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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Extra Mileage

Yuccas are plentiful on the west side of Tortugas
Becca and I saw something we've not seen before in the desert:  a Coyote chasing another at full speed.  Becca was first to spot the lead canid; it was running so fast it took me a second to note that it was a small Coyote rather than a fox.  We both saw the pursuer at the same time; it, too was running at top speed.  In a very short time, though, the pursuit stopped, and I was only able to get a few inferior shots of the pursuer.  I imagine what we were seeing was a territorial dispute, and the bigger (perhaps older) Coyote was running the first one off.
A watchful eye

Looking back at the way we've just come

Torrey Yucca on the western slope

Beach bunny

Closeup of the cute profile

The pursuer

Giving up and turning around

Pretty far west of Tortugas

Leafless Ocotillos poking into the sky

Becca spots a mountain biker way over on Geothermal Drive

Do you know the way to the mountains?

This is the way west

Desert Marigold still in flower on November 30th

This and the rest:  reddish-orange Ocotillo wands

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Visiting a Vet

Looking west from a point west of the mountain
After a normal hike this morning, during which Becca and I walked with our buddy Raymond a good way up the mountain road, we got gas in the RAV4 on the way home, and then got ready for a trip to the vet.  Although she's always petrified at the vet's office--drooling, shaking, tail plastered between her legs--she was very good.  She got a wellness checkup from Dr. Gray, two shots, a distemper/parvo and a 3-year rabbies booster, and then nearly ripped my arm out of the socket dashing to get out of the place.  Although she's a few pounds heavier than I'd like her to be she's a healthy canine.
Desert scout

Two views of the same Soaptree Yucca:  this

and this

Ocotillo and Torrey Yucca

Touch of magic

Almost the same scene in color

The way we've come

Getting way ahead of the game

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Return to Tortugas

Just starting out
Becca and I were back to hiking in the lower Chihuahuan Desert west of Tortugas Mountain this morning.  On our inbound leg we were happy to run into our buddies J.D. and Olivia who are wintering in the Chihuahuan Desert, down from Fairbanks, Alaska.  J.D. had no sooner asked if I had seen our pal Jimmy lately when said pal came around a bend into sight.  We all stood palavering for fifteen or twenty minutes before parting ways.  I had some errands to run, including grocery shopping at Albertsons before noon.
Looking across the northwestern flank of the mountain

Yuccas on the western bank of the arroyo

Becca was excited to get back here

Who's eating the Prickly Pear Cactus pads?

Looks like autumn in the Chihuahuan Desert, but feels like spring

This way to Tortugas

Fruit of the Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Placeholder Post

No hike today, and after dealing with the coolant leak in our Jeep Commander I didn't really have the chance to make a decent blog post; so I'm sticking this in just as a placeholder of sorts.

I had to drive our Jeep down to Alamogordo at 7:30 this morning in order to be at Alamo Auto Center when it opened at 8:00.  I had sent an email to the business on Saturday night, and on Sunday night I decided to call and leave a message on its voicemail.  I was surprised when the owner, Xavier, answered; the call transferred to his cell.  He was in California, but said he'd contact the shop manager and tell him to look out for me.

Xavier kept his word, and the manager, Terrell, had a mechanic, Bill, inspect the vehicle.  As I feared it was a bad water pump, but they were able to get one, install it, and have me out of there by 10:45.  I couldn't have been more pleased with the outstanding service I received.  I'll be writing a comment about their excellent service and posting it on their website today or tomorrow.

So this is my feeble blog post for today.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sticking Close to Home

Early morning sunlight on the mountains
We decided it didn't make sense to take the Jeep out this morning, even for the short ride to the Grand View trailhead; we didn't want to risk breaking down on a Sunday morning and being forced to walk back to our place here in High Rolls.  Better to stick close to home and do short hikes around our property.  We can get in some exercise and take in the sights from the 7,000-foot elevation level.  Tomorrow morning I have to drive down to Alamogordo to see if an auto repair shop down there will be able to diagnose and fix our coolant leak.  This should be fun.
Becca the canine wonder

Haynes Canyon, early light

Scrub Oak

Dr. K coming outside to join us

Our pumphouse with 1500-gallon storage tank

What's inside a pumphouse?

Turpentine Bush?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Section 1 Rim Trail

Blooming now on our property
Dr. K, Becca and I headed up to Cloudcroft to dump garbage and do an early morning hike on the first section of the Rim Trail, T-105.  We ran into one mountain biker on the outward leg, but on the way in the trail was more crowded.  We crossed paths with ten hikers and three mountain bikers.  After our trek we stopped at Family Dollar in the village to buy some supplies.  On the way down the mountain I smelled a pungent odor, saw the temperature gauge on the Jeep climb higher than usual, and worried about the coolant system.  Sure enough, when I checked the fluid level in the antifreeze reservoir it was down drastically.  We've developed a leak in the system, something we'll need to rectify quickly.  Won't be able to get anything done until Monday, though, when we can take the vehicle down to Alamogordo.  As you might imagine auto repair shops in the High Rolls/Mountain Park area are nonexistent.
American Robin

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Same Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker left and a Scrub Jay took its place

Just past the Slide Picnic area on the Rim Trail

Old Quaking Aspens

White Sands National Monument from the Rim Trail, T-105

Clinging to the Rim Trail

Spectacular views from the first section of the Rim Trail

Becca loving the high country

In the tall pines

One of many observatories in the Sacramento Mountains

Not a flake of snow on Sierra Blanca (elevation 11,981 feet)

Heading back

New signage on the Rim Trail

Leafy Aster (Symphyotrichum Foliaceum) at 9,000 feet

Old blaze on an elderly pine tree

Sign at the start of Section 1

View down Haynes Canyon from 9,000 feet

A Nice Bushwhack

Mourning Dove on nest in our backyard We didn't plan on it when we set off on our hike this morning, but we did a fairly long bushwhack ...