Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Familiar territory

Sometimes it's comforting to go someplace familiar. I went someplace on Sunday afternoon that I hadn't been before, but it felt like home. Well, I had been near there before, but not from that angle.

I drove by lots of flowers on the way out there.

I started hiking up a hill just to see what I would find up there. Part way up, I found a horse trail. It seems a lot of people ride their horses through there. I followed the horse trail until it got boring, which was also when I realized that I was very close to another road that I frequently take through Bulldog Canyon. Since I was climbing from a different angle, I hadn't realized exactly where I was in relation to everything else I already knew about.

I ended up going up there.

After I quit following the horse trail, I started going along the top of a solid rock cliff. That's what felt so familiar. I've done that in so many different places around here, it just feels like that's where I belong.

I walked along that rock behind the paloverde tree.

I found a hole in the rock up there. Not sure if it qualifies as an arch. It's a small hole at the base of a slab of rock. It was hard to get pictures of it.

A hole in a slab of rock.

As I moseyed around up there I recognized more things around me. It turns out that I was close to Richard's arch (I call it that because he spotted it). I was thinking about hiking up to the cliffs to the north of where I was but was relieved when I realized I had already been there a few years ago when I had hiked up to Richard's arch. I guess I'm still feeling kind of lazy since I didn't want to hike up there again.

Richard's arch is behind and to the right of those cliffs.

I stood around up there for about half an hour, enjoying the view and feeling at home. Click below to see all of the pictures.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Saguaro portraits, and balloons

There are some areas in and around the Goldfield Mountains that I haven't seen yet. The reason I haven't seen most of those is because they are difficult to get to. There was one spot in the middle of a flat (compared to a mountain) area that I hadn't been to. That's where I went on Saturday.

Maybe one reason I haven't been there before is that there isn't a lot to see.

As might be expected, there isn't a whole lot to see in the middle of a large flat area. I wound up taking lots of pictures of saguaros.

This saguaro looks like it has a funny face.

There weren't a lot of flowers in that area, either. Well, there were a couple of spots carpeted by tiny yellow flowers. I could see that the northeast side of Lone Mountain was covered in Mexican Gold Poppies. The other side looks like it doesn't have any.

Mexican Gold Poppies on Lone Mountain.

There are a few really big saguaros out there.

I found a total of 4 mylar balloons out there. Actually, I found more, but one was shredded so I didn't pick up all the pieces. It was easy walking for half of the hike. Then I turned around and started heading back uphill to the truck. That's when I really missed the lunch I had forgotten to eat. Well, I had a big breakfast and never felt hungry at lunchtime.

I use saguaros to tell when I have my pictures level. Sometimes they aren't vertical, though. Also, if they are uphill or downhill from the photographer, you need to take parallax into account. After I take a picture with saguaros in it, I look at the scene so I can remember which saguaros were vertical when I'm working on pictures later.

It's warmed up some. I think it was close to 90 out there. It felt good. Click below for all of the pictures. Oh, I went back out there (slightly different spot) Sunday and took lots of pictures of flowers. I haven't uploaded them yet and won't be blogging about that trip, so you're on your own to find them.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A side canyon

I can tell I'm still lacking some stamina just by driving around. I look at all the places I've hiked before and think, "That would take too much effort". So I decided to go someplace I haven't been before and where I had no idea how far I'd be able to go. That way, I wouldn't think it was too much effort until I got where ever I was going.

There was a fire a couple of years ago in the place where I stopped. This used to be a sotol.

I decided to try to hike down a side canyon of a side canyon of the Salt River. I've tried that before in that area (near Fish Creek Hill) and quickly came to a spot where I had to turn back. As I started out, I was surprised at how much water was flowing in the side canyon. We'd had a lot of rain two days before. The canyon only drains a small area so I hadn't expected it to still have water flowing. What I learned was that the water had soaked into the thin layer of soil on top of the rock and was slowly draining into the stream at the center of the canyon. Where there was bare rock, you could see the water draining across it.

I followed this as far as I could. Almost.

Water is draining into the stream where the rock looks black.

Since there was water flowing, I had another reason to go slow. I had to get pictures of all that water. I had my tripod but some of the small waterfalls were in shadow with sunlit rock nearby, so it was hard to get decent pictures.

Small waterfall around a large boulder.

This was nice to watch, but I couldn't get a picture of it that I like.

I made a short video of some of the water.

I hadn't gone far before I saw that I would have to stop soon. It looked like the view might be interesting from further downstream. Maybe a nice cliff that would stop me. I looked down there, though, and decided I just didn't have the energy to do it. That was a good decision. On the way back, I would stop and seriously study two alternative routes trying to decide if I wanted to try to hold some catclaw out of the way while hopping over some water or if it would be easier to climb up 5 feet over some rocks with no catclaw. I have the scratches resulting from frequently taking the easier but bloodier route.

If you look closely, you can tell that there is probably a cliff down there that I wouldn't be able to descend. Well, I could, but that would be the end of the hike.

Speaking of blood, that reminds me of a couple of things I saw along the way. On the way downstream I saw what looked like some coyote skin. Then on the way upstream I came across a skeleton. It was most of the torso of what must have been a deer. If the leg that was nearby belonged to it, it was a deer. Anyway, these decaying animal parts were all in or right next to the stream. That's one reason I carry all the water I'll be drinking with me.

Click below for all of the pictures. If you are squeamish, don't look at all of the pictures.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Mexican Gold Poppies

I've seen small clusters of Mexican Gold Poppies while driving around for the past week or so. I had expected to see more with all the rain we've had this winter. Maybe I just wasn't looking the right way, though.

A Mexican Gold Poppy.

I drove through Bulldog Canyon on Thursday. Didn't see a lot of flowers. I stopped to wander around on the side of a ridge and wound up going to the top of the ridge. Along the way, I saw lots of gold poppies.

Several years ago, I had been trying to find a route to the top of this ridge. I didn't try much from the west side of the ridge because it didn't look like there were any feasible routes on that side. I accidentally found an easy one on Thursday, though. The hike was less than 3000 feet with only 300 feet of ups and downs. Well, it's a little further along a not-so-obvious route to the very top of the ridge, but I know that part already.

Click below to see all of the pictures. Also, I put a large panorama on my Panoramio page (link on the right).