Monday, November 24, 2014

The 2014 monsoon rains

We had a very wet summer in the Sonoran Desert. It was the seventh wettest monsoon season since records have been kept. People that have lived here for 30 years says it the most rain they've ever seen. All those storms mean that there were some great photo opportunities, and on a couple of occasions I was even in the right place at the right time, and even had my camera with me.

A storm moved in while I was in Bulldog Canyon. I thought I had heard a screaming animal out there a couple of days before and had returned to find the body (but the only body I found was a dead saguaro). I have since decided that somebody is hunting mountain lions out there.

Great clouds mean some great sunsets.

I was out in the middle of a relatively flat area south of Florence Junction when I took this. You can see dust being kicked up on the left of the photo and a column of rain on the right.

This looked really ominous. I was worried I might be trapped in mud so I hurried to pavement. Turns out the rain never got to where I had been.

I stopped to get a picture of the rain falling on the Superstition Mountains and accidentally got a lightning bolt.

There was a great sunset going on at the same time in the other direction. I kept going back and forth across the road to get pictures of both.

It looks like it's probably raining pretty hard over there.

I hung around after sunset to get some lightning pictures.

This is a normally dry wash a couple of miles east of Tortilla Flat. There were some small waterfalls there but my pictures of them weren't any good. I decided I need to get an ND filter.

Yes, all the storms were great for pictures, but there were a couple of drawbacks, too. On several occasions I gave up on taking pictures because the bugs were so bad. Mostly they were gnats but once when I was on top of Lone Mountain some termites chased me away. Termites often swarm during the monsoon rains. Thousands of winged termites leave the colony to start new colonies. They have no interest in people but when there are so many in the air at once, the can't help landing on you. After a while it's just too creepy with all those bugs in your shirt (they always seem to fall into my shirt).

Just about every day, everywhere I went, there were nice clouds. This was taken northeast of Roosevelt Lake.

The other drawback to all the rain was, of course, the humidity. I decided to get serious about losing some weight this year and was frequently climbing Lone Mountain to burn some calories. The sweat dripping off my face created my own little salty rainstorm. It was a pretty mild summer temperature wise, though. There was only about one week when it got over 110. The humidity hung around long after the storms left. It was only during the past week that it seemed to return to normal. (I noticed because my knuckles cracked and bled when I made a fist.)

Winged termites leaving the nest. Photo taken on top of Lone Mountain.

I took a lot of pictures of Four Peaks from the top of Lone Mountain during the summer.

There were more flowers than usual during the summer.

One day I thought I was going to hike out to Apache Leap, east of Superior. There were storm clouds building over the valley but I didn't think they would affect me. Fortunately, I had forgotten where the trail was and wimped out because of the humidity. A very heavy storm moved through shortly after I got back on the pavement.

Even when it din't rain, there were nice clouds around. In order to keep burning calories, I was out hiking and getting pictures several times a week.

One day I tried to drive out to White Canyon Wilderness, south of Superior. The road seemed to be badly eroded by water, but the ocotillos didn't have leaves, and the ground was dry. Seemed very strange. Couldn't get to the wilderness so I went over to the Ray mine for a look and got a picture of this storm building. It evaporated shortly after I took this.

There are horses running loose around the Salt River. I suspect they were set free there by people that couldn't afford them any more when the economy took a dive. Anyway, I see their tracks all over the place but usually only see them at the river. I was wandering around Bulldog Canyon one day, a mile from the river, and came across 3 horses. Wouldn't wild horses run away from a human? These kept an eye on me but went about their usual business.

I climbed a tall butte near canyon lake. There were nice fluffy clouds all around. From on top you can see the Superstition Mountains, Four Peaks, Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, and lots of other landmarks. I got a nice 360 panorama. It's on my Panoramio page.

The only waterfall I've seen since I got the ND filter is by our pool.

I've come across several things I wanted to write a blog about over the past few weeks but didn't have time with all the hiking and picture processing. Maybe I'll catch up now that the sun sets so early.

1 comment:

julia said...

Incredible pictures!