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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve


Hikers descending the trail on the west side of Tortugas Mountain.

Don't look back, it's all right.

What's down there?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Late December Hike


Crotch shadow.

Typical desert landscape.

Help, there's a jackrabbit chasing me!

Yuccas on the mountain foothills.



Closeup of the Three Amigos.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Good Air/Bad Air


The air was good on the west side of Tortugas Mountain, where we were hiking this morning. This prickly pear, however, looks as if it's had its final gasp.

Here's somebody who's getting her fair share of air.

If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you'll see just how bad the air was in the Borderplex--the El Paso/Juarez region.

Things were looking pretty good around here, though.



Here's a photo for my good friend, Stone. (Ecco รจ una foto per il mio buon amico, Stone.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cold Sunday


Research Associate Becca, Dr. K and I froze our rears on the far side of Tortugas Mountain this morning. It was 26 degrees when we got on the trail, and the wind kept things cold. Becca, however, never seems to mind the chill as much as we do. Here she is hunting for God knows what.

Posing in front of a yucca.

Posing with the bundled-up Dr. K.

And here's a photo of George, who stayed all warm and toasty back at COC.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Near Side of the Mountain


It was 28 degrees when Research Associate Becca and I started off this morning, but it felt much colder than that with the wind chill. Nevertheless, the desert was beautiful, as always.

That's Bishop's Cap on the left.




A thorny problem.



Which road to take? Both are equally steep, and slightly treacherous walking down.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Van Gogh Organs?


A little computer manipulation of an Organ Mountains photo resulted in this image. Is it Van Goghesque? Van Goghish?

Shadow and Light


One of the beautiful things about living in the Chihuahuan Desert is getting the chance to view again and again the interplay of shadow and light. Like this image of Tortugas Mountain's north face.

Or this image of the mountain's east face.

Here's Becca, who could give a crap about shadow and light.

Three yuccas silhouetted against the desert sky.



Sunny Tortugas intersects with the shadowy Organ Mountains.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008


Research Associate Becca, Dr. K and I took a Christmas morning hike around Tortugas Mountain. The weather was delightful. How's this for good weather on December 25th?

We headed up that road toward the Tortugas Mountain foothills.

Chihuahuan Desert warmth.

Leafless ocotillos.



The way home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Outing


We made another trip to the Monte Vista side of Tortugas Mountain this morning and, even though it wasn't windy like yesterday, we saw these clouds hanging over the Organ Mountains.

This hedgehog cactus was literally glowing in the sunshine.

How can you not feel serene when you have this vista to contemplate?

No, that yucca isn't on fire; it's a jet contrail above.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wind Warning


It wasn't very pleasant out in the desert this morning. The wind--which wasn't supposed to get bad until after 10:00 a.m.--was already whipping at 8:00. Nevertheless, the sights were awesome, like this shot of pastel-colored clouds.

These lenticular (lense-shaped) clouds over the Organ Mountains tell you all you need to know about the wind force.

Closeup of the cloud shows how the wind shears the top off.

Looking north from the southwest side of Tortugas Mountain.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunny, But Cold


It was 28 degrees when Research Associate Becca and I set off on the sunset side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and the windchill made it feel even colder. This cactus, however, appeared to be enjoying the desert sun.

Tortugas's long shadow.

We had a bad windstorm recently, and this giant yucca must have toppled over then.

Here is it from another angle.



Here's a big-file photo of the noble Desert Dog.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On Sunday Morning


Research Associate Becca, Dr. K and I took a hike on the east side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, appreciating the sights on this cool, crisp day. A bird in the yucca is worth . . .

Nothing tongue-tied about this desert denizen.


A little yucca forest.

Rugged west face of the Organ Mountains.


We discovered this rock, which looked like part of a fire-starter kit--the rock receptacle in which the fire stick fits.

Again on the Grand View

At the lower trailhead Willow, Frio, Dr. K and I did the Grand View Trail again this morning, hiking nearly all of it today.  We ran into on...