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Monday, December 31, 2012

Dynamic Weather = Good Light

It was pretty cold when Becca and I hit the trail west of Tortugas Mountain this morning; in fact, there was a smattering of snow on the Organ Mountains.  You couldn't see much of the white stuff, though, because the peaks were obscured by heavy cloud cover.  The wind came and went during our trek, requiring me to don gloves at times, and to zip my anorak up and down according to the dictates of the breeze.  We saw a few other hikers out there, but not many people were willing to brave the elements.








Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Hike Before Heading Down

Climbing the stile
We decided to cut our stay in the high country a few days short because of a coming storm.  After we packed the car and left the cabin we drove to the Grandview Trail and hiked it yet again.  Afterwards we picked up sandwiches and beverages at the Brewer's convenience store at the base of the mountain.  Then it was an hour-and-a-half drive back to the lower desert, where it looks as if we'll be getting some of the stormy weather here, too; there's even a prediction of snow in the higher elevations.
Overcast sky--harbinger of the storm

Juniper-studded landscape

Becca in the ramada

White Sands under a cloudy sky

Cactus growing in rock

Back at the trailhead

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yet Another Grandview Hike

The way down to Alamogordo
After an abbreviated hike on the Osha Trail outside of Cloudcroft on Monday, we've been avoiding trekking in the higher elevations because of the cold.  And, brother, has it been cold.  It was 16 F. when we started off this morning--and that's at about 7,000 feet.  No way do we want to be hiking above 9,000 feet.  So it was one of our longtime old standys, the Grandview Trail.  No mud on the hiking path because the ground was frozen solid.  No other hikers, either, which made for a pleasant morning outing.
Dr. K and Becca

Becca always sees things we don't

Midway point ramada

The old railroad bed

Friday, December 28, 2012

Another Day on the Grandview Trail

Ranch at the base of the mountains
Because Dr. K was meeting a colleague in Cloudcroft this morning, we did a quick hike on the Grandview Trail, which is very convenient to reach.  There was a car with Texas plates parked at the trailhead, but we never saw the owner.  Figured the occupants probably linked the Grandview Trail and the Bridal Veil Falls Trail for a 6.5-mile round tripper.  We did just under 3 miles before heading out; just enough of a hike to satisfy the consummate outdoorsdog, Becca.
Hairy Woodpecker

Waiting patiently to be released

Rolling foothills

Smoke signals (not really)

At the midway point

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Hike Before Shopping

Looking in the direction of Trinity Site across the Tularosa Basin
Dr. K, Becca and I hiked the Grandview Trail this morning.  We were fortunate because the trail had not yet thawed, and much of it was covered in snow.  Therefore, our boots did not get muddy like yesterday.  After our hike we drove down to Alamogordo to do some grocery shopping at Lowe's Supermarket.  We're always amazed at how friendly and helpful the workers are there.  We bought a six-pack of Hop Rising Double India Pale Ale from Squatters Brewery in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Never heard of the stuff before.  I'll let you know if it's any good.
Eager to move forward


White Sands and the San Andres Mountains

High desert mountains

A dry section of the trail

Oddly-lit butte

Much of the Grandview Trail is still covered in snow

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Semi-Snowy Trek


High Desert snow
We hiked about three-fourths of the Bridal Veil Falls Trail this morning before heading back.  Much of the trail was still in snow, though the spots where the snow had melted were very muddy.  We felt like we were hiking with bowling balls on our feet at times because of the mudpack on the soles of our boots.  It wasn't too cold out there--anorak over down vest weather.  We ran into a guy named Phil and his female dog Murphy.  We've encountered them on this trail before.  Murphy and Becca had fun running in circles before we all parted company.
Headed down canyon

Dr. K and Becca

Juniper and Pinyon Pine elevation

Along the Bridal Veil Falls Trail

Parts of the trail were still pretty snowy

Snow Dog was a happy camper

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dreaming of a White Christmas

What we woke up to find on Christmas day
It started snowing last night around 9:00, and continued for several hours.  We got the white Christmas we really hadn't been hoping for.  Nonetheless, we made the best of the situation, driving seven miles to Cloudcroft to hike the Osha Trail.  We really abbreviated the trek, though, because it was muy cold, and Becca started holding up her paws because her tootsies were frozen.  Jettisoned a couple of days' garbage in one of the dumpsters up there, turned around and came back to the cabin.  Suns out now and the snow's a-meltin'.
Slightly over an inch fell

Becca's on the move while Dr. K poses

Becca, Packrat and Dr. K's shadow

Cloudcroft, New Mexico decked out in boughs of holly


Burro Street, Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Packrat, Dr. K, Becca and the pumphouse

Happy Holidays!


May your holidays be filled with really large presents!

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