Thursday, October 30, 2008
This Story begins with Someplace Else and is continued On the Road to Rodeo, it concludes here with,
A sign points out the way to Paradise. We’ll have to go there sometime, but today we want to see Cave Creek Canyon.
The steep and winding road ascends through cottonwoods, junipers and pines. A few aspens appear as flaming yellow candles in the thick cover of evergreens that fill the mountain slopes. We start to pass campground after campground filled with tents and trailers and bearded men dressed in camouflage hunkered down around open campfires. A few boys are with them learning the ways of the woods and the ways of the men, a fraternity of hunters in the deep forest night. I see more men than birds on this whole excursion.
Darkness falls swift and black around us. There are no streetlights here, and no moon to light the way. The road rolls over the hills. Not a car is in sight. We are alone on open range. Gus thinks he sees a person trying to flag us down from the side of the road. He slows the car but as our head lights illuminate the body we realize it is the butt end of a cow and the waving hand is simply the swishing of its tail.
It’s dark enough now for stars to emerge in the violet colored sky. The topography has become more rolling with round hills that make me feel like I’m driving through a giant bowl of lumpy oatmeal at night. We pass between two especially round hills and then the land flattens out. Soon we see the lights of Wilcox and the way home, which is west on I-10.
Please visit Skywatch Friday for more amazing views of the skies around the globe.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The New Mexico Mountains before me offer layer upon layer of enticement. The undulating road disappears into the mountain haze and I feel like we are entering a dream.
To the west the many rock formations appear as random sculptures in the landscape. We travel on into the afternoon haze. I have my eyes open for any bird movement anywhere, but all I see are red-tail hawks every few miles atop the utility poles. By the time we reach Rodeo I will have counted 6 red-tails, 16 mourning doves, 3 ravens and 1 kestrel.
To be continued…
Visit MY WORLD TUESDAY to see other fantastic photos from around the globe.
This story begins with yesterday's post, Someplace Else.
Come back on Thursday to read the rest of the story on Skywatch Friday.
Click on any photo to enlarge for better viewing.
Sycamore Canyon Weather: Sunny, windy, 76 degrees Fahrenheit at 11:15 a.m. October 28, 2008 MST. Not a cloud in the sky.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The Sonoran desert falls behind us as we drive the black ribbon of asphalt. A blazing sun reflects off the brown earth and silver grasses now dry since the Monsoon ended a month ago. Saguaros and cholla give was to grass and scrub. We travel through Benson and the boulder strewn Texas Canyon. In Wilcox we pass the playa off to the south, and the apple orchards to the north. Farther east we pass pecan and walnut groves that are apparently open to the public. We drive on by, our eyes constantly on the horizon. I have a destination in mind and I want to get there before it’s too late.
Now the grasslands around us turn into gently sloping hills. I-10 starts a gentle but steady climb upwards. It is late in the afternoon and the sun is already casting long slanting shadows before us. The Chiricahua Mountains to the south define the topography with their tall and jagged peaks. Then, I see the sign and Gus pulls over. I have found “Someplace Else!”
I have never been to New Mexico before. I have never counted birds in New Mexico. We won’t cross far into the state but at least I can say I’ve been here. A few more miles east and we exit at Road Forks on highway 80. Here we head south towards the small town of Rodeo, a 22 mile drive. I’m giddy with excitement and all eyes as we turn Birdie south.
To be continued…
Weather: Sunny, warm and windy with gusts over 40 mph. Dust storms are possible, especially in Pinal county along I-10. The current temperature in Sycamore Canyon is 80 degrees F.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Red-naped Sapsucker in California Pepper Tree near the picnic area.
Besides the hiking trail there are numerous little side trails into various specialty gardens. Included are: a Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden; Rose Garden; Taylor Desert Legume Garden; Chihuahuan Exhibit; Cactus and Succulent Garden; South American Exhibit; Wing Herb Garden, and an Australian Exhibit. One of my favorites is the Demonstration Garden located near the picnic area where you can see different suggestions for a Xeriscape or low water-use landscape.
I have been to Boyce Thompson Arboretum three different times so far and have yet to explore the whole place. I highly recommend a visit to this corner of my world here in Arizona, USA.
You can see more photos of Boyce Thompson Arboretum in my post, A Hike Through Boyce Thompson Arboretum or Skywatch Friday: Picketpost House. Be sure to read the comments sections where others have added to my knowledge of this amazing park.
Visit My World Tuesday to continue your tour around this amazing planet we live on.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Down the trail we go...
I love the colors in the trunk of this eucalyptus tree...
A blue dragonfly...
As we continue around the lake the trail rises for a breath-taking view of the water below.
Overhead immense sculptural rock cliffs rise in the afternoon haze.
We see this sign which is a humorous warning to stay on the trail.
Up and up we hike...
More sculptured rocks tower overhead against a dazzlingly blue autumn sky.
Then we follow the trail along this narrow edge. If you look closely you can see the wire bridge just off in the distance...
We enter the wooden ramp and feel the planks sway beneath our feet. Once on the other side we decide to take this upper trail, a trail I have not hiked before...
I glance back at the bridge we just crossed, an architectural standout in its soft green setting.
Even more eye catching but also dangerous are these Christmas Cactus berries growing on the thorny cactus alongside the trail. You can eat the berries if you can get past the thorns and the tiny glocids that will pierce your lips and tongue. I give them a wide berth and keep walking.
So, where are all the birds, you ask? I haven't seen many in the bright heat of the day along the trail, but now our path ends at the shady picnic area and here is where I finally start to see some birds.
The California Pepper Trees are thick with Red-naped Sapsuckers. I'm suppose to be eating my lunch, but I keep hopping up to photograph birds.
That's okay, because Xavier is enjoying one of his first teething biscuits!
Down by the dry creekbed this Sycamore Tree is just starting to show the faintest hint of Autumn's blush.
And deep in the thicket this Inca doves grasps a twig with sun-brightened pink feet. Its repetitive cooing called to me, so I searched until I found her, then I let her be.