Monday, July 18, 2011

Barnhardt Trailhead

How many of you noticed that the title of this blog is NOT "Barnhardt Trail"? How many of you also know that I'm going to put off telling you why until later? Good job.

Sunday was another one of those excessively warm days. About 110 F as I left the valley. There were storm clouds to the east but a hot wind was blowing. Starting at about 4000 feet, I thought the temperature on the Barnhardt trail might be tolerable.

Ominous clouds east of the trailhead.

The dirt road up to the trailhead was in very good shape. It was only about 100 when I got to the large parking area at the end of the road. There was also a lot of shade because of all the clouds. Large, dark clouds.

The trail starts out going that direction (west). A storm is building to the left of this picture.

On the drive up, there was a long, almost level stretch of road that had some ruts from the last time it rained up there. It reminded me of that time I was sliding around in the mud up on the rim about a year ago, though it was dry now. I didn't want to get stuck in mud; Skid is in Texas and couldn't rescue me. I decided to walk along the trail for a short distance so I could leave quickly if it looked like it was going to get wet.

The trail starts out winding through junipers.

Some parts of the trail are rocky.

Some parts are not rocky. There was a huge fire in this area a few years ago, which explains the sticks in this picture.

The trail has a gentle slope and is easy walking, but the air was dead calm and the humidity was probably over 40%. I had sweat trickling down my face in no time. I was glad when it started sprinkling and gave me an excuse to turn around.

As I drove back down to the highway, admiring the clouds all around, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that seemed to be shaped like a lizard but was the wrong color. Well, it wasn't a lizard color that I am used to seeing. It was a collared lizard and it let me take a lot of pictures before it ran under a bush.

Collared lizard.

Shortly after I saw the lizard, I decided to stop and see how steep the drop-off was to the right of the road. I wandered around a little enjoying the view and spotted something else odd out of the corner of my eye. I've come across a few crested saguaros on my hikes and I have read that other cacti can have that same type of deformity. I finally found another cactus like that. It was a hedgehog cactus.

Crested hedgehog cactus.

It was a pleasant and relaxing trip. I'l be back to that trailhead when it cools off. Click below to see all of the pictures.


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