Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Desert Wild Flower

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]
I liked Thursday's Arched Rock hike so well I did a little different version of it today.  Along the way I ran across this teeny wild flower-- the flower was not more than a quarter inch in diameter.  I don't know what it is but I really liked it.
[02/11/12 Note: the flowers are Blue Phaceilia.]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Arched Rock Loop Trail

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]

This 4.5 mile hike was actually one of the harder hikes I've done this winter with lots of up & down, narrow skinny trails, and some steep exposure in parts.  At the right you see the entry into a narrows known as "The Crack".

It started out fairly wide and easy going.
There were a number of dry waterfalls.  This was the biggest at about 7ft high.  It wouldn't be possible to get back up it without the rope.  Luckily I wouldn't have to worry about that since I was doing this as a loop hike.
At it's narrowest the canyon was only a little over a foot wide.

Then all of a sudden it was over and the trail fell out into a wide dry wash.
First view of Arched Rock.
Arched Rock close-up.
This is one of the first wildflowers I've seen in the desert; I don't know what this is yet.  [ 2/19/2012 -  Though far from it's full size I know now that this is a Brittlebush.]

This was the dry wash I followed on the rout back to the trail head.  The return trip was a bit of an adventure because the rout was hard to find and follow but I made it in pretty good time with the help of my GPS and ariel photo of the area I'd loaded on to my cell phone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Water Tank Trail

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]

The Water Tank Trail starts at an electrical substation about five miles outside of Lake Havasu City, AZ.  From the hike descriptions it wasn't totally clear what this "water tank" was.  Sometimes in desert country anything from a mud puddle to a large pond or lake is refered to as a "tank".

The hills on either side of the trail are known as the Aubrey Hills.

It turned out that the "tank" was literally a steel water tank with a system of corrugated metal rainfall collection areas.  Rainfall collects in a gutter on the low side of the 60ftx60ft collection area shown in the foreground.

The water in the collection gutter then feeds into the tank through a pipe.

A corrugated metal roof over the tank keeps debris out of the tank and allows water collected on the roof to drain into the tank.

Steel tank and roof.

The water from the tank is used to fill a downstream water trough that animals can drink from.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pittsburgh Wash Hike

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]
Today was pretty much an excellent day to hike: overcast skies and temperatures in the 60's.

I learned today that this is a Palo Verde tree which is very common here.  Like most plants around here it also has thorny branches.

There were a number of dry waterfalls in the wash but this was the only one that I took the trail bypass instead of just climbing up it.
Had I kept going I would have gotten to the abandoned Pittsburgh Mine about a half mile further.  But since I'd gotten a bit of a late start I decided to make this high spot overlooking the Havasu foot hills and Lake Havasu my end point.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Neighbor goes postal...

This morning my neighbor decided he'd had enough... and this was the result.  This guy really knows how to wreck a place in a hurry-- this only took him a few minutes.

The manager tried to get him to stop and leave but he wouldn't.  The manager left to call the police but nothing was happening.  Then the manager came back and started arguing with the guy, still no cops, then I called the police.  About that time the cops showed up armed with tasers and got him on the ground.
He was kind of a normal looking guy in his 60's.  The police asked him why he did it and he replied "I'm having a bad day".  I'm guessing he has previous experience in a 60's rock-and-roll band to have done this much damage in so short a time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

50 States Project

So I'm thinking about trying to live in all 50 states in the U.S. for at least a month.  A quick inventory shows that through the course of my life I've already covered six states: MI, WA, AK, OR, NV, & AZ.

That leaves a mere 44 states to cover; at say four states a year; I'll be done in eleven years, or when I'm 71.  Seems doable...

[2-hours later after an 8 mile head clearing bike ride:  Pfffff... who am I kidding!  This'll never happen... there're just too many states I don't want to spend a whole month in.]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mocking Bird Trail to Solitude Cove

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]

This 4 mile round trip hike starts about a 5 minute drive from Lake Havasu's London Bridge and ends at a small cove on the shore of Lake Havasu.

Meanwhile back in Seattle my friend Jill is posting this picture on her blog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chemehuevi Wash Hike to Blue Bird Cove

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]

The 3 mile round trip Chemehuevi Wash hike starts on the edge of a housing subdivision outside of Lake Havasu City.

The trail ends at Blue Bird Cove on the shore of Lake Havasu.

I experimented with an alternate ridgetop rout back to the trailhead but it started to vear off in a bad direction.  So, I ended up dropping back down into the wash for the return hike.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Arroyo El Camino Cactus Garden

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]

I've been trying to learn about desert plants and as luck would have it there's a cactus garden in the state park next to where I'm living.  So, I've been starting every day with a walk in the cactus garden.

This is a creosote bush and is one of the most common plants in the desert.  They can live for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years.  Most leafy plants in the dessert have thorns to keep away grazing animals but the creosote plant doesn't need them because most animals find the leaves to have have a unpleasant bitter flavor.

Another very common desert plant is the prickly pear cactus.  I've seen a lot of these prickly pears that don't have thorns (so why prickly pear?).  I've also seen them referred to as Santa Rosa Prickly Pear and Pancake Prickly Pear.  They often align themselves to point the narrow side to the sun to conserve moisture.

What do you think, is this a roadrunner? (haven't seen a coyote around)

I'd call this a Bunny Ear Cactus but really it's a Saguaro.  They don't start developing arms until they're about 50 years old.

 This is an Agave plant.  I was confusing them with a Yucca but I think I've got them straight now.  Couldn't find a Yucca in this garden though.

Aloe Vera plant.

Now doesn't this Pancake Prickly Pear-- it's got tinges of purple on it's "leaves"-- look a lot like the Purple Prickly Pear?

Bunny Ears Cactus.

Beaver Tail Cactus.  Kind of like the Purple Prickly Pear and Pancake Cactus.  I think they're just making this stuff up...

Everyone else calls this a Barrel Cactus-- now I'm sure they're making this up as they go along.

Barrel Cactus's are my fav... just can't have too many pictures of them.