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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Singing in the Rain

The weather looked fine when we started off this morning
Although our local meteorologist predicted a 40% chance of rain today, things looked good for a morning hike.  It was partly cloudy when Becca and I began our trek west of Tortugas Mountain.  Not long after we started off things began to deteriorate quickly, heavy clouds rolling in over the Organ Mountains.  Based on the direction the wind was blowing (north to south) I figured we could finish our long hike without getting wet.  I was wrong.  At the midpoint of our journey, while we were in the middle of the outback, it began to rain.  I put my new camera away, secured the case in a waterproof membrane and stowed it inside the daypack.  Then Becca and I began a forced march back to the trailhead.  Although it never poured down, the rain descended in a steady, cold drizzle that had us thoroughly wet by the time we reached the car.
Becca sees someone on the mountain road

Potrillo Mountains

Clouds hovering over the Franklin Mountains

The coming storm

Conditions definitely deteriorating

Keep going or turn back?

Assessing our situation

Extra practice photographing grey sky

The wind seemed to be blowing the weather away from us

A bit more blue over the Organ Mountains

Heavy clouds over Tortugas and the Organs

Franklin Mountains, El Paso, Texas

Clouds aren't moving out

We're so far out now we just kept hiking

Bishop Cap

Blue sky is a hopeful sign

Maybe we can make it without getting wet

Tortugas Mountain

Uh oh

We're headed for the arroyo at center

Becca leading the way into a long arroyo

Patch of blue to the west

That stuff to the south looks ominous

Soaptree Yucca seed pods

Seed pod closeup (lower right lobe looks like a porpoise)

Who's that at the top of the Torrey Yucca?

It's a small Loggerhead Shrike

Extra-wide arroyo

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Edge of Wetness

Getting started on the "old standby"
Since we were heading down into the lower desert this morning we decided to hike our old standby again, the Grand View Trail.  The weather was cloudy and cold, and it seemed during the entire trek that we could get rained on.  Both going and coming Becca stopped near an overlook to let us know there were animals nearby, but we couldn't spot any.  On the final leg, however, Dr. K spotted the white butt of an elk cow, and we had the good fortune of seeing several, though at quite a distance.  Deciding that we wanted to get closer to the ruminants we did some bushwhacking into a very rugged area, but gave up the quest when we encountered boulders blocking our way.  By the time we reached the midpoint ramada it began to drizzle, though it was such a fine mist we didn't really get wet.  It was a great hike in the Sacramento Mountains before our return to Las Cruces.
Weather played a significant part in our trek today

Becca moseying up the Grand View Trail

I'm still not convinced this is a Robin

Love the vistas at this elevation

Becca scouting for critters

Dynamic weather over White Sands

Cloud cover over the Tularosa Basin

Another view of White Sands

Juniper country

Becca was first to signal there were animals nearby

It was Dr. K, though, who spotted the butt at left

A closer look at elk cow butt


Looks like a Siamese elk, but . . .

. . . there are really two elk cows there

We decided here to bushwhack through rugged country to see elk

Not easy going through territory like this

We found an elk/deer trail littered with scat

We made it ten yards or so beyond this point

We turned around here because it got too rocky to proceed

White Sands in rain

Bushwhack or Not to Bushwhack

1st 2:  this morning's moon Another morning doing our regular hike, this time with added distance; we bushwhacked out of the left branch...