|An auspicious start to this morning's trek|
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|
|Texas Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus|