Sunday, May 30, 2010

Unexplored territory

Unexplored by me, anyway, and it looks like not many other people have been there, either. For a few days I had been planning on hiking the full length of the Black Mesa trail and looping back to the trailhead on a different trail. That would be a very long hike, though, and I'm not feeling real energetic these days. I was looking at the Bulldog Canyon area in Google Earth yesterday morning and noticed how some parts of it are devoid of Panoramio pictures and decided that I need to try to do something about that.

A view of the Supes from the road.

So where do I start, and how? Then I remembered a wash that Richard and I had followed for a short distance once. It seems to go straight into the heart of the unexplored area. That would be a good place to start.

I'll be going in that general direction.

I was up there two or three years ago.

I followed a "road" at the beginning of the hike. It's not an official road. The forest service puts signs up saying that no motorized vehicles are permitted back there, but Arizonans know better than the forest service and they run over the signs and shoot them up and then shoot their empty beer cans and bottles and leave fiberglass (the signs), aluminum, glass, lead, brass, tire tracks, smashed plants, and ruts scattered all over the place when they leave. The knuckleheads should be rounded up and sent to Houston, where their bad behavior would make no difference amid the normal chaos.

Let's see, where was I? Oh, hiking in the desert. It was gnatty. They greeted me like a long lost friend. How sweet. They still exhibit a preference for collecting on my right forearm, as if the heavenly treats to be found there are worthy of risking death. And many of them did die. I had to wash the stickiness off of my left hand when I got back to the truck. Gnats are annoying, but at least they belong there, unlike the knuckleheads that ... oh, don't get me started again.

The barrel cacti are blooming.

A short distance into the hike, I saw a stone arch that Richard and I had seen years ago but I had forgotten about. I decided to call it "Richard's Arch". It's up in a saddle. I'm going to go up there some day for a closer look.

Richard's Arch

By the time I got to here I didn't see any more tire tracks, footprints, beer cans, or cigarette butts. Shazam! I've escaped "civilization"!

About the time I got far enough along the hike to have escaped all evidence of the presence of knuckleheads, something in the back of my mind started telling me that I should think about turning around. Turn around!?!? But I just got here! It was warm, but it wasn't hot (about 95 when I left the truck), and there were plenty of saguaros if I needed shade. I had drunk only 20% of my water. I moseyed on.

I went around the left side of the rock wall in the previous picture. I could continue going north or go west. Both were on my list of places to explore, but neither looked very interesting. I think that's another hint that I was getting tired. I couldn't quit thinking about the rock wall. It begged to be climbed. I could not resist. There was a gentle (relative to vertical) slope up the western side of the wall, which was where I happened to be. I proceeded slowly with frequent rest stops. I think that maybe I haven't gotten used to the warm weather yet. I knew there would be a good breeze at the top and was looking forward to that.

The rock wall. Listen closely and you'll hear it whisper, "Climb me! Feel the breeze at my crest! Enjoy the wondrous view!"

A large flat area on top of the wall.

There was a nice breeze on top. It cooled me off and blew my gnats away. I wandered around up there for a while enjoying the view and taking pictures.

A view of the Superstition Mountains.

I got pictures of only one lizard the whole time I was out there. They seem to be more skittish in places that people don't visit very often. Maybe they get used to seeing people along the more popular trails. The one that I did get pictures of finally ran off. It ran about 15 yards and stopped near a small bush. Then it immediately jumped about 2 feet to its right. I think the wind made the bush move and the lizard thought something was about to get it.

The only lizard that would pose for pictures.

Maybe I should go later in the day next time, when the sun isn't so brutal.

Click below to see all of the pictures.


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