Saturday, May 11, 2013

Exploring Willow Creek

May 2 was one of those bad gnat days. Not only that, but I didn't put my gaiters on because I didn't think there was much grass where I was going. (I was wrong about that.) The gnats still have a preference for my right forearm so I killed at least a couple of dozen there. It was a beautiful late afternoon but it was hard to enjoy with bugs in my eyes. Every time I bent down to pick grass seeds out of my socks, I could see 30 or 40 gnats hanging around my legs. They aren't annoying there, but they were just working their way up to my head.

Several of the pictures I took have gnats in them. They're out of focus, of course, since they were right in front of the camera.

OK, no more BMWing. I went for a short hike over to the location of the tinajas I had seen from across Willow Creek a few weeks ago. At that time, I thought they were in a tributary of Willow Creek. According to DeLorme maps, they are in Willow Creek. Anyway, I got close to where the tinajas were and wanted to hike down to them, but I just couldn't stand the gnats anymore.

There's a tinaja there that I hadn't seen before.

I found this as I hurried back to the truck.

We had some company over the weekend and the weather had cooled off a little by the time I got back out there. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. I carried my gnat net in my pocket but the gnats weren't bad enough to put it on.

Someone was using the corral.

I made some HDRIs from single RAW photos. I like the way they turned out.

The bed of Willow Creek was mostly solid rock where I entered it.

I didn't go very far down Willow Creek before I got to tinajas I had seen from the cliff a couple of weeks ago. There was no way around one of them and even if there had been, there was a large drop right after it. I couldn't go any further in that direction.

Sometimes it's hard to take pictures of these things, so here's a video.

In Willow Creek.

I went up on a cliff above the tinajas next. This is a view of them from above.

There were some nice fluffy clouds around. The rocks look kind of extreme in some of the HDRIs but I was mostly interested in getting nice looking clouds.

Nice view of Four Peaks.

Here's a view of the tinaja by which I had been sitting a couple of weeks ago.

I couldn't remember exploring Willow Creek upstream of this area, so that's what I did next. I started out in a familiar area and before very long I got to a spot where I could remember turning back because it looked like the scenery was getting boring.

I've been here before.

I think this is a pretty area.

This is close to where I had turned back before.

The scenery soon got very interesting again. There were several tinajas, too. I spent a few minutes at one of them figuring out how to get around it and how to get back. I didn't want to drop down somewhere that I wouldn't be able to climb back up.

It was almost too dark for pictures in parts of the creek bed.

Tinaja from upstream.

Same tinaja from downstream.

A short video of one of the spots where I almost had to turn back.

I bet there are lots of animals along here at night.

I kept thinking that I should turn back because the sun was getting low and there were several places where a wrong turn could mean spending a lot of time wandering around in the dark. Well, I could follow GPS breadcrumbs back, but relying on high tech stuff is risky. It breaks too often. I decided to go around just one more bend in the creek and when I did, I realized I was in the spot I had been in a couple of days earlier. Rather than take a chance of making all the right turns on the way back, I took the easy route to the road and then it was an easy stroll back to the truck.

You can see that I move a lot faster when I'm on pavement and it's too dark for pictures.

The pictures are in three groups below.




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