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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Adventures Close to Home: Ocotillo Forest

So often what I show you in these adventures must seem repetitious, but today's mountain hike went in a different direction. Our destination was high ground where the ocotillo is getting ready to open its flowers to the sun. Here is the point where we really started to climb --

-- and maybe the photograph directly below will give some idea of how far from the road we ventured. Can you see our ghost town home at all back there in far distance?

One thing I know you can see in that last image is how open the ground is, compared to lower down in Dos Cabezas. We had gradually left most of the mesquite behind and now encountered more barrel and prickly pear cactus.

The old girl (dog girl, that is) had been staggering around earlier in the cabin, as if her legs could barely keep her upright. She can be like that in the mornings. Once outdoors, though? She is a new animal! Rambunctious as a puppy, eager to run and explore! I do keep an eye on her, of course, to make sure she doesn't get dehydrated or exhausted, and when she seems to be looking for water, I stop and we both have a drink. I also suck on a lemon -- for the electrolytes -- and Sarah has a couple of dog treats for energy.

Despite many stops for purposes of hydration and photography, the humans were on a mission this trip. Here is Therese (Sarah standing by), showing me why we made the arduous climb. 

But you still can't see how very tall they were, those ocotillo. This picture Therese took of me, standing right next to one of the plants, may give a better idea.

And here is Buddy in the ocotillo forest. Can you see him? He's a big dog but looks little here!

The ocotillo flowers are not yet fully open, but before long every tall wand ends in a bright red flame. They're getting there....

The forest of ocotillo had been our main objective, but it was not the only gift the mountains gave us. What has Therese spotted here on the edge of a deep ravine?

If we were back in Michigan, I'd call these black-eyed Susans, but what are they called here?

Then there were these brilliant mounds of color, such are also blooming along the roadsides right now, and I took the opportunity (far from roads) to get a good closeup. Now do my friends want to argue about what this flower is?

Once again, it was a beautiful and exciting day in the mountains -- and this time we humans refrained totally from political discussion. Not a single word! That was the icing on the cake.

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