|Just getting started on the northeast side of the mountain|
Becca and I got our normal early start on a Saturday hike around Tortugas Mountain; today, as usual, we left from the east side, the Monte Vista parking area. There were already three vehicles in the lot when we got there. Just as we arrived at the junction with the loop trail a woman was headed down toward the ramada, and after we exchanged "good mornings" I said about her German Shepherd, "Beautiful dog." She said, "Yours, too." And then she added, referring to her companion, "This is Penelope." "This is Becca," I said. As soon as we reached the loop trail a guy appeared heading our way. Looking at Becca, he said, "Is Mr. Pup ready for a hike?" "Always ready," I said. That was the extent of our interactions with humans during our trek.
We wrapped around the mountain, stopped for a water break at the junction with the trail leading south to the lower desert, and then stopped again at Becca's favorite yucca on this side of the mountain. She's into long respites of late, and we took an extended break there. Eventually I had to ask several times if she was ready to go, and at one moment I felt as if she was going to flip me the paw. But she complied, and we finished our hike before the heat became overly oppressive.
|My favorite boulder|
|Quick look to the west|
|Sotols and Torrey Yuccas|
|Crazy sky over the mountain|
|Becca forging ahead|
|A look back to establish my whereabouts|
|Forging ahead again|
|Lower section of a Sotol stalk|
|Sotol south of the mountain|
|Is Becca checking out the many bees on the flower stalk?|
|The same Sotol|
|Closer look at Sotol flowers, popular with Bumblebees|
|The rugged Chihuahuan Desert south of Tortugas Mountain|
|Zucchini or yucca fruit?|
|Sky over the Organ Mountains|
That last photo, "Sky over the Organ Mountains," is beautiful.
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