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Friday, November 30, 2012

Week's End

On a windless day, dust clouds near Bishop's Cap
Becca and I did a very long hike along the western rim of Tortugas Mountain, then dropped down into the lower desert on the outer loop road.  Two-thirds of the way through the trek we ran into the Chartreuse Goose, who called Becca "the best dog ever."  Don't know about that, but she appreciated the compliment.  It acted as a counterweight to Greg's calling her "Berta" yet again.  We bumped into him toward the end of our hike.  I think he hikes only on M-W-Fs.
Late Fall in the Chihuahuan Desert

On a dusty road

"Thumbs up" Yucca

The magnificent Organ Mountains

Large stand of Soaptree Yuccas

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's in an Arroyo?

An abundance of desert flora
Becca and I explored another arroyo west of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and on the way back up to the foothills trail we were graced by the presence of a small herd of Mule Deer who were very curious about us.  They were far enough away so that they didn't feel the need to flee.  After the photo op we headed back toward the parking area, bumping into a woman hiker, Tracy, and her dog, Wellington, who we'd seen before, but never talked to.  Becca and Wellington got along okay, but obviously they both have an abundance of hyper genes.
A flock of baby Soaptree Yuccas

A forest of Creosote Bushes

Soaptree Yuccas can get much taller than this

Two curious Mule Deer

Should we go or stay?

Not much worried about a dog and her human

Find the four Mule Deer

There they are up on a ridge

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yesterday and Today

Straight shot into the lower desert
I forgot to post yesterday because of other obligations, and I only had one photo from our hike anyway.  I didn't do much better on our hike today.  Becca and I did a long trek west of Tortoise Mountain, however, and we enjoyed the unseasonably high temperatures.  When we were finishing up we ran into Greg over by the Sunset Parking area.  He greeted "Berta" and scratched her head.  Then we spent a few minutes discussing our dysfunctional federal government, arriving at no conclusions about how to fix things.
Wooden pallets piled up for a bonfire

Any treats for me?

Tortugas Mountain from a western arroyo

Monday, November 26, 2012

Is Silence Golden?

Back in the lower Chihuahuan Desert, Becca and I did a hike on the west side of Tortugas Mountain.  Just after we started off from the Sunset Parking area we were overtaken by two hikers, a young man and a young woman, the latter old enough to be the man's mother.  The woman had her iPhone in her hand, and the device was blaring music.  They were friendly in their greeting to us, but they seemed totally oblivious to the fact that they were disturbing the peace and quiet of the natural world.  It boggles my mind that someone would rather hear music than the sounds of nature.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Morning Hike Before Heading Down

High desert
Dr. K, Becca and I did a moderately-long hike on the Grandview Trail this morning before heading down for the low desert.  Again we were fortunate--not running into any other trekkers despite beautiful weekend weather.  Most people don't seem as eager to get on the trail as we are; Becca is especially anxious to get going.  She whimpers all the way to the trailhead.  Then she spends her time sniffing poop and looking for the animals that left it behind.  The Grandview Trail is high desert, about 6,200 feet.
A rocky pass

Down canyon to White Sands

High desert flora, Pinyon Pines and Junipers

Along the Grandview Trail

On the lookout for wild critters

A cabin in the mountains

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday on the Rim Trail

Setting off on the Rim Trail
This morning we did a long stretch of section two of the Rim Trail, which stretches along the western edge of the Sacramento Mountains in southern New Mexico.  It was beautiful hiking weather, about 45 degrees Fahrenheit--no wind.  Although we heard a few cars as we approached Parking Area 2 on the Sunspot Highway, we saw no one.  For two hours it was as if we had the entire place to ourselves.  Pretty remarkable for a Saturday morning.  When we got back to Parking Area 3--where we'd left our car--people were just pulling up to begin their outing.  Lucky us.
The vista from the western escarpment of the Sacramento Mountains

Bone-white Aspens against an azure sky

A trail carpeted in brown leaves

The old Mile Post 6 marker

The Rim Trail is pretty narrow all the way

G loved K 25 years ago.  Where are they now?

We three

Barely sniffing for bear

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Hike

Starting down canyon
Dr. K, Becca and I exercised our option not to go shoppping on Black Friday, opting instead for a hike into Solado Canyon down to Bridal Veil Falls (see video).  At first it was extremely windy, but the wind pretty much subsided about a third of the way into the trek.  We spent the rest of the hike marveling at the wonderful weather and the majestic panoramas.  We ran into six other hikers and a gorgeous white dog--not bad for a beautiful day in the mountains.    Becca, as usual, was enthralled by the entire outing.
Sacramento Mountains near High Rolls, New Mexico

What are you waiting for?

Wilderness dog

Cottonwoods along Fresnal Creek

Abandoned ranch house near Bridal Veil Falls

Dr. K and Becca

Becca and Packrat

Hump Day Hawk

Tortugas and the Organs We got a fairly early start this morning so it wasn't hot at all:  62F.  The cloud cover helped the temperature ...