Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pretty clouds

There were some pretty clouds around this afternoon. In fact, on the way home from work, it looked like there was a lot of virga. By the time Lindsey and I got in the truck, though, most of the virga was gone. We went to the south side of Bulldog Canyon OHV area, near Idaho road. I drove just half a mile or so down one of the roads (10) and climbed a small hill to get some pictures. Let's see, there's the Superstitions, Four Peaks, and some mountain that doesn't have a name (but Dome Mountain is behind it).

I tried to talk Lindsey into stopping on the way home so I could get some sunset pictures, but she was too hungry. I was taking backroads home and when I turned from Meridian onto University, I saw a great sunset with palm trees in it. I have never gotten a picture of a sunset with palm trees. In fact, I have almost no pictures of palm trees. I managed to get a picture that doesn't have any traffic, power lines, or street lights in it. I had to stop the truck in a fire lane to get the picture. Lindsey stayed in the truck with instructions to bolt at the first sign of flashing lights. Just kidding. She said it was too cold to get out of the truck.

Three of the pictures have Geotags. If somebody who knows what Geotags are sees this, let me know if you were able to view these in Google Earth.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hike video

Click here to see a short video I made on the hike a couple of days ago.

If you are interested in seeing other videos I've made (and uploaded to Google), after you watch this one, over on the right side of the window, click on "From user". All the videos that I have uploaded to Google are very short and were made using the video mode of a still camera. If you view them in a maximized window, they won't look very good. They would probably look great on a tv if you could get them to play there (unless you are watching Richard's HDTV).

Monday, February 26, 2007

A hike near Canyon Lake

Lindsey, her friend Courtney, and I went for a short hike near Canyon Lake after work today. The sun had almost set by the time we got there so I didn't take many pictures. Here's one of the lake. No, my truck isn't in this picture.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Finally, the top!

There's a ridge in Bulldog Canyon that I've been trying to get to the top of for several months now. I made several attempts in the summer and managed to get up on one end of it. I never made it to the top near the middle. I had always tried to climb the eastern side of the ridge. That's because that is the side that's in the shade in the afternoon. It's very steep. I always ran into places where I was blocked by a cliff, or where a slip on the steep part would have sent me over a cliff. Also, it wasn't easy driving to the places I started climbing. Very rough, very steep. Even with the axle locked it would take 2 or 3 attempts to get up some parts of that road.

On Thursday, I drove through Bulldog Canyon and went along the western side of the ridge. I decided that I might be able to get on top from that side, and it's cool enough now to do that. So today I headed up the western side. My foot isn't 100% yet so I thought I would just scout out the first part of the route. It was so easy, though, I went all the way to the top. It's cool being on that ridge, with cliffs and spectacular scenery on both sides of you. Click below to open a new window with the pictures.

The first picture shows part of the ridge. On the right side of the picture is a notch in the ridge. It's hard to see because of the mountains behind it. I headed for the notch. I had tried to get to the same notch from the other side, but it was just too steep. I eventually reached the top of the yellow cliffs on the left side of the picture.

The first part of the hike was the most worrisome. The road near there is in the bottom of a wash. I parked in a wide part of the wash. I was walking toward the notch and realized that I was in a large, "flat" area (flat except for the washes cutting through it, which you couldn't tell were there until you almost fell into them). I was a little worried about being able to find my way back to the truck. There weren't any trails to follow. I stopped a few times to look at the mountains around me so I would be able to find my way back. I hoped I would be able to see the truck from the ridge, too, so I could confirm my memory and make further notes of the surrounding topography.

The next picture is a kind of rock I've found in lots of places around here. I thought it might be quartz, but it was too smooth. I finally found out (at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, see link at right) that it's Smithsonite.

Next is a view of a butte that I would soon be looking down upon from above. Next is a picture I took up on the ridge. It's a couple of barrel cacti demonstrating how they lean to the south until they fall over. Next is a rock with some Smithsonite embedded in it.

I'm sorry, but I just had to include a picture that has my truck in it. That's my hand at the top of the picture, keeping the sun out of the lens. I'll give you a hint. The truck is parked on the right side of the wash. You might also notice a road on the far side of the wash and parallel to it for a while, then heading west. That road is a shortcut into and out of this part of the OHV area. I've succeeded in going west on that road 4 times out of 6 tries. To get out of the wash and go west, you have to get up a steep, rough piece of road. On two occassions I wasn't able to do anything but spin my tires. The last two times (today and Thursday), it was easy. I have never succeeded in going east on that road. In fact, going down the steep part heading wast is a little scary and the truck always slides some. No danger of flipping, though. Today on the steep downhill part I noticed some tracks that almost went off the road. I think some people take that hill a little too fast.

The next picture is of the mountains to the east of the ridge. I think the peak near the center is Dome Mountain. I want to climb up there some day. I guess I had better do it soon, before it gets too hot. Next is that butte I said I would be looking down on. In the background is the Fountains Hills fountain. I read that a couple of the pump motors are being repaired, so it isn't at its maximum height.

Then there are a couple of pictures of the ridge. I included some clouds, and I don't usually do that, especially the high, thin ones. These looked OK, though.

The sunset was beautiful. I was driving out, though, and wasn't in a good position to get good pictures. I've included one shot I made out the window.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lost Dutchman Days Parade

This weekend is Lost Dutchman Days in Apache Junction. Lindsey drove a car for Superstition Ford. I took this picture with the video camera so it's low resolution.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Picture of Lindsey

Saul (The Curb) edited the picture to remove one of the power lines. Looks pretty good.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bulldog Canyon

Yesterday was a beautiful day. On the way home, I was thinking I should go for a short hike and get some pictures. I found other things to do, though. I looked outside later and saw that I had missed the chance to photograph one of the most spectacular sunsets I had seen in a while. Today I drove out to Bulldog Canyon after work. There were no clouds at all, so I didn't take any sunset pictures. In fact, this is the only picture I took. It was not a dissappointing trip, though. No trip to Bulldog Canyon is a letdown. I didn't do any hiking. I did mosey around for a little while shortly after sunset. That's when the coyotes like to howl. We carried on quite a conversation for about 10 minutes. I had stopped in a spot with great echoes, too. One coyote was less than 200 yards from me, but I couldn't see it.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A picture of me

When Lindsey and I were out taking pictures of mountains and clouds on Monday, she took a picture of me taking a picture of clouds. Here it is.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Another rainy day

It rained a lot today. On the way home from work, Richard and I saw some pretty rainbows. I decided to go for a drive and see if I could get some good pictures. By the time Lindsey and I got out to Canyon Lake, it had quit raining out there. When it quits raining in the desert, the water stops flowing almost immediately. No waterfalls. Out there, mountains blocked our view of the west. I thought I might be able to get some pictures of the sun shining through the clouds as they broke up, so we headed back west. By the time we got there, more clouds had moved in and it was just gloomy.

I seem to do that a lot. I go somewhere hoping to get some good pictures of the weather or a sunset or something like that, but I don't see anything spectacular. Then I get back home and find out about the amazing stuff I missed there because I was gone. Well, I've got to try.

There are only two pictures here. One is of Lindsey and I would really like it if it weren't for the power lines in the background. The other is clouds on the Superstition Mountains. Clouds on mountains are pretty to look at, but I've gotten way to many pictures of that this year and it's getting boring. Next time I see that I think I'll just sit and enjoy it and not take any pictures.

Some day I'll find Corel Paint Shop Pro on sale and then I can remove power lines from my pictures.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A stroll near Canyon Lake

I went for a short hike near Canyon Lake today. It's really starting to warm up. Felt like it was about 80 out there. It was also very pretty. I took 80 pictures but none of them are very impressive. You can look at a few of them anyway, though.

The first is of a "dirt island" There are lots of places that are solid bare rock and nothing can grow on them (except lichens). Sometimes there will be a small patch of dirt held in place by resurection fern. The next is a closeup of some lichen. Some of it is black. I think it must have died.

There are a lot of rocks out there that sparkle a lot in the sunshine. I tried to get pictures of them but they just didn't turn out. The next picture is one of those attempts. You just have to see them in person. Stop by some time and I'll take you out there.

Next is a cute little cactus. Fish hook pincushion I think. If not, at least that's a fitting name.

The last picture is a barrel cactus that has fallen over. They seem to fall over a lot. I saw something at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum that said they lean to the south. Some of them lean until they fall over. This one might have been leaning to the south. It looks like it's straining to get that last root out of the ground.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Superstition Mountains (and Lauren)

The days are getting long enough now that it's possible to get some pictures after work. Today, Lauren and I went out Apache Trail a little ways. The mountains looked pretty with the sun shining on them. They always seem to look better after they've been shrouded in clouds for a while and you finally get to see them again and the sun is finally shining on them. By June I will be thinking that I was crazy to have missed the sunshine.

I'm going to have to find some different spots from which to take pictures. You will probably notice that these are taken from the same angle as some other recent pictures.

It was raining around the mountains and I was hoping to get some rainbow pictures today. As you will see, that didn't happen. I'll have to try again. Woohoo!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fossils near the Superstitions

It's been overcast all day, with a 30% chance of rain. I left the house this afternoon thinking I would go out to FS172 again, or some other road out there. The clouds were very dark to the east, and that's the direction I was going. I thought about the satellite view of the roads I was planning to be on. They criss-crossed washes, and were even in the middle of the wash for stretches. We don't usually get rain hard enough to cause flash floods this time of year, but I decided to not take any chances. I headed out Apache Trail towards Canyon Lake. There was a lot of traffic on the road despite the bad weather so I stopped at the side of the road just before the Weaver's Needle parking lot. I hadn't planned to hike because my foot has been hurting a lot. I was just going to go for a short walk part way up a small hill.

There were some interesting rocks on the hill. There was just one that looked like it had fossils in it. I took a bunch of pictures of it. There are several areas that look like pieces of crinoid stems. There's also one part that looks like the trail left by a worm as it ate its way through the mud.

I was a little surprised to find that rock there. It looked out of place and I kind of wonder if somebody put it there. Most of the rock in that area is volcanic in origin. The hoodoos all over the Superstitions are weathered tuff. I did find a few other rocks on that hill that looked like they were sedimentary rocks, though.

It always seems like I'm not able to sit and contemplate the rocks for very long. Usually it's the setting sun that forces me to leave. Today it was rain. I heard thunder in the distance on my way up the hill. The thunder stopped long before I got to the top, but the wind was blowing a steady 20 mph and then it started sprinkling. I got out one of my handy dandy emergency ponchos and started down the leeward side of the hill. It's a one-size-fits-all poncho, which means it fits me very loosely. I had to be careful to not walk too close to cholla or ocotillo, lest they shred my poncho. The rocks looked much more colorful as they glistened in the rain.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Silly Mountain

I'm not sure if that's what it is called, but that's what the road that goes by it is called. I've driven by it for years thinking that I would climb it some day when I'm feeling really lazy. I always see other people climbing it and I've always wondered what the attraction is. I still don't know. Maybe they like it because it's close to the highway. That's exactly why I don't like it, though. I was hoping that when I got to the top, I would see something spectacular. Nope.

I wasn't feeling really lazy today, but my foot has been hurting a lot ever since I walked back and forth across WalMart real fast last week. I wasn't planning to hike, but Silly Mountain looked like it wouldn't be too bad for my foot.

The first picture shows Silly Mountain. I went up to the peak in the center of the picture. The next two pictures show how close to civilization the Superstition Wilderness is. The first is the high point of the mountains. The second is the Flatiron. That's a gnat in the upper left, not a UFO. The last picture is one of a couple of butterflies that were flying around my head up there. Unfortunately you can only see a small patch of the pretty blue on its wing.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A little sunshine

There was a little sunshine after work today, so I drove out to Canyon Lake again. Stopped by the Superstitions to get some pictures.