Ringed-neck Turtle Doves

ringed-neck turtle dovesWe didn’t hike this past week. Liz had a busy week at work and needed to use Saturday to do some necessary procurement of edibles. And with the frequent recent precipitation, our back yard was in dire need of tending. This week I promise I will get out to the mountains.

The recent rains have certainly replenished the spring beds and washes; and speaking of spring – the desert will be in bloom in the coming weeks.

ringed-neck turtle doveIt is free dump week in AJ, so I made a run yesterday afternoon. Take advantage while you can! The local landfill has a free dump week once every quarter.

With the warm weather, I spend most of my free time on the patio. A pair of Ringed-neck Turtle Doves has adopted me, visiting me daily.  With each visit they get bolder, encouraged I am sure by the handouts – I feed them kibbles of dog food.

At first they sat on the wall, watching me, and waiting for dinner. One day I wasn’t paying attention, and the male flew under tha patio and hovered to catch my attention. Now, he just flies up to the table next to my chair, and stares me down until I provide some chow.  I think it will only be a matter of time before I have him eating from my hand.

As you can see, my life has been less than exciting the past few weeks. Sometimes that is a good thing.



IMG_8018The Peach-faced Lovebirds are back. They visit our yard every winter, arriving in group of thirty or so, and taking up accommodation in the desert willow trees behind the house.

Despite their bright coloration, we hear them before we see them.  They hide in the dense foliage of the trees, and announce their presence with their short shrill chirps. Continue reading »

Hackberry Spring, an unexpected detour

Hackberry Spring hikeToday, Liz and I hiked the Hackberry Spring trail. We had intended to hike only to Hackberry Spring and back, a short hike. We missed the turn off for the trail, and instead headed all the way to Garden Valley. Our five-mile hike turned into more than eight miles.

The hike to Hackberry Spring begins just north of the horse trailer parking on First Water. he path becomes rocky very quick, heading into a pass between two mountains. The trail follows a wash; and there was a lot of water in the spring as we wound our way along the trail.

The trail criss-crosses the wash, and with the lush vegetation was a bit convoluted at times. This trail is rockier than most, although still considered easy. Continue reading »

Black Mesa loop

Black Mesa hikeToday Liz and I hiked the Black Mesa loop. This is a 9-mile hike with a 900 foot gain in elevation, considered a moderate hike.

It took us 5 1/2 hours to complete – we took two 15-minute rest stops along the way.

The day was wonderfully overcast, lending to some great photo ops and a pleasant afternoon. We never got too warm.

Continue reading »

To the Big House

Liz and I took a day trip to the Casa Grande ruins this morning.

Entrance to the Casa

The ruins date to circa 1350 C.E., and were constructed by the Hohokam, the earliest known inhabitants of this region of Arizona. Evidence of the Hohokam dates back to 350 C.E., when they created a massive network of canals for irrigation. The Hohokam might have roamed the desert as early as 2000 B.C.

These canals are the basis of our modern canal system, and modern man has done little to improve on them. The Hohokam were an agrarian society, occupying villages year round, cultivating and growing cotton, corn and tobacco among other crops. Continue reading »

The Massacre Grounds

The Massacre GroundsLiz and I finally got around to hiking the Massacre Grounds this morning. It is a good hike from the parking area to the trailhead.

As legend has it, in 1847 a band of Apache ambushed Mexican mine workers transporting gold from a fabled mine owned by the Peralta family. They slaughtered all of the workers, only a few Peralta family members escaped. The Apache took the ponies, and scattered the gold and covered the mine. Continue reading »

Hiking the washes

Majestic Saguaro

Breakfast at Mickey D’s was delicious as usual. The influx of Snowbirds caused us to actually have to wait to be seated, but as always they kept traffic moving.

I had my usual, biscuits and gravy with an egg, over easy, a side of bacon and a glass of OJ. Liz opted for pancakes, which she had a hard time finishing, the plates are so large. Total damages came to $17 and change.

It was a good way to start the day, before heading out to First Water Road for our hike. We had initially planned to hike the Massacre Grounds Trail, but the road in was all but impassable – the summer rains having created huge ruts and exposed boulder size rocks. Continue reading »

Jacob’s Cross Cut Trail

Jacob Waltz Crosscut Trail #58
Hiking the Crosscut Trail #58

The extreme weather is breaking; we can once again get into our regular hiking routine. The Superstition wilderness is so full of trails that we could hike a new one every day and still have plenty of unexplored terrain after a year.

On Saturday we selected an easy hike to begin building stamina. Jacob’s Crosscut Trail #58 is a five-mile, fairly flat run from the First Water Road to Broadway Road trailhead. It cuts across the foot of the mountain. Continue reading »

The Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly SculptureI visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ this past week for the first time. My old friend Gerry Moore from Millville dropped by for a short visit, and he had wanted to make sure this was on our list of destinations.

Admission is not cheap – $22 per ticket; however, Liz was able to pick up a pair of complimentary tickets courtesy of our local public library.

I had a difficult time paring down the images for this gallery, as I took close to a hundred pictures. Of course, I had to use the Chihuly sculpture that graces the entrance. For the gallery I selected images that are a bit different from the cacti I can photograph all day long in the local desert. Continue reading »

The Hieroglyphic Trail

The Hieroglyphic Trail in Tonto National Forest is a great hike if you want a nice workout and don;t have all day.

This past Sunday Gerry Moore and I took the hike. It is convenient because the trailhead is only fifteen minutes from my house. It is basically a two hour hike, round-trip, plus whatever time you want to spend enjoying the wilderness.

Misnamed, the writing on the rock walls are petroglyphs (pictures in rock) and not hieroglyphics, which are actually a language. The glyphs date back 800 to 1200 years, and were left by the Hohokem tribe when they resided in this area. Historians disagree on their meaning – records of hunts? Efforts of the medicine men to teach the origin of the world to young Hohokem? Maybe just grafitti by bored Hohokem teens? Continue reading »

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