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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A Very Good Outing

An auspicious start to this morning's trek
It rained overnight, and it was still raining lightly this morning.  Doppler radar showed a window of opportunity beginning at 9, but Frio and I left for Tortugas Mountain before 8 because conditions had improved significantly; it was only sprinkling when we got out there.

As we were climbing the flank trail into the upper foothills a guy wearing a white ballcap hiking up the mountain road waved to me.  It was Rene, a retired astronomy professor from NMSU; he had his dog Rayo with him.  He called down to me, saying, "Did you get a new pup?"  I answered in the affirmative.  He said, "We'll come around and meet you."  This gave me pause for concern because our last dog, Becca, and Rayo had little use for each other.  Rayo would bark somewhat aggressively at Becca while she growled back.

Frio barked a few times as Rene and Rayo approached, but when the canine noses met there was no problem at all.  They acted as if they'd known each other for ages.  This made me feel very good, and Rene and I stood talking "dog" for five to ten minutes before parting company.

I kept expecting the rain to start again at any moment, but when it didn't I decided that Frio and I should just keep trekking, logging as many miles as we could.  Beneath my Marmot PreCip jacket I was wearing a lightweight long-sleeve Craghopper shirt, but as the wind picked up--harbinger of the predicted cold front that would bring snow to our area tonight--I realized I was under dressed.  No problem if we just kept moving. On the road heading west away from the mountain I determined that it might be a good place to try a brief experiment with Frio, letting him off lead for a short spell.  Obviously I hoped no jackrabbit would appear because Mr. Frio has an abiding interest in them now.  We were fortunate that none showed.

A bonus benefit to today's hike came as we were heading down the mountain road to the intersection with the trail leading back to the Sunset Area:  my pal Raymond was waiting for us.  As Frio and I approached, I said to Raymond, "He'll probably bark at you a few times."  Raymond said, "That's all right--he doesn't know me."  Frio barked twice, and that was it.  Then we all hiked back to the parking lot together, Raymond carrying a new hiking stick I'd not seen before.  Frio managed to get a chuckle out of us while we trekked down the trail, trying to grab the rawhide tie on the end of Raymond's hiking stick.  What a character Frio is.
Clouds over the flank of Tortugas Mountain

Two trails diverged in the Chihuahuan Desert . . .

. . . and Frio couldn't decide which trail to take

Part of the rainbow arc

If I can convince Frio to dig behind that yucca we might get rich

Further away from Tortugas

Starting up the trail to the high foothills

There he is off-lead

Here comes the handsome cattle dog

I chose this area to conduct a brief off-lead test

Mr. Frio did very well

Sunlit Picacho Peak peeking over the shadowed desert

Western flank of Tortugas Mountain with the Organ Mountains beyond

Old Sol made several appearances during our trek

Someone asked what attracted me to Frio

Organ Mountains

Texas Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus


Dr. K said...

Beautiful photos of the rainbox--and Frio, too!

Caroline said...

What a great face!

scotmet said...

What a little gentleman Frio has become.

packrat said...

What's a "rainbox" Dr. K? :)

He does have a great face, Caroline!

Very gentlemanly at times, Scott; other times not so much. But he's a puppy still. :)

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