Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I chose a moderately difficult hike since I wasn't sure what kind of shape Steve was in. He was breathing a little harder than me, but he was eager to do some exploring and I think he would have followed me to the top of the Superstitions (if I could have made it up there myself).
Steve also wanted to try out his new Toyota Highlander on some rough roads. We discovered that it does not have real high ground clearance. The side rails scraped rocks a couple of times. Other than that, it performed very nicely. It didn't have any trouble at all getting through the soft "sand" in the bottom of washes. I think my next vehicle is going to have to have four wheel drive. It may be a long time before I can get that, though. I think my Tacoma is going to last forever (and that's a good thing).
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The last time we were down there was an exhausting trip. We had to do a lot of scrambling around to go upstream. This time, Kyle wanted to see what was in the downstream direction, and neither one of us was too enthusiastic about struggling upstream again. We went a little ways upstream, to a part where we had to do a lot of climbing and pushing through bushes the last time, and decided that was far enough.
It was nice that the sun was shining this time. I think the air was a little dryer, too. It was cooler (mid 40's). I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, but it was almost too much with all the scrambling around.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I can't find the name of the creek that winds through there, but the road crosses it several times. There was water flowing in it today. I came to a spot where I decided it might be too deep for me to cross and stopped. Then an ATV went across and I could see it wasn't very deep, so I crossed again. About 100 feet later I came to another spot I didn't want to cross, and saw other potentially troublesome spots further up stream. I decided to not push my luck.
I got out and scrambled around on the rocks some, and took a few pictures. While I was up there, this guy on a bike stopped in the middle of the stream. I don't know why. He stayed there at least a minute. I wonder if his boots were waterproof.
He didn't have any trouble crossing the stream in other places. Another guy did. First, though, take a look at him in this picture. Notice that he is wearing tennis shoes (or something similar) that he is trying to keep out of the water.
Now here he is, stuck. He's still making some effort to keep his feet dry.
Here you can see that he has abandoned all hope of keeping his feet dry.
The air was in the mid 40's. I doubt that the water was any warmer. I don't see how his ride after that could have been any fun at all. I would have had only two things on my mind after something like that. A hot shower and dry clothes. OK, I'm a wimp, I admit it. But I like to be a warm, dry wimp. I'll tolerate cold, but not wet and cold.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
There may be snow on the Superstitions tomorrow. I'll have to remember to get out and look early tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
We were hoping to see some waterfalls. There wasn't enough flowing water, though. We hiked to the bottom of the 90 foot waterfall. There was water dribbling over it, but it wasn't much of a waterfall.
I made a video so you could hear the water flowing.
And here's the map. Since we were in a canyon, we didn't have very good GPS coverage. If you look at the altitude vs. distance graph, it looks like we took an elevator up and down a tall buidling in the middle of the hike. We didn't. I think there were altitude errors due to the poor GPS coverage. It also looks like we didn't have good coverage for the SPOT (don't know if that was a GPS problem or communication satellite problem). It didn't report location for over an hour, and it should have been doing it every 10 minutes. I'll have to remember to not have any disasters in a canyon ;-)
We were halfway thinking about hanging around at the base of the falls until some water started flowing. Yep, in a desert. Could be there for months. Actually it started to rain while we were there. We had umbrellas. I was thinking about what it would be like if a wall of water came roaring down that narrow canyon. I was starting to get cool, too. Fortunately Kyle was getting cold, too, so he didn't mind heading back. It sprinkled off and on all the way back and started to rain hard just after we got in the truck.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The day started out with high thin clouds (which are bad for landscape photography), but they cleared away in the afternoon. It was cool. I forgot to check the temperature but it must have been around 60 when I started out. I was trying to hurry because I wanted to get back before sunset. I expected the temperature to drop a lot as soon as the sun was gone. Since I was hurrying, I was dripping sweat all the way up and most of the way down.
By the time I was on the way down, most of the trail was in the shadow of the Superstitions. It felt like it must have been in the 40's, but there was no breeze at all. I was still sweating, but my forearms and hands were so cold I could hardly get the lens cap on and off.
The pictures turned out OK, but I've gotten much better ones out there. I'll blame it on the time of year.
The waterfall at the end of the trail had water pouring over it. I made a short video. If you turn the sound up you will be able to hear the water splashing on the rock.
The map and pictures:
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had bought a SPOT satellite messenger. It uses GPS for navigation, which works most places that I go. It also uses satellite communication to relay status information. I can send an "I'm OK" signal, or a "I'm broke down in the middle of nowhere. Send help" or an "I'm injured. HELP!" message. I also signed up for the tracking service, which allows people to go to a web page and see where I am, almost real time (location is transmitted every 10 minutes). That was handy the last time I drove to Texas. Instead of people trying to talk to me as I was loosing my cell signal, they just checked the web page and knew where I was.
Many of the places I hike, even "close" to town, don't have cell service. I've gotten home an hour or more after sunset a couple of times and Sweetums says, "Oh, there you are. I was worried." I always wondered how much she would worry before she tried to call and decided that I must be in trouble. Sometimes I tell her to start worrying if I'm not home by a certain time, but then I feel like I have to watch the clock to be sure I'm back to a cell phone service area so I can check in with her before my time is up. I don't want to be rescued if I don't need it.
Anyway, this satellite messenger is the perfect solution. Sweetums can tell where I am and if I'm moving, so she doesn't have to worry. I don't have to worry, either, because if I get in trouble all I have to do is push the "911" button. Unlike my cell phone or camera, the SPOT works at temperatures much higher than I can stand, it floats, and so far I've dropped it on the garage floor once with no apparent damage. Now, if I ever have trouble, I have to remember to do it in such a way that I don't smack my head or drop my SPOT in a river or fall on it and smash it or something like that. You know what they say; try to make something idiot proof, and somebody will come along with a better idiot.
I'll have a link to my tracking page on the right side of my blog so anybody can check it. Maybe you'll catch me on a hike. Right now it still has the data from my last hike on it.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
On the way out to the hill, I was following a faint trail that I always thought had been made by deer. Today I saw two sets of footprints. They had been made earlier today, because any others would have been erased by last night's rain. Oh, yeah, it rained last night. So maybe a lot more people go out there than I had realized.
It was in the low 50's today. Still, I worked up a little sweat on the way up the hill. There was a slight breeze at the top, so I had to stay off of the top to keep from freezing. I took a lot of AEB pictures while up there to make HDR images. In one of them, I accidentally got two wild horses. I wish I had known the horses were there so I could have gotten a better picture. They are in this picture. Find them! The first to locate them wins an autographed print of the picture (if I can get my stupid printer to work). I doubt that you will be able to find them by looking at this small version of the picture, so click on it and then magnify the image on the page it takes you to.
While I was on my way down the hill, I heard water dripping in Spooky Canyon. I could see a place that there might be a waterfall. I hiked over there and sure enough, there was a tiny waterfall. I made a movie and if I can get it to upload to YouTube, I'll put it here. My first attempt to upload failed.
Here's the map and pictures. Note that I didn't put exactly the same group of pictures on the map and on the album. It's late, and I'm tired.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Anyway, it was an overcast and gloomy day. I was afraid that pictures wouldn't come out very good, and they didn't. Also, I was not very impressed with the scenery. It was kind of blah. On the other hand, it was a very nice and well-maintained park. Trail intersections are marked with signs. If you carry the map given to you at the entrance, it would be darn difficult to get lost (but I have run across people that could do that).
Once we got into the park a little ways, we could no longer hear the cars in Phoenix International Raceway. We couldn't hear cars on nearby roads. We couldn't hear birds. The covey of quail we stirred up even flew away silently. It was eerily quiet, except for the occasional plane flying over.
I tried to create a photosynth of one of the mountains. I don't like the way it turned out. I don't think I picked a good subject, and I certainly didn't have enough pictures. Photosynth was happy with the pictures (it was 100% "synthy"!) and did a good job of putting them together, though. Click here to see it.
If you look at the @trip representation of the hike, you can tell where I was when I took the pictures for the photosynth.
Finally, here are the pictures. These are the same ones that are on @trip. Nothing spectacular, or even very interesting.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
The only pictures that look halfway decent are HDRIs, except for one picture of a helicopter that Kyle took.
It wasn't much of a hike, but I used the i-gotU anyway.
I ran across something the other day that I thought might be great for documenting hikes, but after reading about it some more I decided it wouldn't be good for that because I would be taking pictures 90% of the time and hiking 10%. I'm still going to experiment with it to see what I can create. It's called Photosynth and it's free software from Microsoft. It takes a bunch (a big bunch) of pictures of something and synthesizes a "3D" view from the pictures. At first I thought it would be cool to create photosynth's of mountains or canyons, but it would probably take months to get all the pictures necessary for something of that scale. I'll think of something easier to use it on, though.