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Monday, February 29, 2016

Trekking on Moonday

Just after 7:00 am start
It felt a little chillier for our early start this morning (perhaps because we left earlier than usual), but I was hiking in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt and a lightweight warm-up jacket.  Took the jacket off about midway through our trek.  On the drive over to Tortugas we saw a coyote crossing the road on University Avenue in a heavily-traveled area.  The canid had entered a fenced-off construction area on the right side of the street, and I could tell from its reaction that it realized it was in a bind.  We didn't get to see its decision because we had to keep driving due to vehicles approaching from behind.  I found myself fretting about Mr. Trickster during our entire hike.  Fortunately, on the way back we didn't come upon any coyote carcass in the road so I assumed it had made it safely back into the desert.
Eager to go

Allthorn

Allthorn silhouette

X marks the spot where the single-track and a small arroyo cross paths

Jackrabbit watch

West of Tortugas Mountain

For people who think the desert is flat

Check out the different angles of the Torrey Yucca shadows

The illusion of a flat horizon line

Arizona Jewel Flowers

Hedgehog Cactus

Looking down on the Hedgehog what do I see?

I see buds that will blossom into flowers in a few days

Which are contrails, which are clouds?

Paws for the cause in the outback

Western Peppergrass and Wild Rhubarb

Soaptree Yucca, Creosote Bushes, Organ Mountains and contrails

Velvety nerisyrenia

White-winged Dove on an Ocotillo wand

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Morning on the Sierra Vista Norte Trail

An early start in the high country
Dr. K, Becca and I set out for the Organ Mountains this morning to do a long trek on the Sierra Vista Norte Trail.  Within a quarter mile we had removed our lightweight jackets, and I was hiking in short sleeves and shorts for the first time this year; it felt good to be unburdened of extra clothing.  Because the weather was so beautiful on a Sunday we weren't surprised to encounter other outdoor enthusiasts on the trail; but not too many:  a runner, a mountain biker, and a man and woman.  Back at the parking lot a woman and man, their two horses and two dogs were standing near a horse trailer.  They were all preparing for a long equestrian outing.  One of the dogs--Buddy--came over to greet Becca, and they had a short, but sweet, hello before we took off for the lower desert.
Sierra Vista Trail Norte ("Mountain View Trail North")

Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus

Long shadows

Moon over a mountain

If you look up "rocky" in the dictionary this is what you'll see in the margin

Varying shades of shadow

Becca and a tall Sotol

Sotol forest at the base of the mountain

Yucca and the Organ Mountains

Looking down on the village of Talavera and Tortugas Mountain

About to make a steep descent

Heading into a deep valley

It looks like Becca is heading out that utility road, but she's not

Mountain biker riding a rugged single-track

Narrow shade respite

Becca and Packrat

Barrel Cacti in the high country
Organ Mountains

Good photo of Becca and a Barrel Cactus (explain yourself, Dr. K)

Tableland loaded with Barrel Cacti

Organs

The kind of bayonets you wouldn't want to stumble into

A swell swale

Don't jump!  (Rock figure, center right)

Returning to the trailhead

How'd you like to live there?

Sotol with an attitude

Looks like a pile of boulders

Yucca and the Soledad Rocks

Arroyo Nuevo

Different perspectives from a new hike As soon as Willow, Frio and I exited the CR-V at the trailhead this morning I realized we wouldn'...