|From Canyon Lake a...|
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
There was a lot of traffic up there today. Lots of ATVs and dirt bikes and pickups zipping back and forth. Many times I had to get over to the side of the road to let somebody by in one direction or the other. We were near the end of the road at the top when an ATV came toward us. As I had dozens of times before, I moved to the side of the road. The critical difference this time was that the road had a layer of compacted snow on it. The feeling of my sinking heart matched the sinking of my right tires into the ditch. The tires just spun on the snow. Locking the axle didn't help at all. I was not happy. I don't think Richard was, either, but at least he was polite. Alex was having a good time. Finally, something to relieve his boredom.
A mile or two back, we had stopped to take a picture of a couple (for them, with their camera) in a Polaris ATV (a Ranger, I think). They caught up with us now and offered to pull us out. Their ATV had a winch that could pull 8000 pounds. That should do it, but I didn't see what would keep the ATV from being pulled to the truck. The guy parked it against a tree. Then it was a piece of cake. I was impressed. I was also very pleased. Thanks, Erv! Not a scratch on the truck. Yea, Polaris!
I've started a shopping list: tire chains, winch or come-along, shovel, etc. Or maybe I should just stay out of those situations. Sure, like that's gonna happen. I just need to be prepared. The locking rear axle has gotten me out a few jams on dry dirt and rocks, but it's next to useless on snow.
Click below to see Richard's pictures. There are a few of the truck as it gets pulled out. There's an action shot of Erv running the winch. Richard had two of him doing that but in the other one he was just standing there looking bored. I like this one.
There is also a good picture of Alex next to something that is not a snowman, but I don't remember exactly what it is. Alex said a lot of strange things today and they kind of run together (there was something about a whale telling him to use his instincts so he could fly like a chicken). Alex doesn't just think outside the box; he thinks in a parallel universe.
We don't have any pictures of the rest of our adventure. It probably would have been rude to take pictures of that guy that was in so much pain he could barely move. It looked like maybe he went into a corner too fast on his dirt bike and smacked into solid rock or dirt or something that was not nearly as soft as a cholla. I bet he would have rather hit a cholla. Like many bike riders, he couldn't relax until his bike was taken care of. We loaded it into the truck and he got in the jeep that was there. The bike didn't look like it was in very bad shape. The gas tank was cracked, though. The jeep had to go very slow. It's a long, bumpy road. It probably took them several hours to get him down. I just hope he made it OK and went on to an emergency room. Even if nothing is broken or ruptured, I don't think he's going to be able to move much for about a week.
I asked Richard if he wanted to go check out FS172 with me next weekend. He laughed, but he didn't answer. Hmm.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
The museum has lots of different displays. One of them is a replica of the inside of a cave. Somebody put a lot of effort into that replica. It's so realistic, I took a picture of it.
I'm not going to describe all of the pictures. You can look at them and figure out what they are. It was hard getting pictures of the animals. They kept moving. I'm used to taking pictures of mountains and plants. They don't move very fast. I got a lot of pictures of the backs of animals heads and birds with their heads under their wings and most of an animal behind a plant, etc. There were some displays that had thin wires or thin netting around them. I'm not used to looking at a picture right after I take it so I didn't notice that a lot of times, the camera focused on the wires or netting. Maybe I should practice with our cats, but they don't move very fast. I could practice with Garrett, but he's just too fast. He's just a blur in most of my pictures of him.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Richard called me from Superstition Springs Mall this afternoon to let me know that he could see snow on the Superstition Mountains. Thanks, Richard! I hadn't even checked because it had been so cloudy all day that I couldn't even see the mountains. I grabbed my camera and headed for the Superstitions. I took a few pictures there and decided to go check out Four Peaks. It was covered in clouds as I drove out there, but after I had been driving up and down Four Peaks road for a while, the clouds mostly cleared away. I stood by the truck at various places along the road taking pictures. The temperature dropped as the sun got lower. My hands were pretty numb by the time it got too dark to take pictures. I took 175 pictures today.
No sunset pictures. There was a large black cloud moving in from northwest that made it dark before sunset. That cloud went over our house and dumped some sleet.
Click the picture below to open a new window with all the pictures. Most of them are of the Superstitions or Four Peaks. There is one of Weaver's Needle. There are a few other ramdom mountains and clouds thrown in. I hope you enjoy them, but you really should have been there.
Friday, January 19, 2007
After work, I drove out to the Superstitions to see if I could get some good pictures of clouds on the mountains. I didn't, but here's one of the pictures I took.
Monday, January 15, 2007
The first picture is just a picture. The next four are the arch. Then there's a picture of Picket Post Mountain, which is near Superior.
I took a different route back to the truck than I took on the way up. My plan was to stay out of the (cold) wind. It must have worked; my ears didn't freeze. Anyway, I walked down a wash for a while. In one stretch it had about 5 uprooted saguaro skeletons in it. Must have been one of those 100 year floods that uprooted them.
There was a geocache at the arch. I signed the log. The cache was in a notch pretty far up the arch. Not easy to get to. Short people couldn't sign it. Well, unless they had a stick.
There seem to be little roads zig zagging all over the place out there. By "little" I mean that you wouldn't want to meet somebody coming the other way because one of you would have to back up a long way. They are official national forest roads with signs. Maybe I can explore them on my ATV when the weather warms up a little (next weekend, maybe).
I carried my video camera and shot a few scenes. I taped myself getting and then putting the cache back just in case I fell. I'm having trouble getting my movies on DVD, though. The DVD burning software hangs up. I hope to have that debugged soon, though.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
It was incredibly beautiful out there. I could spend a whole weekend taking pictures from the road. Click below to open a new window with a few of the pictures I took today.
The first picture is a poor picture of something interesting. Near the center, just above the saguaros in the foreground, you will see what looks like a tree trunk laying on its side. It even looks like there is still a bunch of dirt stuck to the roots. That is not what it is, though. It has to be rock. There are NO trees out there. Well, there might be some palo verdes, but they don't have trunks that are 6 feet in diameter.
I'm not going to try to describe all of the pictures. I like rocky mountains, and there are a lot of them out there. The road climbed to almost 5000 feet. I should be able to hike up there in the summer.
The last picture is of a saguaro that thinks it might be a tree. It may be a crested saguaro some day.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
The first picture is downtown Phoenix viewed from the mountains. Boring. I need to quit doing that. Next is a mine entrance with really heavy duty bars over the entrance to keep people out. There were a bunch of mines scattered around. Don't know if the two guys that dug them found anything. In the third picture you can see the side of some of the mountains and a road and mine tailings. There weren't any holes over there. We decided they must have just leveled of the top of the mountain.
Next is Four Peaks and the Superstitions. Last is the view to the south.
There are a few saguaros out there, but not very many. Greg said there have been a few fires.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The first picture is another one of those memorials you see a lot of in the desert. Somebody's pet, I guess.
The next picture shows how the trail follows the lake shore. In the next picture, the mountain to the left is Stewart Mountain. You can see the Superstition mountains in the background of the next two pictures.
In the picture of Four Peaks, the water is really that color. When the wind covers the water with ripples, the water reflects the sky. The sky is usually deep blue here, so the water looks that way, too. In order to head off the people that are going the say that the sky doesn't look deep blue in the picture, let me explain that the sky is lighter on the horizon. Such facts may not be obvious to those living in muggy, almost perpetually cloudy areas of the country.
I wandered along that trail for quite a while. I calculated that I should turn around by 3:30 in order to get back to the truck before sunset. Then I decided that I would be able to find my way back to the truck in the dark. Then at 3:40 I remembered seeing a sign that said the gate would be closed at sunset. I started to hurry back and almost right away I lost the trail. I wasn't lost. The trail was. I went in the direction I wanted to go and the trail found me again. I walked as fast as I could all the way back. Man, my legs are tired and my feet ache now.
I took the last picture on the way back. It looks so picturesque and peaceful there. I don't know if I'll hike there again, though. On the way out I passed small groups of people fishing. On the way back, each place that had had people fishing now had fresh trash scattered around. Some of it was even hung in trees. Some people are such clods. I'll stick to hiking off-trail and going places that most people don't.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
The next two pictures are of Lindsey laying on the bench, exhausted. The first one was an accident. I pushed the button before I had the picture composed. The second picture was taken 5 seconds later. Notice the dust cloud that has appeared far off in the background? I wish I knew what had caused that. There wasn't enough wind to do something like that.
The next picture is a close up view of the mountains. If you look closely you will see a red spot near the base of a rock pillar. Turns out that was a chubby woman in flimsey beat up sneakers. She didn't look like the kind of person you would see hiking in mountains. After seeing how fast she got down from there, though, I believe she would run circles around me backwards and that wouldn't even be a warmup for her.
Next is what downtown Phoenix looks like from the Superstitions. The building on the far left is the control tower at Sky Harbor airport.
Last is a helicopter that zoomed by just before we headed back down. Lindsey doesn't think it had anything to do with the dust cloud. I don't see how it could have, either.
Friday, January 05, 2007
The clouds looked like they might result in a great sunset so we hung around in the cold. Turned out that the sunset wasn't as spectacular as I expected. Suzanne called just as the sun touched the horizon and said she hoped that somebody was getting a picture of the beautiful rainbow. It was on the other side of a mountain from us. I make all that sound dissappointing but actually we had a great time and it was beautiful out there.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Anyway, I drove down Apache Trail, almost to where it turns to dirt. I stopped there and wandered around an area I've visited several times. I had never noticed all the stuff that looks like fossils there, though. It kind of looks like tree bark, but there's too much of it to be that. Maybe it's fossilized algal mats. I need to dig out my Arizona geology book and see if I can find out how old the rock is out there, and if it's even sedimentary.