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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Abbreviated Long Weekend

Just getting started on the Bridal Veil Falls Trail
We had to leave our place in High Rolls early (and dirty) this morning because the well water was too brown to use.  We had bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes, but not for bathing.  So we did a 90-minute hike on the Bridal Veil Falls Trail before returning to the low desert. Our well man is going to work on our well on Tuesday, beginning by replacing the float switch to see if that's the offending part.  If not he may have to replace a connector switch and work from there.  We'll see how it goes.
Colorado Four O'clock?

Heading into the canyon

Our neighbor's horses taking advantage of abundant grass

Good eats

Champ descending toward our driveway

Becca trying to provoke Cowboy

It didn't work

Dr. K pressed into petting service
Cowboy relaxing in the shade

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Rails-to-Trails Hike

Mountain Roses were in flower all along the trail
Dr. K, Becca and I hiked the Grand View Trail this morning, and we didn't run into a soul--on Labor Day Saturday!  Lucky us.  Not so lucky, really.  This morning I noticed that the water in our well storage tank was overflowing.  I quickly switched off the pump.  When we got home we had a surge of dirty water.  I hooked hoses up to the outside spigots and ran water for a few hours to see if it would clear up; it didn't.  Then I opened up the tank to see if there was something wrong with the float switch.  It may have failed.  Fortunately I was able to reach our well guy, and he's dropping by between three and four this afternoon to look things over.  We'll see what kind of luck we have from here on out.

This looks like a type of Poppy

The happy hiker

Into the Tularosa Basin

The old railroad bed, now part of the trail

The gravel on the railroad bed almost looks like pumice stone

So I went crazy photographing the wild roses

Friday, August 29, 2014

Long Weekend in the High Country

The low desert hacienda
Usually we try to avoid the more popular long weekends on the mountain--Labor Day and Memorial Day--but we had to come up to check things out.  We've had 2.09" inches of rain since we were last here (about three weeks ago), and it's had the expected effect:  grass growing like weeds and weeds growing like weeds. Our short visit will, therefore, involve yard work.  Yipee!  I'm already anticipating how sore my left bicep will be from using the Weed Eater.
A quick hike around Tortugas

Up at the mountain property by 11:40 a.m.

75 degrees Fahrenheit at 1:55 p.m.

Dr. K and Becca heading up our drive

Nice to be out of the hot lower desert

A bit of a forest at our side yard

Our baby Chinese Elm is already two feet taller than Dr. K

Sand Verbena is flourishing on our property

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Three Way of Looking at an Ocotillo

Of course there are many ways of looking at an Ocotillo, which, by the way, is not a cactus.  The species (Fouquieria splendens) is indigenous to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts; it grows  primarily in rocky, well-draining soil.  Most of the year it is leafless, but after spring and summer rainfall its leaves quickly appear, ready to begin the process of photosynthesis.  It can grow new leaves in as little as five days time.  It blooms even when leafless, and hummingbirds absolutely love the plant's flowers.
Black-throated Sparrow

Sunlight flowing down the mountain flank

Part of this Prickly Pear Cactus is practically dead

Large arroyo on Tortugas's west side

Heading up the arroyo

You can see how hard the water ran here

Parts of the sandy bottom are still wet

Carpets of Chinchweed

Dead Yucca stalk sculpture

Ocotillo wand shadows

A source of shade where there are no trees

Ocotillo (aka "Buggy Whip")

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Downpour on the Mountain

Partly cloudy start
The storms weren't supposed to reach us until 1:10 a.m. today, but the heavy downpour came at 11:00 p.m. last night.  When Becca and I got out to Tortugas Mountain this morning it was obvious that the rain had fallen even harder there.  Many of the trails were cut deeply by rainwater runoff.  The section pictured in the fifth from the last image was especially deep.  Coming up this incline presented really difficult footing.  Meteorologists are predicting more rain for tonight.
The rainwater flowed heavily down the mountain

Grading Geothermal Road already

Starting to look sunny

Sunshine on my shoulders . . .

Somewhat foggy in the distance

A very green desert

Water coursed through here

and through here

Fog at the base of the Organ Mountains

Clouds come and go

Tortugas (Tortoise) Mountain from the west

Rainwater coursed down this arroyo from the mountain

You can gauge how heavily it ran through here

White-lined Sphinx larva

These White-lined Sphinx caterpillars were abundant this morning

Rain through this arroyo cut the trail deeply

You can tell the rainwater rushed down this decline

Runoff deeply gouged this section of trail

Were they grading early because the dirt was wet and malleable?

Barrel Cactus flowers


What color are these flowers?  Orange?  Tangerine?

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 ...