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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Morning Chill

Bicolor FanMustard (Velvety nerisyrenia)
It was about 60F when Becca and I hit the trail this morning, and the chill was a definite harbinger of autumn--a brief harbinger, this being the Chihuahuan Desert and all.  By the time we reached the upper foothills at a little past 7:30 things had already begun to heat up.  We met a man and woman there who had just returned from an extended stay in Wisconsin; they couldn't get over how green our desert had become.  We parted company after a brief conversation about the proliferation of Chinchweed.  In order not to make the same mistake I made yesterday, i.e. trekking a bit too far in rapidly warming conditions, I cut the hike a little short.  Becca and I got in a significant amount of exercise without overheating. 
The leaves of that Ocotillo are nearly all yellow

Bicolor Fanmustard

Becca in the upper foothills

Tortugas's western flank and the Organ Mountains from the high foothills

Too many brews last night

Blanket of Chinchweed

Me and my shadow


Woolly Paperflower, Trailing Four O'Clock and Chinchweed


How to take a break in the desert

Hairy False Goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Bad

Having just descended the mountain on the single-track
The mistake I made this morning was in believing it felt cooler than it actually was; as a result I made our hike longer than it should been, thereby causing Becca to get hotter than she should have been.  She handled it all right, though, because we took frequent shade and water breaks.  I think the humidity was higher than usual, but local meteorologists haven't predicted any precipitation for today.  There weren't many other outdoor enthusiasts on or about the mountain so the Beckster and I had no encounters with members of the human species--just the way we like it.

How to stand out from the crowd

♫ "She was a Dayflower . . . " ♫ (Sung to the Beatles' "Day Tripper")

Cross Cut Trail is nearly overgrown

Green and yellow desert

That's the Cross Cut Trail

Bouquets of Desert Zinnia (Zinnia acerosa)

Desert Zinnia

Desert Zinnia

Desert Zinnia

Carpet of Chinchweed (Pectis papposa) in the northern Chihuahuan Desert



Even more Chinchweed

Looking up the road

West of Tortugas Mountain

Scratch-and-sniff:  Chinchweed has a lemony scent

Look who's taking advantage of a late-blooming Ocotillo

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Back at Tortugas

In the foothills west of Tortugas
Becca and I were back plying the trails in the lower desert near Tortugas Mountain this morning.  I had to cut the hike a bit short in order to do grocery shopping at Albertsons.  But we had a good trek.  The only people we ran into were two elderly women so intent on swapping recipes for potato salad they were about to walk right past us where we stood at the side of the trail until I inadvertently sniggered about their distraction.  That's when one noticed us and said, "You're so quiet.  Hello puppy."  The latter was addressed to Becca, I think.
If they ever run short of hypodermic needles

Chinchweed still abundant in the low desert

A sea of Trailing Four O'Clocks (Allionia incarnata)

Trailing Four O'Clock

Cutleaf Globe Berry (Ibervillea tenuisecta)

No IDea what this plant is

Monday, August 28, 2017

Last Day High

View of the mountains from our backyard
Last day in the high country for a spell.  Dr. K, Becca and I (well, Dr. K and I) decided we'd leave for the lower desert right after a hike on the Grand View Trail.  Surprisingly--for a Monday--we ran into a woman walking a beautiful dog followed closely by a man who was, perhaps, her husband.  All were very friendly.  We did an hour-and-twenty-minute trek, finished by 10:30 and were back in Las Cruces by noon.  We all wanted to stay longer, but it's back to work for Dr. K; her year-long sabbatical--which passed by at the speed of light--is now over.  Poor Dr. K. :(
Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Blue Mist Shrub is also called "Bluebeard"

Sacramento Mountains in backdrop

Septic tank side of the property

Juniper/Pinyon elevation

Similar view

Rails-to-Trails ramada on the Grand View Trail

Moseying along the Grand View Trail

Notice the cactus growing in the rock at lower left

Prickly Rose

Heading around a bend

Fuzzy white balls

Grand View Trail is an all-time favorite

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...