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Monday, July 31, 2017

3,000 Feet Down

Our pal Champ scratching his back on our gravel driveway
Dr. K, Becca and I packed up early for our trip back to the lower desert, drove to the Lincoln National Forest, and hit the Grand View Trail one time more before leaving the mountains.  We were fortunate to hike almost the entire way under light cloud cover, which kept the temperature down, and we got to see some notable sights in the high country, including a young Mule Deer who seemed very curious about us, but especially curious about Becca.  After watching us for a minute or so the deer bounded off half-heartedly, like a lazy kangaroo.  Trek over, it was time to get on the road for the hour-and-a-half drive back to our place outside of Las Cruces.
Curious young Mule Deer near the Grand View Trail

Closer look at that Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

Becca on the Grand View

Prairie Rocket (Erysimum capitatum)

Prairie Rocket (aka "Western Wallflower")

Becca through the cut

Fine sky

Skeletal remains

A look into the Tularosa Basin across a sun-drenched mesa

Closer look at the mesa

Quite a drop

On the way back

Texas Ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens) in our yard

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Nobody But Us on the Grand View

Roof work on a Sunday morning
Dr. K, Becca and I had a wonderful--though slightly hot--trek on the Grand View Trail early this morning.  The sun beat down on us pretty good, and the humidity was high.  Cumulus clouds were building all during our hike, promising rain in the near future.  We ran into nobody on our near-ninety-minute outing, and not long after we got back the clouds delivered on their promise of precipitation despite a weather forecast of rain not starting until late afternoon.  One thing we love about the mountains:  it may be hot in the mornings and early afternoons, but at this time of year the cooling rains that fall always cause the temperatures to plummet.
Somebody is going to have a nice view

White Sands from the Grand View Trail

Midway ramada

Another cactus-bearing rock

A look into the Tularosa Basin

Quite a bit of shade in sections of the Grand View

Vultures spiraling

Area of large boulders

Clouds billowing for an early morning rain

Closer look

My hiking companions sticking to the shade

White Sands is a fabric pencil line on the horizon

Dr. K and Becca at the ramada

Another view of White Sands

Doing some stretching

Resting in the shade

Inside the ramada

Steep Hill Road

A closer look at Steep Hill Road

La Luz, New Mexico?

Nearly two-thirds of the way back

Mountain Mahogany leaves
Coyote Melon (Curcurbita palmata)
Coyote Melon

Three-leaf Sumac leaves



Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ninety Minutes on the Bridal Veil

Bridge over troubled waters
Dr. K, Becca and I hit the Bridal Veil Falls Trail early for a ninety-minute hike.  We didn't go all the way to the falls because we had to get back to do some yard work.  We didn't run into anybody during our trek until the very end when a man and woman with a dog passed nearby, and the woman said to us about the trail, "Isn't this pretty?"  "Beautiful," we said.  Almost immediately after that encounter we met a family group with three dogs, one very reminiscent of our Becca, though almost all black.  One woman in the group said, for the benefit of the little kids, "This must be the black-and-white dog trail."  Everybody had a laugh, including us.  I wasn't laughing when we got back and I had to begin weed whacking with the string trimmer.  I did about half our property and stopped before a storm rolled in and dumped more rain to help the weeds grow ever taller.
Having crossed that bridge when we came to it

Running way ahead of the pack

Allthorn

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on Allthorn flowers

Painted Lady lost in the Allthorn

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Crissal Thrasher (Toxostoma crissale) in a juniper

Down the Bridal Veil Trail

Becca leading the way

Exploring the trail ahead

A fun trail to hike

Long way down

Dr. K and Becca

Millipede mandala

Becca and Dr. K taking a break

Heading back

Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) and insects

Queen Anne's Lace
Painted Lady on Allthorn

Queen Anne's Lace


Arroyo Nuevo

Different perspectives from a new hike As soon as Willow, Frio and I exited the CR-V at the trailhead this morning I realized we wouldn'...