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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Difference a Day Makes

That's some Yucca
Although it was a bit windy and cold this morning (19 F. when we started off), it was nothing like yesterday--one of the worst weather days I can remember here in the Southwest.  Today the sun was out, and we even felt a bit warm by the time the hike was over.  We were the only clowns testing the elements around Tortugas Mountain, however.
Soaptree Yuccas, Ocotillo and mountains

On the trail near Tortugas

Torrey Yuccas and vista

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Organ Mountains obscured by blowing dust
Worst fifteen-minute hike of my life.  The wind was simply merciless. 
Dust storm in the desert

Even Becca didn't enjoy being outside

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Up in the Canyon

The Bar Canyon trail head
Dr. K, Becca and I did a hike on the Bar Canyon Trail in Soledad Canyon this morning.  We ran into a few other hikers with dogs.  No major confrontations.  For the most part, though, it seemed as if we had the canyon to ourselves.  The wind began to pick up toward the last of the trek, a harbinger of what's coming tomorrow.

Home of the Trickster

The Chimney

Rolling foothills

Mountain layers

Sotols (aka Desert Spoons)

Out in the outback

Little Casa Grande

Sea of grass

In the tall grass

The long vista

Friday, February 25, 2011

Freestyle Friday

On the alert
Beautiful weather this morning as we made our way around the long loop west of Tortugas Mountain.  We saw a jogger with a dog in the distance, but no close encounter of the thrid kind.  Headed for 67 degrees F. today, and even warmer tomorrow.  Sunday, however, is supposed to be a horrible wind day.

The leaning Yucca featured in the last photo isn't long for uprightness, I fear.

Not so alert

The rugged Chihuahuan Desert

Leaning tower of Yucca

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Long Thursday Hike

The Franklin Mountains near El Paso
We got our morning hike in before the worst of the wind could get started; but we're in for big winds the rest of the week.  Wind storms in the desert can be pretty awful.  What meterologists refer to as "blowing dust" is really heavy sand in the air.  If you're out in it long enough you'll be eating a sand sandwich.
The Look

The rugged Organ Mountains

Observatory atop Tortugas Mountain

The Potrillo Mountains, west of Las Cruces

Cross in the desert

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Once Around the Loop

The rolling desert
Because today was provision resupply day, the Beckster and I had to take a quick hike around one of the loop trails near Tortugas Mountain.  Despite the short hike she managed three BMs (too much information?).
It's called bushwhacking

Soaptree Yuccas and Tortugas Mountain

When I heard the learn'd astronomer

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Abbreviated Hike

Smoke signals
We shortened our hike by about a third this morning because we got a late start.  Another dental appointment--this time to fill a cavity--set me back by an hour.  Becca waited patiently, then whimpered in excitement all during the drive to the trail head.  She was a good girl on the trail, though, listening to me when I called her off a Jackrabbit chase--one of her favorite activities.
Posing for a photo

Chihuahuan Desert in winter

The way ahead

Devil's Claw

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Deer Day

Stopping to smell the roses
We encountered a small herd of Mule Deer on the west side of Tortugas (Tortoise) Mountain this morning.  They weren't all that skittish, but they didn't act like we'd be welcome in their company.  Especially Becca.  She doesn't know how to act around wild critters.
Alert Mule Deer doe

Doe turns to go

Young buck

Lucky buck with three does

Sky over Tortugas Mountain

Tortugas (left) and the Organ Mountains

Looking for more deer

There they are

Dynamic sky

Tortugas' western flank

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Morning on the Grandview Trail

Can they see me from here?
We did a hike on the Grandview Trail before heading out of the mountains this morning.  It was rather chilly because of a persistent wind.  The wind storm last night was outrageous, though.
Jennifer Juniper's family

Reverse question mark

Sacramento Mountains

When we get more money we'll finish our cabin

I'd swim like this if I was a porpoise

A Nice Bushwhack

Mourning Dove on nest in our backyard We didn't plan on it when we set off on our hike this morning, but we did a fairly long bushwhack ...