Monday, January 28, 2008


It was a beautiful day today, with puffy little clouds all around. On the way home I could see that there were some dark cloulds over the Superstitions, but the sun was shining on them. I thought it might make a good picture. Suzanne and I drove out there. On the way I kept thinking the mountains looked nice and I was going to get some good pictures. By the time I parked, though, the clouds had thickened. I don't think the sun shone on the mountains anymore before sunset. Anyway, here's a couple of pictures. You can see how green it is after all the rain.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Mountain

Suzanne and I drove out to South Mountain today. This was not a good day for that. It's been raining all day. South Mountain is not very high, but part way up we were into the clouds and couldn't see anything. We're going to go back on a sunny day.

I took pictures to show how cloudy and rainy and foggy it was. They are not worth looking at, so skip them if you want to.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cottonwood Creek

The weather wasn't as bad today as I thought it might be. Still, I didn't go hiking. Instead, I drove down Four Peaks road, all the way to Cottonwood Campground. I haven't been out there for a long time. There is water flowing in Cottonwood Creek; probably snow melt coming off of Four Peaks. I saw a little snow up on the peaks, but it didn't show up in my pictures.

Sometimes while I'm out hiking, I see helicopters heading out towards The Rolls, the OHV area in the foothills of Four Peaks. Today I saw a couple of crosses beside the dirt road that I hadn't seen out there before. I also saw a dirt bike laying on the side of the road and a guy limping slowly along the road with his boot undone. Those people must be having a whole lot of fun, up until the end that is. There seems to be a disproportionately high number of accidents out there. That isn't too surprising, though. There have been several occasions when an ATV or dirt bike has come flying around a corner right at me, and had to fight to avoid hitting me or going off the road. And I don't even drive on the left side of the road like they do.

I must be getting old. All the dumbasses (pardon my French) out there are really starting to aggravate me.

I once asked a Frenchman what they say in France when they curse. He said, "Oh, we say 'Pardon my French'". I thought it was funny. I guess you had to be there.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Near Alex's hill

Today was a great day for a hike. For most of the day, there were puffy clouds around, but they were gone by the time I got out to Bulldog Canyon. I wandered over towards Alex's hill. The sun was setting and it was in the low 50's; probably not a good time to wear short sleeves. My arms and hands were freezing by the time I got back to the truck.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Not an uninteresting hike

Today I went wandering around in a part of Bulldog Canyon that I usually avoid. I avoid it because it's close to Usery Pass road, which means there are a lot of people there, and because it's close to a shooting range, which means it's noisy. I went there despite all that and found a couple of interesting things. One is a crested saguaro. It's been a while since I've found one of those. The other is a deer antler. I seem to find one or two of those every year.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Moonlight photos

The moon is almost full tonight. I went out to Bulldog Canyon to try to get some pictures of mountains light by moonlight. I had only taken about 14 pictures when my batteries went dead. I would have been disappointed, but my knee was starting to hurt and I needed to get out of the cold. It was about 40 and it didn't feel bad, but I guess it was getting to my knee. Anyway, I could only set the shutter to be open for 15 seconds. I think I needed about a 2 minute exposure. Many of the pictures look completely black. It was hard to tell if I had the camera pointed in the right direction. I also tried using a bright (1 or 2 million candlepower) spotlight to light up the scene, with limited success. When I got home, I tried the Picasa2 "I'm feeling lucky" button on the pictures. It made stuff show up in pictures that looked like they had nothing in them. Check them out here.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bulldog Canyon

I got home from today's hike long before sunset, but it sure has taken a long time to get this posted. Constant interruptions. It was a gorgeous day. I climbed up that ridge I was on last weekend. Didn't get much further than I did last weekend. I encountered a steep part that I didn't want to climb.


Here's a short video of a small cave.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A not so restful stroll

Date: January 13, 2008
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1400, 65
End - 1600, 67
Distance hiked: Maybe about a mile
Elevation change: Maybe about 200 feet
The numbers:
52 Pictures taken
5 Beer cans collected
1 Can of carburetor cleaner collected.

Ramblings: Yesterday's hike was strenuous. My legs were still tired today, and my feet and ankles were a little achy, so I decided I would just take a leisurely stroll today. I don't think I had even gotten 100 feet from the truck when I spotted a notch in the rock up ahead and thought, "Hey, I can get up there. I wonder where it goes." And off I went.

It was pretty steep getting up there. Once I got in the notch, I couldn't go much further. I wandered around up there for a while and then noticed that on the shady side, it was much easier to climb. I got a little ways up that side and then ran out of water. Well, I was tired, anyway.

While I was sitting up there enjoying the view, I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. I could tell a couple of people were moving around and I wondered how they had gotten there. I zoomed all the way in and took some pictures, but I couldn't tell in the viewfinder that they were carrying helmets. (There's a lot in my pictures that I don't see until I get home and download them.) About half an hour later, I was wandering towards the truck. I was walking through the wash and had gotten a little disoriented, so I had overshot the truck. Anyway, I noticed a strange print in the wash. It looked like a small butt print, as if a small person had sat there briefly. I looked around the butt print and saw that ATV tracks led up to it and then two sets of deep footprints followed ATV tracks into some bushes, and there was an ATV. Ah, it must be Kelso and Jackie's ATV (see pictures; that's who they look like to me), and they ran out of gas.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

A long hike

Date: January 12, 2008
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1305, 67
End - 1650, 63
Distance hiked: About 3 miles
Elevation change: About 500 feet
The numbers:
72 Pictures taken
2 Plastic bags removed from the desert
2 Beer cans removed
1 Quart size glass Gatorade bottle removed
1 Michelob bottle removed
1 deer photographed

Ramblings: It was a very nice day for a hike. I tore myself away from the computer games and headed out to Bulldog Canyon. At first I thought I might try to get to the end of a side canyon I've been trying to get to for a while, but instead I just kept going east until it got too steep. I wound up climbing up to a notch in a wall of rock. The view was nice from up there.

I saw a lot of deer tracks. The seemed to be made by very large deer. I stopped to get rid of some used water once and was gazing at a hillside across a wash from me and spotted a deer. It wasn't moving very fast so I snapped a few pictures. I was putting the camera away and watching the deer disappear over the hillside when a cool breeze reminded me why I had stopped in the first place.

The total elevation change was only 500 feet, but there was a lot of going up and down in between. I bet I climbed at least 750 feet.

Near the top of the climb, I found a beer can. Hard to believe somebody took a beer all the way up there. I guess they were too tired to take the empty all the way back down.

I also found pieces of a desert tortoise shell way up there. A year or two ago, Lindsey and I found a live desert tortoise high up on a steep mountainside. Seems strange that they would go way up there.


Video finally uploaded

On December 28, I made a short video of a small waterfall near Tortilla Flat. I had some trouble getting it online. Finally got it there.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A tripod helps

A week or two ago, I took a bunch of pictures of some mountains in Bulldog Canyon. I thought I was getting a few good pictures. It was close to sunset and very windy and I was getting cold. What that means is that it was getting dark, which results in slow shutter speeds. The wind was blowing me around, and I was shivering. What all that means is that most of the pictures were blurred. Bummer. So I hurried back out there after work today and took some more pictures. I used the tripod this time. It was a little too late, but some of the pictures are OK.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Another failed attempt

Date: January 1, 2008
Location: Bulldog Canyon
Time and temperature: Start - 1425, 65
End - 1615, 62
Distance hiked: A little over a mile
Elevation change: At least 420 feet

Ramblings: Wow, it was windy today. It was out of the northeast, so naturally it warmed up today. I can't figure that out. Maybe I'm really in Australia.

Today I tried to reach the top of the mountains again. And failed again. It was a lot of fun, though. I made several short videos and I'll be putting those on here if they get through "processing" (I'm uploading them now).

Ah, the first video is ready! There were lots of holes in the rock up there, and I didn't think pictures did a good job of showing them, so here's a video.

I got about as far up as I usually do before I encountered an obstacle I couldn't (or wouldn't) get around. I'm sure there's an easy route up there, I just have to find it. I could see another potential route from where I was, but I didn't have enough water (or energy) to try it today.

Here's a video of a bug that I haven't succeeded in getting a good picture of. I've been trying for years, but it won't be still.

Here's a video of a small cave with a "skylight".

And here are the pictures.