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Friday, June 30, 2017


Becca hurried ahead to find shade
I don't know if it was my mood this morning or the absence of anything notable to photograph, but I didn't find many interesting subjects on this hot desert day.  Becca's main interest was in finding shade in order to take water breaks.  She drank quite a bit, as did I.  There weren't many people out in the heat, but we did encounter several guys walking their dogs.  By the way, my prediction about yesterday's high temp was wrong.  We didn't hit the century mark after all, but fell several degrees shy:  98F.
There she is

Scaled Quail, Callipepla squamata, on the move

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)

Desert Willow is not a true willow

Desert Willow

Our local waterhole

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I bet 100

Healthy green Ocotillo
Meteorologists are predicting a high of 99F for us today, but I'm betting the temperature will slip over the century mark.  It was mighty hot out there for Becca and me this morning.  A slight breeze did help to cool us off somewhat.  We cut our trek a little short, though, because of the heat.  When I went outside a little while ago to retrieve our empty garbage dumpster the day felt brutally hot.  You sure wouldn't want to be setting off for a hike at this time of day.
Becca behind a yucca

Long view across the desert

Another long view

There's a road through here

Long way to go

Better take a break

Cane Cholla fruit (Barrel Cactus in background)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Early Start, Early Finish

Sun splashing over the mountain
Becca and I got an early start on our trek this morning, and conditions weren't too awful even though we're heading for 97F today.  It would have felt much better had there been even a hint of wind, but no such luck.  A lot of other outdoor enthusiasts were on and around Tortugas Mountain, everybody getting their exercise in before the temperature rose too high.
Surveying the way ahead

Between here and the Organ Mountains

Ocotillos have been green for quite a while

Soaptree Yucca fruit

One of Becca's favorite shade spots

Mesquite beans make really tasty flour

This and the next four:  immature female Great-tailed Grackle

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Friendly Wind

In the upper foothills
Becca and I were beholden to the wind this morning as we trekked to the west of Tortugas Mountain; at least I was.  The humidity was pretty high, and the stiff breeze to light wind provided for natural evaporative cooling.  I still haven't found out definitively if dogs benefit from the wind the way humans do.  Humans perspire, and the wind helps evaporate the moisture.  Dogs only perspire through the bottom of their paws, but they pant to cool themselves.  Does the wind across their tongues provide any extra cooling?
Down but not out

The long view

There's a Pyrrhuloxia hiding in that Creosote Bush

Monday, June 26, 2017

Even Cooler Monday Morn

Cane Cholla (Cyldropuntia imbricata)
We got quite a bit of rain last night and it cooled things down significantly.  Add a light overcast sky this morning and a steady refreshing breeze, and conditions felt pretty good for hiking.  Becca and I took advantage of it by trekking further than normal on a summer day in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, but not quite as far, say, as we'd go in the fall or winter.  We still took a lot of shade and water breaks, making sure we didn't overheat and that we stayed hydrated.
Cane Cholla

West side of Tortugas Mountain

Happy to climb to higher ground

After a big circuit, heading back toward the mountain

Under the sea

A couple of twenty-foot tall Ocotillos

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cooler Sunday

Trail to the sky
Dr. K, Becca and I did a semi-long hike on the near side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and the weather was much more tolerable even though the humidity was rather high.  We got a good rain last night, and that really helped cool things down.  Although a breeze was absent when we got going it soon picked up, often shading into a gentle wind, which really helped with evaporative cooling.  I took few photos out there today because I just didn't find much worthy of the effort.
Does this look comfortable?

Three prickly brothers

A hot dog enjoying herself

What's up ahead?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cold Front

Black-throated Sparrow
It was 108F yesterday, but a "cold" front blew in last night.  The forecast today is for the low- to mid-90s.  Quite a difference.  It felt significantly different on the trail this morning, cooler with a breeze.  The humidity is higher, though, and local meteorologists are predicting a 60% chance of rain for the late afternoon into the evening.  We can always use the precipitation here in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.
Same Black-throated Sparrow

Becca on the upper foothills trail

We saw one Ocotillo flower this morning

Four-dove Ocotillo

Looking this way . . .

. . . and that

Pickle tree

Need some ripening

Heat is On Again

Headed down LDR-A arroyo to yucca shade for Wils The desert floor hasn't been cooling off very much during the overnight hours, and the ...