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Monday, December 11, 2017

Variable Weather

Road into the Monte Vista area, east side of Tortugas Mountain
Weather app read:  "34F," a "high of 61F," "partly cloudy" with winds at "3 mph."  Weather app lied.  When Becca and I got out to the Monte Vista parking lot on the east side of Tortugas Mountain--we went to the far side because of the Our Lady of Guadalupe pilgrimage to the mountaintop on the west side--it was absolutely freezing.  The sky was mostly cloudy and the winds were howling.  I had to replace my ball cap with a Polarplus watch cap and don gloves to keep my hands warm.  The sun did make sporadic appearances, but by the time we'd circled back to the east side of Tortugas Mountain after hiking to the west I had to unfurl the hood from my Marmot PreCip jacket to cover my head.  I don't know who prepared the weather report this morning, but, man, was that person wrong.  After our trek, when we headed home, we noticed that both sides of Dripping Springs Road were lined with vehicles.  The sacred pilgrimage to the top of Tortugas Mountain was well underway.
Trail heading to the mountain turns east and then wraps around to the south

Organ Mountains under cloudy conditions

What is Becca staring at so intently?

Quail on the trail ahead

The way we've just come

At first I thought this Sotol was still in bloom

But all the Sotol flowers were dried out

We've hiked that trail (center right) to the top of Tortugas before

Peopled by yuccas

Looks further away from the Organs than we actually are

Back behind Tortugas Mountain

Upper trail around the mountain

Torrey Yuccas in line on the southern flank of Tortugas Mountain

Closer look at the Torrey Yucca forest

Who me?

Higher up in the southern foothills

Three mounds of Strawberry Pitaya Cactus

Next six:  the Organ Mountains from Tortugas Mountain's foothills

That trail leads way out into the desert south of the mountain


How steep is the southeast flank of Tortugas Mountain?

Swirling clouds

Yuccas trudging up the north face of the mountain

Closer look at trudging yuccas

Boulders on the northeast side of the mountain

Got some blue skies for a while

Clouds come and go, though

Morning moon

One steep mountain

Torrey Yuccas on the mountain flank

1 comment:

Dr. K said...

Some of these landscape photos are pretty spectacular, especially the first one. They were worth braving the cold weather.

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