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Sunday, September 30, 2018

South on Sierra Vista

Trailing Four O'Clock flowers are significantly larger on the Sierra Vista Trail
Dr. K, Becca and I got a bit of a later start this morning, but up on the Sierra Vista Trail at the base of the Organ Mountains it didn't start to feel hot until we were nearly back to our vehicle.  Although there were two trucks in the lot beside our CR-V we saw nobody while we were out in the wilderness--just the way we like it, I might add.  It was a beautiful morning here in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, but darned if we're not heading for a high of 91F, which is ten degrees above normal for this time of year.  As you know I'm sick of the hot weather, but my brother, who lives in Glendale (a suburb of Phoenix) is even sicker of the heat; they're still in the 100s out there.
Trailing Four O'Clock

Soledad Rocks in front of the Organ Mountains

Soledad Rocks

Ocotillos at the side of the Sierra Vista Trail

Bouquet of Blackfoot Daisies

Looks like Chinchweed, but it's not

Another unidentified plant

In a high-altitude arroyo

Apache Plume

Action shot

Contemplative shot


Barrel Cactus fruit

Closeup of the fruit (some still green)

What's she thinking about?

Fall will eventually come to the Chihuahuan Desert

Leaves starting to turn

Through an Ocotillo tangle

The long view on the Sierra Vista Trail

Small Barrel with fruit

Apache Plume

Closeup of an Apache Plume flower

On the way back

A large bouquet of Blackfoot Daisies

Sotols in the foreground

Soledad Rocks (front) and the rugged Organ Mountains

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Moon and Mule Deer

Just east of Tortugas
Becca and I headed to the Monte Vista side of Tortugas Mountain this morning, and only one vehicle was parked in the lot when we got there.  We always leave our CR-V about a quarter mile from the ramada and take a side trail to the main loop around the mountain.  At first we saw nobody, but soon a runner and mountain biker passed in the opposite direction, and, later, another runner passed heading the same way we were.  Our best sighting without doubt was that of a small herd of Mule Deer who crossed the trail ahead of us meandering to the southwest while they browsed for sustenance.  One of them looked pretty skinny, and another--a young buck with uneven antler growth--sent me to the internet when we got home to do research on deer antlers, and I read more than I expected to on the subject.  We bumped into this small herd again after we hit the main outer loop trail and started north back toward the trailhead.  They were in the deep arroyo to the east of us, perhaps getting ready to bed down for the day.  When they heard us, though, they bounded up the steep eastern bank of the arroyo as if it were almost level ground.  Amazing agility on their part.
Becca is riveted by something interesting ahead

A Mule Deer

Moseying along

In need of some grub, obviously

Distracted by a mountain biker back on the trail


Crossing the trail

Stopping for a bite to eat

Chewing thoroughly

Wondering why Becca and I are in guarded pursuit

Young buck

Antlers growing at an uneven rate?

Posing for the Westminster Deer Show

Break time for Becca

Yuccas and the Organ Mountains

She's always spotting something

Across the desert to the Organs

We encountered this small herd of Mule Deer a second time

Of course they were fascinated by us

She glanced at me, but . . .

. . . stared at Becca

Morning moon dipping behind the mountain

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 ...