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Thursday, December 31, 2020

20-degree Start

2020's last moon
20F with a wind chill of 15F when we started off this morning, but, fortunately, the wind abated once we reached the upper flatland just off Tellbrook.  The worst part of the early trek was the descent through the shadowed gap along LDR-A; upon reaching the sunny area south of the Tellbrook Arroyo conditions felt warmer.

We went as far as First Arroyo, where we ducked in for a water and photo break.  We stopped in a spot bathed by sunlight, and both Heelers seemed to appreciate the warmth.  We never saw Willow shiver due to the cold.

The cold weather has definitely invigorated both Willow and Frio, and managing them on the final leg of recent treks has been something of a chore.  They're now both eager to spot and chase jackrabbits, and their fervent desire to take off after the hares is the main reason we're keeping the dogs on the leads.  It took me nearly two years to completely alter our previous dog Becca's impulse to chase other critters.

Willow and four shadows

Creosote/hill/Organ Mountains

Thorny situation

Heading east in First Arroyo

View from the arroyo

This and the next 2:  huge Soaptree Yucca in First Arroyo

This and the next 3:  Willow and Frio

Mesquite, Soaptree Yucca and the Organ Mountains


Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Starting down LDR-A
It was 34F when we started off on our morning trek, but it felt much colder than that owing to the lack of sun and a persistent wind.  We hiked up to Second Arroyo, entered and took a short break for water and a few photos.  Then we headed back.

Along the way up LDR, just after crossing the Tellbrook Arroyo, we looked back and saw somebody standing in the road staring at us.  It was the beautiful Coyote pictured below, who stayed long enough for me to get a photo.  Both Willow and Frio were particularly well behaved seeing as how they both had spied "God's dog" simultaneously.

When we finally reached the upper flatland the sun had come out a bit and the wind had pretty much ceased, allowing us to warm a little.  This morning's outing can best be described by the word "invigorating."

Sky to the southeast

Southern sky

Northeastern sky

Willow and Frio



East to Tortugas and the Organs

Organ Mountains

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Rugged Organ Mountains

Bit of Tortugas and the Organ Mountains

Soaptree and the Organs

Tortugas's flank and the Organ Mountains

Trail around Tortugas

This and the next:  slice of Las Cruces and Picacho Peak

This and the next:  Organ Mountains

Organ Mountains with wild clouds

View from the flatland above

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Chilly to Warm

This and the next:  all fruit  is gone from this Barrel Cactus
41F when we set out for First Arroyo this morning, but with constant sun and no wind the desert began heating up; so much so, in fact, that Dr. K and I were getting hot by the time we got back to the upper flatland and the waiting CR-V.

Saw nobody out there today, not even the Black-tailed Jackrabbits that have been making our lives hell during recent hikes.  Willow is always on the lookout, though, crossing back and forth on the trail like a Chinese kite in gale-force winds.  She exercises my body (and my patience) like no dog I've had before.

This and the next 2:  the same Soaptree Yucca

This and the next 2:  Frio and Willow


This and the next:  same Soaptree


Dead or alive?


Monday, December 28, 2020

Another Monday Morning Trek

Heading down LDR-A
The morning was pleasantly warm--nearly 40F at the start of our trek.  It only got warmer from there; we're headed for a high of 70F, which is quite like spring weather.  But a cold front is dropping in over the next few days, and it's going to get really cold around here for a spell.

We took a nice long hike up to Second Arroyo today, and we saw nobody else in our section of northern Chihuahuan Desert.  We did encounter several Black-tailed Jackrabbits whose flight across the trail ahead caused both Heelers to attempt to dislodge our arms from their shoulder sockets.  Fortunately neither Dr. K nor I suffered serious bodily harm.

Leading the way--sort of

Tortugas and the Organs under a dynamic sky

This and the next:  Organ Mountains

This and the next:  2 experiments

Organ Mountains again

Clouds make the picture

Tortugas and the Organs

This and the next 4:  Frio and Willow

Small Soaptree Yucca

Soaptree Yucca with a flower stalk

Eastward in Second Arroyo


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...