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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pendulum Days

Day before yesterday:  cool.  Yesterday:  hot.  Today:  mostly cloudy and cool.  I'm not complaining; the back-and-forth is certainly far better than just "hot."  We're "officially" into monsoon season now, and all you can do is put up with the constant high humidity and hope the desert gets some beneficial rain.  More often than not, though, no precipitation is forthcoming, and you understand why some indigenous people felt the need to go outside and perform rain dances to encourage the sky to deliver on a promise.
Headed for higher ground

Leveling off on the plateau

Where in the world is Becca Sandiego?

She's out of the frame now

View past Tortugas to the Organ Mountains

Ocotillo blossoms are at it again

Interesting patterns

Darkness on the horizon

This Roadrunner was hunting nearby

Will we get rain again?

I love to watch these critters hunt

Spotting something

On the move

I've seen Roadrunners kill and consume small birds

Ms. Becca takes a break

Live millipede

Dead millipede

Lesser Nighthawk

Long view of the overcast sky

Zooming in a little

Buggy Whip wands against the sky

Into the wild blue yonder

Prickly Pears beginning to ripen

Bunny relaxing in our front yard

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

There'll Be a Change in the Weather

Just starting off
Today's hike was miserable compared to yesterday's.  Yesterday there were plenty of clouds to shield us from the blazing sun, and a persistent wind to provide evaporative cooling.  Today there wasn't even a breeze; and even though the temperature wasn't high, the sun beat down on us relentlessly.  Add abundant humidity to the recipe, and you can guess that Becca and I were suffering in the desert heat.  We took plenty of shade breaks, though, during which we drank sufficient water to stay hydrated.  Despite the torture we had a rewarding morning trek.
Into the sun

An early shade break

Not a watermelon on a stick (Soaptree Yucca fruit)

Ocotillo flowers

West of Tortugas

A look at the distant Organs

Same spot, 5X

Same spot, 10X

Say's Phoebe?

Say's Phoebe?

Ocotillos green from the rain

Desert Cottontail

Desert Cottontail

Desert Cottontail

Blue Mud Dauber on Soaptree Yucca fruit

I watched this guy picking off ants for a tasty snack


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Promise of Rain

Trekking the west side of Tortugas
It was cool and cloudy this morning when Becca and I set off for Tortugas Mountain.  The atmosphere had the feel of rain, and all during our hike it seemed as if we might have a chance to get wet.  Never happened, though.  It has rained a little bit since we've been home, and the conditions seem pretty ripe for future precipitation.  In fact, local meteorologists give us a 50% to 60% chance of thunderstorms late this afternoon into early evening.  Let's hope they're right because we almost always need rain here in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.
Trail to the high saddle

Crossing the upper foothills

Storm clouds building

On the distant horizon:  Bishop Cap

Hiking under cloud shadows

Prickly Pears beginning to ripen

Green, green Ocotillos

Into the sandy section of the desert

Ocotillos in sandy soil

Big clouds over the Organs

Blue sky to the northeast

Soaptree Yucca seed pods

Spent seed pods

Heading back to Tortugas

High humidity accompanies those clouds

Precipitation headed our way?

Another Cholla blooming again

A promise of rain

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Grand View--Not

Early morning moon A man and woman were just starting down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail when we rolled into the Grand View Trail parking lot....