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mini location map2004-12-22
10 by photographer avatarTM1ssKDMac
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Puerco PuebloNortheast, AZ
Northeast, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 22 2004
TM1ssKDMac
Hiking1.50 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles   2 Hrs      0.75 mph
100 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Puerco Pueblo

2004-12-22

The desolate and windblown high desert mesas of the LCR valley most often present a drab and rather colorless panorama to the occasional tourist and the few locals that call the area home. The majority of those that simply pass through on I-40 are dulled into a semi-coma state by the seemingly endless miles of often treeless, drab brown earth, forested by the ever present sagebrush and tumbleweed.

There are occasions however, when Mother Nature picks up her brush and palate and for a brief moment, the barren landscape comes alive with color and contrast that catches the eye, and burns a memory that resists the fading tug of the passage of time. Springtime and fall are the two most likely seasons one can savor the artistic hand of Mother Nature as the life cycle blooms and fades. But there are rare occasions when the frozen and colorless months of winter can come alive with the contrast of a beautiful blue sky and the vivid white remnants of an occasional freezing ice storm.

The photos that I took as I hiked towards Puerco Pueblo are the result of such an ice storm that I was fortunate enough to witness as I waited, through the sunrise, just down the hill from Puerco Pueblo for my train to get authority from the dispatcher to move west. I took advantage of the opportunity to hike out into the frozen landscape of the Rio Puerco river bottom and up the hill to a spot just below the pueblo. The air was crystal clear everywhere, except along the river bottom where a dense fog lay, shrouding the cottonwoods and sagebrush lining the banks of the Rio Puerco with a surreal mist that completely disappeared as you moved away from the river. Every tree branch, every sagebrush twig, every blade of brown dry grass was covered in a thick case of frosty white ice, giving a pure, and completely unspoiled aura to the entire valley.


I rushed across the frozen ground trying to captured as much of the scene as possible before the rising sun began to erase the canvas that had so briefly been painted. Within 3 hours after sunrise the scene had faded and begun to revert to the dull grey colorless norm of the winter season. It was an extreme pleasure to have been there to witness this sparkling event and I hope you enjoy the photos I was able to get of the scene.
_____________________
Kelly D. McLaughlin
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