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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Early Spring?

Torrey Yucca west of the trailhead
Although the windchill was 19 F this morning Becca and I never felt cold.  First, it wasn't windy at the mountain; and, second, the sun was shining brightly.  To add to the illusion of early spring were the flowers of the Velvety Nerisyrenia, which were in bloom in the foothills.  This member of the mustard family prefers limestone areas of the high desert, and we crossed through a section of Tortugas's western flank which completely fits the bill.  Amazing to see flowers in bloom on the last day of February.
High foothills trail

Velvety Nerisyrenia (most common species of mustard locally)

Man jogging with his Border Collie

Atop the Yucca a very noisy Mockingbird

Becca watches two mountain bikers headed into the foothills

Clump of Pincushion Cactus

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fine Settimana

Western flank of Tortugas Mountain
Becca and I got on the trail early this morning and did a long hike into the outback.  We encountered two mountain bikers there who looked as though they were outfitted for an all-day adventure.  We saw nobody else until we bumped into JC, with whom we trekked back to the trailhead.  The weather was fine, but we're supposed to get more wind this afternoon.  I fear we're now into the spring windy season, which is never good for the allergies.
The high foothills

Cloud bank

On the road again

Huge Ocotillo

Clouds lifting

Tortugas and the Organs from the far west

Torrey Yucca

Odd find in the middle of nowhere

Doing a little bushwhacking

Coming out of the arroyo

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Breezy to Windy

Pincushion Cactus (about the size of a golf ball)
The most we had this morning was a slightly stiff breeze at times, but this afternoon we're supposed to get more of the stiff winds we had a few days ago.  But it was very pleasant in the northern Chihuahuan Desert today.  We ran into JC on our way back, and then we bumped into Jimmy.  We all stood talking for about twenty minutes before Jimmy headed for the mountaintop.
On the high trail

Exploring a large arroyo

Somebody rode a horse with no name through here

The arroyo flows this way out of the mountains behind

Tortugas and the Organ Mountains

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting a Late Start

White-winged Doves on our fence
Because I had an 8:30 appointment to have my teeth cleaned this morning Becca and I got off to a late start.  We were on the trail by 10:00 however.  We saw JC's car at the trailhead, but never bumped into him.  We did cross paths with Gregg, who was coming down the road from the top of the mountain.  We hiked about three-fourths of a mile back to the cars with him.  He told me he's lived in LC for three years now, having moved here from Louisiana.
Sunlight is a bit brighter at 10:00 a.m.

A shade break already?

What of it?

Bishop Cap

Last night's storm brought a little snow to the Organ Mountains

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Conversation with a Coyote

When Becca and I were returning from our afternoon drive a few minutes ago I turned down a neighborhood street and immediately spotted a small Coyote at the side of the road.  It was limping quite heavily on its front left leg; nevertheless, I was surprised when it let me pull the car right beside him.  I lowered the driver-side window and said, "Are you hurt?"  He limped off into the desert a little ways, but not far.  I wished I could have done something for him, but unless you're trained to deal with such situations it's best to avoid direct contact.  Heading home afterwards it occurred to me how ridiculous my question to him was.  "Are you hurt?" indeed.  I might just as well have asked him:  "¿Hablas espaƱol?"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wild Wind

We had a big wind event starting yesterday afternoon and lasting well into the early-morning hours today.  The wind is supposed to calm down a bit for a while, but we're under an alert for really high winds tomorrow.  When Becca and I were trekking around the mountain this morning it was pretty chilly out there, but it would have been far worse with gustier conditions.  Not looking forward to our morning hike tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quick Departure

High Rolls sunset
It was raining in the high country when we got up this morning--with no prospect of clearing--so we headed down to the low desert to do our hike, which we did on the east side of Tortugas Mountain.  But the sky was spitting on us down here, too, and we got sprinkled on a bit while we trekked east of the mountain.  Becca spotted JC at a great distance on the trail that clings to the base of the mountain, but he never saw us.  The best thing about being in the high country this weekend was that Becca got to see all of her canine buddies several times.
Trekking on the east side of Tortugas

Light rain in the lower desert

Raining over the Organ Mountains

On a steep rise

High road through the desert

Looking back at the Tortoise

The village of Talavera west of the Organ Mountains

Further east of the mountain

Southern flank of Tortugas and the Potrillo Mountains on the horizon

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...