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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trekking Out of Monte Vista

Cholla flower
The temperature dropped to the mid-30s last night, and it was still only 38F when Dr. K, Becca and I left for the far side of Tortugas Mountain.  As soon as we looped around to the south side we encountered a woman with a Brown Lab named Maggie.  The woman asked if Maggie and Becca could meet, and we said, "Sure."  It was a very nice meeting because Maggie was a sweet 7-year-old canine.  Maggie and her guardian were the only outdoor enthusiasts we saw during a nearly two-hour hike, which is unusual for a Sunday morning.  Perhaps everyone else was in church praying to God that Trump doesn't start a nuclear war.
Cholla flower

Blind Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia rufida)

Becca enjoying the view

Trail to the saddle

Doesn't look it, but it's a single-track

Becca and Dr. K forging ahead

Scaled Quail

I've looked at Scaled Quail from both sides now

Leader of the pack

Round rock house ruins and Becca

This and the next two:  Ash-throated Flycatcher

Beautiful bird with a sweet song

Ocotillo and the Organ Mountains

Prickly Pear

Becca and Dr. K (notice Dr. K's winter wear)

Dinner-plate-size Prickly Pear pad

Chihuahuan Desert west of the Organ Mountains

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hazy Shade of Winter

In the high foothills
It was raining when we got up this morning, and the temperature was significantly cooler.  In fact, when Becca and I hit the trail west of Tortugas Mountain at about 7:30 it felt as if winter had returned to the northern Chihuahuan Desert.  We're headed for a low in the mid-30s tonight.  Mix in a cold wind with gusts up to 40 mph and it might as well be winter.  We're in for another day of this before the temps push back into the lower 80s on our way to even warmer temperatures.
Somewhat bleak for a desert

Yuccas still in bloom

Loggerhead Shrike on stilts

On a plateau north of the Organ Mountains

Long road to Tortugas

Puzzling sky

Headed for Tortugas Mountain

Getting closer to the Turtle

Where the mountains intersect

I can only think that high winds are doing that to the clouds

Same image, slightly different perspective

Dusting of snow on the Organs

Much further west now

Interesting geode

Yucca kachinas

Raindrops on yucca flowers

This way through the desert

Soaptree Yucca in full flower

Clearing to the north

Not so clear to the south

Destined for more rain

Soaptree Yucca

Friday, April 28, 2017

Antes del Viento

A young Desert Cottontail
Becca and I beat the really heavy wind this morning, but it was packing a punch by the time we finished a long hike into the outback west of Tortugas Mountain.  Now we're getting gusts between 40-50 mph, and it's looking to become a nasty day in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.  There's already blowing dust and sand in the air, and it's promising to get worse.  Heavy winds from 1-7 p.m. with moderate winds keeping up until 4 a.m.  Yipee!
Heading for higher ground

Prickly Pear flower and buds

Odd cloud

Becca on break

This and the next three:  Scott's Oriole eating Ocotillo buds

Looking down on a small Soaptree Yucca flower stalk

What the wind is bringing our way

Surprised at how heavy some of these clouds were

Beats me what this is

In an arroyo west of the mountain

Little Hummer

House Finch

My favorite Torrey Yucca

Further down that arroyo

Prickly Pear and the Organ Mountains


Big winds starting to stir things up

Prickly Pear rose


Stingleaf (Loasaceae family)

What else?  Prickly Pears are blooming now

Prickly Pear pad, flowers and buds

Western Kingbird

Monday Monday Trek

This & next:  headed down the middle branch arroyo Another hot hike this morning, but not nearly as bad as yesterday morning; it didn...