Archive for the ‘striped rocks’ Tag

Riverwalk, October 8, 2015   Leave a comment

On days when I feel grumpy and out of sorts, the best thing for me to do is go take a walk, preferably somewhere out where there are no people around. Phoenix has an urban wilderness inside the city that only a few people know about. I’m one of them, and from time to time I go down to the Rio Salado to restore my soul, and see what I can find in the way of pretty rocks. Today, Octobber 8, 2015, was one such day, and this is the record of my walk.

Trolls love bridges. This is a meme I'm trying to establish.

Trolls love bridges. This is a meme I’m trying to establish.

Being under the bridge is even better than being on the bridge.

Being under the bridge is even better than being on the bridge.

This is what passes for a river in the urban wilderness. A pretty as it looks, you don't want to get too close to this water. It's dangerous.

This is what passes for a river in the urban wilderness. As pretty as it looks, you don’t want to get too close to this water. It’s dangerous.

I found fresh coyote tracks, probably made this morning. No human tracks nearby, so it's not a dog. In my fantasy world, this is a wolf or warg track.

I found fresh coyote tracks, probably made this morning. No human tracks nearby, so it’s not a dog. In my fantasy world, this is a wolf or warg track.

The river is a ribbon of green through a harsh landscape.

The river is a ribbon of green through a harsh landscape.

...

. . .

. . .Walking carefully.

There are flowers in the wilderness. This grows on some kind of bean tree.

There are flowers in the wilderness. This grows on some kind of bean tree.

The path I must walk looks unfamiliar to me.

The path I must walk looks unfamiliar to me.

I am always on the lookout for striped stones. This is a cleancut beauty, but just a little too large to take home with me.

I am always on the lookout for striped stones. This is a cleancut beauty, but just a little too large to take home with me.

There is a rest area. Here I stop and watch the birds. A large hawk of some type is flying about, but he is too fast and far away for me to catch with a cellphone camera. Airplanes fly across the city about once every 3 minutes. I drink some water and get ready to take my own picture. This is the turning back marker for the hike.

There is a rest area. Here I stop and watch the birds. A large hawk of some type is flying about, but he is too fast and far away for me to catch with a cellphone camera. Airplanes fly across the city about once every 3 minutes. I drink some water and get ready to take my own picture. This is the turning back marker for the hike.

About halfway thru the hike I take my own picture. These are the moments when I feel most in tune with nature.

About halfway thru the hike I take my own picture. These are the moments when I feel most in tune with nature.

Men are never far away in Phoenix. On the other side of the riverbank is a giant open pit gravel mine.

Men are never far away in Phoenix. On the other side of the riverbank is a giant open pit gravel mine.

This is the road leading back to civilization.. . .

This is the road leading back to civilization.. . .

I find more of the violet flowers on the return trip. I am taking the easy way back on the access road above the river.

I find more of the violet flowers on the return trip. I am taking the easy way back on the access road above the river.

My last glimpse of the river--a side stream feeds water into the main channel. It is wild, beautiful, and polluted.

My last glimpse of the river–a side stream feeds water into the main channel. It is wild, beautiful, and polluted.

These are the treasures found during my hike. Yes, one of them is a golf ball, miles away from the nearest golf course.

These are the treasures found during my hike. Yes, one of them is a golf ball, miles away from the nearest golf course.

end

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If you can identify those violet flowers or the red conglomerate rock in the last picture, or if you just like to take your own river walks, why not leave a comment?

–Ken

Posted October 8, 2015 by atroll in Uncategorized

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A Hike to See My Buds   1 comment

Imagine that you’re out walking with me in the hot Arizona sunlight. There is a cactus garden just a couple blocks from my apartment. It has attracted my attention lately by coming into bloom.

A few days ago, I took these pictures.  I made a special trip  to come back and take these pictures because I saw the flower at night but did not have enough ambient light to get a picture of it then.

KY6-9 KY6-9a

While I was there I noticed these outstanding buds. Remember this picture. It is the “BEFORE” shot.

Although I have lived in Arizona all my life, I had no idea what kind of cactus it is. I tell you one thing. You don’t find this plant growing wild in the Sonoran Desert. I asked about it and got this reply:

Mari Volmar smile emoticon It’s a night-blooming cactus called Cereus Peruvianus or Apple Cactus.

Night blooming, eh? I decided I wanted to come back and catch a picture of a flower blooming at night. The one above was still blooming by day–early morning anyway.

KY6-9b

When you cut or break through the big pulpy limbs you can see that each branch is a kind of 3-D star. This caused me to mentally name it a Star cactus. There were many stars I could have photographed, but I chose this one because it has 8 points, and 8 is the number of Chaos. Those of you who know me also know of my allegiance (or at least lip service) to Chaos.

Last night I went by it again at night and caught this flower in full bloom.

KY6-11flower

I took this picture just before midnight. This flower, not here three days ago, is a star. The condo unit that created this cactus garden had a floodlamp lighting up their name sign and also providing enough light for me to get this picture.

Night blooming, yeah. There were some others in bloom, but not in as good a position for me to catch them in a photo.

This morning (June 12, 2015) I wanted to see how my night-blooming buddy was doing, so I got out of the house early and went to see him/her/it. Do flowers have sex?

starcactusstar1

and here it is. This is the exact same flower that was in full bloom 8 hours before. You can see that it has closed itself up. I am amazed that plants have this much mobility.

starcactusfading2

Remember those big buds I showed you up above in the “BEFORE” picture? This is the “AFTER” picture. You can see that they are not as tightly closed as the flower up above. That means they are already starting to wilt and lose their essence. The life of a flower does not last long.

starcactus7

And is this the famed Peruvian cactus apple itself? It looks more like a plum, but definitely the same kind of fruit like a prickly pear. I think this might be edible. It might even be nutritious. However, I am not going to pick it and try to eat it just to find out.

starcactus11

The stars come in many different forms. A lot of them have 6 limbs. Let me digress into geology for a moment. This is a mixed assortment of roughly sorted river gravel, obviously brought in from somewhere else, since you won’t find that much variety in rock forms in this neighborhood. As you may know, I always keep my eyes open when I see a lot of rocks. I am looking for those with stripes in them–they are special.

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Here is another flower hiding from the sunlight.

starcactus6

This one looks like it has an eye, and is watching.

starcactus3

These young ones are curious and happy to see me.

starcactus4

This guy is a real optimist.

It might be my imagination, but I got the impression that the cacti were pleased that I came  to see and celebrate them.

starcactusrock

So, at the end they gave me a gift–a striped rock (milky quartz with basalt intrusions blasted into the vaculoes). This rock has a face, maybe more than one. Can you see it there in the top left part of the picture?

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If you have communed with nature lately, and maybe learned anything from it, why not leave a comment?

–end

Posted June 12, 2015 by atroll in Uncategorized

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The Most Boring Blog of All Time   1 comment

Maybe I should start a Geology blog! Boy would that be boring on a regular basis.

Sunday I walked 3 miles in the Salt River Wetlands city park, and brought back some striped rocks that I found.

Last year, a friend (Ellen)  clued me in on the relative rarity of rocks with stripes in them.  This year I have been questing for them. I have looked at millions of rocks, uncountable numbers, and found less than 30. Although my eyes are always open for them  now, sometimes weeks go by without spotting one.

But, I found a few on Sunday while walking through the river.  Most of these stripes are inclusions of one kind of rock that should not be there, but some are just a richer vein of the mineral giving the rock it’s color. I’d love to get a real geologist’s comments on these little fellows.

 

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These guys are posing on a brick wall beneath my balcony. I don’t know what kind of stone this is, but the black streak is unusual, and it was the first one I found on Sunday.

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This guy looks kinda like a clam.

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Not just one stripe here, but a whole network of lines going off in all directions.

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One streak of quartz zigs and zags through this stone.

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This rock has its stripes on the inside. You can’t really see any from the outside surface.

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Wash the rocks with water to make the streaks more vivid said my friend. The black streak on this little guy is subtle until you get it wet.

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There is a thin white stripe of quartz in this little red rock.

2014-04-14 03.56.58Red rock with orange stripe. Guessing that some form of iron is involved here, but this kind of coloration is very rare. All the other stripes were black or white.

And that’s all, folks. Two hours of hiking netted just this many stripers I could bring home with me. There were a couple of really big ones too heavy to carry.  These guys have been introduced to each other and now they all have a new home, and their very own cactus to guard.

If you’ve ever gone hunting for rocks of a particular nature, why not leave a comment?

–end

Posted April 16, 2014 by atroll in Arizona, Arizona Desert, Ken St. Andre, Uncategorized

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