Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It was another gloomy day. There sure have been a lot of those lately. I don't like the way the pictures look. There's a lot of them, too. I tried taking at least one picture every 100 paces or so. I didn't stick to that when I was struggling through washes, though.
A few days ago (maybe it was 2), I identified a canyon as the one I was going to try to hike up to get to the top of the mountains. Turns out I was wrong. You can't really see into the canyon I used because it curves. I didn't even get to the curve, though.
The beginning of that canyon has very steep sides. I don't know if I could walk on them, but I do know that I will not try. Too steep, too dangerous. So I had to go up the center of the canyon. There are large (minivan to dump truck size) boulders there. I did go up the canyon wall a little in a couple of places to get around some of those. When I wasn't climbing over or around boulders, I was pushing my way through or climbing around trees and bushes. I can only think of three species of trees or bushes in the desert that don't have thorns. There were a few of one of those in the canyon. Everything else had thorns. There was a lot of catclaw acacia. It grabs you and won't let go. I was pulling out catclaw thorns for most of the drive home (If you keep going when they grab you, the thorns break off in your skin. They don't hurt like rose thorns, though (which is why I didn't pull them out as soon as I got them; I didn't know they had stayed with me), and they come out very easily.) I'm not trying to say that I didn't enjoy my hike. I did enjoy it. I'm just explaining why I didn't reach my goal. I'm already looking at the map for another route, though. I've been trying to find a way up there for about 5 years. I'm not about to give up.
Click here for the EveryTrail map or below for the pictures.
Monday, December 28, 2009
I also figured out how to make the map default to satellite view, but you can change that easily while looking at the map. Also, click the play button at the bottom of the map to view the slide show.
Let's see, I went for a hike today. I had planned to try to go up to the top of the Goldfield Mountains. I thought I was leaving the house about 1, but it turns out that I left after 3. I wouldn't have enough daylight to climb over 1000 feet. I was trying to decide what to do instead of my planned hike but didn't decide until I was out of the truck and walking. I decided to wander around on a rocky hill near where I parked. It was in the upper 50's and windy (about 15 mph), so I was glad I had worn a flannel shirt. On the down hill portion of the hike I even put some earmuffs on. I'm just not suited for cool weather. It was also overcast, so the pictures are terrible.
I wasn't really planning to go to the top of the hill. I just wanted to see what was over there. It turned out to be pretty easy to get to the top, though. At the top, it looked like it might be easy to descend on the other side. I had enough water, food, clothes, and stamina to backtrack if I had to, so I went for it. It was easy.
I think I mentioned last time that I wanted to write a program to removed useless data from my GPX files that was causing EveryTrail to show me moving at 30 to 300 mph. I wrote the program this morning. It's a very simple program but it took me an hour or so to remember / re-learn enough Perl to write it. The totally amazing thing is that it did what I wanted the very first time I ran it. That's only happened once before (with a rather complicated memory test program) in my life that I can remember. It's not that I'm a bad programmer. It's just that it's almost impossible for a humid bean to do that much typing without making some typo, logical error, syntax error, or something that prevents the program from doing what is intended. Anyway, the program removed 76% of the track points from the GPX file. There's still one point where my speed jumps up to 12 mph. That's where I fell off a cliff. Just kidding. I think that is where something screwy happened with the satellites. My elevation is shown as dropping by 100 feet at that time, and that did not happen. Before the speed burst, my position is shown as being about 50 feet south of where I really was, then it suddenly jumps to being closer to correct. Maybe the data logger got another satellite signal or collected WAAS data and so it had a better fix on my position. That jump was in the data before I ran my program, so I didn't cause it.
Click below to see all of the pictures.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The weather was great and there were wonderful views all around. I think people used to drive out on that old section of road until the forest service fenced it off. There are a lot of cans, bottles, and shot up saguaros out there.
I tried going up the side of the hill nearest me, but it quickly got too steep. I got out of the breeze and sat taking pictures for a while.
Around the other side of the hill, there were some nice views of Bulldog Canyon.
The other day I played around with editing the GPX file for a couple of hikes. I thought I had a way to get rid of the ridiculous spikes in speed that were showing up, but it wouldn't work with the GPX file for this hike. I decided that I need to write a Perl program to make the edits and installed it this morning. Then I discovered that I've forgotten a lot about programming in Perl. I'm sure it'll come back soon. In the mean time, I made hand edits to the GPX file. That took about 20 minutes. The speed graph looks reasonable, though. The data in the file indicates that my data logger wasn't able to navigate for about 84% of the time. I thought I had pretty good visibility of the sky, too. I'm starting to wonder if the data logger just doesn't work worth a hoot in cool weather. I'm going to move it back to the camera strap. Maybe my neck will keep it warm.
Map and pictures are below. Oh, I tried to turn off the picture slide show on the map because computers get bogged down if too many of those are running, but it didn't work. You can pause it, though.
Map your trip with EveryTrail
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day (after a dark and rainy Tuesday) and I was able to get away from the house in time to climb the ridge. I had already planned my route a couple of weeks ago. It was an easy hike, but I moved pretty slowly. It was about 50 when I left the truck, with a very light breeze from the west. I was wearing a T-shirt because I knew I'd be warm going uphill. I didn't want to get sweaty, though, because then I'd be cold. I tried to move slow and made lots of stops, but sweat was dripping from my temples as I neared a saddle on the ridge. The view was wonderful and I stood on the ridge snapping pictures for a couple of minutes, but I was quickly getting chilled in the light breeze. I found a sheltered spot in the sun and put on my flannel shirt. Ahh, toasty!
Weaver's Needle is on the left and the Superstition Mountains are on the right. I glanced at some pictures and thought I was holding the camera crooked, then checked the view and everything does seem to slope to the left.
You can probably tell from the pictures that it was a little hazy. I think that's moisture in the air from the rain the day before. The ground was soggy and there were puddles around. Also, the moss and resurrection plans were green.
I've been making EveryTrail maps of my hikes lately. One reason I've been doing that is because you can add pictures to an EveryTrail trip directly from a Picasa web album. In looking at the trips, though, there's something annoying. You can view a graph of altitude and speed versus distance. The graphs usually indicate that I sometimes move at 30+ mph for short bursts. I do walk fast sometimes, but I doubt that I exceed 4 mph. I decided that my GPS data logger is sometimes losing visibility of enough satellites to navigate for short periods of time. When it does get another fix, the sudden change in position makes it look like I moved very quickly. I had the logger on my camera strap, so it was normally positioned at my neck, over my left shoulder. I thought that maybe my head was blocking satellite signals and if a mountain blocks signals on the other side, the logger wouldn't be able to navigate. So I tried putting the logger on top of my hat. The first hike I tried that on showed I was moving in excess of 300 mph. Well, I was in some narrow canyons then. I should have had pretty good satellite visibility yesterday, though, and there are still several places where my speed is indicated as being over 20 mph. I think it's the mountains blocking signals. The graph for a walk I took around Brazos Bend State Park (flat as a pancake) has a much more believable speed graph. The map for this hike is below. I also included the Brazos Bend map, in case you want to compare.
Map your trip with EveryTrail
Map your trip with EveryTrail
Maybe I'll write a program to smooth out the data, some day when I'm feeling ambitious. Click below to see all of the pictures.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I could have taken the same route I took to Hackberry Mesa for most of the hike, but I wanted to try something different. Instead of following the bottom of a wash for most of the way, I followed a horse trail. The footing was much more solid; I like that. There's something about horse trails though. It seems that people that ride horses like to pretend they are on a roller coaster. The trails go up and down and up and down and up ... It's a workout. My legs were tired when I got done. I think I would have gotten some nice pictures along the way if the sun had been out. I thought I wasn't taking many pictures because it was so gloomy. I had 79 by the end of the hike, though.
That area seems to be a very popular place to ride horses. I didn't see any on my hike, but I could tell the had been there today. I know it was today because even though horses have very large bladders, puddles left yesterday would have dried by today.
There used to be a stock tank at the spring. Well, I guess there still is. I almost didn't notice it. It's buried by dirt, rocks, trees, and roots.
I created an EveryTrail map of this hike.
Map your trip with EveryTrail
Click below to see all of the pictures.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
The trail that goes out to Broadway Cave in the Superstition Mountains continues past the cave to a canyon. I've wanted to see whats out there ever since I went to Broadway Cave (which was over a year ago, I think). I got an early start since I knew it would take a while to get out to where I wanted to start exploring.
I saw 5 other people near the beginning of the trail, which is about the most people you can see considering the size of the parking lot. There was a light breeze from the east the whole day, which served to blow away the sounds of suburbia. I hesitated to go on this trail because the last time I was on it I listened to yapping dogs and loud motorcycles the whole time. I didn't hear much of that this time.
The views don't change a lot along this trail, so in a way it's a little boring, though this is a great way to be bored. It took me an hour to get to the part of the trail I wanted to explore.
Soon after entering the canyon, the trail comes to the remains of a hearth. The rest of the building is gone (assuming there ever was a building). It seems to be a popular destination. People stop there to eat a snack, and leave their trash. Maybe they think their mother will be by later to clean up after them.
I wandered around out there for a little while. The trail continued up the canyon, but it wasn't really a trail anymore. It followed the bottom of the canyon and so involved a lot of climbing over boulders. Slow going and tiring. I didn't feel like doing that, and I wanted to get back before sunset.
I came across several large "fields" of large boulders in the canyon. They didn't look like they had fallen from up above. It seemed strange how uniform the size color of boulders was in each one. One had dark gray boulders that were 2 to 5 feet in diameter. One had light tan boulders that were 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Nothing grew up between the boulders. The gray boulder field was about 6 feet thick; I know because somebody had blasted or sledgehammered their way through to the bottom (my theory is a guy proposed to his girl there, and they dropped the ring into the boulders and the guy spent 3 weekends out there with a sledgehammer to get it back).
On the way back I noticed something orange about 30 yards to the right of the trail. I went over to investigate and there's another large pit there. There are a lot of these in the Superstitions and I always wonder why a person decided to dig right there.
I was almost back to the truck about 30 minutes before sunset when I saw a guy coming the other way. He was wearing camo and carrying a compound bow. He asked if I'd seen any deer. I said that I very rarely see deer. As we passed each other I said that I think I'm too noisy and scare them away. He kept walking, turned his head slightly, and said, "Have a nice day". What I heard, though, was "I'm done with you; go away and leave me alone". I continued walking and glanced back occasionally. When he was far enough away, I stopped, turned, and called out very loudly, "GOOD LUUUUUCK". Hopefully, I spooked any deer within half a mile. That was petty, but it was fun. Click below to see all of the pictures.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I headed over to the Salt River and went to an area I haven't been in for a couple of years. There's a large bare patch of ground there. I'm beginning to think that if there aren't enough rocks in the dirt in the desert, the dirt will be bare (except maybe after rain). Not sure why that is, though.
As I got closer to the river, I was wondering if I would be able to find any coins or jewelry with a metal detector. People loose a lot of stuff like that while tubing on the river. I quickly realized that might not work, though. Unless your metal detector is good at discriminating against aluminum, you aren't going to find anything but beer cans. There were a lot scattered around, and lots of caps, t-shirts, and shoes.
Near the river, the ground is covered with lots of lose river rock. It's treacherous footing. It actually felt good to be walking around on something like that again. I didn't know I would miss something like that.
I got to the river just before sunset and headed back to the truck so I wouldn't be wandering around in the dark. It was a nice get-away.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009