Monday, August 09, 2010

Price Road and beyond

Price road heads east from northern Florence. It's pretty flat around there. There are farm fields that look like they are growing alfalfa to me. It's a pretty boring drive most of the way. Then you get to this:

The view towards the end of Price Road.

Well, I thought it was cool. There's also this:

After a while, I had to turn left on Box Canyon Rd. It didn't look like I could go straight. According to maps I could have. I'll have to go check that out some time. Anyway, the drive on Box Canyon Rd is scenic.

Approaching the canyon on Box Canyon Rd.

Richard and I had been out there once a few years ago. We didn't go as far up the canyon then as I did this time. I drove until I didn't dare go any further. I didn't want to get high-centered on a rock. I guess I could have measured to see if I would have made it, but who wants to think about these things? There were also some spots where I wondered how long I would have to drive backwards once I couldn't go forward. Fortunately, there was just enough room to turn around where I had to stop.

I'm not gonna try to drive over that.

Just before I drove into the canyon, there were some dark clouds to the east. When I came out, I could see rain and it didn't seem very far away. Here I am driving in canyons and roads that follow the beds of washes. I decided it was time to get out of there. I need to go back with my ATV, though, and drive further up there.

This is 1 or 2 tenths of a mile beyond where I stopped driving. I didn't carry the GPS so it isn't geotagged correctly.

I'm glad I didn't encounter any oncoming traffic.

Approaching rain.

I wasn't done driving around yet, so I went to the south side of Florence and then decided that I needed to take a drive on the Florence Kelvin Highway (which is dirt most of the way). I tried going north on a couple of roads from there but they soon came to "Private Property" signs. I eventually found a road that headed northeast and looked like I would be able to follow it for a while. I was kind of looking for another road to the White Canyon Wilderness. I could see a familiar mountain from the road but the road wasn't going in quite the right direction.

As I drove along the road I encountered another rattlesnake laying in the road. This one was dangerous. He never moved, never acknowledged my presence, never rattled. This is the kind of snake that you wouldn't be aware of until you stepped on it and it bit you.

A rattlesnake that could be more dangerous than most.

I left the snake in the road and drove on a little way further. I stopped to get some pictures of mountains in the direction of White Canyon Wilderness and then decided it was getting too dark to continue. No sense exploring the desert if I can't see where I am. By the time I got back to the snake, it had been in the same spot for 10 or 15 minutes. It still refused to move. It didn't appear to be injured, but I didn't give it a complete physical exam. Anyway, it made me change my mind about why I've been finding so many rattlers stock still in the road. They aren't hiding by freezing. They must be on the road because it's warm. They need to get warmed up before they go hunting so they will be able to make lightning fast strikes. (BTW, don't ever think that if a rattlesnake strikes at you, you can get out of the way. Humans just cannot react fast enough. Heck, kangaroo rats can't. How do you think rattlesnakes manage to eat? If you are within striking distance and they decide to bite, you will get bit. Period. The only thing that might save you is they don't like to use venom for defense. Oh, and don't think a small snake is less likely to hurt you. Small snakes are trigger happy and are more likely to inject venom.)

White Canyon Wilderness is over thataway.

Pretty clouds.

As I headed back, I decided that I was going to just enjoy the sunset and not keep stopping to take pictures. My windshield was so covered with bugs, though, I had to get out to see the sunset so I took some pictures.

I had no idea how this would turn out. It was still too bright in that direction to look at it much.

A few weeks ago I got a Delorme Earthmate PN-40. I wanted a GPS receiver with a display and that I could use to backtrack. I can also download tracks from it to use in geotagging pictures. The tracks that it produces hint that it might be better at determining position in less-than-nominal conditions than the igotU. I ran my clean-up program on the track from driving in the canyon and it discarded less than half of a percent of the datapoints. It would discard about 75% of the points from the igotU under similar conditions. So far the only complaint I have about the Delorme is that the rechargeable batteries I've tried to use in it don't last very long. I'm still experimenting with that, though.

Click below to see all of the pictures.


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