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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Solo Sunday

Somebody's coming down the mountain
Dr. K usually accompanies Becca and me on our Sunday treks, but the good Doc had an early-morning get-together to attend.  So it was the Beckster and me hiking together (as we do everyday) west of Tortugas.  We went quite a ways west this a.m., and we saw nobody until we were almost back to the car.  Then we ran into a man and woman.  The woman said of Becca, who was in the "down" position at the side of the trail, "What a well-behaved dog."  She wanted to pet Becca, but Becca was her suspicious standoffish self, and though wagging her tail as she cautiously approached the woman, never allowed herself to be touched.  Disappointing.
Pausing in the high foothills

Yuccas, Creosotes and Ocotillos

Becca spots people several miles away

How far we are away from Tortugas (left)

We're headed down a steep slope here

Organ Mountains (named by Spaniards who saw pipe organs in the spires)

Gnarled Ocotillo and mountains

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Back to the Low Country

Noisy Scrub Jay at the top of a tall Juniper
We're back in the lower Chihuahuan Desert now, but we did a nice hike on the Grand View Trail before driving down from the mountains.  We ran into four people and two dogs on our trek:  a man and woman with a white poodle, and two women with a dog called Blue--an Irish Wolfhound mix.  Blue and Becca got along just swell.
About a mile in

The halfway point

Friday, November 28, 2014

Elk Cow Coffee Klatch

Elk butts
Just after dawn, before we left for a hike on the Grand View Trail, we spotted these elk cows on our property.  Unfortunately it was a really low-light situation, and I was shooting through a window--so the pictures are iffy at best.  Nevertheless, there were five cows having a morning snack, and we're always thrilled to see the big critters so close to the house.  Becca, Dr. K and I stood looking at them for quite awhile.  Then we hit the trail for a moderately-long hike before heading to Cloudcroft to dump garbage and buy some supplies.  There's still snow on the ground up there.
Elk cows having pastry with their coffee

Talk about being a target for lusty males (elk, that is)

Four of five cows

On the Grand View

Arbol

Trekking along

White Sands and the San Andreas Mountains

Along a steep rock outcropping

Packrat and Jennifer Juniper

The bed of the old railroad line is clearly visible here

Getting excited by a visitor

It's Cowboy come to say howdy

One cute canine

Hamming it up

Time to head for home

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ice Is Nice



Looking down at White Sands National Monument
Dr. K, Becca and I spent Thanksgiving morning hiking down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail to the falls and back.  The creek in Fresnal Canyon was iced over in places--both at the crossing to get to the falls and down below the falls.  (See photos and videos.)  It was even icy on the precipice where the water falls over the rock.  Although a man and woman seemed to be starting on the trail behind us when we set off they apparently changed their minds because we saw not one other soul during our entire trek.
Down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail

Headed for the canyon

Deep canyon cut from heavy water flow

Fresnal Creek is iced over at the crossing

Ice below the waterfall

Who hemmed this skirt of ice?

Break in a dry creek bed

Trail out of the Fresnal Creek bridge crossing

Old railroad trestle (partially restored) over the creek

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lowdown on the High Country

In the lower Chihuahuan Desert (at about 4400 feet)
Becca and I did a quick hike this morning before heading home to finish packing for a short trip to our place in the Sacramento Mountains.  The Sacramentos are considered a "sky island" surrounded by desert.  Highest point in the mountains is Cathey Peak at 9,646 feet.  Needless to say, it's chillier up here--a bit over 50F when we arrived at noon.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful for the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  Hope everybody has a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Getting ahead of things

I always feel that Becca is thinking, "What's taking so long, pokey?"

At our place in High Rolls (slightly over 7,000 feet)

The view from our upper road

Our upper road

The driveway down to our place

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Paucity of Pics

Wooden pallets on NMSU property
I didn't set off to take only a few insignificant photos this morning; it just turned out that way.  Nothing much really caught my eye.  The wooden pallets stacked on New Mexico State University's property are soon to be burned in a big bonfire,  Can't say I approve of the policy.  Becca and I ran into JC on our way back, and the Beckster was very happy to see him. 
Three Devil's Heads knocking noggins

Dow from the high foothills

Monday, November 24, 2014

If The Spirit Moves You

Starting in the high foothills
We didn't intend to do any bushwhacking this morning, but when Becca and I came to a certain point during our trek we decided to head off into the desert.  (Okay, I decided, but Becca went along with my plan.)  When we got back near the Sunset Parking area we bumped into our good friend, JC, who's back from Alaska to spend the winter months in southern New Mexico.  Unfortunately, he's here without his best buddy, Shaque, who had to be put down last year. 
Moving away from the Tortoise

Looking back in an arroyo we're heading down

This is the way we're going

Some "environmentalist" (sarcasm) drove an off-road vehicle through here

This is what bushwhacking can turn into

Pretty far away from Tortugas Mountain now

Soaptree Yucca

Becca cresting a hill

Across the Chihuahuan Desert:  the distant Organ Mountains

Less dense ground cover here

Couldn't figure out what caused this 3 1/2-diameter circle

2 1/2-foot Barrel Cactus

Heading back to the Tortoise

This Hedgehog Cactus is the same one pictured below

Hedgehog Cactus

Closing in on the mountain

The trail back into the foothills

Arroyo Redux

Willow and Frio on the east/west cross trail While driving along Tobosa on our way to Tellbrook this morning I spotted a coyote that slipped...