Sincerest condolences for the grief you must have felt at my weekend absence, but fret no longer as I am back in business (for now)! I’ve relocated to Phoenix and have been struggling to hold a stable internet connection for the past few days. It has been relatively less warm, however, (as in, under 100F) so I managed to get out to the mountains a couple times and see what there is to see. I was not especially focused on photography on the hikes, I used them more as a way to clear my head and move around. That’s one of my favorite aspects of these particular mountains; you can hike up to a spire of rock and be alone with the desert, while the city buzzes all around the foothills.
The first hike was to a big outcropping of rock which has split into several segments along its length, allowing you to hike up and down and through and still get great views from the top. No matter what the angle of attack, the ascent is always a steep one fraught with loose rock and sheer cliffs. Once inside, though, it is a simple matter to move between the layers. There are even remnants of low stone walls built at one time or another which provide places to rest and remain unseen. This stone hill, which I call the Rock for lack of a better name, is one of my favorite places to visit. Not many people attempt its trails, and there are plenty of interesting features to make it worthwhile.
The second hike was a straight shot from the biggest trailhead at the north end of the park to a quartz outcropping far south. A great view of the north valley can be had for the entire trail, and it looks especially nice in the glow of an evening sun. The mountains have been without rain for a long time, though, and it is definitely noticeable in the plant life. Hardly anything remains green but the saguaros and palo verde trees, and then only because they have no choice. After a rain everything comes alive, from the lichens on rock to the moss in the dirt to shrubs thought long-dead, and hopefully I can share that with you some day in the future. For now, though, nothing remains but the patterns in stone and the sharp spines of dehydrated cacti.
I’ve linked the pictures to their respective galleries, so be sure to give them a look. The temperature is predicted to rise dramatically this week so hiking is off the schedule for a while (unless I can find a way out of town for the day). I’ve got a new band lined up for the Playlist section, I just need to find time to write a good review and organize the formatting and such. It’s no fun when your main “control station” is rendered nearly unusable for lack of an internet connection! I’ll make a post when I do get around to the update, so until then, enjoy!