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Friday, February 28, 2014

A Friend's Return

Heckle and Jeckle (Cactus Wrens).  The cartoon ones were Magpies
JC and his wife made a brief return to the area in order to pick up Shaque's ashes.  JC let us know he was going to do a brief hike west of Tortugas, and we were happy to run into him.  We trekked the last half of the inner loop with him, talking about his best buddy, Shaque.  Back at the cars JC showed me--and then Jimmy who showed up to say hello--some photos of Shaque when he was a pup.  "Precious memories," JC called them.  He and his wife are heading to Phoenix today, then back to Fairbanks in a week or so.
Jeckle took off

Rocky western slope

A large patch of Prickly Pear Cactus

A dog with a sense of humor

Heading back up the mountain

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shoo Fly!

Short utility pole at the lineman facility
Both Becca and I were pestered by flies on our long hike around Tortugas Mountain.  That seems to be a bad omen for the presence of insects this warm season.  We ran into a mountain biker who was impressed with Becca's behavior.  When he passed us on a narrow section of the trail, he said, "That's one well-behaved dog."  I said, "Yes, she's a good girl."  I was pleased by his comment because I've worked hard over the years to train Becca to be well-behaved.
Do not open:  electrical hazard

Heading down a road we haven't hiked in a while

Long dirt road across the desert

Taking a sandy break

The desert isn't as flat as it looks

Literally the only cloud in the sky, which dissipated within a few minutes

Find the pup in the pic

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Windy Cool Down

Becca and I did an extra long hike this morning, starting on Tortugas's west side and looping around the south side of the mountain.  When we turned around we did the far outer loop that took us into the outback away from the Tortoise.  A cold front blew in yesterday, and it lowered the temperature significantly.  This morning the wind was a constant companion, and it made it feel quite chilly out there.  We ran into our buddy Jimmy on our return leg, and we all hiked together back to the parking lot.  It was good talking to him.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Morning sun  trying to break through the overcast
The Beckster and I did an early-morning hike on the west side of the Tortoise.  Then, after we returned home, I had some business to take care of, as well as some shopping to do at Target and Albertson's.  In the early afternoon I took Becca out to the north face of Tortugas Mountain where we did a short, half-hour hike. Becca is perfectly willing to go on as many hikes as I want per day.

Mustard family

Afternoon on the north face of the mountain

Looking east from the north side

Heading up a steep slope

Prickly Pear Cactus growing right out of a boulder

Heading back toward the Organ Mountains

Monday, February 24, 2014

Yet Another Public Hearing

Small flags mark the route for a weekend event, flags destined to stay up
When Becca and I were pulling into the dirt road leading to the Sunset Parking area we spotted the pink sign featured in the penultimate image here; it's announcing a public hearing on the nearly 16 acres of land adjacent to Tortugas Mountain.  The owners want it rezoned commercial (read McDonald's, Taco Bell, etcetera), and the Extra-Territorial Zoning Commission is having a public hearing on it, which is scheduled for March 6th.  I may attend, but Becca doesn't want to go.
Wind power, water power, solar power, electricity

Sinuous Tortoise

Public hearing on nearly 16 acres of land next to Tortugas Mountain

I've seen milling stones before, but never out here

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taking in the Grand View

Vista to the northeast from the Grand View Trail
Dr. K, Becca and I did about 2 1/2 miles on the Grand View Trail this morning before packing up and heading to the lower desert.   For most of our hike a high overcast obscured the sun, but it was fairly warm.  As is often the case on a Sunday morn we had the entire place to ourselves, engendering a real sense of solitude.  
Dr. K and Becca on a wide section of the trail

Sacramento Mountains

Part of the Tularosa Basin


Steep Hill Road (center)

The scenery around High Rolls/Mountain Park

Three-quarters of the way there

Level section of the Grand View

Any critters around here?

Small rock ledge

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Perfect Weather

Railroad trestle over Fresnal Creek
I may sound like a meteorologist, but the weather in the high country was perfect for hiking this morning.  Dr. K, Becca and I did a long hike to Bridal Veil Falls and back.  We saw nobody on the way, but on the return trip we bumped into a man with a cowboy hat hiking alone, a man and a woman with two Boxers (the dogs not the shorts) and a man and a woman with two mixed-breed dogs.  We were out of the canyon by 10:30, certain to beat the late crowd.
Footbridge over the creek

On the Bridal Veil Falls Trail

Shadow and light along the creek bed

Forging ahead of the pack

An old, long-abandoned homestead

In the gazebo at the falls (right)

Becca and Dr. K

Packrat and Becca

Bridal Veil Falls

Looking out at the White Sands

Burro Street, Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Still quite a bit of snow in places

The assault begins

Hoss (brown) and Champ (black) knock Dr. K backwards

Help me!

Lab sandwich

Hoss making himself comfortable

Monday Monday Trek

This & next:  headed down the middle branch arroyo Another hot hike this morning, but not nearly as bad as yesterday morning; it didn...