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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday's Outdoor Enthusiasts

Just getting started out of the Monte Vista area
There were no cars in the parking lot at the Monte Vista area when Dr. K, Becca and I got there this morning at around 7:15.  Behind the mountain, though, we spotted a truck with a tent beside it on the south mesa beyond the major arroyo that runs out of the Organ Mountains.  Since there was smoke coming from a campfire we figured the campers were cooking breakfast.  In short order (pun intended) we encountered a runner and four mountain bikers out enjoying the natural world.  Later we saw other bikers and had a middle-distance greeting from a man and woman walking a large dog on a lead.  When we reached the far point of our trek we decided to do a little bushwhacking west of Tortugas to see what interesting sights we could discover off-trail.  As usual, we were not disappointed in what the Chihuahuan Desert had on offer.  The only drawback on our long hike:  because of last night's major downpour the humidity was sky high even though the temperature was in the mid-60s.
Rugged southeastern side of Tortugas Mountain

Scouting the way forward

Following the trail around the mountain

Small pool of water looks like plastic or ice

Becca and Dr. K in front of a cave (no, they're not spelunkers)

These flowers look too small for a hungry honeybee

Velvety Nerisyrenia

Hiker (lower right) in the vast Chihuahuan Desert

The way west

Shade break in the shadow of a small yucca

Double Barrel Cactus

Double Barrel

Budding out

Look who got to the arroyo ahead of us:  a Muledeer

Healthy Hedgehog Cactus

Bushwhacking west of Tortugas

Couldn't decide which I preferred, this or . . .

. . . this

Popcorn clouds

Tall Ocotillos south of the mountain

Chihuahuan Flax

Smoke signals (clouds really)

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