Also we had to install a window air conditioner, which, not surprisingly, took way longer than it should have.  Does any task ever fall within the allotted time period you set for it?  Not long after we got up here it began raining, a brief cool shower that made us wonder why we were installing AC.  We've had 4 inches of rain since we were last here about a month ago, but the weed and grass situation on our property doesn't look as bad as I thought it would.  Still, as always, we'll have a lot of yard work to do before we head back to the lower desert on Monday.
On the horizon the Organ Mountains

Lonesome Road

Rain in the Sacramento Mountains

Visitors?  No.  Dr. K and Becca drove up separately

What's Becca doing behind that bush?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Edging Toward Brutal

Trudging across a frying-pan desert floor
Conditions could have been worse for our morning hike, but not much worse; it's a good thing I had to shorten our trek in order to do some maintenance on the Jeep and run some errands.  Nevertheless, Becca and I still did a fairly long loop west of Tortugas Mountain and we suffered for it.  I'm not sure what the humidity and dewpoint were, but it felt as if we were being broiled out there.  Now, in the early afternoon, the sun continues to beat down and the humidity is still so high that it's making small waves on the rugs in our house. 
Should we keep going?

Twinleaf Senna (Senna bauhinioides) is blooming again

Twinleaf Senna

Monday, July 24, 2017

Big Rain

Devil's Head (Echinocactus horizonthalonius)
Officially there was nothing in the rain gauge at the Las Cruces International Airport yesterday, but starting at about 4:00 p.m. we got a storm that lasted nearly an hour and dumped copious amounts of rain on our section of the Chihuahuan Desert.  It was obvious when Becca and I got out to Tortugas Mountain this morning that this area was also hard hit.  Evidence of heavy water flow was everywhere, especially on the single-track trail that drops out of the high foothills into the lower desert.  This steep trail was gouged deeply by fast-running water that swept rocks and mud down the mountainside.
Devil's Head and kid (bottom center)

Clouds over Las Cruces, New Mexico

Wind-blown clouds over the Organ Mountains

Who's coming down the trail?  Oh, it's high school track runners

These kind of clouds always remind me of Roadrunner cartoons

The distant Organ Mountains

There are those clouds again

Best friend

Bushwhacking 101:  You can make it through here

Flower buds on a Nipple Beehive Cactus (Coryphantha macromeris)

Allthorn (Koeberlinia spinosa)

Metallic Green Bee enjoying Allthorn flowers

Bee or wasp on Allthorn

West side of Tortugas Mountain

Large Hedgehog Cactus

An idea of how deeply rutted the trail is from yesterday's rain

The rain scoured this single-track

Obviously we had to hike at the side of the trail

This Devil's Head recently had three flowers

A flower opening on a Nipple Beehive Cactus

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer in the Desert

Just starting off at the north end of the Sierra Vista Trail in OMDP
Dr. K, Becca and I went out to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument this morning in order to hike the Sierra Vista Trail beginning at its north end.  It felt a bit cool when we first started off, but that changed pretty quickly as the sun beat down and the humidity helped to broil us.  Needless to say we took plenty of shade and water breaks both going and coming.  We ran into only a few people:  a mountain biker who we encountered twice and a man and woman hiking with a standard poodle who we crossed paths with on the way out.  The poodle barked at Becca, but Becca just scoffed at the posh poodle hiking in the outback.
Ocotillos have loved recent rains

A very large Ocotillo

Buds are becoming flowers on all the Barrel Cacti

Headed south

Odd-looking cloud capturing the sun

A large forest of Ocotillos west of the Organ Mountains

Ooops or Poops?

The culprit

Fairly large Barrel Cactus west of the mountains

Becca and me

Is this the Chihuahuan Desert?  Yes.

Desert Willow flowers and friend

Hey, where'd you go?

Dr. K and Becca taking a shade break

An arroyo that has probably run heavily in recent rains

Pretty lush around the arroyo

Organ Mountains

Organs again

Another respite from the heat

Mountain biking in the vast Chihuahuan Desert

The biker went that-a-way

Tortugas (Turtle) Mountain where Becca and I often hike

Barrel Cactus flower and bud

Another Barrel Cactus flower

Clouds suddenly appear near the mountains

A little closer look at those clouds

Where we did our long hike today

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Same hummer