Saturday, January 12, 2013

An oven, and horses

No, the horses don't have anything to do with the oven, except that they just happened to be in the same area.

I was surfing the web a few weeks ago and along one of the random rabbit trails I was following, I found a description of a hike near Saguaro Lake. It describe an oven built into the side of a cliff and had one so-so picture of it. About the only clue to its location was that the description said it may have been made by people driving sheep along a trail between summer and winter pastures. Well, the hike description described the loop they took, but I have trouble following verbal descriptions. I couldn't tell from the description whether the oven was on the Saguaro Lake side of the loop or the opposite side of the loop. I do know approximately where the sheep trail is, though.

It took two attempts to find the oven. The first attempt was on a weekday after work. I didn't have much sunlight. In fact, the sun had set several minutes before I started up the wash where the oven is located.

A trail follows the right bank of the Salt River to the wash. The trail is often used by fishermen.

The sun set while I was still following the trail along the river.

There's a parking lot at the trailhead, but it costs about $6 to park there. Being as cheap as I am, I parked over half a mile away at the Blue Point entrance to Bulldog Canyon.

On that first hike, I went up the wash until it got too dark to take pictures of anything but the sunset. No sense in finding the oven if I couldn't take pictures of it.

There are lots of footprints here. I think many of them are human, but there are also many horse hoof prints.

Well, obviously I didn't find the oven on that first hike. I didn't expect to. I mainly wanted to check out the trail along the river. I didn't even know it existed until I read that hike description.

I finally made it back out there a couple of weeks later. It was overcast and gloomy. Not good for landscape pictures, but I was looking for an oven.

See how gloomy it is? This would be a much better picture with sunshine.

Since I wasn't racing nightfall on the second hike, I walked a lot slower. I didn't have any idea how close to the wash the oven was, so I was looking for anything that might lead to something away from the wash. At one point I did spot some suspicious piles of rocks and climbed around for a while trying to find out why they were there.

There are at least two suspicious piles of rocks in this picture. One of them is hard to see. I didn't see the easy one until I looked at this picture, though.

I couldn't find anything besides cairns up there, and after a short while I couldn't find any more of them. I don't know if they lead to anything. I wonder if they might just be there to get people to a good spot to view an unusual saguaro. I have the feeling there might be something else up there, though. I need to go look again.

This saguaro is kinda funky looking.

The clouds started moving off to the east after a while. That's about the time I saw a pile of white rocks on the side of the wash. I was getting ready to take a picture of them when I spotted the oven behind them.

My first view of the oven.

A better view of the oven. You can see that it is built into the cliff.

The top of the oven.

While I was on the hill above the oven, I noticed a couple of wild horses across the wash. About the only place I've seen them before is along the Salt River. I've never seen them while hiking away from the river, but I see their hoof prints miles from the river. After I got a few landscape pictures I decided to see if I could get close enough to the horses to get some pictures. As I walked slowly and quietly up the other bank, I could see well-worn horse trails. It looks like they hang out in that area a lot. I didn't find the two I had seen earlier, but I did find six others. They didn't seem to mind my presence much. They even ambled past me like I was just another palo-verde. They also ignored my camera and didn't give me any striking poses.

A couple of the horses. They eyed me suspiciously and then walked by within 15 feet of me.

This horse seemed wary of me. It kept an eye on me the whole time.

I took lots of pictures of the horses. Most are of horses behind creosote bushes.

By the time I was done taking pictures of the horses, they sun was out. I re-took some of my other pictures now that the sun was out.

This saguaro looks much better with blue sky behind it.

I took more pictures of the river now that the sun was shining.

When I first saw these horses, I wondered if it was the ones I was taking pictures of earlier and they had run down to the river along a different route and were standing there like, "What took you so long, human?" Smart aleck horses ;-)

That's pretty.

Doesn't this look better than that gloomy picture?

As I approached the highway, I saw several people on the river bank with metal detectors. I talked to one guy and he said they find earrings, rings, watches, knives, etc. in the river bed (the water level is dropped in the winter). That doesn't surprise me, considering how drunk most of those people are.

The pictures are in two web albums.



No comments: