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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Heating UP

Out on the dirt road around Tortugas
It's hot enough now that the clothing order-of-the-day was short-sleeve Craghoppers shirt and cargo shorts.  Didn't feel chilly once.  I keep thinking I'll stop taking photos of flowers because I've taken so many already, but I can't help myself.  There's a lot of colorful beauty in the desert these days, and I guess I feel a need to try to capture it.  Becca and I ran into two separate hikers this morning--man and woman--and the Beckster was perfectly well behaved in both instances. lying at the side of the trail until each hiker had passed by.
Strawberry Pitaya Cactus

Tortugas (left) and the Organ Mountains

The far end of the outer loop road

An orange Prickly Pear flower

Somewhere between yellow and orange

Shade seeker

Shade-seeking missile

Barely fitting into the shade of a Soaptree Yucca

Typical Chihuahuan Desert vista

Blind Prickly Pear Cactus outside our bedroom window

Blind Prickly Pear flowers

Lizard on a railroad tie

Blind Prickly Pear (so-called because stickers temporarily blind cows)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Strawberry Pitaya Popping

Wilson's Warbler in our Mesquite Tree
Last November when our friend JC bumped into Becca and me at the far southern end of the high foothills trail he wondered aloud about what the area would look like when springtime rolled around.  Well, I've taken photos of the specific area just to satisfy his curiosity.  I'll make sure he sees this post by sending an email with a link to it.  (By the way, that tiny Warbler in the first image was almost impossible to photograph because of its flighty movements.)
Setting out from the Sunset Area

Prickly Pear Cactus flowers

Becca's photo snapped by Mickey Mouse
For better reception . . .

Adjust rabbit ears

Strawberry Pitaya Hedgehog Cactus

Strawberry Pitaya

Cooper's Hawk
Same hawk, different perspective

Through a deep arroyo

Ocotillos leafing out


Becca's favorite Ocotillo

Prickly Pear

This and the following:  Strawberry Pitaya flowers

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Provision-Day Trek

Mormon Tea flowers
When Becca and I got out to the trailhead this morning there were no cars in the Sunset Area parking lot, perhaps because we were 20 to 25 minutes earlier than usual.  We also saw nobody on any of the trails.  When we got back to the road leading to the mountaintop we did see a runner who was training in an outfit reminiscent of Sylvester Stallone's in the movie "Rocky."  There were quite a few vehicles in the parking lot when we got back, including, I think, Jimmy's Toyota truck.
Mormon Tea (Ephedra) flower

About to slalom up the trail

This and the following image are Strawberry Pitaya flowers

Large Strawberry Pitaya Cactus

Sniffing along the trail

Monday, April 27, 2015

Still the Chill

Prickly Pear blossoms
40 F when Becca and I set off for Tortugas Mountain early this morning.  Got to wear my brand-new ExOfficio pants to ward off the chill.  The wind was just at the boundary of breezy, but nothing compared to yesterday's all-day/nearly all-night blast of cold air.  Becca's favorite part of our hike today?--running into both Jimmy and Gregg down near the old shack at the intersection of the trail and the road to the top of the mountain.  When we parted company Jimmy was heading up the steep western trail to the summit and Gregg was taking the road to the mountaintop.

Strawberry Pitaya cactus flowers starting to bloom

Strawberry Pitaya flower

Into a gulch

Down to the lower desert

Scott's Oriole

Looking back at Tortugas and the Organs

Power lines across the valley

Yucca fruit

Colorful cactus flowers

Different hues on the same plant

Resting . . .

but still watchful

Sandy section of desert

Leafless Ocotillo

Can't get enough of these Prickly Pear flowers

Of stamens and pistils


Desert Life

1st 2:  Willow in yucca shadow It was so windy and the air was so bad this morning that Dr. K, Willow and I did only our regular hike. Not s...