Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Invisible lizards, talking flies, and other less wondrous things

No, I don't think the heat has gotten to me. Actually, I would probably be the last to realize if that were true. But I don't think it is. I thought of these blog topics in cooler weather. First, though, a brief discussion of more mundane matters.

We must start off with a picture.

Since about 2002, I've been saying that I need to loose a few pounds. Of course, my weight has slowly crept up in the years since then. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to get serious and do it. I've been out hiking (to burn calories) every chance I get. I have cut back severely on cookies, cake, and beer. (I know what you are thinking now. These actions have NOT caused me to start hallucinating.) My weight loss has not been as rapid as I had hoped, considering the sacrifices I am making (you would understand if you had ever tasted my Sweetum's chocolate cake). I like to think that I'm not losing much weight because I'm putting muscle on my legs. Yep, that's it.

Cactus wren feeding its chicks. I could hear them.

So I've been hiking a lot to burn calories. That hasn't left much time to work on pictures or write this blog. I haven't put much effort into exploring new areas, either. I've been hiking in a lot of places that I've been several times before.

Julia and Willie went with me on one hike. Julia manages a smile despite being near exhaustion.

I took pictures of the same old things on that hike. Well, it's just so pretty.

I made a half-hearted attempt to hike to the mushroom rock one day. That wore me out for some reason.

Lately I've decided that since I'm just trying to burn calories, it's ok to keep hiking in the same places. I've been up and down Lone Mountain 3 times in the past week or so. On one of those hikes a guy in better shape than me zoomed past on the way up. He was still at the top when I got there. When he started down, he went fast, kind of between a walk and a run. I decided to try that and was amazed and how quickly I got down the mountain. It continually surprised me how much distance I could cover in a single step. My next hike was on the Boulder Canyon trail, which is also a big climb. It took me an hour to get to the top. When I realize the sun would be setting in half an hour, I hurried down. It reminded me of those dreams where you are running and you jump and can glide a long way in the air and you keep holding your feet up longer and longer and going further and further between putting your feet down. Then when you slow to a walk, it feels really humdrum. I think there were actually very few times when both my feet were off the ground at the same time and that only happened when I caught my toe on a rock or something like that. I tried going fast again on my last hike, on Lone Mountain. It's quite a workout for the quadriceps and I don't think mine had recovered since the last time so it didn't feel so much like flying that time. I looked at the GPS track for one of those hikes and saw that I was only going a little over 3 mph when I felt like I was flying. Well, I guess it seemed fast because I was going 2 or 3 times faster than I usually do.

I hid from this copter on a recent hike on the Lost Goldmine trail in case they were planning to tell me to go home.

Let's see, I need to tell you about that invisible lizard. I saw it near the Salt River. Well, I didn't see it, of course, but I saw where it was. I was walking across an area of flat, clean sand when something kicked up a bunch of sand, went a foot or so, and then stopped. It looked just like a startled lizard, except there was no lizard. Just sand being kicked around by tiny invisible feet. It must have thought I was about to step on it (I was) or it wouldn't have moved. An invisible lizard would know that it's better not to move unless necessary. "So", you say, "How come I never heard of invisible lizards before?" Well, ain't that obvious? "So", you say, "I heard about the Higgs boson long before anybody 'saw' one. How come I never heard about your invisible lizard before?" Obvious, again. The existence of an invisible lizard is not necessary to complete anybody's theory of the universe. However, believe it or not, I did find evidence that somebody else was looking for them.

Somebody marked off a grid with rebar in this area.

Each rebar post is labeled.

The rebar grid shown in the photos shows that somebody was conducting a detailed flora and fauna survey in this area, which happens to be very close to where I didn't see the invisible lizard. What does the survey have to do with invisible lizards? Well, somebody noticed that things weren't exactly balanced in this area, as if more bugs were being eaten than could be accounted for by the lizards and birds in the area, and so they set up and conducted this detailed survey to try and figure out what was throwing things out of balance. I imagine this was part or all of some students doctoral research. Of course, they never figured it out because they never thought to look for invisible lizards. (Who would?) Because they couldn't account for the missing bugs, they were derided by their professors for doing sloppy work, took up drinking, dropped out of school unpublished, and now run a meth lab in the back of a '68 VW bus somewhere in Gila county. But I extrapolate. All the evidence points to invisible lizards.

After reading that, you probably can't wait to hear about the talking flies. Well, I'm sorry, but they're much more mundane.

Salt River. I promise.

On many occasions when I've been out hiking, I've heard indistinct voices in the distance. You know what I'm talking about. You can't understand them, but you know they're voices, and they stop and start. Many times, I've been able to spot the people that the voices belong to. This frequently happens around the Superstition Mountains because there are lots of people out there and there are parallel trails far apart. Recently when I was out there I heard voices and finally spotted a couple of people on a trail about half a mile away. They stopped walking. Since I was standing on top of a ridge I figured they could see me against the sky, so I waved as I zoomed in and took a picture. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the picture 1:1 that I saw that one of the women had stopped to pull out a wedgie. I guess they hadn't seen me after all. But I digress. Back to the flies. There have been several occasions when I was sure I heard voices and stopped to find their source and discovered that it was a fly that was buzzing around nearby. They fly around near the ground, their wings are loud (for fly wings), and they maneuver around in such a way that their buzzing sounds like indistinct voices. It isn't just me, either. Other people have heard them. Either that or they were just humoring me. "Okaaaay. Sure, I hear them. Shouldn't we be getting back to town?"

The last time I was on Lone Mountain (June 7), I looked across Usery Pass road to the mountains on the other side (which look kind of boring, so I may not have uploaded any pictures of them) and saw a trail going up the middle. I went up that trail yesterday. As I walked along it, I remembered seeing a rusted out jeep up there somewhere many years ago. Wow, I had been there before and had completely forgotten it. As I got near the end of the trail, something reminded me of a picture I had taken from up there all those years ago. It was a picture of Red Mountain. It stirred up a lot of conversation. It was the first picture I had ever taken that more than one person said they liked, and I decided that maybe I was capable of taking a decent picture now and then. I guess that's where all this hiking and picture taking really got started. BTW, I'm not ready to upload the pictures from yesterday yet. I'm still working on pictures from 5/31.

Here's a picture I took in my front yard. I used a ladder. (To stand on; I used a camera to take the picture.)

There are pictures from several albums in this post and I'm not going to try to link to all the albums. Those of you that can figure out how to get to the albums can see all of the pictures.


julia said...

Willie and I were on a hike a few months ago when a lizard suddenly popped out of the sand in front of us. It was amazing ! Can't believe you're not drinking beer though!

jasmine nile said...

thanks ,,,,,,,