Category Archives: Photos-Landscapes

~A hike to Picacho Peak

From the top of Picacho Peak

On Friday, January 4, 2019, while staying at Picacho Peak State Park we climbed to the top of the famous Picacho Peak. We began our hike at the Hunter Trailhead. The distance to the top is 2.7 miles with an increase in elevation of 2,014.

Our site at Picacho Peak State Park
Our four-hour hike begins.

Description of the trail from a web-site: The trail to the summit is well marked and maintained. The trail is challenging and requires strong arms to grip the cables on ascent and descent- gloves are highly recommended. Views from the trail and the summit are great!

The weather on this Friday was perfect for the climb, not too cool or too warm. Our round trip took us a little over four hours. The path was steep and rocky, and in some places, we were walking along a sheer drop off. Beautiful, old Saguaro Cactus as far as the eye could see.

Along the trail heading to the top.
Heading up, it was cooler.

In several locations, we had to use the provided cables to help us climb the steep, rocky terrain. We had read where gloves were advisable and I was so glad I had mine.

Some of the cabling we used.

In some places along the trail, we would descend only to have to hike straight up again.
Midway point, called “The Saddle”
A very nice view.
At the top of Picacho Peak

Enjoying a snack and the views.
At the top!

I have never experienced anything like it before. I am so grateful that we made it to the top. We sat at the summit enjoying a snack and the view. It was a challenge and difficulty.

Our set challenge was met, it was so much fun and I won’t ever forget this climb/hike.

Some moss along the way.

Didn’t take too many photos, because I needed both hands free to navigate the trail and to use the cabling. Howard took the panoramic, header photo using his Apple iPhone.

The only birds I observed along the trail were several Rock Wrens.

~A nice hike up to an overlook at Picacho State Park, AZ

December 30, 2018, A nice hike up to an overlook at Picacho State Park, AZ.

Temperatures have been in the low 50’s and high 40’s with overnight lows in the high 20’s. Last night it rained and we woke this morning to low hanging clouds below the snow-covered peaks. The sun finally came out and it tuned out to be a nice day with a high of 48.

Our hike on the 30th was very nice. We took a trail that was “training” for us in hopes of climbing to the top of Picacho Peak. Don’t know if we will make it, but it will be fun and interesting trying. Thursday is the day!

Picacho Peak State Park, campground in the background, left.
Saguaro Cactus
Even though it has been cold here, there are still a few blooming plants.
Picacho Peaks
A Saguaro Cactus skeleton.

I don’t know why, but the fallen skeleton of these giant Saguaro Cactus fascinate me. Interesting fact sheet on the Saguaro Cactus can be found here:  https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Saguaro%20Cactus.php

Just a couple from the fact sheet: simply amazing!

Life Span-With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.

Size-Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall (12-18m). When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.

Arizona Barrel Cactus

Can’t see the trail, but it was mostly vertical.
Typical terrain.

Yesterday, the 31st, I spent some time trying to capture a few bird shots at the motorhome. I don’t like to take photos of birds at the feeder, but with no trees around I had no choice.

Anna’s Hummingbird.

This male Anna’s, spent so much time watching for other hummingbirds. It is comical to watch.

The sunlight shining on his beautiful, pink throat.
Ever watchful.

Lark Bunting
White-crowned Sparrow
Gila Woodpecker

I would like to wish everyone a very healthy, happy, loving, and adventurous, new year. Enjoy what nature has to offer.

 

~Sunset over the Catalina Mountains

~December 22, 2018, Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, AZ

A lovely walk, at sunset, on the Romero Ruin Loop Trail.

Howard at the beginning of the Romero Ruin Trail in Catalina State Park (6:15pm)
The mountains are gorgeous with the beginning of the evening sunlight shining on them. (6:16pm)
Shadows add to the drama taking place.
(6:20pm) Sunlight kissing the Saguaro Cacti.
(6:22pm) The evening sunlight turns these mountains into a fiery, gorgeous sight.
(6:30pm) Looking west.
(6:31pm)  A different view
(6:32pm)
(6:33pm)
(6:34pm)
(6:37pm)
(6:48pm)

The Romero Ruin Trail Loop is one of my very favorite trails. The views, from atop this hill of the Catalina Mountains are spectacular, the foliage diverse, and the birding rewarding. At sunset, the scene is peaceful and breathtaking.

Earlier in the day, on the same trail:

Curved-billed Thrasher

A list of all the other birds I observed while visiting Catalina State Park:

Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk(new), Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Anna’s Hummingbird, Gilded Flicker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Gila Woodpecker, Vermilion Flycatcher, Say’s Phoebe, Common Raven, Western Scrub-Jay, White-crowned Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Pyrrhuloxia, House Finch, Cassin’s Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

I wish I would have seen more!

 

~The Moon Sits Atop a Saguaro

December 20, 2018, Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, AZ

A stroll at dusk back a nature trail in Catalina State Park to watch the moon rise over the Catalina Mountains was a lovely way to spend the evening.

The Moon sits atop a cactus.

The evening light brings out the gorgeous colors of the Catalinas.
The Moon rises higher.

It was a lovely walk, watching the glow of the setting sun play its magic over the mountains.

On Saturday, December 22nd, the moon will be full and it is also the winter solstice. Winter is here.

~Utah Lake State Park

Provo, UT

We spent two nights at Utah Lake State Park located in Provo, UT. The campground closed on October 1st; however, since we had reservations we were allowed to stay. We were the only campers there, except for one host site.

Adjacent to the park is a bicycling, hiking, walking trail. On the other side of the trail is an old ranch and the photo below shows what it looks like.

_MG_4838

Utah Lake is unique in that it is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the West and yet it lies in an arid area that receives only about 15 inches of rainfall a year. The mouth of the Provo River, where it empties into Utah Lake, was undoubtedly a very popular camping place for the early inhabitants of Utah Valley.

_MG_4830
Utah Lake is surrounded by mountains.
_MG_4942
Part of the harbor leading into Utah Lake
_MG_4947
A happy fisherman with his fishing buddy.
_MG_4842
Still seeing some autumn colors.
_MG_4832
Jordan River, which flows into Utah Lake
_MG_4852
A  Cottonwood tree, showing its autumn colors

_MG_4856

OoO-Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon

If you are ever in Orem or Provo a ride to see the falls is a must. At the falls there is a paved trail, miles long, that runs along the Jordan River that you can walk, It is beautiful.

Bridal Veil Falls is a beautiful foot “double-cataract” falls along Hwy 189 in Provo Canyon. It is most impressive in spring and early summer when flows are highest and wildflowers surround the area. You can view the falls from a highway pull-off or hike to its base.

_MG_4877
Bridal Veil Falls

_MG_4884

_MG_4888
The Forest Floor along the trail at Bridal Veil Falls
_MG_4966
Sunset at Utah Lake State Park (looking east)
_MG_4981
Sunset,l ooking west.

 

~An Old Barn…

~Midway, Wasatch Mountain State Park, and Provo Canyon, UT

_MG_4756
The Tate Barn

This barn was erected in 1902 when Francis Tate, an English emigrant, established a dairy farm in the location below Soldier Hollow. Tate used local red pine on a foundation of “pot rock” which was commonly used on structures in the area.

_MG_4765

_MG_4773

The barn became part of Wasatch Mountain State Park in 1961. It was used for agricultural purposes but during the winter of 1996, the barn fell into disrepair as a result of heavy snow.

_MG_4768

The Tate Barn was restructured to stand as an iconic representation of the Heber Valley’s agricultural history as it was introduced to the world during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

A group of local citizens, public agencies, civic organizations, contractors, suppliers, and philanthropists was formed and led by Friends of Wasatch Mountain State Park to reconstruct a barn similar to the original structure.

~OoO-Provo Canyon

_MG_4749
~

_MG_4754

_MG_4743
Deer Creek Reservoir