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Monday, January 31, 2011

Storms A-comin'

Sky above Tortugas
We're getting somewhat dire warnings about the two storm systems headed our way.  Snow and very cold temperatures are in the forecast.  But today the weather was great, and the Beckster and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  At least one other hiker was out basking in the sun.
Lone hiker

On the ready

Before the storm

New GPS device

Hilly foothills

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Hike

West side of Tortugas
Dr. K, Becca and I did a very long hike on the west side of Tortugas Mountain this morning.  We ran into other people out enjoying the weather.  A few of the people had dogs, but Becca was pretty well behaved.  On the car ride home, though, she snarled mightily at a dog in the neighborhood, which drew a stern reprimand from me.  Nevertheless, she got her flip chip when we entered the house.
The new and improved Becca

Chihuahuan Desert flora

Saturday, January 29, 2011


The trail out of the foothills
We started off on the beaten path, but the sheer number of other people hiking with dogs, jogging and riding mountain bikes forced us to bushwhack across the desert.  Bushwhacking in the desert is something you should only do wearing long pants--even in the summer.  Too many fanged plants and animals to leave shins bared.
Shadow and light on Tortugas

Funny cloud over the Franklin Mountains

Working dog

Chihuahuan Desert topography

Geode-type rock

On a deer trail

Long pants necessary for bushwhacking in the desert

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Round-up

Bad temperature inversion in Ciudad Juarez
A very pleasant morning in the Chihuahuan Desert found the Beckster and I hiking around Tortugas (Tortoise) Mountain.  We saw only one other hiker (at a great distance), and we never got close to him.  Later in the day it warmed up to 63 F, which you really can't beat for January 28th.
Always looking for something

The warm Chihuahuan Desert

Soaptree Yuccas

Busy sniffing

Closeup of the Sniffer

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thor's Day

Geriatric Prickly Pear
A Thursday hike around Tortugas Mountain was just perfect this morning.  The only thing we saw was a young mule deer doe scampering up the mountainside.  It was running alone, which is surprising considering they usually run in small herds.

Something interesting over there

The trail ahead

Can you spot the central point of interest?

Ah, there it is

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moderately-Long Hike

The way up the mountain
Had to cut the hike a bit short because it's provision resupply day here at the Chihuahuan Observation Center.  That was okay because it was quite cold this morning:  low 30s with a stiff wind.
The long road ahead

The trail back to Tortugas

Whatcha lookin' at, chump?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ruby Tuesday Hike

The thorny desert
A long hike in the desert this morning provided some good exercise.  The solitude was much-appreciated, too.  We saw nobody out and about Tortugas Mountain this morning.  Becca always sees something, though, as evidenced by photo #2.
Classic pose

Up the arroyo

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday on the Trail

Sun in the foothills
It was a little brisk this morning when we set out, but the sun soon warmed us up.  No other hikers were present on our morning jaunt, so we very much enjoyed the desert solitude.
Tortugas and the Organs

Dog and shadows

Bend in the road

Fire ring

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sun Day

On the trail around Tortugas
Dr. K, Becca and I headed out from the Monte Vista side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, enjoying the warmth of a late-January day in the desert.  Unfortunately, some jerk was out shooting his gun, round after round that echoed and reverberated against the mountain.  This kept up for 2/3 of the hike, long after I'd expended every pejorative term I could come up with:  e.g. "idiot," "moron," "imbecile."  We came upon a deer leg, looking very much at first like a small log next to a rock.  It was probably carried there by a coyote.

Looking back at the way we came

Ms. Becca

A deer leg

West of Tortugas

The distant Organ Mountains

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crowded Hike

A trail down Tortugas's foothills
People were all over the mountain this morning, not surprising considering the beautiful weather.  Having all those hikers and joggers about is always a bit disconcerting, though, because it robs the desert of its solitude--one of its finest attributes.

The trail we just descended

Empty Soaptree Yucca pod, Ocotillo branch on left

Spent Soaptree Yucca pods

Up an arroyo (dry wash)

Prickly Pear Cactus and Soaptree Yuccas

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...