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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stuff's a-Bloomin'

Claret Cup Cactus
After this past February's bitter cold snap--the most frigid temperatures I can remember in the Chihuahuan Desert--it's wonderful to see plants beginning their yearly spring ritual:  blossoming for reproduction.  The Claret Cup Hedgehog Cactus is one of the earliest and most beautiful of bloomers.  And soon the flowers of the Ocotillo will be blazing on the tips of the Buggy Whips.
Stamens sprouting

Tres hermanas

A Claret Cup flower

Buds forming on an Ocotillo (aka "Buggy Whip")

All Dog All the Time

The most photographed dog in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.

Purple Mountains' Majesty

The Organ Mountains of southern New Mexico
Not much to complain about on this morning's hike--beautiful, sunny skies, warm temperature, and even a missile launch from White Sands Missile Range to boot.  That's the launch in the middle of the second photo, and the missile contrail in photo three.
Missile launch over the Organs

Missile contrail

Crab Nebula-type cloud

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Provision Day Jaunt

Tall Yucca shadow
Had to abbreviate the hike slightly this morning so I could go grocery shopping at Albertsons.  Fortunately, there were no other hikers out and about; they had all gone to the store afore me.  We had a pleasantly warm jaunt through the Chihuahuan Desert.
Becca doing her favorite thing:  hiking

The road back to Tortugas

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Heading north around Tortugas
"Dodgems" are to the English what Bumper Cars are to the Americans, but here I'm referring to all the people who were on and around Tortugas Mountain this morning and what we had to do to avoid them.  We had one benign encounter with a woman hiker and her dog, and we had to avoid three other women hikers, a male jogger and his black dog, and several mountain bikers.  Don't know why it was so crowded out there today.
Three soldiers

Fit canine on the alert

Dirt road across the desert

Old contrail over the Organs

Something's in the air

Northwest flank of Tortugas Mountain

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Holy Day Outing

Watch dog
A very pleasant--albeit windy--hike in the desert this morning, with Dr. K and Becca for companions.  What could be better?  Well, it could have been less windy.
Dr. K in the desert

Packrat and Becca

Portrait of the photographer in a sunglass lens

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend on Tortugas

Trail into the valley
We made it around the mountain before the stiffer winds arrived.  Surprisingly, there weren't many hikers, joggers or mountain bikers about.  We did have one close encounter with a biker, but Becca simply stepped off the trail and went into one of her herding crouches as he passed.  Had to reward her for that, considering her fear of mountain bikes.

Assorted Prickly Pear

I saw something move down there

Becca in the Tortugas Mountain foothills

Bored?  Not me

Friday, March 25, 2011

Artsy-Fart Mood

Just in an artsy frame of mind today.  The images are computer-enhanced photos.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day After Hump Day Hike

Tortugas's sinuous western flank
We got our long hike in this morning before the wind picked up.  The only people we saw were the trainees at the lineman school grounds.  Becca sang to them:  "Oh, oh, telephone line . . ."  I tried to shut her up, but she was disobedient.  She has a pretty nice voice, though.  American Idol contestant?
I am a lineman in the desert . . .

Dog in repose

Dog in fly-catching mode

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Midweek Hike

Fuzzy moon speared by Yucca leaf
It's spring break at the local university (NMSU) and quite a few people were out and about Tortugas Mountain.  We didn't have any direct encounters, though.  At one point we thought we heard a girl screaming, but it was a lone coyote wailing its head off.  Not sure why.  Such an eerie sound in the desert outback.

Becca on the single-track

Fuzzy moon snagged on Ocotillo branch

Bishop's Cap

Soaptree Yucca (left) and Ocotillo

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 ...