Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rock Creek

I had decided that it was just too hot this summer to be taking Photo Point pictures, but by Friday evening I was anxious to go get some more pictures. I headed out toward Roosevelt Lake again. It was smokey when I left the valley, and it was smokey when I passed through Miami / Globe. There are a couple of forest fires that are putting out a lot of smoke. They are small compared to some we've had this summer, and with the monsoon humidity they aren't going wild, and they were started by lightning, so the forest service is letting them burn.


You can see smoke from one of the fires in this picture, if you know where to look and look closely.

I had coordinates for all the photo points already entered in my GPS receiver, and most of them were along a road, so I didn't waste much time wandering around in the heat. Still, whenever I walked over cottonwood leaves scattered on the ground, it sounded like it was raining from all the sweat dripping off my face. It was only about 100 and I wasn't doing much climbing, so the humidity must have been up. Also, I seem to sweat a lot more when I'm working on something. If I'm in the driveway changing a car battery, I'll be drenched. If I'm hiking I don't even sweat that much going uphill. Maybe it's because just hiking is so relaxing. Searching for photo points must be a little more taxing.

The first photo points were near a forest service cabin, which seems to be unoccupied at the moment. One of the photo points there was near wood piles and a thick layer of leaves on the ground and tall grass and other stuff. I don't normally worry about rattlesnakes while hiking because I have a good view of the ground. If I see them before I'm within striking distance, there's no problem. If there was one near that cabin, though, I could have stepped on it before I saw it.

A couple of recent photo points have been like that. They seem harmless and probably are harmless at least 95% of the time. After 8 years of hiking alone in the desert, I have developed rules for myself to avoid risky situations, and it's difficult to go against them. No hiker plans to get bitten, mauled, dehydrated, or fall off a cliff, but all it takes is two mistakes and you can be in big trouble. Going into a risky situation is a mistake that can be avoided if you recognize the risky situations. The second mistake will be a surprise (stepping on a snake, losing your footing, etc.), so you can't always prepare for it. Best to avoid the first mistake. If the first mistake can't be avoided, then you need to be very careful because you're one step away from disaster instead of two.

Speaking of losing your footing, I did that yesterday on the steep bank of a creek. I slid all the way to the bottom on my butt. Must have slid a foot and a half. That's why I avoid long steep slopes or steep slopes with a cliff at the bottom. I couldn't avoid the second mistake yesterday, but I didn't make the mistake of being on a dangerous slope, so it was no big deal. I didn't even get dirt in my pants this time (yes, I slip and fall down once or twice a year).

I didn't take a lot of non photo point pictures on this outing. That's one way I can tell that I've been out in the heat too long. If I look and something and think that I should take a picture of it but I don't because it's too much effort, it's time to get out of the sun. Anyway, click below to see the few pictures that there are.

2011_09_03

3 comments:

Keith said...

I'm not sure what photo point means. Is it taking pictures at the same spot at different times?

Art said...

Yes, it's a technique the forest service uses to monitor the effects of various influences on vegetation. There is some info here:
http://www.fs.fed.us/eng/rsac/invasivespecies/documents/Photopoint_monitoring.pdf

Keith said...

Thanks it was interesting to read about the care needed so that the photo comparison will be useful.