After the morning hike, some shopping, and lunch. Noelle, Sierra, Parker and I were ready for some hiking. We drove to the trailhead for Tortugas or "A Mountian" as it's known to the locals. Tortugas is a low hill on the eastern edge of Las Cruces that is also called "A" mountain because there is a large white letter A embazoned on its side. The "A" is for Aggies, in honor of New Mexico State University which calls Las Cruces home.
From the trailhead the trail we decided to take (there are user trails all over the mountain) headed steeply up the west side of the mountain.
There were lots of other hikers out on this cold, clear day. Were they taking advantage of the sunny weather, or getting a start on their New Year's resolutions? Soon the tower on the summit was visible and a little later we could also see a building on top.
When we arrived at the summit we learned that the building is NMSU's Observatory.
Also on the summit were a grotto shrine, and an outdoor church area.
There were great views of the nearby Organ Mountains
and Noelle took my picture with the Organs in the background.
I then took one of her and Sierra.
After a short time looking around on the summit, we decided to head down.
We took a different trail for the descent. There were lots of great views of Las Cruces and some of the distant mountain ranges.
Before we knew it we were back at the parking area ready to return to the hotel and relax. It was a good start to 2013!