Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To The Pointy End

Barrel Cactus with red spines.
Taking a break from birds(kind of:), I thought I'd take you to Picacho Peak.  Today's focus?  Pointy ends:)   We paid the 5 bucks to enter the park hoping to film some wildflower action but after a cold rain storm, we discovered that most of the flowers were fried from the frost.  Change of plan. 
Dead Cholla Cactus
So instead I focused my energy on the shots from around the landscape.  These pictures, I believe, capture the pointy and edgy landscape that can do some damage if you're not watching where you walk.
The trail here is not really a birder hike as it is a hiker's hike.  You'll have some great views from around the area....and it is all very beautiful. But some may find this a boring trek.  It's all in the eye of the beholder.  However, I have a good eye and did spot some life in the brown landscape.
Antelope Ground Squirrel
I recommend doing this hike during the cooler months as summer is too hot.  However still remember to bring water all times of the year.
It's amazing how much effort it took to take pictures:)  It was a challenge.  Find something interesting within the theme and force yourself to find those shots. My friend loved all of it and she was going to town with lots of pictures.  She was learning how to use her new camera and was practicing the auto and manual features of the camera.  I searched for angles and the right sunlight conditions to capture a "moment".
So while the Ocotillo didn't have leaves on the stems, they did begin to flower.  Hummers love these blossoms.  Look at how long the tubular flowers are and you'll understand why:)
I also found a manmade art piece along the trail and thought it was interesting.

As for the pic below.....I couldn't decide how to edit it.  I cropped the shot 3 times!
Brown Crested Flycatcher
So I pulled the camera back to give you an overall view from the peak.  It's really quite beautiful but wear a hat and protect your skin with sunblock.  Skin cancer is huge in Arizona because we have so much harsh lighting here.
My favorite shot is below.  It is a dead Saguaro cactus, but the colors remind me of some island art I've seen on my travels.
And as with all things, like this ground squirrel below, it was time to bounce and so we did.  It was a fun hike playing around with cameras, telling jokes, and finding shots along the trail.  I would classify this hike as moderate and give yourself 3-4 hours to do the trail.  More tomorrow.....

25 comments:

Timeless said...

I miss cactus.

Yesterday the temps here in Göteborg actually got into the 50s Fahrenheit so I took my pet Beavertail cactus pad I snagged from the Tenerife Canary Islands back on our February trip and planted in dry soil in a pot in our kitchen window for a short outing to the backyard for some sunshine. I'm hoping to stimulate it into growing. I have started to water it a little, but mostly I start them off dry to prevent rot. There usually is enough stored moisture within the Pad to allow for pioneering root growth.

Sort of a unique type of beavertail on the Canaries. Beautiful green colour with the spines being a very bright yellow.

Desert Dweller said...

Nice scenes and close-ups. Frost hit the wildflowers...was that March, or April 1-ish?

The nice thing is in the desert, there is always so much else to capture...our wonderful land of vistas and scenic "bones".

CameraCruise said...

Great post!
We have a lot of the manmade art piece here as we have lots of stones/rocks and it's common to make one along tracks in the nature.
Thanks for sharing from this beautiful place.
Wish you a wonderful day.
Mette

CameraCruise said...

Sorry, ment trails not tracks.
Mette

TexWisGirl said...

love that little back foot. :)

Rohrerbot said...

Love Beavertail cactus!!!! I'm so glad you saved a piece to bring back home. Ours is about to bloom in a week or so....the pink flowers are incredible. They are definitely more susceptible to rot....I have killed a few in the beginning:) I usually let the pad scale over and then after a week or two, I put into that rocky clay soil and it roots pretty well within the first week. I've also learned to put them on little hills around the garden so that the moisture doesn't sit around the base. The Canaries have some really interesting variations on plants from the Tucson area. Love that region of the world....so many xeric plants over there!! Good luck!

Rohrerbot said...

Hello there, It was in March when we had a huge rain/snow event that was rather random. The wildflowers were going like crazy and then the freezing rains just killed the flowers all back. It was a bummer since we saw what was left and it looked like it was an amazing show before the storm...oh well:) Cacti flowers are my theme this weekend....a lot are starting to open up in our gardens and around town.

Rohrerbot said...

I really like those manmade features using natural things....they are neat pieces of art:)

antigonum cajan said...

In my view, besides the rest of the experience, your mentioning of bird watchers and hikers perspective is really significant. I never thought of it.

When I practice gardening I use the hikers,except when I take videos or photos from the roof of my documented
installation.

A great post. Until then..

Gaelyn said...

You've certainly represented the sharpness of the desert. I love those saguaro spines.

tracy said...

Well, alas, I still have not seen more of the peak than the view from I-10 because Magpie waited until we could use the heat as an excuse not to go. :-) Doesn't look like we missed too much. I am still kicking myself for not going a couple of Springs ago when the we got all that rain in the winter.

Rohrerbot said...

The hike is great and it would be a lot of fun. You both would have some good laughs. I mentioned to Magpie yesterday that if you both go, you should head over to the Ostrich farm for some color. BUT I think that the cacti might be putting on their show right now so I would go for that reason alone. As for that one particular winter you are talking about.....I know. I could have kicked myself as well:) That wildflower season was outstanding on Picacho. I went to Kitt's Peak and Picacho....and my best hits were along Hwy 77 up to Florence and Wassom Peak. This weekend I'm on a cactus hunt...with maybe a snake or two....and ROSES!!:)

ShySongbird said...

It looked like a great hike Chris! I know I couldn't do it in that heat but I enjoyed my virtual visit with you and seeing all the 'pointy ends' :-) That little Antelope Ground Squirrel is so sweet.

I just loved all the wildflowers on the previous post, so colourful and your photos were beautiful!

Glad you got to see that wonderful 'fall' of birds on the earlier post. We had a huge swarm of bees on a bush in our garden a few years ago, we called a beekeeper who removed it and a few days later he came back with a delicious jar of honey for us!

Magpie said...

Chris, you found lots of pointy things. Sorry, it's true. I chickened out of the trip today for Tracy and I to Picacho. Just one of those days when home sounded better. So now I'm watching the birds take baths in the sprinkler. The bee swarm was gone by yesterday afternoon. Glad they moved on.

Rohrerbot said...

Hey some days get to be like that.....I know exactly how you feel. I had one of those awhile back. Hope you get some energy for the weekend:) I've been hearing about a lot happening up in your area for birds at the reserves. Although I think Phoenix is much too hot now:( But the Botanical Gardens!!!

Warren Baker said...

Some great scenery there Chris, what a lovely place to visit. Cold rain and frost ? Sounds like our part of the world :-)

laurak@forestwalkart said...

great images!! LOVE the contrast in your landscapes...and the BRIGHT orange tubulars with the LONG thorns...the stacked ROCK art!! and the little ground squirrel...CUTE! it looks like a little chipmunk, doesn't it? or maybe i just always thought this squirrel WAS a chipmunk??
very cool pictures...def worth the 5 bucks to wander through there!!

Ragged Robin said...

I love the way you've interpreted the landscape Chris -some wonderful images. I do like the manmade art - reminded me of the beautiful work by Andy Goldsworthy.

Bob Bushell said...

The cacti are brilliant and so are the others, grand shots.

Shirley/Rock-Oak-Deer said...

Nice shots of the desert, the ocotillo is such a brilliant color. I don't think I've seen a saguaro skeleton that close before either.

Andrea said...

Hi Chris, it would be lovely to hike with you, i bet it would really be fun. You really have good eyes for the interesting, and you can produce semblances of whatever from whatever! I love it.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Funny squirrel photo. Thanks for another great hike!

Rohrerbot said...

Andrea, it would be fun! Today I mentioned the Philippines and how it would be cool to explore several of less known islands:) Wouldn't that be fun? I just need the funding:)

Rohrerbot said...

It's sad but I think my days for hiking now are coming to a close....it's getting hot here!!

Rohrerbot said...

Hello there:) I had never thought about it until that little trek. Surprisingly I made a personal note about it to myself....I like hiking but I need a little incentive to keep the walks going.....I need amazing views with some wildlife action:)