Saturday, November 09, 2013

Off FR 213

I've been taking some sunset pictures lately. I usually set the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture when I do that. The trouble with doing that is that I sometimes forget to take the camera out of manual mode before the next time I use it. Also, I don't usually look at my pictures as I'm taking them, so it can be a long time before I notice that something is wrong. I was halfway through this hike before I noticed that most of the pictures were over-exposed.

I was driving along Apache Trail trying to decide where I should hike when I saw a hill that looked like it was in a good place to explore. I wasn't even sure I would be able to get close to it, but it turns out I could drive to where there were no canyons between me and the hill. I parked along FR213, which is a very rough road that is only one vehicle wide for most of its length. FR213 goes into the Superstition Wilderness. The wilderness boundary is on both sides of the road. You can't have roads in wilderness areas, so a narrow sliver is carved out of the wilderness for the road. There's a "road" going west where I parked, but it is within the wilderness so it would be bad news to be caught driving on it.

This looks like a road, but don't drive on it.

I followed the road to its end and kept going. It was shortly beyond the end of the road that I had an encounter with a prickly pear. Of all the cacti I've bumped into over the years, I like prickly pear the least. Fortunately, I haven't had too much trouble removing its glochids so far. I didn't get any glochids this time; just one spine. I got a little too close as I walked by a prickly pear with very long spines and a spine got the side of my shoe. It hurt, but I took a couple of careful steps and decided I could keep going. The next step hurt a lot. The spine was still in my foot. I wanted to sit on a rock to get it out but there wasn't one within hobbling distance. I sat on bare dirt instead, which is not a good idea in the desert. I got the spine out without any trouble, stood up and carefully brushed off my pants, then removed the cactus spines I got in my hands from brushing off my pants. That's why it isn't a good idea to sit on the ground in the desert.

A serious impediment to walking.

There were no difficult obstacles on the way to the hill. Once I got there, I felt like I should keep climbing to the south. It was getting late, though. I'll have to go back another day to do that.

I made a panorama on Photosynth that can be zoomed quite a way. After I uploaded pictures, Google stitched some of my pictures together to make a panorama, too. The Google version wasn't made from the full size pictures (because I didn't upload full size pictures), though, so you can't zoom in as much.

Photosynth panorama

The Google panorama. I didn't think I had uploaded enough pictures to create a panorama. It's pretty cool that Google has software to figure this out automatically.

An MCSO helicopter buzzed me a couple of times out there and there was an MCSO search and rescue SUV parked at the turn-off for FR213. Somebody must have gotten in trouble out at the end of FR213. Either that or MCSO was having a search and rescue drill. Seems like they would get plenty of practice doing rescues all year round, though. With over 5 million people in the Phoenix area, somebody's brain malfunctions just about every day and they drive off a cliff or harass a rattlesnake or climb a mountain with one can of pop to drink.

MCSO helicopter. I don't think they saw me on this pass.

I didn't get any good pictures of what I went out there to see. I didn't get a very good view of it, anyway. I'll have to go back, earlier in the day. Click below for all of the pictures.


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