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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Just Beyond the Hump

Trail from the Sunset Area ramada
Becca and I got a bit later start this morning, but it was five degrees colder than when we started yesterday.  It warmed up rapidly, though, under mostly sunny skies, and I had to remove my light jacket about a quarter of the way into our hike.  We're headed for a high of 74F today, and it was springlike out there.  There were vehicles in the Sunset Area parking lot, but we didn't see nor encounter anyone west of the mountain during our trek.  Becca enjoyed herself, though the length of her tongue hanging out was a good indication of how much warmer it was here in the northern Chihuahuan Desert.  I think we have a cool down coming in the near future, and that's always good when you're poised on the brink of sunny/hot days.
Steep trail up the mountain

Along the flank

On the "new" trail

Does this piece of yucca look like turtle or grouse?

The long view

In a well-traveled arroyo

Tortugas and the Organs

Over at the lineworkers' grounds




Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cloudy Day

This kind of day so far (2:05 p.m.) in the Chihuahuan Desert
Becca and I got an early start on our morning hike, and the weather was fairly warm for mid-February:  46F when we headed out.  The cloud cover, no doubt, kept the temperature up, and the skies remained cloudy all day (so far).  We had a nice, somewhat shorter trek because I thought I detected a slight hitch in Becca's giddyup.  She was good throughout the outing, though, and she seems all right here at home.  We saw a few other enthusiasts on and about the mountain, but the Sunset Parking lot was sparsely populated with vehicles when we got back to Whitey the CR-V.  I did take my Garmin GPS unit with me and used it to mark a track during our trek, but I didn't feel compelled to do a screenshot of the Google Earth satellite image.
Same scene as yesterday, different weather conditions

Hiking along the ridge west of Tortugas Mountain

Becca on the ridge line

This and the next 2:  Lyreleaf Jewelflowers

Having a blast in the cloudy weather

Sandy section of the desert west of the mountain

Nerisyrenia Camporum

Bushwhacking Becca

Checking out the area

Scouting around

White-winged Dove

The same White-winged Dove

Soaptree Yucca and the Franklin Mountains

Soaptree Yuccas and the Franklin Mountains

Bicolor Fanmustard

More mustards

This and the next:  Lyreleaf Jewelflowers

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Shopping Day Trek

In an arroyo
Becca and I got an earlier than usual start this morning primarily because I woke up early and wasn't able to go back to sleep.  The morning temperature was 36F when we headed out, but warmed quickly.  We're supposed to reach a high of 74F today.  We kept our trek short so I could get home and leave early for my weekly shopping jaunts to Target and Albertsons.  There were other nature enthusiasts on and about the mountain when we were there, but we only had a near encounter with one mountain biker high on the upper foothills trail.  It was warm enough by the time we got home for me to wear a short-sleeve shirt and shorts out to do my grocery shopping.  I was a bit worried other shoppers would think I'd jumped the gun with my choice of clothing, but there were a few other people wearing t-shirts and shorts so I didn't feel out of place.
Becca the bushwhacker

This and the next 2:  Becca in action

West side of Tortugas

Mormon Tea budding out

Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus

Bicolor Fanmustard

Bicolor Fanmustard

Bicolor Fanmustard with "Watercolor" filter

Monday, February 25, 2019

Tortugas GPS

Partial GPS track of our morning hike
Becca and I headed out early for a morning trek west of Tortugas Mountain.  The weather was a bit chilly at the start (31F), but quickly warmed up during our hike.  We're headed for a high of 70F.  Wish we could keep these conditions year round:  cold in the early morning, pleasantly warm by afternoon.  Not to be, though; time runs inexorably on, and soon we'll be complaining about the searingly hot days of summer in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Looking forward to springtime, however, when all the glorious cacti will be flowering once again.  Today we saw several other outdoor enthusiasts on and about the mountain--a larger number than is usual for a Monday.  Can't blame people for wanting to get out into the natural world to appreciate the wonderful day.
Morning moon

Inadvertently caught a guy trekking up the mountain (top right quadrant)

Desert Cottontail says . . .

"Time for a little shuteye"

That trail up the mountain

Two-yucca view

Rugged stretch

Two views of the same Ocotillo


This and the next 3:  House Finches on yuccas

Leader of the pack

Before heading around the horseshoe

Getting ahead of the pack

Becca and tall Torrey Yucca

Moon between yucca sabers

Mormon Tea budding out

Not the beverage of choice for desert rats

Grand View--Not

Early morning moon A man and woman were just starting down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail when we rolled into the Grand View Trail parking lot....