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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Good Company

This & the next:  same lone yucca
For the first time in nearly three months--since being diagnosed with a torn meniscus--Dr. K accompanied Willow, Frio and me on a morning trek.  To protect against hiking too many ups and downs we chose the trail (darned if I can think of the name of it) that begins at the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument entrance sign at the west side.

Still in the testing-knee-mode Dr. K and I decided to keep the trek at about a mile in length; we might have gone a bit further, but we started getting sprinkled on.  Afterward I drove us out toward the Organ Mountains hoping to get some decent photos of the view, but the peaks were too densely blanketed by clouds; in fact, when we were there the clouds formed a white skirt that almost entirely obscured a view of the foothills.

On the way home we decided to take a short sightseeing drive around a few of the neighborhoods near ours.  I wanted to show Dr. K a really beautiful home that had sold recently whose new owners had painted the place in a near-mustard yellow color.  We shook our heads in disbelief.  Even the Heelers were aghast.

Clouds obscure the mountain

Young female Grackle


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Drizzled Upon

All photos are clouds & mountains with a few exceptions
We were drizzled on a bit at the start of our trek, but the rain stopped soon afterward.  Because Pamela and Terry were about to descend LDR-A when we got out of the CR-V we hiked down LDR.

I believe the man and woman who walk with four or five Basset Hounds went down earlier because canine prints were evident everywhere.  The scent of the dirty Bassets got my Heelers' attention early, and they pulled like maniacs all the way down to the TellBrook Arroyo.

I was so ticked off at their behavior I took them back up LDR-A to get them off scent; it worked.  When we reached the upper flatland I turned around and we went down LDR-A nearly to the major arroyo.  We also did some minor bushwhacking so I could capture images of the dynamic cloud-filled sky around the mountains.

Frio and Willow were a bit better behaved on the way back to our vehicle, but their overall performance today earned them an F for bad behavior.

Red Velvet Mite (Dinothrombium spp), aka Rain Bug

Frio and Willow

Scott's Oriole

Willow and Frio

This & the next 2:  Ocotillos


Monday, June 28, 2021

Partial Rainout

The long, wet dirt road
Partially aborted hike this morning due to rain.  We made it down to the Tellbrook Arroyo before the heavier stuff started, but we had to turn around midway up LDR because it was getting bad.  Both dogs were shaking off rain frequently, and poor Frio had his ears plastered against his head to keep the precip out.  A minute after we got back to the CR-V the deluge began.  It's been raining on and off--quite heavily at times--throughout the morning.  Not surprisingly the frame around the large skylight near the front door has sprung a leak yet again.  I've sealed it repeatedly, but no luck doing so on a permanent basis.
This and the next:  back in the car, but wet

Three wet hikers dry inside

Rain pouring down


Sunday, June 27, 2021


This & the next:  clouds rolling over the Organs
It was about 75F this morning when we started our hike, but we're only supposed to reach a high of  87F; a strong front is poised to blow in later today, bringing with it the chance of severe weather.  We're already under a flash flood warning for today and the rest of the week.

We didn't run into anyone out there today, but we heard people with dogs--the sounds coming from the corner parking lot at Tellbrook and Sonoma Ranch.  Because of the way SUVs were parked with their tailgates open I had the sense that it might be a meeting of the Search and Rescue members with canines.  Never got a good look to say for certain, though.

Willow, Frio and I trekked up to First Arroyo and back for our morning exercise.  It was a pretty good outing.

This & the next:  Nipple Beehive Cactus

Coryphantha macromeris

This & the next:  flank of Tortugas and the Organ Mountains


Soaptree Yucca

This & the next:  Heelers-eye-view

Willow and Frio

From a distance:  a pretty yellow butterfly

Up close:  a windblown section of a Soaptree Yucca seed pod

Last 3:  Organ Mountains


Saturday, June 26, 2021

A+ for Heelers

Willow and Frio
Although we saw people walking dogs on the drive over to Tellbrook neither of the Heelers overreacted.  There was very little pulling on their leads as we made our way up to Second Arroyo.  When we encountered Pamela and Terry coming from the other way Willow lay down and whimpered once, and Frio had absolutely nothing to say.  Pamela said to them, "Good boy and girl.  You two will be used to us in no time."

On the drive back home we passed two people walking dogs in the neighborhood.  Neither Heeler reacted.  It was such a nice respite from their behavior, I pray it's the new normal, though I suspect otherwise.

Another nice thing about today's trek:  a constant breeze provided for excellent evaporative cooling.

Organ Mountains

This & the next 2:  dead tree experiments

Old Soaptree Yucca

Soaptree and Mesquite

This & the next:  Second Arroyo

West of Tortugas Mountain

Dead tree

Second Arroyo

Waiting for Mom to come inside

Bushwhack or Not to Bushwhack

1st 2:  this morning's moon Another morning doing our regular hike, this time with added distance; we bushwhacked out of the left branch...