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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday at Tortugas


A Soaptree Yucca takes a bow.

A dense growth of Soaptree Yuccas in an arroyo bottom.

Mountain bikers enjoying the pleasant weather.

A jogger on the Tortugas Mountain trail.



The desert floor.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thorny Problem


I like spring as much as the next person, but I don't want it to start in the third week of February. But flowers are beginning to bloom in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Closeup of the thorns on a Prickly Pear cactus.

The barbed thorns of the Ocotillo.

Desert flora in an arroyo bottom.



A single-track mountain bike trail through the desert sagebrush.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monte Vista Side


Another hot morning on the east side of Tortugas Mountain. The vistas were spectacular as usual.

Light and shadow on the Organ Mountains.

A close-up shot of the rugged Organs.

The Organs on the eastern horizon.



I guess I just can't get enough of those Organ Mountains.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Harbinger of Spring


I had to go to the store this morning to buy provisions for the Chihuahuan Observation Center, so Becca and I got off to a later start on our field research. We didn't get onto the Tortugas Mountain trail, Sunset Side, until 10:10 a.m. The first thing we stumbled across was this imprint of a three-toed deer. Seriously!

Mid-southern section of the Organ Mountains.

A stand of leafless Ocotillos.

A typical Chihuahuan Desert scene, the Organs in the background.



Flowers already in bloom!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Early Summer?


We're headed for 83 degrees today, and it already felt warm this morning when Research Associate Becca and I got onto the trail. The Organ Mountains looked spectacular as usual.

No, the top of Tortugas Mountain is not on fire; the clouds just make it seem that way.

An old rock shelter just off the trail, probably built by one of the many miners who plied the mountains.

Check out this odd cloud over the Organs.



A beautiful Redtail Hawk surveying the area for prey.

Monday, February 23, 2009

¡Ay Chihuahua!


Research Associate Becca and I got out early on the Tortugas Mountain trail this morning, hoping to record some interesting images in the light created from a milky overcast. Here's a typical Chihuahuan Desert scene, with Yuccas, Ocotillos and Prickly Pear cactus.

Becca surveys the territory for any moving critters.

Yuccas and the rugged Organ Mountains.

A narrow dirt road bisects a heavy stand of Creosote Bush.



A large Redtail Hawk sits atop a Soaptree Yucca searching for breakfast.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On The Trail


There were lots of people enjoying the desert around Tortugas Mountain. Right off we bumped into Annie Oakley.

Cross in the desert.

In the center of this photo (barely visible) is one of three coyotes we saw heading away from us.

We bumped into Rachel and Lacey, and Research Associate Becca was ecstatic about it.



Clouds over Tortugas.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Like Popcorn For Pack Rats


Beautiful morning this, and Becca and I were out on the west side of Tortugas Mountain. That's where we saw this large, geode-like rock, whose outer layer seemed to be white sediment.

The desert looked fine, as usual.

A gang of pack rats gathered here for a movie last night, munching on delicious Prickly Pear pads, their equivalent of Elizabethan hazel nuts.

Yuccas bathing in the late February sun.



A dove juxtiposed against the old observatory atop Tortugas.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why We Love The Desert


It's February 20th, and although the morning was clear and crisp when Becca and I started off on the Tortugas Mountain trail, the temperature is supposed to rise to 67 degrees today. Can you beat it? Desert Dog doesn't think so.

How about those Organ Mountains on the eastern horizon?

A hill fuzzy with wild grass.

A closeup of those rugged mountains.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gorgeous Day


Research Associate Becca and I were out early this morning, enjoying the desert around Tortugas Mountain. Out in the Mesilla Valley we saw this smoke from a distant fire.

This photo gives an indication of how beautiful the day was.

Who appreciates the desert more than Desert Dog?

Ocotillo in winter.



Tortugas's rocky north face.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Hike


Because of responsibilities here at COC, Research Associate Becca and I were not able to get out to Tortugas Mountain this morning. So I'm posting this photo of Ralph the Roadrunner, who lives on the grounds here. We see him frequently in the backyard, hunting for breakfast and lunch. He's a handsome cuss, isn't he?

Arroyo Nuevo

Different perspectives from a new hike As soon as Willow, Frio and I exited the CR-V at the trailhead this morning I realized we wouldn'...