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Monday, April 25, 2022

A Mountain Day to Remember


It was my friend's birthday. To make the day special, she wanted us to hike in the Chiricahuas with Sunny. I was apprehensive. If we hiked a trail where Sunny would need to be on a leash (the first option under consideration), I foresaw misery for all three of us. So under a revised plan, we went to a remote area where the puppy could run free.

The first big excitement was a sighting of a coatimundi! You may have to click on the photo to enlarge it and then zoom in, but the coati is pretty much in the middle of the shot. My friend said this is a good viewing distance for coati, because they have very big claws, and we would not want the puppy to tangle with one.

Little One didn't usually get this far ahead of us, and she was good about coming back when called. She was also pretty good -- except for one time -- about staying away from the edges when warned, and the time she wasn't careful she managed to scramble back up again.

It was glorious to be among giant trees, walking in their shade. It was heavenly to hear the wind soughing in the soft-needled branches of Ponderosa pines. From the road end forward, the old roadbed, abandoned and eroded by rains, was as boulder-strewn and rocky as a creek bed. And there by its side was an apple tree in bloom, perhaps planted years ago when there was a Methodist church camp on the site.

Other plants were blossoming, also. Chokecherry I recognized, but the flowering shrub (one I'd also seen the day I crossed the mountains alone over Onion Saddle) is one whose name I don't know.

Trees, trees, trees! As a long-time Midwesterner (albeit one born on the Great Plains), I find my heart swelling whenever I encounter large trees in the desert. The mountains, of course, are the place to find trees. Besides the pines, there were alligator juniper and Arizona sycamores galore.

And then, oh then! Running water! This, not the old roadbed, was the creek, and there was a flowing trickle through the rocks. Sunny loved it! Wish I had a video clip of her running back and forth, splashing like a little kid in a rain puddle!

But what were those strange, blobby, dark green bits of -- plant life? A question to pursue....

Besides trees and water, of course, there were mountain views.

And all manner of fascinating rocks close at hand to examine at our leisure. Would I really be a geologist in another life? Could I be a cowgirl and a geologist?

And what treasure did Sunny Juliet find? Yes, it was! A deer leg! She trotted proudly back to show it to us but wisely decided (yes, on her own) to leave it for some other lucky animal to discover.

We were almost back to the car when Sunny threatened to go on strike. No, we told her, no one is going to carry you. You can sleep in the car!

Oh, all right! (She must have sensed that the hike was near its end.)

The important thing is that my puppy did not ruin the day. Far from it. Her joy increased ours in that heavenly setting, and we will take her again to hike other forgotten mountain roads, because we saw a couple that looked very inviting. Although those hikes may have to wait until next winter.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Water in the Desert


In the "land of little rain," it is always exciting to see a body of water.

And there, something almost like a beach!

Still, I couldn't help increasing the saturation to make the ripples more pronounced. Wind making ripples on sun-kissed water!
In the desert!

Monday, April 11, 2022

Sunset Cruise, Blue Sky Road


Looking the opposite way

The image above was taken of what to me always seem like the sand dunes of the prehistoric lake -- or, as I call them, "the duney bits" -- along the highway and accessible from Blue Sky Road. Low evening sun made the dunes look warm, and I liked Dos Cabezas framed by the grass-tufted hills. 

Looking toward the late day's sun, I saw the silhouette of a bird perched high against the bright sky, and it was then I felt once again my equipment limitations. Without a good telephoto lens, there is no way to capture the shot I really wanted. 

But it was a lovely evening and good to be out where I could appreciate the show put on by the desert sky. The quiet directions were as enchanting as the spectacular ones to my eye. Though there was no denying that the spectacular was spectacular.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Sunny Sunday Expedition: Chiricahua National Monument

On the way out, a favorite sycamore

 I need to start using my camera again. Sunny Juliet needs a chance to explore new territory. So this Sunday morning I bundled us into the car with a very simple picnic, and off we went down the road to Chiricahua National Monument. 

So beautiful, always

The way is broad in some places, narrow in others.

Surprise: a savannah in the mountain forest

Rocky path, distant view



Overhead view (from bench along path)


Cluster of dead leaves on rock

Tired puppy takes a break

Back to the Visitors Center parking lot...

...and a beautiful drive back home.