Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tanque-Verde Trail -Saguaro National Park

The rain this week caused a cancelation of our planned hike to Romero Pools... I was so looking forward to going there! They say it is beautiful after a rain.

There were only five of us die-hards who showed up Friday morning to do the hike... Bill, Toy, Suk, Chuck and me... I'm taking the picture.

The Tanque Verde Ridge Trail is one of Toy's favourite hikes... so it was his call to come here and to be our guide today on this hike.

The trail head starts from the Javelina Picnic Area in the Saguaro National Park... but we didn't see any javelina's having a picnic this morning.

We pushed off at about 9:15 AM.  The dew and rain were still on this Beaver Tail... but it wasn't long before the warm sun dried it off. You can see it starting to burn off on the top edge.

This is Toy... our fearless, super-charged leader.

This rock was our first viewpoint stop...

and the view was pretty special here.

It was cool to see the first snow on Mt. Lemon. (pun intended)

The snow on the distant mountain is certainly more enjoyable to my colleagues than to this Canadian who has gone to great expense to come south to get away from snow!

No one heard me singing, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas!"

I read that it can take 50 to 70 years for a Saguaro to have babies... to have their first arms to come off the main trunk. That littlest guy may be the smallest I've ever seen.

Our group stopped again to enjoy the view looking south toward the Old Spanish Trail...

The green-roof barn is where the Saturday Farmers Market happens. (look centre to right of the branch)

Looking to the south-east Toy said we should be able to see our house... our Dell Web community... ya, sure! Not today.

While the others visited at this rest stop and enjoyed their Starbucks, I was looking for a few more photo opportunities.

They say if you shoot enough pictures you will eventually get one good enough to keep.

The light on this Brittle Bush makes the foliage appear more blue than it really is.

Soon we were heading back up the ridge trail.

In no time at all Bill was ready for another rest stop... another viewpoint! Yes!

I was always on the lookout for the next flower... and the recent rains have helped this Brittle Bush to give us these enjoyable blossoms.

You have to look really hard to see the two red fruit on this tiny, little Pincushion Cactus. One is in the shadows. It takes a lot of these little guys to fill a thimble.

The great benefit of hiking up this ridge, is that you are always getting wonderful view opportunities...

Like this view due west towards Tucson. Do you see the main road in the center? I said I thought it looked to me like Irvington, but wasn't sure.

So I zoomed in and could see a water tower at the end of the road.

This morning I Googled up "images for Tucson water towers" and found this match.  This is the water tower for the Davis Monthan Air Force Base... at the end of Irvington. Pretty cool, eh? The name is on the canopy of the gate house.

Toy said, "see my car in the parking lot?"  It was just a little speck in the distance.  But there it is... the silver car next to the black one... and that is the washroom building at the Javelina Picnic Area.

I liked the pattern of the ribs on this lazy barrel cactus, just waking up from nice nap.

The highest peak in these parts is Mica Mountain... it's 8664 feet.  The peak in the distance here is Rincon Peak... and it is 8482 feet.  Check out this link on the Rincon Mountains to see more information and trails in the area.

It felt like we were about 6,000 feet elevation here... my legs felt like it.

but when Chuck checked it on this phone, we were just a little over 4,000 feet. It sure felt higher.

Some of us were starting to think about heading back... but Toy was focused on getting to "Suk's Rock." What is this?  They have a rock named after Suk here?

I was always looking for the next great shot... I loved this Agave.

And this Soltol still is sporting last years trophy.

These are seed pods of the Desert Cotton.

And this is a Desert Cotton leaf turned red.

This Fish Hook Barrel Cactus still has all of last seasons fruit... they say it is edible!  But I have never tried it.

Here is a dying Agave. That's what they do! After they bloom, they die.

Finally we made it to Suk's Rock.

This is the large, flat rock where Suk laid down to rest on a previous hike.

My pedometer showed about 6,500 steps to get here...

Suk wanted a memory photo...

And Toy took this shot so I could show Shirley where we hiked.

It was hard to leave this great spot... but I knew we had an afternoon of shopping planned.. so I better get home.

We saw a few things going down we missed on the way up... like this pile of barb wire and iron posts. It must have been from the old days before it was a park.

I found another family of babies. How do they decide where to branch off?

It was an ocotillo like this one that put a pretty ugly scratch on Bill's left arm. You have to respect those sharp thorns... and keep a little distance.

The Soltol mixed with Desert Broom and Prickly Pear Cactus... an attractive combination.

This Desert Broom has gone to seed.

Another Brittle Bush blossom brought us their smiles.

When we got back to the trail head I saw this sign... and I realized we didn't even get half way to Juniper Basin.  I wonder how many do the trail to Manning Camp?

I have to get me a back pack. I'd like to start with a hike to Juniper Basin where there is a campground... and come back the next day.  Any takers?

Walking up the road to shoot the crested saguaro, I saw this great group of Saguaros. What a wonderful family!  It may be my "Shot of the Day."

I have a passion to capture crested Saguaro's.

This beauty is close to the road on the last turn to the Javelina Picnic Area.

From every angle you get an different perspective. The pattern is amazing!

This photo is from the shadow side... with the sun centred behind, highlighting the needles.

Suk took this great shot of us at "her rock," and they emailed it to me last night. I had to include it. Toy has got the victory thing down pat.

I went back to the Saguaro National Park Visitors Center to get a little help identifying some of the plants in my blog. Arlo Ogden knew every one... and then he showed me a few sunset photos he had taken last week with his iPhone. Isn't this a great shot? What a great sky! Thank you for sharing, Arlo... and thank you for your help today.

Wishing you all a very, Merry, Happy, Jolly, and Blessed Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Fantastic New Year, with lots of Happy Hikes, Tremendous Trails and Audacious Adventures.  :-)

"Take only pictures. Leave only footprints."