Sunday, July 25, 2010

Escaping the heat, again

It was only 104 when I left the house this afternoon. In may or June, that would be decent hiking weather. The dew point was up around 60 today, though. The body can't get rid of heat very effectively when the humidity is that high. Doing strenuous things in the sun miles from anybody that might notice you getting loopy would be dangerous. I hurt my knee yesterday and wasn't planning to do anything strenuous, but you never know. I went out near Oak Flat (east of Superior) again.

Since my knee was kind of achy, I thought that I might spend the day exploring roads out there. I started out on N Cerro Rd. There is a power substation out there and the road is almost paved out to the substation. I wanted to get some pictures of the substation but all that electricity makes me nervous. I saw a cactus I've never seen before right next to the substation. I rolled down the window to take pictures.

I've never seen one of these before. It looks sort of like a fishhook pincushion with barrel cactus flowers.

I took a wrong turn on the other side of the substation and the road got very rough. After going up a really bouncy stretch, I stopped and got out to take a few pictures and relax. I was still pretty close to the substation and could hear the 60 Hertz hum. I could also hear the high voltage crackling around the power lines. That's an unnerving sound. I needed to get rid of a bunch of water I had drank before leaving the house, but I wasn't about to put a conductive path between my vital organs and the ground so close to that substation. No circuit path for current to flow, you say? Then perhaps you will demonstrate how safe it is. High voltage doesn't give a hoot about open circuits. I headed back to the other side of 60.

The substation is hidden by the hill on the left. It's getting cloudy.

I was thinking about hiking out to a different part of Apache Leap. I thought I could see a faint trail on Google Earth. It would have been a long hike, though. Probably too much for my knee. Also, the clouds were getting bigger and darker. I kept driving until I was almost to the spot I had parked last weekend. I didn't want to drive that last quarter mile. I found a place to park and thought I might be able to get to the bottom of the canyon I was looking at last weekend without too much trouble from where I parked. With the clouds moving in, it had cooled down to about 90. I wandered slowly along a wash enjoying the scenery. Sweat trickled down my temples. It was so humid, I worked up a sweat by swatting at the occasional gnat. Well, I guess I always sweat out there. It just couldn't evaporate now.

I took mostly HDRIs out there, but I must not have had a wide enough exposure range. The clouds are still washed out.

Because of the clouds, most of the pictures I took were HDRIs. I felt strangely stable while trying to stand still for the three exposures. Maybe it's because I was standing in sand, or maybe because the wind wasn't blowing me around, or maybe it's because a couple of weeks ago I decided to cut down to one cup of coffee a day.

I bet this looks cool with lots of water flowing through it.

Not long after I left the truck, I heard thunder rumbling in the distance. It kept getting louder as dark clouds moved in from the north. I didn't want to walk very far anyway, so that was a good excuse to turn around. I tried to make a short video to record the sound of the thunder but the breeze blowing across the mike was louder than the thunder.

I saw a couple of cool looking lizards but they wouldn't pose for pictures.

Click below to see all of the pictures.


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