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Monday, March 30, 2015

A Very Cooperative Subject

This little chameleon did a fabulous job turning bright turquoise blue! His throat and entire underbelly were the bright color, but I only caught the top of him on camera -- 

-- before he went back to his regular color. He did, however, continue to pose for quite a while, and I got several good shots of him in camouflage mode. He stuck around so long I was able to do a lot of experimentation with the manual settings on my camera, too.

I'll be watching to see him again, hoping to catch him BLUE!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

More Desert Color: Bajada Lupine

Was delighted to find this blooming today, after searching for the plant ever since spotting it a couple weeks ago, leaves holding drops of morning dew like tiny reflecting balls. I knew it was out there, but I'd remembered the place wrong. This morning, there it was, blossoming!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Is This a Duck or a Dog -- or Neither?

The stick it was carrying had been floating in the water 
and was almost bigger than the bird!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Hike in the Dragoon Mountains

My friend Clare lives in the San Pedro River Valley, over on the other side of the Dragoons from Dos Cabezas here in Sulphur Springs Valley. The Dragoons are her backyard mountains, as the Dos Cabezas are mine, and she invited me to come for a hike to see her mountains up close.

Just getting to Clare’s house is an expedition --

-- but well worth it. We had a glorious day visiting the rocks. As in nearby Texas Canyon, some of the Dragoons formations seem to defy gravity.

In the area called Council Rocks, there are Native American grinding stones and pictographs.

We also noticed igneous rock surfaces that looked like cracked, dried mud (how did they get like this?), and then other surfaces where cracked plates had been dislodged by water erosion.

We looked at objects very large -- mostly rocks -- and very small --mostly plants. Clare identified penstemon for me, I showed her toadflax, and we found we had different names for another blue plant, wild or desert hyacinth according to my sources, wild onion to her. Still other plants I photographed to identify later. Seeing a cactus new to me was delightful, too.



We looked high up at rocks towering above us, and down low, where water was making its way through rock.

We saw life clinging miraculously to bare rock, as well as death, still vibrantly colored, lying in a dry wash.

One large “mushroom” rock begged to be explored at closer range. Its stem seemed a marvel, so small to support the huge cap.

There was cool, welcome shade beneath the mushroom and another large rock, and the second rock’s underside, painted by nature, was almost as fascinating as the mushroom’s stem.

Here my documentation of the day comes to an abrupt stop, coinciding with flagging energy and strength in the relentless midday light (despite plenty of food and water) and the challenge of making my way back down the mountain. (Strange how going down can be harder than getting up sometimes.) But what a day! The sun, the rocks, the flowers, the views! What an adventure!

Thank you, Clare, for exercise, companionship, beautiful views, fascinating natural wonders, and for getting us back to your house safe and sound. How strange to view the mountains again from a distance and try to figure out where we were....

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chiricahua Closeups

Up at Massai Point, manzanita is flowering.

A depression in a rock held rainwater.

And someone was being remembered.