Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random rambling

One day last week I went out to the spot off Meridian road where I frequently go to take pictures of sunsets. I was there a little early so I was wandering around looking for pieces of RC planes (there's an RC airfield nearby). Anyway, I got a picture of this.

Crepuscular anti-ray?

Now you can Google crepuscular ray and you will find something like this. There's one key difference, though. The "ray" part refers to a ray of light. This picture shows a ray of shadow. Therefore it must be a crepuscular anti-ray. It can't be an anti-crepuscular ray because that is what's shown in the next picture. Sort of.

Anti-crepuscular anti-ray?

If you Google anti-crepuscular ray, you will see that it's crepuscular rays on the side of the sky opposite the sun that seem to converge towards a point at the horizon. Again, I have a picture of a shadow, so it must be an anti-crepuscular anti-ray.

I also got a picture of the moon.

... and some red clouds.

I only wandered a short distance that day, and it was late, and the ground was mostly level, but I got very wet. The humidity is way up because it's that time of year.

I went out there again another day and got another crepuscular anti-ray picture. Then, on my way home, I went by this place at Meridian and Brown road where I always think think I'll stop and get pictures of kids riding horses and decided that it was time to actually stop.

Another crepuscular anti-ray.

I don't know anything about riding horses. I think they were barrel racing or something like that. I tried taking pictures but it was too dark for pictures of movement.

This didn't turn out too bad. Most were very blurred.

I took pictures of this horse because it looked worried. It later convinced me that I should probably leave before I got hurt.

A few days later, I needed to get out and climb something, so I went to a small mesa at the corner of Usery Pass road and Bush Highway. I thought I might be able to get some sunset pictures from there, and the sun and clouds cooperated.

I like the way the clouds look.

In the other direction was a small storm, with lightning. It convinced me that I should get off that mesa.

One day, I got home from work and there was an amazing cloud on the other side of the Superstition Mountains, so I went to get a picture of it. Of course, I had to be in the right setting. I didn't want houses or cars or power lines in the picture. By the time I got to the right place, the cloud was gone. However, another popped up and I like the pictures I got of it.

A nice storm cloud.

I saw some great lightning on the way home, and it was getting dark enough to take pictures of it, so I stopped on the Meridian road overpass. I took about 70 pictures. About 10 had lightning in them. About 4 looked halfway decent.

Twin lightning bolts.

Then, this past weekend, Sweetums and I made our annual summer trip to the top of Mt Lemmon. I think it was only about 95 when we started up the mountain road. It was about 63 near the top in Summerhaven, which feels very nice after a couple of months of 100+ temperatures.

There were some nice clouds around on the way up. It's dark and raining to the left.

I seem to get pictures of the same stuff every time I'm up there.

When we started back down, I saw some clouds draped over parts of the mountain up ahead and pulled off the road to get pictures. By the time I got out of the truck, though, we were in the cloud. I waited a few minutes, but it was just getting thicker, so I continued on the way down. For a while, I could only see about a hundred feet ahead, so I was going slow. I kept having to pull over to let people by that were in a hurry. I don't know why there aren't a bunch of wrecks on that mountain. The visibility got down to about 20 feet before it started to lift. That was scary.

We got out of the clouds just before Windy Point and the rest of the drive down the mountain was uneventful. We ate in Tucson and on the way back to Phoenix, it seemed like there was lightning all around. Then it rained. It was the hardest rain I've seen since moving to Arizona 10 years ago. It rained for a long time like that. I expected it to be about 100 when we got back to Phoenix but it was still in the 70's. Seems there had been some showers there, too. I saw something that evening that I have never seen in Arizona before; a frog hopping along the road. I saw two of them. Unprecedented. You know it was wet.

Taken at Windy Point.

It was much cooler than usual the next day in the Phoenix area. It rained a little, and in the afternoon I thought I should drive out to Tortilla Flat to see if Tortilla Creek was flowing across the road. I didn't even get as far as the Ghost Town on Apache Trail, though. It must have rained very hard in the Superstition Mountains. Weekes Wash was a raging torrent.

Weekes Wash. Never imagined it could look like this. It had dropped about 2 feet by the time I got there.

Well, I'm not caught up yet, but dinner's ready. More later.






Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ragged Top, and sunburned ankles

I read in the paper about a scenic drive just west of Tucson. It was too hot for a hike. Normally I don't go to places described in the paper on the same day they're in the paper because that's when everybody else goes. I braced myself for crowds and went anyway. It was a very humid day. The truck's air conditioner iced up after about an hour on the road. I ran it on recirculate the rest of the trip, once I got the ice cleared out. It didn't take long to clear it out with an outside temperature of 104.

This is Ragged Top, the main thing I wanted to see on this drive.

It was 109 by the time I got to the dirt road that goes around Ragged Top. I climbed to the top of a very small hill to get the picture above and was glad I wasn't going to be out there for very long.

Yes, it's hot, but there's dark clouds over the Catalina Mountains (which can't be seen here).

By the time I started going around Ragged Top, there were dark clouds approaching from the southeast. Tuscon always seems to get more rain that Phoenix during the monsoon rainy season. Phoenix often gets the dust blown out by Tucson's storms. I started to think I might get stranded by flooded washes. The rain is never as heavy as it looks from a distance, though.

My last picture of Ragged Top with sun shining on it.

It never rained while I was on dirt roads. I drove through some sprinkles on the highway on the way home. It was far from being the downpour I was hoping to see. Also, I only saw 2 other vehicles the whole time I was out there.

Now, about the sunburn. No, I didn't get sunburned again. Google searches for sunburned ankles seem to be one of the most common ways that people get to my blog this time of year. I thought I would provide some more details about my experience for those searchers. I don't think I was ever able to find any description or account that matched what I had experienced and I bet a lot of other people are finding the same nothing.

A few years ago, I had gone tubing on the Salt River and had smeared a highly touted sunscreen thickly on my legs, and they were still greasy at the end of the day. Maybe the chemical that blocks UV had washed out of the greasy stuff, though. My ankles were badly burned. Sunburn is painful, of course. It hurts if you bump it, it hurts to put clothes over it, it hurts if the sun shines on it, it hurts to take a shower, etc. But all those hurts are minor, trivial, inconsequential. Sunburned ankles are another whole level of hurt. I was fine until I stood up in the morning. I guess what happens then is that gravity pulls blood down to your ankles and they swell a little. Normally, that isn't noticeable. You certainly can't see it happening and you sure don't feel it. With burned ankles, though, it's excruciatingly painful. If a sprained ankle is a 10, standing up in the morning with sunburned ankles is an 8.5 or 9. Walking keeps the ankles from swelling as quickly. So I would get up and walk in circles in the bedroom. I would make 1 or 2 circles (less than 10 seconds on my feet) before I had to sit down and lift my legs up to get relief from the intense pain. Then I would do it again and again and slowly increase the time I could stay on my feet. After about 10 minutes of this I was able to stay on my feet long enough to go to the kitchen and eat breakfast. I think that the repeated standing allows the skin to slowly stretch as much as it's going to. Several times while standing at the counter fixing coffee or a bowl of cereal, the pain suddenly became so bad I couldn't even get to a chair, and just fell on the floor so I could lift my legs. I had to eat breakfast with my legs propped up on a chair. It was at least 45 minutes after first standing up before I could sit up long enough for the 20 minute drive to work. All day at work, I had to be sure to walk around at least every hour so it wouldn't become too painful to stand up during the day. All this went on for more than a week.

So how do you relieve the pain? I don't think there's anything you can put on your legs that will help significantly. I used some kind of moisturizing lotion with aloe. Maybe it helped, but going from 9.0 to 8.9 on the pain scale isn't a big deal. I thought about trying support hose, but I also thought about scraping my burned skin off trying to get the hose on and off, and I bet that would hurt. I started taking acetaminophen towards the end of the week and that seemed to help, but maybe I was getting better by then, anyway. I didn't take it sooner because I thought I might be allergic to it. Turns out I'm not.

I hope this lets some sunburned people know that their experience is not unique. Sorry I don't have a quick solution. Click below for all of the pictures.