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Monday, June 30, 2014

Curtailed Hightail

Morning sunlight apparition in the hallway outside my office
We're under an extreme heat warning today, headed for a high of 103 or 104 F.  From the way it felt out there this morning I'm guessing we might top out a bit higher.  Because of the temperature--and the absence of significant wind--I cut our hike short this morning.  Becca took five or six shade breaks along the way.  I made sure she stayed hydrated, though, giving her water almost every time we stopped.  I drank, too, because I was perspiring moderately heavily.
Allthorn in bloom

These wasps love Allthorn flowers

What's Becca staring at?

A Jackrabbit up on its haunches

A hare ready to move out

A very hot Chihuahuan Desert

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Curved Bill's Excellent Song

Back of the mountain

A dead Kangaroo Rat on the trail around Tortugas Mountain
Around the back of Tortugas Mountain a Curve-billed Thrasher was singing its head off.  I don't know why; it was hotter than Hades out there.  We're under a heat warning for tomorrow, when the intrepid Becca and I will be hiking the Chihuahuan Desert.  Check out the poor-quality video below of Old Curved Bill doing his thing.  Wish I'd had my tripod with me, but the bird would have been long gone by the time I set it up.
Ahead of the pack of two

Curved-billed Thrasher
Becca (Mesilla Valley, New Mexico in background)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

First Post New Desktop

This is my first post using my new Dell desktop computer.  My other computer (Dr. K called it my "jalopy")  was on it's very last leg, crash dumping and scanning discs for errors almost everyday.  I've only had this one hooked up for a day, and already I'm enjoying its benefits:  faster, quieter, huge memory (it's using 100% of its mental capacity); and the wide-screen monitor (fully HD capable) is a hell of an improvement over my old one, which had begun to flicker like a silent movie.

How to get really dusty

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekday Noise Pollution

The trail from the Sunset Parking area
Two women and a child and three loose dogs were coming down the mountain and I could hear them from miles away.  The three humans were screaming at the dogs, who were not paying attention.  I'm all in favor of dogs running free if they can be controlled.  If they're uncontrollable they should be on leads.  Apparently, this simple procedure would reduce outdoor noise pollution by 50%.  That's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.
The city of Las Cruces and Picacho behind

Shady respite with sun behind clouds

Tortugas and the Organ Mountains

Hangdog look?

I see a dragon who is looking to the left

Cowboy in the hoosegow (Spanish "juzgado")
Shady respite with sun

The Organ Mountains

What's over this hill?


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thank You Wind

What bobsled run?
The consistent wind kept the ambient temperature within reason this morning, but it was still hot.  Not too many folks out and about on the mountain.  Becca and I did a moderately-long hike before returning home to find Mr. Rabbit snoozing in our driveway.

A lazy nap in our driveway this morning

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Terribly Parched Desert

Despite a few sprinkles the past few days the drought continues here in the desert.  We have a 10% chance of showers today, but really not a forecast of substantial rain.  We are poised on the brink of the "monsoon" season here in the Desert Southwest--the time of year when the jet stream over America shifts in a particular way and allows moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to flow northward into the country.  Although it becomes uncomfortably humid when that happens here in the desert we need the precipitation badly enough to gladly tolerate the discomfort.

Utility poles at the Lineman School

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spat on From a Distance

An eighth of a mile in
Becca and I had one of those experiences this morning where we got sprinkled upon from clouds that were not overhead.  It's so weird to have rain drops fall on you, and when you look up there's nothing there but clear sky.  The wonderful sensation didn't last long, though; neither did the wind, which blew consistently for two-thirds of our hike.  When it stopped it felt as if somebody had turned the furnace up full blast.  We ran into Jimmy on our way back, and stood talking about our recent getaways--ours to the Sacramento Mountains, and his to South Padre Island.
The clouds that spat upon us

A little over a mile in

Shade break

Hot desert

Same scene (above) forty-five minutes later

Monday, June 23, 2014

How Hot is It?

It's almost too hot to stop to take photographs.  We're into another string of 100 + degree days, and while that's not rare it is somewhat unusual.  Our highs here in southern New Mexico are usually in the mid-to-high 90s.  I know, high 90s, low 100s: what's the difference?  Hot is hot.  This morning on the mountain we were fortunate to benefit from a constant wind that provided for evaporative cooling.  I was surprised to see lots out people out and about; many of them were teenagers jogging.  I suspect they're from the nearby Centennial High School track team.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Too Much Heat

The tongue tells the tale:  it's too hot!
It was so hot this morning--with only an intermittent breeze--that Dr. K and I decided to shorten the hike.  Becca's vote was to do a longer trek even though she sought shade frequently and drank more water than usual.  As hot as it was there were plenty of people outside enjoying nature, including three elderly hikers who looked to be having a good time.  Instead of heading around Tortugas, we looped partially to its south, then struck out on a dirt road leading directly east.  Our outing was long enough to give us a good workout, but not excessively lengthy.
Pointed toward the southern reaches of the Organ Mountains

Down a very steep trail

Southeast of Tortugas Mountain

Far east of the mountain

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 ...