Sunday, May 25, 2014

A better view of a hole in the rock

Several years ago, I had made an attempt to hike up to a hole in a rock that could be seen along the unofficial trail to the back of Garden Valley. I seem to vaguely remember that I didn't have a very good view of the hole when I got there. Mostly what I remember is that it was a windy day and there were rain storms around. Anyway, I did not have that in mind when I set off on a hike a few days ago. What I had in mind was getting some exercise and seeing some nice scenery. I didn't want to do a lot of climbing so I started out on the unofficial trail just mentioned. If follows a creek bed for most of the way.

Part of the beginning of the trail is in fine sand, which is great for showing snake trails. I couldn't find the snake.

I had mostly forgotten about the hole in the rock until I spotted it from the trail. It's easy to miss. You have to look up at just the right time.

The hole in the rock isn't easy to see from the trail.

Somebody also dug a hole in the dirt on the side of the creek. Strange.

I would like to see this when water is flowing.

I walked until I got to a scenic spot and "stopped" there to take a few pictures. Actually, what I did was start up a hill to get a better angle on a shot. Then I went a little further to see what I could see, all the while looking across the creek bed at the taller hill on the other side until I couldn't stand it any longer and started up that other hill. The view was much better from the taller hill.

This is a bare-rock kind of place.

I was wandering around on the larger hill taking pictures of various things when I turned around once to find that I had a perfect view of the hole in the rock. Now, finally, years after I had intended to do so, I have a decent picture of that hole in the rock.

The hole in the rock.

Click below for all of the pictures.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

To the Mule Ears

I don't know if that's what it's really called. It reminds me of Mule Ear Peaks in Big Bend National Park, so that's what I call it. It's one of those places I've been meaning to hike out to for a few years. You can see it as you approach Canyon Lake on Apache Trail. Just last year I found myself very close to it and realized it wouldn't be very difficult to get to.

My destination. It was a dusty day.

I saw some Iron Cross Blister beetles near the beginning of the hike.

The wind had been blowing for a couple of days so the air was kind of dusty. It was cool and the wind would keep the gnats away, so I went hiking despite the dust. Between the dust and being out there in the middle of the day (I had no idea how long it would take, so I started early), the pictures aren't very good.

It rained just enough to make some small puddles out here the night before.

There was a faint trail out there the last time I had been there. It seemed better defined now, and there were more cairns. The trail seemed to go where I was going most of the time. I stayed on it because the grass was downtrodden there. That grass is almost as annoying as gnats. I had my gaiters on but the seeds still worked their way through my shoes. I had to stop three times to take my shoes off and remove seeds. It's really aggravating to have something jabbing you in the foot with every step.

There is a trail all the way up to the far side (the side you can't see from Apache Trial) of the Mule Ears. It's possible to climb up to the saddle between the peaks from the far side. It's about a 10 foot climb. I'm sure I could have done it but since a slip could have been disastrous, I didn't.

A pile of rocks in the saddle. I didn't climb up there.

Four Peaks through the dust.

The wind was blowing so hard, I thought my exposure-bracketed photos might not be combinable into HDRIs. Photomatix is pretty amazing at lining things up, though.

Weaver's Needle is usually easy to see from this area, but not this day.

One reason I wasn't in any hurry to hike out to the Mule Ears is because you can't get pictures of something like that when you get close to it. I wanted to do it just so I could say I had been there. Well, that's out of the way now. As expected, I saw some other things I want to look into the next time I'm out there. It sure is nice having such a large area to explore so close to home.

Click below for all of the pictures.


Friday, May 02, 2014

A return, of sorts

Two or three years ago, or so, I had hiked out to some large hoodoos at the northwest corner of the Superstition Mountains. It was a long hike and I was very tired as I returned to the truck after sunset. That was when my ankle first started bothering me. It twisted just a little a couple of times on the way back. Didn't really hurt, but it didn't feel good. It was a couple of days before I could walk normally. After that, any hike over 3 miles would have me limping or hopping on one foot the next day. This went on for about 2 years until one day when I was walking on a sidewalk I noticed that when I picked my foot up, it felt like the bones in my ankle moved apart, and when I put it back down, they got jammed together. It didn't hurt at all, but I decided that doing that thousands of times on a hike was probably why my ankle hurt. Then I figured out that the reason it did that was because of my boots. I really liked them because they came far above my ankles and kept them from twisting much. The problem was that, even though I did not lace them tightly, they would squeeze my ankles just a little. If an ankle was slightly swollen, the squeeze would force the bones apart, only to be pounded back together when I put my foot down, which increased swelling and caused more pounding and, eventually, pain. So I had to quit wearing those boots. After years of abuse, the ankle still gets sore, but not nearly as bad as it did when I wore those boots. Anyway, the reason I bring all this up is because I went back out to those hoodoos recently. I wanted to see something near them but for years I didn't think I could hike that far, even though I've hike greater distances since then. I decided to hike out to the rock I wanted to see one day and use crutches if I had to the next day. It turns out my ankle was barely sore the next day, though.

I haven't seen one of these for 2 or 3 years. I wouldn't have seen this one if he hadn't moved.

A little while later, I saw this one. Again, I wouldn't have seen him if he hadn't moved.

I saw 2 horned lizards on this hike. I don't think I had seen one for about 3 years before this year. I've seen 4 so far this year. I look around every time I pass a big red ant ant bed but if the horned lizards aren't moving, they are hard to see. Both of these were close to ant beds (they eat the ants).

Find the horned lizard in this picture. I have trouble seeing him and I know where he is. This is zoomed to how the scene would look if you were standing on the trail. You need to look at the picture full size, though.

There were some rain clouds in the distance. After 11 years in the desert, I knew I didn't have to worry about getting wet.

It is not unusual for a single prickly pear cactus to have 2 colors of flowers. I've seen two colors on one pad.

The rock I wanted to get close to looks sort of like a bent thumb sticking out of the ground. I had gotten pictures of it from a distance before but wanted to get closer. I was almost to the hoodoos before I thought I was close enough to the thumb to leave the trail and head for it. Unfortunately, I didn't see an easy way to get to it. I would have to go through steep-sided washes full of vegetation. I decided it wasn't worth the effort. Since I was almost at the hoodoos, I went on to them.

Nice-looking clouds over picturesque mountains.

Thumb rock. I still don't have a good picture of it.

I always seem to use that pointy rock as a gauge of how much I've climbed when I'm on this side of the mountains.

I didn't feel as tired when I got to the hoodoos as I remember being the first time I was out there. I sat in their shade and had a snack. I looked at all the other places I've explored since the last time I was out there and decided that I need to go to some of them again because they probably aren't beyond my reach now after all.

At the hoodoos.

I like the view from up there.

Click below for all of the pictures.