Sunday, March 15, 2009

Desert Flower Power Baby.

Setting off to find something always makes me think of how we are always searching for something. Today it is wild flowers that are rumored to be blooming out in the desert. It is a time of year that I hold very dear since it really is the start of the riding season for me and I know that places like California, Colorado and Utah are just over the horizon for me.

We drive North on highway 87 towards Payson and quickly find the road covered in blooms but somewhat less than last year. We pull off at the Balantine trail head to have look about.

Daisies in bloom near the trail head but the area is not as lush as some of the areas to the South. We decide to walk up about a 1/2 mile to see if there is anything worth exploring before we turn back to the South.

Caught this little guy sneaking up behind me

The weather is interesting since in Phoenix there was nothing but clear skies but out here it is almost Monsoon like. We never get rained on,but the weather is off a bit from the norm.

At about here we make the call to turn back. This weekend is all about seeing color.

The weather looks better that way anyway but the temperature is just perfect!

The weather to the North is not looking that good, but we stop anyway to play in the poppies

Diane is all over the place exploring the different flowers that she all knows by name. I wish I was that good at botany.

The variety is amazingly worthy

Four Peaks off in the distance is covered in the shadows of the puffy clouds and I feel totally content.

These are totally funky and I have no idea what they are

Diane always makes new friends when we go out into the desert

It amazes me how long old trash sits out in the desert. When did they stop making beer cans with pull tabs?? About 1986

What a glorious day to explore close to home.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Big Birds, Muddy Waters and some Worthy Time Away

It is time to get out of Dodge. Stress is something we shouldn't let get to us. For me I take pride in my work and with that comes a little more absorption of the troubles of the current economy and trying to make sure I do everything I can to help keep folks employed. Diane suggests we go up to the Vermilion Cliffs and watch the release of the latest batch of California Condors. She once again comes through big time in suggesting a great getaway for us and I start the planning.

Now most of you may know what a California Condor is and even know it is one of the rarest birds in the world. There are just over 300 of them left with about 1/2 living in the wilds mostly in Northern Arizona, Central California and in Baja Mexico. They are also the largest bird in North America with wingspans reaching 7ft! Pretty Worthy Creatures


Pretty Ugly mug but a righteous animal that plays a critical role in Nature.

So we are out the door by 5:30 and make our way to Flagstaff for the night. I have a lot of Hilton points so we stay at the Hilton Gardens in Flagstaff for the night. The release point is only 300 miles from the house but they are scheduled to go at 11 on Saturday morning so we decide to make our way North Friday.

Diane getting dinner ready. We are both tired and decide to just stay in an watch TV.

Diane has a cool new PINK phone. I am comfortable enough with my manhood to be photographed with it.

Diane watches some more TV and I pretty much fall asleep within about 20 minutes. We get up and while she gets ready I go get some gas for the Jeep.

The Hilton from the gas station. It really is a great place to stay. Especially when it is free!

Plus I think the Hilton has mostly Earthlings. Not that I have anything against Martians.

There is even a trace of snow on the Jeep

As we head up 89 towards Page there is some weather. You can see that snow is still a reality even though the deserts have been unseasonably warm these past weeks.

We get to the release point and discover that there is a pretty good crowd there already and that the Release Managers have opened the cages early but the birds are still in them. Now I knew we would have some seperation between us and the birds. What I am not prepared for is the fact that it is really far and that photo's are going to be hard with the equipment I have.

Condor Groupies.

The top of the cliff is the release point. With my spotting scope you can see them great. But my 1000mm lens isn't going to cut it.

This is max zoom and while you can see the birds sitting on the rock, the detail of them is lost. Oh well next time you have to just tag along with me.

Miss Diane uses the scope to get a better look at them

Meanwhile I fall madly in love with the neighbors Rig. Man o man the place I could go with that!!

It is pretty darn windy and cold for most of the morning but the weather is starting to get better.

You can see just how big these birds are though.

It is a worthy place to go see if you get up there

We get out of the area just after lunch and the weather has turned for the better. We decide to go explore Lee's Ferry on the way home.

Stopping around Marble Canyon reminds me a lot of further North in Utah. Glorious Red Rocks!!

Worthy how stress just goes away when you get outside.

Miss Diane at Lee's Ferry

Lee's Ferry showcases the mighty Colorado River and the colors today are spectacular

Worthy Water!

Another thing for me to learn how to do. May need to bring Kendal out here next time to show me the ropes

The war of the Worlds comes to mind when I first see this in the distance.

We have to be home tonight so off we head back towards home. As we near Flagstaff we decide to head to Grand Falls to see if they are running.

They are and we get some other folks there to take our picture

The falls aren't as massive as last year yet but they are still a sight to see

I don't know why Bob hates taking pictures of old cars. They are glorious subjects. Not unlike Horses.

It is so wonderful to be out and about in Arizona. The Jeep is still amazing me every trip we take it out on.

We will see you next time somewhere out there!