Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just too hot

One day last week, I was thinking I should go for a hike. It was 108, and I decided it was too hot to go for a hike. The next day I felt bad about being so lazy and decided I should go for a hike even if it's 108. It was 110. I decided it was too hot. The next day I felt bad about being so lazy again, but it was 112. I wrestled with the decision for a couple of hours and then decided to go out and at least get some pictures of the storm clouds. I stopped at the closest place where I thought I could get some pictures of a rainbow. It was flat and I just wandered around slowly getting various saguaros in the cloud or rainbow pictures. The temperature had dropped by the time I got out there, but it still felt oppressively hot. I think I got some nice pictures, though.

A cool storm cloud.

The rainbow.

For some reason, I really like this picture.

I like the way this one turned out, too.

I also got pictures of a cryptic sign and some lightning, but those aren't very impressive. Click below for all of the pictures.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Hike to an overlook of Saguaro Lake

This is someplace I've been before. I thought I might be able to find a more direct route, but I still went up and down and up and down and ... There might be a way to get there without all that, but it might be a long walk, too.

I followed this wash for a little way. It's still packed hard from recent rains, so walking was easy.

There were still puddles from recent rains, too.

There was even green moss.

The hike up to the top of the cliff was pretty boring. I made a video of getting to the top of the cliff where there's a view of the lake. I've decided I don't like the way videos look on my blog, though, so you will have to click here to see it. You can hear me freak out when I realize that I'm standing on the edge of a 300 foot cliff.

I walked a short distance to the east along the cliff. I was from 4 to 6 feet from the edge. I kept realizing that I was leaning away form the cliff. It probably would have looked funny if you could have seen it. I'm pretty sure nobody saw me, though. I waved to some people on the the lake but they didn't wave back. I thought about saying "Hello" but was worried that they might think I was in trouble and send help. Then I really would be in trouble. When I meet people on a trail, they often ask if I'm OK. When I say "Yes", they ask if I'm sure I'm OK. I must look really bad when I'm hiking.

View from the top of the cliff.

The view from up there is very nice. It's easily worth the pointless ups and downs to get there. Just don't forget where you parked. No, I didn't forget, but I can see how that would be easy to do. I made careful note of where along the road I had parked so I would know which way to turn no matter where I was along the road when I got back to it. Click below for all of the pictures.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Driving around

I'm not sure that it's really too hot to hike, but that is why I haven't been hiking much lately. Hey, if you think it's too hot, then it is. You would think I would try to go someplace cooler, but instead I tend to drive around close to the valley. That is one way that I find new places to hike once it cools off. Anyway, one day last week I went driving around the desert south of Florence Junction. There were some nice clouds around and I took pictures mainly of those. I need to figure out how to get the clouds to look good without making the ground look bizarre.

Clouds over Dromedary Peak.

A small shower to the southeast.

Fluffy clouds over .... the desert.

When I got back to 60, there were some stranded travelers there. I gave them a ride to a gas station in Gold Canyon, then back to their car. One of them, the tall one, came to Phoenix for the first time in June. I hope she gets to stay until it cools off. It's a nice place when it isn't 112 degrees.

Beware: When the fuel light comes on, your Prius will only go another 14 miles.

Later in the week I needed to get out of town and drove out Four Peaks road, and on out to Cottonwood Campground. It was quite crowded for this time of year. I saw 3 vehicles there.

One of my favorite views of Four Peaks. I like all the saguaros in the foreground.

I took this picture to show the moisture in the air.

If you are sitting on the left side of the plane when you fly from Phoenix to Houston, you will probably see an incredible looking canyon out in the middle of nowhere. Actually, it doesn't look that incredible from about 15,000 or 20,000 feet, but if you recognize some nearby mountains you will realize that it must be an incredible canyon. I have finally figured out that it must be Aravaipa Canyon. A permit is required to hike there. I have no idea how hard it is to get a permit. I do want to hike there someday, though. It must be an amazing place to see. Obviously, I haven't been there yet, but I bring it up because I did drive out the road to the trailhead yesterday and I saw a Gila monster and a couple of desert tortoises. I made a movie of the Gila monster and of one of the tortoises. They make an interesting contrast.

This Gila monster came within about 15 feet of me but didn't know I was there until I took a couple of steps. It didn't notice me messing with the camera, or the sound of the shutter. I guess their eyesight isn't real good. This is the first time I've been near one that didn't see me first, though. Well, they're small.

The tortoise. He wasn't as active as the Gila monster.

I'll upload pictures from that area later. Click below and belower for the other pictures.



Checking on a Willow Creek tinaja

After the recent heavy monsoon rains, I went back to the large, deep tinaja on Willow Creek. The rain, though heavy, had been spotty, so I wasn't sure the tinaja would have been refilled. I was pretty sure it had been as soon as I got down to the creek, though.

This water is flowing, so I know the tinaja has to have been refilled.

It was a little tricky getting to the tinaja this time. It wouldn't have been if I didn't mind walking through water, but I do.

Too much water to jump across in many places.

There were some strange looking bugs in the water. Some of those strange ones looked even stranger because they looked like they had algae or something growing on them.

Strange looking bugs.

It's because of things like that that I carry much more water in my backpack than I think I'll need. Also, I collected some water from a tinaja near Tortilla Flat for Lauren to take to a biology lab. The students were supposed to bring in water from pet water dishes and things like that which probably have bacteria growing in them. The professor took one look at Lauren's water and told her she had better dilute it 10:1 before putting it in the petri dishes. She's the only one that had to do that. It only had the slightest tint of green. I thought it was a nice color. Anyway, it was full of coliform bacteria. No surprise there.

The rain also seems to have brought out the millipedes. They were all over the place. I saw two tarantulas in the road on the way home, too. Seems kind of early in the year for them.

One of many millipedes.

Most of the moss had greened-up, too. It looked kind of like a winter day. It didn't feel like it, though. The muggy heat was stifling.

Very green moss.

Click below for all of the pictures.