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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Stroll

A quiet morning greeted us this Sunday as Dr. K, Research Associate Becca and I made our way around Tortugas Mountain from the Monte Vista trail head. These two pert and alert hikers were taking a break near a small cave.

Even though it was cool, Desert Dog took shelter in some shade.

A long shadow on Tortugas's north face.

The craggily majestic Organ Mountains.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

South Side of the Mountain

It was a beautiful, cool morning as Research Associate Becca and I started out on the Monte Vista side of Tortugas Mountain. It was cool, but sunny, as this photo of the mountain's east flank shows.

A mountain biker enjoys the early morning solitude.

We ran into Steve and Samantha again, who had hiked to the rear of the mountain from the sunset side.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Here Comes The Sun

After yesterday's rain, it was pleasant to get out into the sunny weather today. The few clouds lingering around the Organ Mountains made for interesting vistas.

Research Associate Becca spots a hiker and his dog in the distance.

She drops into her customary greeting crouch when she sees it's Steve and Samantha.

"Hey girlfriend," they exclaim simultaneously, giving each other a pooch smooch.

Thick clouds brush the tops of the mountains.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Desert Rain

After a heavy rain this morning, the desert provides fascinating lessons; like how the Variegated Agave leaves catch water and funnel it to the plant roots.

Heavy clouds hug the base of the Organ Mountains.

A little sunlight makes the flank of Tortugas Mountain stand out against the Organs.

The opposite flank of Tortugas, with patches of blue sky above.

The sunlight on the mountain's west side makes these hedgehog cacti stand out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Long Shots

Here are some telephoto shots of the Organ Mountains. Notice the transmission line poles bisecting this image.

You can see the same poles at the base of the mountains in this shot.

Notice the homes at the very bottom of this photo; we're talking about high price abodes here.

"Rugged" is the word that best describes these mountains.

No easy way to the top.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Purple Prickly Pear

Just had to post this photo of a Purple Prickly Pear that stood out on our hike this morning. It's easy to see how it got its name.

Long Distance

A cool and breezy morning greeted Research Associate Becca and I as we hiked the Tortugas Mountain trail on the west side. Here's a vista showing part of the trail that we eventually looped back on.

Check out the inversion at the base of Bishop's Cap in this 10x telephoto pic.

Here you can see just how rugged the Organ Mountains are.

Long-distance shot of Steve and his dog, Samantha, two faithful desert hikers.

Crescent moon. Can you imagine taking a bite out of this sucker?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hey--What About Me?

Research Associate Becca chewed me out for not posting her picture on the earlier post. As one of my Italian friends told me: "She's the star of the blog." Well, here's your photo, Ham.

East Side Ramble

A lone hiker treks north on the trail around Tortugas Mountain, Monte Vista Side.

A big old hawk--his white breast sticking out--sits on a rock surveying the territory for breakfast.

Where the trail slaloms.

Organs, anyone?

Fuzzy, creosote seeds.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beauteous Morn

Here a happy jogger and his happy dogs take a morning jog on the west side of Tortugas Mountain.

Dog #2 was way ahead of the action.

In the late afternoon at COC yesterday, I took this photo of a contented bird. The shot had something of an Oriental art quality to it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Monte Vista Mood

Here's Research Associate Becca about to traverse the most difficult section of the trail that hugs Tortugas Mountain on the Monte Vista side.

In the center of this photo is that difficult section of the trail.

The haze still clings to the Organ Mountains.

Back East animals pee in the snow; here they pee in the sand.

This is not the animal who did the sand tinkling.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hazy Day

It was cold last night--about 28--and this morning it was obvious that there was a slight temperature inversion. That's what is responsible for the haze in front of the Organs.

Here I was trying to take a photo of a sparrow, but the bird flew the coop before I snapped the shutter.

Who's eating these Prickly Pear pads?

My guess is jackrabbits, but pack rats can also do this kind of damage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Foxy Lady

On the west side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, Research Associate Becca got all bothered by a scent she picked up near this forest of yuccas.

That's when I saw this den hole, which could belong to a fox family.

Here's Desert Dog looking for foxes.

If you look closely after you enlarge this photo you can see the trail that skirts Tortugas Mountain, sunset side.

You gotta love the Organ Mountains.

Desert Life

1st 2:  Willow in yucca shadow It was so windy and the air was so bad this morning that Dr. K, Willow and I did only our regular hike. Not s...