Archive for the ‘Desert photography’ Category

Return to Dreamy Draw   7 comments

Take a walk in the Arizona desert with me.  Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, I left my apartment at 6:30 in the morning and went out to take a hike in the desert by myself–did not connect with my brother this time.  I brought my camera and took pictures along the way.  This walk happened in the Dreamy Draw Park in northern Phoenix.

Lots of people come out to enjoy this park. This is the entry from the parking lot.

Dawn in the desert. It rained the night before. A cloudy sky promised some coolness for a change.

The trail begins easily enough.

The trail divides. I went right this time because I went left last time.

Is this the Dreamy Draw? No, it’s just a gully.

Looking westward toward the city of Phoenix.

My plan is to climb as far into the hills as the trails will easily take me. Climbing is good for the heart.

I am lured by the arroyos. They are the wilder places in the desert.

I kept trying to go off on the narrower, less obvious paths.

One of the wilder, more verdant spots. Do desert elves hide in such places?

You can almost always see mountains in Arizona. I love these long vistas.

It rains in the summer in the desert here, and that is why it is so green.

The trail leads ever upwards. I’m interested in a good climb.

This park is used a lot by mountain bikers. This young lady hit a sharp rock and got a flat tire.

She had a couple of friends with her to help in case of emergency. They fixed the flat, and I saw them again when I was walking out, still rolling and having a good time.

All trails lead back to the main trail. I’ve stepped over this ridge of stones before on my last trip up here. It almost looks like someone built a little wall here to give bikers a hard time. Maybe it’s a desert speed bump.

Once again I’ve gotten off the main trail, taking a narrower, steeper one uphill.

From the shoulder of the mountain I can look northeast to the weirdly named Mazatzls Mountains.  There is a strong cool breeze up here.


I had been walking for over an hour. I was happy to find this place to rest.

Entrance to a Dwarven Kingdom, or a Troll’s Cave? The door appears to be closed, and I didn’t climb up and knock on it.

There’s a big quartz outcropping in the center of this picture.  These hills are full of quartz–an igneous rock rising up from below.  I sometimes think that quartz is like the bones of the mountain, and what a weird skeleton it must have.  Although quartz is the commonest stone on earth, it happens to be my favorite rock.  There are pieces of quartz inside my apartment, just because I like the rock.

Looking up at the next high ridge.

This cholla cactus has both leaves and thorns. I call them Cthulhu bushes because they have tentacles.

Looking up a sheer cliff face.

Looking down and out. I have gotten quite high on the mountainside.

The hidden side of the mountains. Usually I walk into this area from the south.

A path fit for mountain goats and guarded by Saguaro cacti.

This was my turnaround point. We are looking south now, and the distant mountains are the South Mountains on the far side of the city.

Starting the trip back to the car. It will be mostly downhill from here. Downhill in the desert can be more dangerous and difficult than uphill, especially if one is tired.

Is that civilization in the distance? No, it’s just northeast Phoenix.

I want to get down to that relatively easy path at the bottom, but I have a long way to go.

I had seen very little wildlife on my walk–a few insects was all. Finally this lizard came out to look at me.

I decided I needed proof that I was really up here. Here’s a picture of my hat, posing on a boulder. Battered as it is, the hat likes to have its picture taken.

Dang! I’ve walked a long way. Heading down, and still a long way to go.

Me and my shadow. More proof I was really up here. I wonder if I could use this shadow as a profile photo.

Mountain bikers go everywhere. Even the narrowest trails show wheel tracks.

I spot a second lizard. Looks like the same species, but not the same one, as I’m half a mile past where I took the first picture.

What a handsome fellow! And he posed very nicely, even when I put my camera down close to get a better picture of him. I would see one more lizard before I finished my walk, but that one was running, and there was no chance to photograph it. Still, I guess Sunday was a three lizard day.

This path is very steep and very slippery. I was taking teeny tiny careful steps to get down it. But, it would be very easy to walk up it.

Back on the main trail at last. From here on I made good speed for a tired old man.

This is the real Dreamy Draw. See how wide and deep it has gotten. These little desert rivers are dry most of the time, and they start out as tiny erosion channels high on the mountainside, but they get wide and deep fast as they reach the bottom of the hill.

Almost down now. I step aside to let some bikers zoom by me.

Here’s a map of the park. If I were a planner, I would have looked at this and planned my route instead of wandering wherever my fancy took me.

The end is in sight.

Climbing into my car and saying goodbye to Dreamy Draw. It was a good walk, about 3.5 miles according to my pedometer, though it felt like more. Even the hat has had enough and wants to head home. Hot shower, here I come!  Left my apartment about 6:30 and got home again at 9:45.  So I spent about 3 hours in the desert.

If you enjoyed my little desert hike, go ahead and leave a comment.  If you think I should get back to reviewing books, comics, and movies, you could say that too.  🙂


White Tanks   3 comments

On Sunday, July 15, I got together with my brother Brian and went off for a morning hike in a part of the desert where I had never been before–the White Tank Mountains west of the Phoenix area. Although it was hot and humid, I had a pleasant hike and learned a few things I had not known before.

Sky Islands–dust and smog in the atmosphere can make distant mountain peaks look like they are floating in the sky.

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Walk About   6 comments

Way Up High

View of Phoenix from the top of South Mountain

A week after my river bottom exploration and a week before my recent trip to New Zealand, I took another Sunday morning walk, and this time it was in my original destination of South Mountain park.  This park is part of the Phoenix City parks system, and I firmly believe, but have no proof, that it may be the largest city park in the world.  It includes a whole range of hills that is about 30 miles long from east end to west end and ten miles deep from north side to south side.  The park includes numerous ramadas for picnic parties, and has good roads and hiking trails throughout.  My brother Brian and I went to my favorite trail on the south side of the park–the one that starts in Hidden Valley.

Here I am at the parking lot where the trail starts.

Because I had my brother with me, I was able to get some  pictures of me (and him) along the trail.  We started the hike at about 8:30 in the morning of Sunday, April 1, 2012.

First stop along the trail. I am trying (in vain) to look rugged and adventurous.

This is the near the beginning of the trail.

Spring in the Arizona desert. Note that some of the plants are still green. 🙂

We call them the South Mountains because they are south of the main city. They range in height from about 2000 to 2500 feet, and we are near the top of them here--hence my title of Way Up HIgh.

Further up the trail. Not much was happening that day. It was already hot, and everything except people had hidden away. I was disappointed not to see any wildlife.

I enjoyed the views where one could see a long way into the distance.

Here I am on the edge of a cliff. I kind of like to stand way up high and look over the edge of things.

Close-up. Do you think I should put these pics up on Facebook?

My brother Brian is 5 years younger than me. And in much better shape . . .

Brian likes to scuba dive. I'm sure he'd rather be underwater than out hiking the desert. We are both practical ecologists and support the conservation of natural resources, whether in the ocean or the desert.

After we finished the Hidden Valley hike we went over to Dobbins Point. You can see the elevation and the best view of the city from here.

Brian takes a look at the stone "ruin" at Dobbins Point. It provides a shady spot where one can rest and look out over the city.

And here I am resting--sans hat. Yeah, I don't have much hair left on top. I kind of like this picture of me in shadow--it's kind of a metaphor for my life--slightly off center and a bit in the dark.

And that concludes my South Mountain hike–nothing special as desert rambles go.  Still, it was a pleasant way to spend Sunday morning.    And it does give a good picture of the real Arizona desert.  When I went hiking next, I would be on the opposite side of the world in New Zealand.

If you like the pics, or have ever been hiking in the Arizona desert mountains, why not leave a comment?


Trollgod’s Backyard   2 comments

Welcome to my back yard.

Everything beyond the fence is desert rock troll country.

A lush and verdant land where life is easy. No, it isn't.

A land where the dwellers are lean and prickly.

Trollgod and friend.

My friend shows me some desert tai chi. Tai chi for trolls always uses rocks.

The most beautiful resident in my garden.

Follow the trail into troll country.

This is a beautiful land.

And, at the end of the trail is the Trollcave where Trollhalla can be found.

You too can explore the savage lands of Trollhalla.  Come visit me at
(Pictures courtesy of Lezzirf.)

Posted July 10, 2011 by atroll in Arizona Desert, Desert photography, Uncategorized