I've spent the last month exploring an area that would have been considered inconceivable in the past. Anyone that knows me, fully understands. I'm a backcountry hermit. NO trails and NO people were built into the fabric of my being. When you can't do what you once did, you do what you can. That's exactly what I'm doing. I can honestly say that my experience along this well-loved stretch of river has surprised me. It may be loved to death, but it still has its moments. It was a learning experience but overall, I've been surprisingly happy. I think just being around water again was the initial primary draw. Such a simple thing that I took for granted. It may not be an idyllic high-country stream but its wet and green. I'm easily satisfied at the moment. I'll take it.
Hello. Long time no see. This is a sampling of my desert wandering from summer 2021 through spring 2022. I'm hoping to head up north this summer. It's been a long time. I love the desert but I'm ready for a change of scenery.
Just a summary post for the last six months. What a demoralizing summer for so many reasons. Hot, minimal rain, relentless wildfire smoke, and everything else. It wasn't all bad. Nature has a way of bringing clarity. A beacon of light in the darkness. You just have to look for it.
How quickly seasons change. The lush green grass that once covered the desert is now nearly gone. All is not lost. The hedgehog cactus have started blooming on the north slopes of Usery Pass within the last few days. Everything is late up there but it's finally started. They're like little pink roses sprinkled across the desert. I love those flowers and look forward to their arrival every year.
What's that old saying.. "Ignorance is bliss". Life goes on in nature. It's actually strange when I'm out there. My temporary escape. I appreciate these moments more now. Reality always kicks in on the drive home. Sad times..
Wildflowers ObservationLight Lots of flowers along the roadway near Usery Pass. Light in the desert but you can find some nice pockets. Mostly lupine, desert marigold, and brittlebush. Patches of owl's clover hear and there.
Spring flower hunting along the lower Salt. It's finally happening. I've been spending time with the smaller more obscure varieties. I'm loving all of the green grass. Enjoy it while it's hear! Lots of rain in the forecast for next week so the trend should keep going.
Wildflowers ObservationModerate 03/05.. Pockets along the lower Salt River off Bush Highway are producing lots of Globemallow and Fiddleneck with other varieties mixed in. Lupine and Brittlebush are starting to turn on. Poppies are shy.
Early spring photo wandering. The first photo was taken late-day on Saturday after the storm pushed off from the mountain. It's so crazy green out there right now and the clouds were amazing. It looked more like a scene from somewhere in Mexico or South America. It sure doesn't look like the desert outside of AJ! The washes along Mountain View and Broadway were running so hard that I almost couldn't get out there with my car. Flowers should really get going now. The timing of these last two storms was perfect. It could be great in about two weeks east/northeast of Mesa and AJ. I sure hope so.
Wildflowers ObservationIsolated A few "blue dicks" hear and there on the lower SW slopes below the Superstitions. Nothing much else.
If you follow my posts, you've probably noticed that I like this side of the mountain. I do, and especially so during the fall/winter months with south sun. I also keep coming hear for a group of annoying mule deer that keep eluding me. Prior to photographing the teddy bear I walked right up on them within barely twenty yards. They all just stood there looking at me in good light and the buck was even with them. I've never seen the buck until that day. Of course my camera was all packed up!! It never fails. I went the following day all ready for them and they were nowhere to be found. Getting a good photo of these deer is going to drive me crazy! Someday..
It's been a mostly boring desert monsoon season for me but I still managed to enjoy a few nice moments. I thought we might get lucky on the tail end of August but the likelihood of that appears to be slipping away. Oh well.. C'est la vie.
Recent desert wandering. I've been patiently waiting for the chain fruit cholla blooms. They're always late to the party. I find it ironic that the ugliest cactus create the finest flowers. They're just so delicate.
More Buckhorn Cholla. Two new photos from a different location out along the Bush Highway near the Salt River. The blooms were prime perfect. I was happy. If cactus flowers are your thing, the Bush Highway above Granite Reef Dam is just about perfect right now. Horses are always a bonus out there but I did not see any where I was.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.