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Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Believe it or not, it's hard to get bitten by a tarantula.

After the Storm

We had a big storm this morning; it even caused a small leak in one of the ceilings here at the Chihuahuan Observation Center. On our way out to Tortugas Mountain, I photographed this blooming Century Plant in a neighborhood yard.

The storm that hit us hard headed south toward El Paso; that's it in the background.

Here's a Collared Lizard avoiding us in a rocky crevice.

The Organ Mountains under stormy skies.

The rugged Dona Ana Mountains north of Tortugas.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cool Morning/Hot Day

The day started cloudy and cool, but very humid; it rained much of the previous night. Here are the Organ Mountains under clouds.

This quail was scouting the terrain for its mates.

The Franklin Mountains near El Paso.

The Chihuahuan Desert under cloudy skies.

An Ocotillo forest on the west side of Tortugas Mountain.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Baby Rattler

We came across this young rattlesnake in an arroyo south of Tortugas.

Windy with Clouds

The morning heat was diminished somewhat by the strong winds that moved puffy white clouds around in the sky. Here's a photo of the northeast side of Tortugas Mountain.

The illusion is of hills on fire.

Looking northeast from the Tortugas Mountain trail.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Without My Walking Stick . . .

The other day it rained pretty heavily here at the Chihuahuan Observation Center. This Walking Stick clung to the rain-soaked glass door.

East Tortugas Hike

Although it was somewhat humid this morning, a cool breeze made our hike bearable. Shadow and light made for interesting scenery. Here's a shot of the trail forward.

The trail heads southwest from here.

Southern face of Tortugas.

A lush arroyo, the Organ Mountains behind.

Closeup of the rugged Organs.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Baby Bunny

A tiny Cottontail at the Chihuahuan Observation Center.

Images from COC

A very young (and cute) Cottontail rabbit forages for food at the Chihuahuan Observation Center.
Looking southwest across the grounds at COC.

Another photo of the cute rabbit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Desert Rain

We got sprinkled on this morning.

Rainy Panorama

Looking from El Paso to Las Cruces.

Good Girl

A chance to see the well-behaved Becca.

Long, Cool Hike

A cool overcast day--with periods of light rain--made for a very enjoyable hike. One of the first things we came upon was this egg, lying beside a yucca. I'm guessing it's a Cactus Wren egg.

We struck west down the major arroyo south of Tortugas, where huge, blossom-laden Acacias grow.

Standing in the arroyo looking east to the Organ Mountains.

An overcast sky kept the temperature down.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Desert Wind

The wind ameliorated the heat this morning.

Windy and Hot Hike

Another hot morning was made more bearable by a stiff wind. You can estimate the wind velocity by the look of these clouds.

A boulder in the foreground, the Franklin Mountains near El Paso in the rear.

The fruit of the Soaptree Yucca.

This photo might have made an apt subject for Vincent Van Gogh.

Here's a big Jackrabbit parked in front of COC.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tall Ocotillos

Large Ocotillos in a sandy arroyo.

Cool Breeze

Even though it was alternately sunny and overcast this morning, a cool breeze kept the temperature down.

A blue-tailed lizard.

The hazy Organ Mountains in the background.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


A denizen of the desert.

Wind's Up

A light wind makes a big difference in the desert.

Rest Stop

A shady rest stop in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Westside Ramble

"Hot" was the name of the game again this morning, so Becca and I sought frequent relief from the sun. Here's an area of denser vegetation where shade is fairly abundant.

Not much shade in this section of the desert.

This is a shady spot where we often stop for water.

Those are the Franklin Mountains near El Paso on the horizon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Seeking Shade

It was awfully hot this morning, and Becca and I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for shady rest stops. This is one on the south side of Tortugas Mountain.

It doesn't seem like much, but it's a great place to get out of the sun.

Here we are taking a break.

Somebody built a fire ring under the rock shelter, but it hasn't been used.

Here's a view looking out at the hot desert.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Packrat and Becca

A short clip of the blog stars.

Silent Video of the Organ Mountains

This short video pans across one-fourth of the Organ Mountains.

Monte Vista Sunday

It was hot and slightly humid when Research Associate Becca, Dr. K and I did our hike around Tortugas Mountain this morning. This is the rock outcropping that marks the spot where the trail bends from south to west.

Fortunately, clouds frequently blocked the sun, keeping the temperature down.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Organ, Franklin Mountains and Sierra Juarenses

This is a short video of the Organ Mountains, the Franklin Mountains and the Sierra Juarenses.

Seismic Lab

The old seismic laboratory on Tortugas's west side.

Last Night's Rabbit

Just wanted to post this photo of a Jackrabbit snoozing in an agave shadow at COC.

Very Hot Start

Becca and I abbreviated our hike this morning because of the heat. Nevertheless, we took some photos and videos for posting. This Soaptree Yucca in a sandy arroyo on the western foothills of Tortugas Mountain, for instance.

Closeup of the creamy white flower petals.

Grand View--Not

Early morning moon A man and woman were just starting down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail when we rolled into the Grand View Trail parking lot....