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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pre-Wind Trek

House Finch on an Ocotillo
Becca and I were able to get in a hike west of Tortugas Mountain before the wind got really bad.  It was probably gusting to 25 mph while we were out there, but it's up to about 60 mph now--truly miserable out in the desert, with blowing dust and sand polluting the air.  On our way back to the car we ran into JC and Olivia and walked with them on the final leg of the trek.  I guess we were all happy to get in some good exercise before the big wind got started.
Fetching look

Ruffled by the wind

Scouting for critters

Desert sun through cloud cover

Spectacle Pod

Spectacle Pod

Wild Rhubarb beginning to bloom

Wild Rhubarb is also known as "Canaigre Dock"

Coming around the bend

Spectacle Pod yet again

Black-throated Sparrow


About to head back up the mountain

Bicolor fanmustard

Early-blooming Torrey Yucca

About halfway bloomed out

The red buds will all turn white

Olivia and JC (Is JC pointing to that blooming yucca?)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Headed for Low Desert

Sign along the Grand View Trail
We did another hike on the Grand View Trail before setting off down the mountain for the lower desert, where it's currently windy as hell.  It was going to be windy in the high country as well so we weren't headed into unexpected bad weather.  Four days in the Sacramento Mountains passed by all too quickly, as days in the mountains frequently do, but we had a good time trekking at elevations between 6800 and 7200 feet.
One of the vistas from the Grand View



Grand View Trail (outbound)

Boulders at the cut

"What's up there?" (I can speak dog)

Blowing gypsum at White Sands National Monument

Another sign on the trail (note what the red arrow points to)

Hedgehog Cactus growing in a boulder

Grand View Trail (still outbound)

Hedgehog Cactus growing in rock

Banana Yucca and curlicues

Another Scrub-Jay

Becca and Dr. K at the ramada (inbound leg)

Lots of Scrub-Jays about this morning

Same individual

As you can surmise same Scrub-Jay

Taking a break in the shade

House-size boulders off the trail

Becca finishes a treat while Dr. K waits to give her some water

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Just Another Grand View

Just before sundown last night
Dr. K, Becca and I hit the Grand View Trail on a blustery, overcast morning and froze our tails off on the outbound leg of the hike.  We picked Becca's tail up on the way back.  Although the temperature was warmer--about 38F--it felt much colder because of the persistent wind.  That wind died for our inbound leg, however, and the trek was much more pleasant heading for the Jeep.  We drove up the mountain to Cloudcroft to dump garbage and pick up some drinking water, and the temperature was much more frigid up there.  Fortunately we didn't have to be out in the elements for too long.
Before the sun set yesterday it highlighted trees in the canyon

Sunset turns the trees gold

Gray Vireo

Three Gray Vireos

Tree along the trail

Scrub Jay

Dr. K appears to be smiling, but it's a grimace against the cold

Odd how the branches of this tree sheared off

Just another tree

Looking out at the Tularosa Basin

What's with all the Gray Vireos?

Becca heading for the cut

The cut

Long view across the basin

White Sands and the San Andres Mountains

At the base of the mountains White Sands National Monument

A closer look at White Sands

Midway ramada on the Grand View Trail

Rugged territory around High Rolls/Mountain Park

The hiker having the most fun

Mormon Tea growing cliffside

Still on the outbound leg

A look back at the Tularosa Basin

Dr. K is warmer now and, therefore, happy

White Sands from the Grand View Trail

Masterpiece on the front of a garbage dumpster in Cloudcroft

Shops along Burro Street in Cloudcroft

Cloudcroft's favorite watering hole

Another Respite

Clouds over the Organs Dr. K, Willow and I got a break from the heat again this morning; it was cloudy and breezy most of the time. We follo...