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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Another Solo

First 5:  morning skies
Left the Heelers at home this morning to do a short hike in our regular spot.  I reversed the route a bit by descending into Right Branch Arroyo down the steep hill just off the upper flatland road.

I followed that branch until the intersection with the left, and then climbed the left to its head.  I had planned on going back up the right branch, but decided instead to go down to the Tellbrook Arroyo, head west and ascend into the upper flatland via the LDR-A arroyo.

I was hoping to spot a few coyotes during my trek, but only ran across a a jackrabbit and one Cactus Wren.  The jackrabbit refused to pause long enough for me to photograph it.





2 Barrel Cacti

This Barrel Cactus is about 3' tall

Soaptree and the mountains

Left Branch Arroyo and morning sun

This & next:  Cactus Wren in a Torrey Yucca


Dynamic sky

Appropriate cap to wear when hiking in or near the Organs

Tortugas and the Organs

Whitethorn Acacia in B&W

Whitethorn Acacia in color

Took the Jeep Commander this morning

Desert life

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

All Alone

First 3:  hiking the northern flank of Tortugas Mountain
A solo hike for me this morning because Mr. Frio had quite a limp in his back right leg that started not long after we played ball at 3:00 p.m. yesterday.  When I saw that he was still limping this morning I made an appointment with the vet for tomorrow afternoon.  This afternoon Frio has shown some improvement in the leg action, so I'm hoping it's a pulled or strained muscle.

I left Willow behind with Frio because it's not fair to either dog to leave the other out, and, also, Frio feels better when his sister is with him.  I hate to hike without them, but it is what it is.

I parked the Jeep Commander on the Sunset side of Tortugas Mountain where I've parked so often in the past and trekked up the road to the parking lot.  From there I took the steep trail up to the loop trail that crosses the mountain's northern flank, turned around and followed the high trail along the western flank, descended to the trail that leads back to the lower parking area and my waiting Jeep.  It was rather chilly while I was out there, but sunny.



Next 4:  Torrey Yuccas along the flank trail




Sun over the mountain

Torrey Yucca on the way back

This & next:  in the shadow of the mountain


This & next:  from the flank trail


This & next:  Strawberry Hedgehog and yuccas on the slope


This & next:  Strawberry Hedgehog on the west slope


Small Barrel Cactus and creosote

 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Cold Trend

First 4:  clouds over the Organ Mountains
Wind and rain overnight resulted in a cold morning for the intrepid hikers:  Willow, Frio and me.  I wore a Polartech jacket under my Marmot PreCip, but still felt a bit chilly.  Kept thinking I'd don my gloves, yet never did.  I can take photos with my lightweight gloves on, but I prefer to have them off.

No complaints from the peanut gallery about weather conditions out there, but the Heelers gave me reason to gripe:  they were pulling like crazy as we descended the LDR-A arroyo, undoubtedly due to the scent of desert critters.  We only saw one jackrabbit, though, who was streaking away from us at near light speed; by "streaking" I mean "going fast" not "running naked."  The latter would be a sight to behold.

After exploring the Left Branch Arroyo we hiked up and out of Right Branch Arroyo via the steep hill that leads to the upper flatland road.  All hikers were satisfied with today's outing.




This & next:  Soaptree Yuccas


Barrel Cactus and environs

Willow and Frio

Ocotillo sky

This & next:  Frio and Willow


Last 2:  clouds over the Organs


 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Full Hike

View from Left Branch Arroyo
We did our normal long hike this morning:  down the LDR-A arroyo to the east/west cross trail, east to the new arroyo and then up both branches until we exited the Right Branch Arroyo up the steep hill to the west.

There were plenty of birds out and about today, but we didn't see any land-based critters; just as well because it probably saved my shoulders from being pulled out of the sockets.

Although it was a bit chilly while we were out there the sun did its best to shine through.  Now, however, in the early afternoon, there's quite an overcast, which makes the temperature far colder than it is.

Deadwood

Looking west from Left Branch Arroyo

Ocotillo and Tortugas Mountain

Next 2: Frio and Willow headed down Left Branch Arroyo


Reefer over the mountains

Mountains to the west

Picacho et al.

Mountain cloud

This & next:  more clouds


Picacho

This & next 2:  Willow and Frio



Perspective clouds over the mountains

Ridge west of the Organs

Clouds

Tortugas and the Organs

Organ Mountains

The moon or New Mexico

Long view west

 

High, High Humidity

Too hot to hike 72F at the start of our hike, which isn't too bad, but the humidity was sky high; it made for an unpleasant trek. Dr. K,...