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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Soledad Canyon Hike

Here are a few more photos of our trek in Soledad Canyon yesterday. Increasingly higher elevations in the Organ Mountains.

Casita Grande.

"Which way do we go, boss, which way do we go?"

Light and shadow in the Organs.

Looking the other way: shadow and light.

Friday, January 30, 2009

High Desert IV

Further west on the arroyo that was widened by the floods.

This butte is covered with yellow grass.

Closeup view of the grassland.


High Desert III

Sheer rock wall.

Exploring the grasslands.

The straight and narrow.

Floods have greatly expanded a major arroyo draining out of the Organs.

What a dog!

High Desert II

Sinuous hills within the Organ Mountains.

In the center of the photo is Tortugas Mountain, our daily stomping ground.

The way into Soledad Canyon.

The ruins in the canyon--Becca doing research.

Looking out from inside the ruins.

High Desert

Research Associate Becca and I took our inquisitive bodies up to Soledad Canyon this morning. The sights were awesome! The fork in the loop trail.

The gnarly Organ Mountains.

Huge monoliths sprout out of the hillside.

A typical high desert scene with grass and junipers.

Action shot of Becca as we begin the ascent to the upper section of the Bar Canyon Trail.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Self-Portrait with Hidden Pup

Why does Packrat always lean to the right when running into a photo frame?

A driver of a truck--for no rational reason--decided to drive his vehicle across the desert floor.

This pea-brain drove over desert flora in his quest--to do what?

Research Associate Becca demonstrates the proper way to traverse the desert.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Short Jaunt

Because of other obligations (shopping at Albertsons), Research Associate Becca and I got off to a late start this morning. At 10:30 a.m. it was still very chilly because of the cold front that blew through yesterday. Nevertheless, the views were outstanding. Here's Bishops Cap in the distance.

Here's a Roadrunner we encountered on the trail; they are also referred to as "Paisano"--"friend" en espanol.

Here's my favorite Paisano scouting the way ahead.

An odd, grassy hill in the desert, the Organ Mountains behind.

Here's the inside of a barrel cactus that has been hollowed out by animals. I'm not sure what the furry object at the bottom is.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Inside An Arroyo II

Clouds building over Tortugas.

We crosscut the desert through a medium-sized arroyo that joins two dirt roads; off-road vehicles had passed through here recently.

Soaptree yuccas and a large mesquite growing in the arroyo bottom.

Becca studies the way back.

Light and shadows on the rugged Organ Mountains.

Inside An Arroyo

The cold front that blew through yesterday dropped the temperature about ten degrees. It felt fine until the wind picked up and the sun disappeared behind clouds. Sunny start on the Monte Vista side of Tortugas Mountain.

The way ahead.

The clouds thicken toward the northeast.

Yucca skirts.

Dagger yucca leaves.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wind Advisory II

The area directly surrounding the arroyo is heavy with desert flora.

Desert Dog takes a brief break in the sandy arroyo bottom.

A tall yucca sprouts from the Chihuahuan Desert.

A sturdy old yucca stands tall in the arroyo flood plain.

How to explore the thorny desert: very carefully!

Wind Advisory

We're under a high wind advisory today, but fortunately Becca and I got out to the desert before the wind was too bad. The weather was still warm, very spring like.

Whether it has to do with the peculiar, pipe-organ shape of the Organ Mountains, or the thermals that rise over the monolith, clouds always seem to take an odd form over this section of the mountains.

High winds aloft create a spectacular cloud formation toward the south.

Vegetation is heavier in this small arroyo that drains out of Tortugas Mountain.

Becca explores near a large stand of Soaptree Yuccas.

Heat is On Again

Headed down LDR-A arroyo to yucca shade for Wils The desert floor hasn't been cooling off very much during the overnight hours, and the ...