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Saturday, March 31, 2018

East Side of the Mountain

I'd love to see these all blooming at the same time
Becca and I bypassed the Sunset side of Tortugas Mountain this morning because it was already packed before 8 a.m.  On the Monte Vista side only a few vehicles were in the parking lot.  During our extended trek we only ran into three people:  two men each hiking alone and a woman hiker who had a black Pitbull.  At a distance we saw a man and woman hiking with a dog, but we didn't encounter them.  When we got back home it was time to give Becca a bath; fortunately Dr. K was there to help.  Becca is really well behaved during a bath, but she always shakes water off of her coat a few times to make sure we get wet, too.
Carried away with cairns (the one at right looks like Paul Revere)

Southeast side of Tortugas Mountain

Boulders on the slope

Trail through the high desert

Tallest yucca is sending up a flower stalk

Here it is

On the trail through a small yucca forest

Don't know why so many yuccas grow here

The long view


South of the mountain

Desert behind Tortugas

Pyrrhuloxia (aka "Desert Cardinal")

This Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus) reminds me of Marty Feldman

What's this creeping through the desert?

Take this road

What's up there?

Torrey Yucca in bloom behind the mountain

Torrey Yucca (Yucca torreyi)

Torrey Yucca in bloom

There's a patient dog waiting in this photo

Guess I like this yucca

I see what I'm doing here . . .

. . . but what am I doing here?

Same yucca

Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday Trek

Crotch shot
Becca and I completely forgot what Good Friday is like on the Sunset side of the mountain.  Well, I forgot.  In fact, I even forgot it was Good Friday.  Despite people being off for the holiday it wasn't very crowded at first; we ran into only one guy jogging with a tiny dog.  On the way back in, though, I realized something was up; and by "up" I mean large crowds heading up the mountain road.  Why are kids out of school I wondered before it occurred to me that today was part of the Easter holiday.  Back at the parking area the upper lot was completely full, and people had parked all along the entrance road on both sides.  Even the lot alongside Dripping Springs Road was filled to capacity.
Heading down the newer section of the single-track

Yuccas in bloom

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

A young Loggerhead Shrike calling to the other (above)

Can't tell how young it is

Can't wait until this baby blooms

What would you say?

Yucca in bloom down in a gully

Best shot I could get of it

My old friend the yucca baboon

Good Friday outdoor enthusiasts parked along the entrance road

Closeup look at yucca blossoms

An even closer look

Hiking in slippers?  Sandals?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Our Regular Walkabout

West of Tortugas
Becca and I got an early start on a routine trek this morning, hiking alongside Tortugas Mountain's western flank, climbing the trail into the upper foothills, dropping west into the lower desert, and then following the outer loop road to the road heading westward into the more distant desert.  We then took the trail that cuts across between two almost parallel dirt roads until we reached the intersection with the single-track leading east back into the high foothills.  We reversed our route from there and returned to the car after about 90 minutes of trekking.  The weather was perfect:  a chilly 45F at start, and then warming up enough for me to remove my Marmot PreCip jacket about midway through the hike.
Ocotillo runes

Interesting shapes

Claret Cup blossom

The only blossom on the cactus


Flower stalk rising

Torrey Yucca

Triple header

Same Torrey Yucca

Closeup of the left two flower heads

There's the triple header again

Crossing between dirt roads

Mormon Tea

Starting back up the mountain

Wait--is somebody behind us?

Monday Monday Trek

This & next:  headed down the middle branch arroyo Another hot hike this morning, but not nearly as bad as yesterday morning; it didn...