Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wandering around

Today I was going to climb a hill near Canyon Lake. When I finally got to the base of the hill, I decided I would have to push through too much brush and trees to get started up the hill, so I wimped out. It was a nice hike, though, and I saw some cool (literally) stuff. Who would have thought there would be ice around when it's in the 50's every afternoon? I made a rather lengthy video of the ice. It doesn't seem like ice would be a good subject for a long (relatively speaking) video, but it was doing some interesting stuff.

The other video that I made at Tortilla Flat is still "processing", so I can't put it on here yet.

Here are some pictures.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

No, I don't get tired of Bulldog Canyon

Date: December 29, 2007
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1625, 52
End - 1727, 47
The numbers:
22 Pictures taken
1 Mylar balloon extracted from the desert

Ramblings: Two or three years ago, I went hiking near this same place (just a couple of hundred yards south, actually). It was then that I decided that Bulldog Canyon was one of the best places I have ever been. I still think it is. I'm so lucky to live so close to it. I'm also very happy that my Sweetums tolerates living out here with me. It's like having my cake and eating it, too!

I got out there kind of late. Stupid computer games, interfering with my hiking. Anyway, I didn't want to go too far when it was so late, especially since it was so cool. I'm plenty warm while I'm moving, but after sunset I can't stop or I'll freeze. I think I found a route that will get me near the top of the mountains; something I've been trying to do for a long time. I may pack a lunch and try for the top in a day or two.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Tortilla Flat video

This first one is a little shaky. I was standing on a rock in the middle of the creek and twisted around during the video, so I was having trouble maintaining my balance.

The other video is still "processing". I'll have to add it later.

Tortilla Flat

I guess it was more of a stroll than a hike. It wore me out, though. I must be out of shape. Wait, no, I have a shape. Mostly tubular. Oh, never mind.

I climbed around on a large hill behind Tortilla Flat. It was nice because I got to listen to water flowing through the stream down below most of the time. It was annoying because I also heard cars on the road and people yakking. It was nice to see something different, too.

I thought that place would be deserted on a weekday, but I guess a lot of people are off work this week. It was really crowded. It was really tempting to drive back and forth across the creek at about 30 and splash water on all the tourists climbing around on the rocks in the creek bed, but I didn't. I saw one guy that tried that, though. There was a truck at the end of a line of cars (see pictures). It stopped when it got to the creek, until the cars had gone across. Then it zoomed across making the biggest splash it could. It had to hit the brakes as soon as it got across to keep from hitting the cars that were only going about 5 mph. I don't think it succeeded in splashing anybody, though.

I took a couple of videos. I'll add them after I get them uploaded (takes a while).


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Same place it Bulldog Canyon

Date: December 26, 2007
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1413, 57
End - 1630, 56
Distance hiked: ~3 miles
The numbers:
36 Pictures taken
2 Attempts by squirrels to break my ankles

Ramblings: I went to the same place in Bulldog Canyon that I went to last time I went hiking. I wanted to gather up all those gun shells. I took some bags with me to carry them all. I'm sure I got within 50 feet of them, but I couldn't find them. Rats. I did find another pile just like the first one, but not as many shells. Probably shot from the same gun. I gathered them up. They were several hundred yards from the first pile.

As I strolled along, I saw what I thought were pieces of plastic bags caught on tree branches. I went to pull them off. When I got there I saw that they were tied to the trees. They were marking a trail (see the pictures). The trail was also marked by rock cairns. The trail was 10 or 15 feet wide and looked like a herd of elephants used it every day. Why somebody thought it also needed to be marked with plastic, I can't imagine. I started to take the plastic down but then imagined some city slicker wandering lost in the desert until he died and decided to leave it. You're welcome, slick.

There is also a picture of a more subtle trail. When looking at that trail from the top of Spooky Hill, I thought it had been made by deer. While on the trail, though, I could see that it was probably cleared by horseback riders. I can't imagine deer kicking all those rocks out of the way.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Finally, back to the desert

Date: December 21, 2007
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1430, 58
End - 1623, 58
Distance hiked: 1.5 miles
The numbers:
40 Pictures taken
1 Deer seen
1 Zanol (The American Products Co) bottle extracted from the desert

Ramblings: It's been a couple of weeks since I've been for a hike. I felt a little bad all week, like I was about to come down with a cold. I thought maybe it was because I had been cooped up for too long. I felt much better while I was hiking, but now that I'm back home I'm ready to get to bed and sleep for 12 hours. Anyway, it was very pretty out there today. The air was clear and there were some nice clouds on the horizon.

I just wandered around today. I like to walk around in an area that it seems like not many people would visit. I can always tell people have been there, though. There were horse tracks criss-crossing all over the place where I was today, and some were very fresh. I saw some very fresh deer tracks today, too, and saw one of the deer making them. I came over a ridge and it was in the wash below me. It was a large doe. It was bouncing along on all fours like deer do in cartoons, then it trotted off down the wash. It was gone before I could get the lens cap off.

It wasn't very cold, but the wind was blowing at least 15 mph. I had to put my hood on now and then to thaw my ears out. I'm so glad I don't live someplace that gets cold.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Water at Tortilla Flat

Last weekend I made a very short video of water flowing over the road at Tortilla Flat. Just now remembered to put it here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snow on Four Peaks

We have officially had more rain during the past two weeks than we have had during the previous 11 months. It's very wet around here right now. There was even some pretty thick fog this morning. All the clouds and fog were gone by this afternoon, though, so we could see that there is a little snow on Four Peaks. I didn't have much time to get pictures before the sun set.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Apache Trail, near Canyon Lake

I drove out Apache Trail this afternoon. I think if I'd been out there yesterday morning, I might have seen some waterfalls. I bet I wouldn't have been able to cross the creek at Tortilla Flat, though. When I got out of the truck at the lake, it stunk pretty bad (the lake, not the truck). I hung around a while anyway, and was able to get a couple of pictures of a blue heron. Actually, I took a lot of pictures of it, but you can't see it against the background in most of them.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Back to Bulldog

I felt like getting out of the house this afternoon so I went back to Bulldog Canyon. When I was there this morning, it was easy to drive around because the rain had compacted the sand in the washes, so I didn't bog down any. This afternoon, though, some kids had been riding dirt bikes up and down the road (and everywhere else). It's like they had been working as hard as they could to loosen the sand up. I kept getting bogged down.

I didn't drive very far down the road. I stopped in a place that I don't usually stop because too many people hang out there. You can tell from the pictures that a lot of people go there, and leave their trash.



We had a lot of rain last night. I left the house this morning planning to drive around the neighborhood and see how much water was in the catch basins. I wound up in Bulldog Canyon. Here are a few pictures.


Friday, December 07, 2007

New hair color

Lauren colored her hair again. I keep wondering who that girl with the black hair is.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lazy day

I went for a short stroll in Bulldog Canyon today. Not enough daylight to do much else. The small washes are full of magnetite after the recent rains. There were a few clouds around this afternoon. I guess it's gearing up for Friday and Saturday, when it's supposed to rain again. We'll see.

I found a large hole dug right next to the road. I've probably found it before, though, so it's nothing new. I also found a saguaro that branched like a tree instead of a saguaro. I've probably found it before, too. Let me know if you remember seeing this stuff before.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Ghost fire remnants

It was a beautiful clear day today. The brown cloud stayed out of the east valley. The Superstition Mountains looked so pretty on the way home, I had to go take some pictures. They are familiar "poses", but taken with my new filters. I'm finding out that the filters make it difficult to take pictures in low light; some of them turned out pretty dark.

After I took pictures of the mountains, I drove down Apache Trail looking for something else to photograph. I pulled over in an area that was burned by the Ghost fire on June 29, 2005. The area still looks devastated. It takes a long time for the desert to recover from something like that.


Sunday, December 02, 2007


Date: December 2, 2007
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1500, ??
End - 1700, 59
Distance hiked: 1.6 miles
Elevation change: 390 feet
The numbers:
69 Pictures taken
1 Golf ball left behind (I've got to get rid of them)

Ramblings: It was overcast and gloomy the whole time I was in Texas over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was looking forward to getting back to sunny Arizona. When I did get back, it was cloudy here, too. It kept getting cloudier and gloomier. It even rained (a lot, which was nice). The sun finally came out today; beautiful clear blue skies. I had to take some pictures.

Another reason I had to take some pictures is because I got some filters for my camera. A few weeks ago, I was looking through somebody else's pictures and realized he must be using a polarizing filter to get the sky to look the way he did. I looked into getting one for my camera, but couldn't find one for it on the Canon web site. I figured that I would have to buy an SLR and at least two lenses to get the zoom capability I wanted and a polarizing filter. It would cost $3000 or $4000. Then I Googled Canon polarizing filter and discovered LENSMATE. They make adapters and sell filters and lenses for Canon Powershot cameras. So I ordered my Christmas present early. Thank you, Suzanne, it's just what I wanted!

I hiked up to my favorite ridge in Bulldog Canyon, snapping pictures along the way. I took some with the polarizer adjusted and then another one with it mis-adjusted, for comparison. I also took some with the UV filter and polarizer in place and another one with them removed. I really like the way the polarizer makes the pictures look. There are a few pairs of pictures in the web album, with captions explaining the differences.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rain! Lots of it!

It rained quite a bit yesterday and today. This afternoon, Lindsey and I drove out Apache trail and took some pictures near the Superstition Mountains. When we got to a wash that had a fair amount of water crossing it at a pretty good clip, I decided to stop and take pictures instead of crossing. Several small sedans zipped across. A couple were missing pretty bad when they got to the other side. Some crossed it at high speed. I wanted to get pictures of those, but another guy and I were standing by the road with cameras, and I think it tipped the drivers off. They all slowed down as long as we were in sight.

We drove up the Firstwater Trailhead road a little ways before we came to the same wash crossing that road. It was narrower - and therefore deeper - there. We didn't see anybody cross there. Did see one guy wisely decide to wait a while.

As we got back on Apache Trail to go home, we could see that the water level had dropped a little. There was also a line of cars, because the Forest service had shown up and closed the road.


A couple of vehicles crossing the wash.

Here's how to cross a flooded wash on a bicycle.

And now a Ford Mustang crossing the wash.

Lastly, some folks that needed encouragement.