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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

No Hike

Arroyo beside our property
After overdoing a trek yesterday and coughing all through the night I decided it would be best if I skipped this morning's hike, choosing instead to head to three destinations early:  Home Depot, Target and Alberstsons.  I accomplished all those tasks and was back home before 10:15.

Just before lunch I took a little stroll around our desert property and captured a few images.  Although the sun shone brightly in a cloud-dappled sky it was actually quite cold outside.  That's another reason I decided to pass on an early morning trek today.
This and the next 3:  our desert place

This and the rest:  Flamingo Flower (Anthurium) in our patio enclosure

Monday, December 30, 2019

A Mile More

That erect black tail means Jack is ready to haul arse
I waited until 9 a.m. to get on the trail west of Tortugas Mountain, hoping the abundant sunshine would more than compensate for the cold temperature and strong wind; it almost did, but 28F with stiff gusts still feels pretty chilly.

Because I intentionally bushwhacked through swales and valleys to avoid the wind I was able to stay out of the harshest conditions most of the time.  But having to climb out of those depressions to crest several different ridges exposed me to the elements, and by the time I was a mile away from getting back to Whitey the CR-V I realized I had probably--contrary to my intentions--trekked 5,280 feet too far this morning.

Had my physical stamina been back to normal I wouldn't think twice about the difficulty of such an endeavor, but I'm probably at or around 70% right now.
West of Tortugas

At center is one of the tallest Soaptree Yuccas I've seen: well over 20'

Typical Chihuahuan Desert flora

Old-timey look

Tortugas Mountain Observatory

Creosote bushes, Soaptree Yuccas and Ocotillos

This and the next: fallen Torrey Yucca trunk with new growth

This and the next 2:  Hedgehog Cactus and tall Ocotillo in an arroyo

Looking the opposite direction in the same arroyo

Arroyos are fun to explore because of all the animal prints

This and the last:  Ocotillo and shadow west of Tortugas Mountain

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Drive

This and the next:  Desert Cottontail eating Prickly Pear at our place
Neither Dr. K nor I felt up for the physical demands of our normal Sunday morning hike so we took a long drive through a section of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument instead.  I stopped periodically to take a photo or two on a crisply cold, though sunny, day.

We drove part-way into the Dripping Springs Natural Area, but there were too many other visitors motoring in so we decided to turn around and head home.

It was a nice outing, and we got to see some beautiful scenery in the process.

This and the rest:  a drive through part of OMDPNM

Cottontail back for more Prickly Pear

Saturday, December 28, 2019

About 50 Percent

Entrance road, Sunset Area, Tortugas Mountain Trails
Today is the first time since the 24th that I was able to get out and do a short hike west of Tortugas Mountain.  I felt pretty sick during those intervening days, and I had no urge at all to try getting outside.  Weather conditions weren't ideal this morning, but I didn't freeze my butt off, either.  Only one other vehicle occupied the Sunset Area parking lot when I arrived, but it was far more crowded by the time I returned.

I'd estimate my physical condition to be about 50% of normal, and now, after doing a fairly short trek, I feel pretty tired.  Going to take it easy the rest of the day.
Sky at start of hike

This and the next:  west of the mountain

This and the next 3:  Franklin Mountains (El Paso, Texas)

A favorite sandy spot


Doña Ana Mountains

Ominous at times this morning

Ocotillos, Yucca and the Organ Mountains

Picacho Peak

The Robledos

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...