Sunday Morning Desert Walk   1 comment

The secret to losing weight is to move more, eat less. I’m doing the move more part lately; not doing so well on the eating less part. In fact, all this extra moving is making me hungrier, so I’m eating more.

Sunday morning, 9 a.m., Feb. 23rd, I set off for another desert hike. I put fresh batteries in the camera, and took off for Dreamy Draw city park, a piece of desert entirely enclosed within the city of Phoenix.  This blog is dedicated to all the people who have been kind enough to “like” all the walking comments I’ve been making on Facebook for the last month or so.  I’m going to put on my tour guide hat, and tell those of you who don’t live in Arizona, some things you might not know, and probably never wanted to know, about the desert around here.

Even tough it is early on a Sunday morning, the park's main parking area was already full. I had to park about 1/4 of a mile up the road. The air is cool and fresh with some high clouds.

Even though it is early on a Sunday morning, the park’s main parking area is already full. I have to park about 1/4 of a mile up the road. The air is cool and fresh with some high clouds.

Spring in the desert--wildflowers are in bloom. Most of them are small and bright yellow like these.

Spring in the desert–wildflowers are in bloom. Most of them are small and bright yellow like these.

If you look carefully right in the center of the picture, you will see a desert quail. A whole flock of these ground-running desert birds were feeding in the gulley about 20  yards off to my left. They move quickly, and I was lucky to get this picture.

If you look carefully right in the center of the picture, you will see a desert quail. A whole flock of these ground-running desert birds were feeding in the gulley about 20 yards off to my left. They move quickly, and I was lucky to get this picture.

How many quail can you find in this picture?

How many quail can you find in this picture? There is nothing spectacular about these birds. Their dull plumage is good camouflage for living in the desert.

I have taken some of you readers to this park before. There is a broad paved path that leads along the western edge of the park, perfect for the more sedate hikers and for bicycle riders. Here we are looking south toward the hills. That is the direction I have always gone in earlier visits to this park.

I have taken some of you readers to this park before. There is a broad paved path that leads along the western edge of the park, perfect for the more sedate hikers and for bicycle riders. Here we are looking south toward the hills. That is the direction I have always gone in earlier visits to this park.

And here we are looking north from the same spot on the path. Today I will be walking north into unknown (for me) territory. You know it doesn't have to be the Amazon jungle or Mount Kilimanjaro. I am happy just to be going off into an area where I have never gone before.

And here we are looking north from the same spot on the path. Today I will be walking north into unknown (for me) territory. You know it doesn’t have to be the Amazon jungle or Mount Kilimanjaro. I am happy just to be going off into an area where I have never gone before.

More desert wildflowers. A different plant, but the same bright yellow with larger flowers.

More desert wildflowers. A different plant, but the same bright yellow with larger flowers.

Looking down into a gully. These hills are cut everywhere with dry streambeds where the water only runs during heavy thunderstorms.

Looking down into a gully. These hills are cut everywhere with dry streambeds where the water only runs during heavy thunderstorms.

I stopped to look at a signpost. It has a "you are here" spot on it, so if you look closely you can tell exactly where I was this morning. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

I stopped to look at a signpost. It has a “you are here” spot on it, so if you look closely you can tell exactly where I was this morning. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

I left the paved path and made my way down into that arroyo I showed you earlier--either that one or a branch of it.

I am looking at a hobbit path and wondering if I can get down there to follow it.

These washes get more water than the rest of the desert, and so you find the lushest, thickest vegetation either in them or on the banks nearby.

These washes get more water than the rest of the desert, and so you find the lushest, thickest vegetation either in them or on the banks nearby.

I'm leaving this trail behind.

I’m leaving this trail behind.

Big chunk of quartz on the ground. I am continuing yesterday's quest for striped stones, but I don't expect to find any on this trip. The rocks in this park are mostly quartz, shale, flint, and andesite--mostly igneous, some metamorphic amalgamations, unlikely to have stripes.  My shadow on the ground is as close to a picture of me as you will get in this blog. You can see I'm wearing the Trollgod's hat.

Big chunk of quartz on the ground. I am continuing yesterday’s quest for striped stones, but I don’t expect to find any on this trip. The rocks in this park are mostly quartz, shale, flint, and andesite–mostly igneous, some metamorphic amalgamations, unlikely to have stripes. My shadow on the ground is as close to a picture of me as you will get in this blog. You can see I’m wearing the Trollgod’s hat.

Here's a trail leading eastward away from the paved path. I always like to get away from the main thoroughfare.

Here’s a trail leading eastward away from the paved path. I always like to get away from the main thoroughfare.

And now I think I'll shut up and just walk through the desert for a while.

And now I think I’ll shut up and just walk through the desert for a while.

2014-02-22 21.39.34 2014-02-22 21.39.42 2014-02-22 21.40.48 2014-02-22 21.43.34

2014-02-22 21.45.23See the tracks in the sand. I believe these are coyote tracks, and probably not more than a few hours old.  No human or horse made these prints, and they are about the right size for a dog or coyote.  There are no human prints around them, at least not until my own tracks get added to the mix, so it wasn’t a dog.  Earlier I overheard a man say he had seen a coyote right up on the paved trail, and I have seen a coyote in this park before, so we know they are here. You don’t have to be a trained scout to deduce what made these prints.

As you can see, I am walking up a dry streambed. Although there are lots of rocks around, it is mostly sand, and a far cry from the dangerous rocky terrain of the Salt River bed that I showed you yesterday.

As you can see, I am walking up a dry streambed. Although there are lots of rocks around, it is mostly sand, and a far cry from the dangerous rocky terrain of the Salt River bed that I showed you yesterday.

The desert is full of holes. Small animals like snakes, rabbits, and other rodents live and take shelter in these cavities.

The desert is full of holes. Small animals like snakes, rabbits, and other rodents live and take shelter in these cavities.

2014-02-22 21.47.58I took this shot because the rocks are green. Most of the rocks in these hills are not green, but every once in a while, you find a place where they are. I am not sure what this means. Perhaps the rocks are travertine, which is a greenish mineral. Perhaps it indicates the presence of copper ore in these rocks. There is a lot of copper in the Arizona deserts, and it would not surprise me to learn there are low grade deposits right here inside the city park.

This pic shows you layers of rock laid down atop each other, probably shale or slate, but tectonic movement that made these hills has turned the horizontal layers of rock vertical.

This pic shows you layers of rock laid down atop each other, probably shale or slate, but tectonic movement that made these hills has turned the horizontal layers of rock vertical.

This is a side pocket of the wash that caved in, probably in the last year or two, and all the loose soil has washed away. You can see exposed tree roots, and at the top center, looking down like a curious tourist, a fine example of the great saguaro cactus.

This is a side pocket of the wash that caved in, probably in the last year or two, and all the loose soil has washed away. You can see exposed tree roots, and at the top center, looking down like a curious tourist, a fine example of the great saguaro cactus.

a rough spot in the trail.

a rough spot in the trail.

2014-02-22 21.54.03

Human tracks in the sand here. I am not the only person to go walking in this gully.

2014-02-22 21.55.47

Somebody built this little cairn inside the gully. I added the rock you see on top.

2014-02-22 21.57.26 2014-02-22 21.58.58 2014-02-22 21.59.07 2014-02-22 21.59.12

Still searching for striped rocks. Lots of stones. No stripes. Another self portrait of a hiker's shadow.

Still searching for striped rocks. Lots of stones. No stripes. Another self portrait of a hiker’s shadow.

I came to the end of the trail, and climbed out of the gully. This is not a desert oasis. Some multi-millionaire lives over there. I am so jealous. I would love to have such a secluded home on the edge of the desert.

I came to the end of the trail, and climbed out of the gully. This is not a desert oasis. Some multi-millionaire lives over there. I am so jealous. I would love to have such a secluded home on the edge of the desert.

My gully continues, but we are back in civilization. It passes under a road ahead, which means I have walked out of the park.

My gully continues, but we are back in civilization. It passes under a road ahead, which means I have walked out of the park.

Houses! I think I took this picture because I saw more quails here. The desert has suddenly turned into the suburbs.

Houses! I think I took this picture because I saw more quails here. The desert has suddenly turned into the suburbs.

2014-02-22 22.03.06 2014-02-22 22.03.14

It's my old pal, the Yellow Dwarf!

It’s my old pal, the Yellow Dwarf!

Distant hills I

Distant hills I

Distant hills 2

Distant hills 2

Turning around and headed back now. See all the white rocks on the ground? These are all little flakes of quartz, the most common rock on the planet.

Turning around and headed back now. See all the white rocks on the ground? These are all little flakes of quartz, the most common rock on the planet.

Another tribute to quartz, which is my favorite rock, though not my favorite gem. I am walking back on a trail that parallels the gorge I followed to get here. I'm on the High Road instead of the Low Road now.

Another tribute to quartz, which is my favorite rock, though not my favorite gem. I am walking back on a trail that parallels the gorge I followed to get here. I’m on the High Road instead of the Low Road now.

King of the Hill! Quest complete! This is the only rock I found on the whole trip with bonafied stripes in it--veins of quartz in a darker, probably granitic matrix. This is no loose stone that I could pick up, but an out-thrust of the hill's bedrock.  In what was close to 3 miles walking today, this was the only rock with stripes, and it is on a high spot in the hills. Hail to his Majesty!

King of the Hill! Quest complete! This is the only rock I found on the whole trip with bonafied stripes in it–veins of quartz in a darker, probably granitic matrix. This is no loose stone that I could pick up, but an out-thrust of the hill’s bedrock. In what was close to 3 miles walking today, this was the only rock with stripes, and it is on a high spot in the hills. Hail to his Majesty!

2014-02-22 22.20.21

Walk!

Walk!

Walk

Walk

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

Walk!

That brown-gray thing that looks like a twig in the center of the picture is really a lizard.

Walk!

Another picture of the lizard. I try to photograph any animals I actually see in the desert. I did see a rabbit at the beginning of my hike, but they are usually much too fast for me to actually capture them on film. I need a ring camera where I could just point and shoot.  If it did video, that would get some good shots in the desert.

Ranger Station. A few minutes later I met the ranger. She was driving a big pickup truck and hauling trash out to a dumpster for city pickup.

Ranger Station. A few minutes later I met the ranger. She was driving a big pickup truck and hauling trash out to a dumpster for city pickup.

2014-02-22 22.42.20

People bring their horses up her to go riding.  I like the white one, and wish I could have gone for a ride.

People bring their horses up here to go riding. I like the white one, and wish I could have gone for a ride.

My little black Kia car--end of the trail. I have walked for a little more than an hour, probably traveled between 2 and 3 miles, not walking fast, but a lot of uphill and down. I should not wear tennis shoes on these hikes--my toes are killing me from pressing them into rocks going downhill. I should remember to take my walking stick for the unsteady terrain. It was in the car. I just forgot it. My lower back and hip flexors hurt after all this walking. I am tired and sweaty, and for the moment, relatively happy.

My little black Kia car–end of the trail. I have walked for a little more than an hour, probably traveled between 2 and 3 miles, not walking fast, but a lot of uphill and down. I should not wear tennis shoes on these hikes–my toes are killing me from pressing them into rocks going downhill. I should remember to take my walking stick for the unsteady terrain. It was in the car. I just forgot it. My lower back and hip flexors hurt after all this walking. I am tired and sweaty, and for the moment, relatively happy.

And that concludes another walk in the desert with Ken–nothing special, but it made me feel good for a while. I hope you enjoyed it too.

–end

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Posted February 23, 2014 by atroll in Arizona, Arizona Desert, Ken St. Andre, Uncategorized

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One response to “Sunday Morning Desert Walk

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  1. What a fun walk Ken. It makes me long to return to walk in the hills once again. I need the warmth!

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