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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Splendor

Yucca and Ocotillo
It was beautiful on the mountain this morning, only a mild chill in the air at the start of our hike.  It warmed up quickly on its way to a high of 88 F.  Many people were out on the mountain this morning, and we ran into quite a few with dogs.  Becca's behavior was outstanding, especially with a male Yellow Lab named Waylon (named after the singer Waylon Jennings).  Waylon was in outstanding condition for a 9-year-old, kept in shape by jogging with his companion, Matt.
Closeup of Yucca

Happy Becca

White-Wing Dove on Yucca flowers

Same dove

Skeleton of a plant called "Devil's Claw"

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blog Dog

Impressionistic image of the happiest pooch in the Chihuahuan Desert (northern section)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Thursday Trek

The undulating desert
We came upon an old Mesquite tree in the far outback whose limbs had definitely been sawed off a long time ago.  It really made me scratch my head about why somebody would have cut that tree down way out there.  Mesquite wood is used for firewood, and for cooking, but it's hard to imagine anybody going that far into the desert for wood.  It wasn't exactly a convenient place to harvest firewood.
Yucca and mountains

Huge Soaptree Yucca in a large arroyo, and dog

Somebody sawed this Mesquite Tree in the outback a long time ago

At first glance this stone looked to be a potsherd

Bushwhacking Becca

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day at the Beach

Starting out early
A long early-morning hike was just the remedy for a "blue" Wednesday.  After we'd put miles on our feet and paws we were too tired to think about the sad realities of life.  In truth, Becca doesn't contemplate things like that too often.  She's too busy sampling the myriad of smells in the desert.
Ocotillos are beginning to bud

Becca loves sand

Two roads diverged in a desert wash

Should have named her "Sandy"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Desert in Bloom

While the desert seems at first glance  to be a monochromatic landscape (a perception refuted by long-time desert dwellers), every spring the blossoming of desert flora highlights what some see as a drab palette.  Because desert plants flower at differing times in the season--yuccas, ocotillos, and innumerable cacti--there's always a splash of brilliant color in the arid land.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tortugas Mountain Hike

Yucca against a desert sky
There is nothing quite so rewarding as an early-morning hike in the Chihuahuan Desert on a Monday morning.  Relatively few outdoor enthusiasts are on or around the mountain, and you can experience a sense of solitude not always available on the weekend.  It has been incredibly warm (hot, really) lately, with temperatures running 15 to 17 degrees above normal.  The warm weather is fine, but there's no need to lurch into summer-like weather around here.
Torrey Yuccas in bloom

Tortugas (Tortoise) Mountain

Desert Broom (left)

Long dirt road

Tortugas (left) and the Organ Mountains

Becca in the foothills

Mountainous desert territory

Desert Chicory

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Early Sunday Hike

We got an early start this morning, such that we were in the shadow of Tortugas for quite awhile.  Not surprisingly--considering how beautiful the weather is--there were a significant number of other people on the mountain.  Most upsetting for Becca were the four mountain bikers who rudely blocked the entire trail while they stood discussing how ridiculous they looked in their bicycle uniforms.  I made a special effort not to say anything to them about their rude behavior, but it pissed me off that they couldn't even make the least effort to move.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday on Tortugas

Heading out of higher ground
Because the morning weather was so beautiful there were lots of outdoor enthusiasts on the mountain.  We had a few near encounters with people and their dogs, but no muzzle-to-muzzle meetings. 
Becca beside an old Torrey Yucca

A break in the shade

Old and the new

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Long Trek

Multi-headed Torrey Yucca
Becca and I went on a really long hike this morning to commune with nature and speculate on the ultimate nature of life--this in the wake of George's passing.  To be honest, I don't think Becca was dealing with these issues.  She seemed more concerned with the various scents she encountered in the desert.  She's a dog, after all.
A well-traveled arroyo

Becca in another huge arroyo

Claret Cup Cactus

Claret Cup Cactus flowers

Views from the Grand View

Sacramentos We did the Grand View Trail this morning, surprised that nobody else was there on a Sunday morning.  We hiked the entire first l...