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Monday, January 31, 2022

Halter or Harness?

First 2:  little mesquite tree
Willow, Frio and I did our regular hike this morning, and weather conditions weren't too bad; it was cold, but not frigid, and I was able to remove my gloves and ear band before entering the new arroyo.

We trekked up the middle branch, and then came back on the left branch.  At the intersection with the right branch we took it, ascending southward all the way to its source.  Then we exited the arroyo up the steep hill to the west.

Both Willow and Frio behaved excellently today, and I really appreciated it.  Of course, there were no real distractions to set them off.

Find the Barrel Cactus

The above pictured Barrel Cactus

Purplish Prickly Pear

Hedgehog Cactus

Dancing to the music

Mormon Tea

Torrey Yucca

This & next:  Soaptree Yucca

Creosote, Prickly Pears, Ocotillos and grasses

Dead tree

Frio and Willow


Sunday, January 30, 2022

Chilly, but not Cold

Organ Mountains
It was pretty chilly when the Heelers and I started our hike this morning, but not cold.  Had the wind been blowing it would have been a different story.

We did our normal trek today:  down the LDR-A arroyo, east on the cross trail to the new arroyo, up the left branch and then down the middle branch to the intersection with the right.  We headed south on the right branch and then exited up the steep hill (pictured below) beside the upper flatland road.

I gave Willow and Frio an A- this morning for their behavior; they strained twice in wanting to pursue a fleeing jackrabbit, and lunged briefly in the direction of a guy hiking with his dog; the man had his pup (looked like a border collie) on a lead.  Fortunately I was able to get the Heelers away with minor disturbance (Frio barked once at the other nature lovers).

Frio and Willow

Torrey Yucca (Picacho on the horizon)


This & next:  Picacho "Peak"

Torrey Yuccas

Hot air balloon

Frio and Willow

The hill we use to exit Right Branch Arroyo

Clouds to the west

The long view of Tortugas and the Organ Mountains


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Cold Till the End

First 2:  clouds and the Organ Mountains
29F when we hit the trail this morning; and even though it warmed up to 37F by the end, conditions felt cold throughout the entire trek.  I didn't remove my gloves and ear band until we were ready to climb the steep hill to exit Right Branch Arroyo.

Frio and Willow didn't mind the weather at all, and even though they were energized by the cold they were very well behaved today; in fact I'd call their canine behavior "excellent."  This is a trend I'd like to keep up.

There were a few outdoor enthusiasts whose vehicles were parked in the corner lot at Tellbrook and Sonoma Ranch, but we didn't run into anybody during our outing.  We did see a lot of birds up near the source of Right Branch Arroyo, and I even took a few photos of them.  Good hike this morning.

Soaptree and the Organs

Looking south up LDR-A

Frio and Willow on LDR-A

Clouds over the mountains

This & next 2:  Organ Mountains

Torrey Yucca in Middle Branch Arroyo

Triple Barrel Cactus

One type of Prickly Pear

A different type of Prickly Pear

Banana Yucca

Soaptree Yuccas

Willow and Frio on break in Right Branch Arroyo

Artsy Black-throated Sparrow

The same Black-throated Sparrow


Friday, January 28, 2022

Five Degrees

Two Barrel Cacti
30F when Willow, Frio and I started our hike this morning, 35F when we finished up.  The only saving grace was the absence of wind; only a slight breeze rustled the desert plants.

Instead of opting for the LDR-A arroyo for our first leg we trekked down the dirt road to the east/west cross trail and headed east to the new arroyo.  I hadn't planned on taking the middle branch until I spotted a large bird in an Ocotillo up near the arroyo's source.  I suspected it was a hawk.

The next part of the hike was the most interesting as I tried sneaking up on the raptor while trying to convince the Heelers that they needed to be calm and quiet.  Apparently Mr. Frio didn't hear me (he's deaf, after all) and he kept shaking his whole body, thereby jangling the bling on his collar.  Fortunately the bird, a Red-tailed Hawk, was very patient with us, and I was able to get close enough to take a few good photos before it flew away.

I have to comment on how well behaved the Heelers were today, especially Willow; I'd like to believe I'm finally getting through to her and she's beginning to listen.

Frio and Willow

Very small Soaptree Yucca

Frio and Willow

This & next 4:  sneaking up on a Red-tailed Hawk

Soaptree and Prickly Pear

Soaptrees in Middle Branch Arroyo

At left is one huge pad


Grand View--Not

Early morning moon A man and woman were just starting down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail when we rolled into the Grand View Trail parking lot....