|Weather at start|
Becca and I got an early start out of the Monte Vista area of the Tortugas Mountain Trails east side unit this morning, and there was only one truck in the parking lot when we got there. We saw the owner riding his mountain bike toward us when I was getting Becca out of Whitey the CR-V. He had on shorts and a lightweight shirt, and he greeted us with a 'good morning' as he passed, adding, "It's a lot cooler than I thought it'd be." He was right, and, boy, was I glad I had dressed appropriately: long trousers and a jacket over a light vest. Becca, of course, is always prepared for the elements.
There was no sun to speak of, just a bright, milky apparition showing through the cloud cover. Even though it was already 49F a steady wind made it feel colder. We did a normal hike on the far side of the mountain, but because I kept stopping to photograph Torrey Yuccas it took longer than usual.
There were far more yuccas in bloom on this side of the mountain than I've ever seen before, and the same holds true for the west side of Tortugas. I recall we had a decent amount of precipitation during the summer and winter months, but desert plants just seemed eager to spring into action as soon as the weather warmed up sufficiently. No problem with that; just more floral eye candy to appreciate.
|Heading around the bend|
|Becca leading the way|
|This and the next 11: Torrey Yuccas blooming|
|At first I thought this Cactus Wren had caught a butterfly|
|I think it's insulation for the nest|
|Redheads and flowers|
|Becca east of Tortugas Mountain|
|It won't be long now|
|More flowering yuccas|
|Heading down into a swale|
|Still like this to the east|
|Road to the mountain|
|Loggerhead Shrike on a yucca|
|One last look at north side yuccas|