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Friday, August 31, 2018

Fried Egg Hike

Part of Las Cruces, New Mexico and Picacho Peak
Becca and I got a late start (8 a.m.) on the west side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and we paid the price a bit.  At first a cooling wind made it seem as if it wouldn't be too hot out there, but the wind soon dissipated and we began to warm up.  Fortunately we did only a moderately long hike so we didn't push ourselves too hard.  Nevertheless, we had to take plenty of shade and water breaks to stay cool and hydrated.  We ran into our pal Raymond who said he was recovering from a concussion he got at work several weeks ago.  I worried that trekking under a hot sun might not be the best thing for him, but he said he was feeling okay.
The long road

The long road in B&W

Cow Tongue Prickly Pears

Desert Chinchweed

Power to the mountain

Chihuahuan Desert scene

Barrel Cactus

Biking in the foothills of Tortugas Mountain

The hot Beckster

Heading through a gully

Best in show

A small (4") Barrel Cactus growing under a Creosote Bush

A real late bloomer

Quite a showy display

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Keeping It Short

Somewhere along the mountain road
I knew as soon as we got up this morning that I'd probably have to cut our hike short; it was significantly hotter than yesterday.  Becca and I still did nearly an hour of trekking, but she wasn't really into it.  I noticed that her energy level was a bit sapped by the heat.  Can't really say that I minded abbreviating the hike; it was necessary in order to cut down on the discomfort level.  I didn't sweat at all yesterday, but today I was wiping perspiration from my brow frequently.  We enjoyed ourselves nonetheless, but we were happy to get back to the car after the trek.
This morning's moon

It's a yellow flower

Who's on the mountain?

On the road again

A little faded

Two shots of almost the same scene: #1


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Hump Day Dump Day

Blackfoot Daisies
It actually felt a lot cooler when Becca and I were out on our morning trek today:  66F with a slight breeze.  Conditions remained fairly good until the end of the hike when the sun won the battle against overcast sky and began to shine down with force.  Fortunately we were wrapping our outing up by then.  There were quite a few outdoor enthusiasts when we first arrived, but far fewer around when we finished our explorations.  Both Becca and I had a good time on an almost-regular-length journey.
Over at the line workers grounds

Cow's Tongue

Twinleaf Senna and Velvety Nerisyrenia growing together

Ms. Exploration

A young Say's Phoebe

Becca about to go on break in an arroyo

Break time

Desert Unicorn Plant (Proboscidea althaeifolia), aka "Devil's Claw"

Yet another break?


Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Franklin Mountains near El Paso in the distance

Black-tailed Jackrabbit (aka "American Desert Hare")

All the better to hare you with

Becca headed back on the new trail

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rapid Heat Up

Becca just starting across the new trail
It seemed like a cool morning when Becca and I started off early on the west side of Tortugas Mountain.  Desert deception.  Not long after we set off we encountered a woman heading the opposite direction who had a light sweater tied around her waist.  "I thought it was going to be cooler," she said, "but it's really hot."  She was right; as soon as we broke out of the mountain's shadow the sun began baking us.  We did a bit longer trek than yesterday, though, stopping frequently in the shade to rest and drink water.  We were no worse for wear by the time we reached the waiting CR-V.  Guess I forgot to mention I'm about to retire the 1998 Toyota RAV4 after 20+ years of reliable service.  I'm going to donate the car to a worthy charity.
Further along the new trail

This trail was built as an alternate route down the single-track

This is the section the new trail bypasses

Trailing Four O'Clock

Looks comfortable, no?

Last of the blooming Barrel buds

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

I could spend a day trying to ID this dragonfly

Monday, August 27, 2018

Moisture-Laden Atmosphere

Yesterday's full moon today
Becca and I did a shortened hike on the west side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and it felt pretty awful out there.  The humidity and dewpoint were sky high after yesterday's late afternoon storm.  We got quite a lot of precip during a short downpour, and afterward the sun came out to ensure that everything got as steamy as possible.  The conditions carried over into the morning hours, and neither Becca nor I felt like suffering in order to put a few more miles on our feet/paws.
Large Ocotillo at the side of the mountain

The glare

Just off the trail leading to the high foothills

Down a deep gully

Trail leading to the upper foothills

Shack and tower at an old experimental station

West side of Tortugas

Hummer near the experimental station

Best closeup I could get

Rugged west side of Tortugas Mountain

More of the west side

Desert Life

1st 2:  Willow in yucca shadow It was so windy and the air was so bad this morning that Dr. K, Willow and I did only our regular hike. Not s...