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Monday, April 30, 2012

Prickly Pear Blossoms et al.

Elderly Prickly Pear getting ready to flower
Becca and I did a long hike in the outback region west of Tortugas Mountain this morning.  Even though it's supposed to be hot today, the morning was quite bearable.  We had one encounter with another outdoorsperson--the woman who rides a mountain bike in the company of her two dogs.  One dog is a beagle that trails way behind.  I couldn't treat a dog like that, even though beagles are notorious for picking up a scent and tracking it.  Lots of lovely flowers in bloom in the desert.
Just-opening blossoms of the Soaptree Yucca

Sometimes Prickly Pear flowers have an orangish cast

At times the flowers are pinkish-orange

Flower of the desert


Prickly Pear flowers can even be tinged with red

Bee working an Ocotillo blossom

To bee or not to bee

Becca way ahead on the trail back to Tortugas

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Long Sierra Vista Trail Hike

The Organ Mountains from the Sierra Vista Trail
The weather was beautiful for a long hike on the Sierra Vista Trail in the high foothills of the Organ Mountains.  Dr. K, Becca and I enjoyed ourselves while marvelling at the blossoming plants all along the trail.  After much research at home later, I could not identify the plant species in the last two images here, though the leaves look familiar to me.  Anybody out there have an idea of what it is?
Apache Plume flower

Dr. K

Packrat and Becca

Blackfoot Daisy


Small Mesquite Tree and Prick Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus blossom

The ? plant

Flowers of the ? plant

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Morning Trek

Ocotillos in front of Tortugas Mountain
We saw a few people hiking out Geothermal Road when we were driving to the west side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, but we ran into nobody on the trails nor in the outback.  The temperature was very mild, making for an enjoyable trek.  We did quite a long one before heading back.  Becca, as usual, took a few shade breaks along the way.  She likes to spin around three of four times before plunking herself down into the sand.
The fruit of the Torrey Yucca

Why it's hard to keep a desert dog clean

Tortugas (Tortoise) Mountain

Prickly Pear Cactus in blooming mode

Unadulterated photo of Strawberry Pitaya Cactus blossoms

Non-computer-enhanced photo of Strawberry Pitaya flowers

Turkey Vultures riding the thermals

Prickly Pear Cactus flower

Friday, April 27, 2012

After the Windstorm

Yucca within a Yucca
We were greeted with cooler temperatures this morning, the result of a cold front carried in on yesterday's windstorm.  In shorts and t-shirt I felt quite chilly setting off, but it was a welcome relief from the heat.  Good to know we're not plunging directly into summer heat.  We had the whole outback to ourselves today, making Becca and I feel like First Dog and First Man.
Rarin' to go



Thursday, April 26, 2012

In and Out Before the Wind

Squiggly section of the foothills trail
Becca and I were fortunate this morning; we got in a long hike before the worst of the wind started.  Now (afternoon) the wind is gusting 30 to 40 mph, with predictions of gusts to 50 mph.  Not only were we lucky regarding the wind, but the morning was primarily overcast, so it almost felt cool out there, the sun only poking through momentarily every once in a while.  How about those Strawberry Pitaya flowers?  To me they are the most beautiful cactus blossoms in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Strawberry Pitaya flower


The trail around Tortugas

The way around the mountain


Ocotillos and the Organ Mountains


Flame-red Ocotillo flowers

Pincushion Cactus

Stawberry Pitaya Cactus blossoms

More Stawberry Pitaya flowers

Red fruit on fuzzy flower (?)

Trusty hiking companion

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hiking on Hump Day

On the foothills trail
A mid-week hike in the outback always serves as a reminder about how important the natural world is.  When the spirit is vexed from dealing with mundane reality, a good long trek relaxes body and mind.  It was hot again today, but an obliging breeze kept the temperature out of the scorching range.  Becca, as you can see, takes a break in the shade whenever the spirit moves her.

One of many shade breaks

Ocotillo wands (aka "buggy whips")


Another rest in the shade




Hiking on Hump Day II

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tortugas Tuesday

It was very hot on the mountain this morning, with no real breeze to ameliorate the heat.  Nevertheless, the trusty Beckster and I did a long hike.  We even spent about twenty minutes talking to Jimmy about how bad the drought is.  I told him we were going to have to have Pinon Pines cut down on our High Rolls property because of the Pinon Scale insect.  He said he'd recently visited Rocky Mountain National Park after a long absence, and the loss of pine trees because of drought is astounding. 




Again on the Grand View

At the lower trailhead Willow, Frio, Dr. K and I did the Grand View Trail again this morning, hiking nearly all of it today.  We ran into on...