Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hikes Gone By, Part 2B

To complete the Santa Fe chapter this post will encompass three hikes in or very near Santa Fe proper. The first is Bandelier National Monument, part of the National Parks Service. In looking up the park's information in order to refresh my memory, I see that last year the park experienced flash floods and forest fires that limited visitation to certain areas. I do remember we had to wait for a thunderstorm to pass when we were there before they let us into the canyon and also that we were unable to hike to either of the falls due to floods that had happened earlier in the year we visited. Canyons can be very dangerous places to hike, not to mention establish a whole community.

Misleading in perspective, isn't it? That "cut" in the center is a huge canyon. You can see in the distance the storm rains.

Down in the cut once the weather cleared.

I can see by my hand position that I was scared climbing these stairs.  The original inhabitants didn't have handrails. Fierce!

I'm a little Pueblo! 
I fit really well into the "demo" houses.
In the background you can see the continuation of the trail along the settlement's remains.

These are Ponderosa pines, and while they are quite common in the west and southwest, it was on this trip that I learned their bark smells like vanilla. I was captivated by that.

As we neared the end of the trail, this mischievous Abert's squirrel started pelting us with juniper berries. Real funny, furball.

Since this post isn't really the place to explain the history of the area, you can read more here
and plan your next vacation!

  Next we go to Bear Wallow, just a pretty little 4-mile loop.

 This friendly flutterer kept landing on my backpack.

Normally a heavily-used trail, we didn't see anyone else. Or any bears, wallowing or otherwise.

Natural bridges are the best.

Lastly, we took a hike in the Santa Fe ski area.

Hard to believe that not long after this picture was taken, the snow would be higher than The Big Guy.

A gray jay begs a peanut.

11,000' the highest I've ever been. 
It would be a lot more impressive if we hadn't started at 10,000'.

11,006' 5"

At the watering hole. Lucky 'munk. We had to carry our water!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hikes Gone By, Part 2A

In September of 2007 we took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico and along the way, we stopped in Utah so we could visit Arches National Park. All the superlatives you may have heard describing it are correct. It really is all that.

There are many trails to choose from, and if we'd had more time, we surely would have done them all, but since we only had one day, we chose the longest. It's called Devils Garden Primitive Loop, and it's 7.2 miles. Primitive indicates that there will be no comfort stations along the way, no water, no cell service, no nothin'. It was also nearly 100 degrees that day.

Here's a tip for all my hiking sisters: Keep the camera with you. If you don't, you're going to end up with a lot of pictures of your rear view. I include this shot not for that but to show the beginning. It's fun to look through all the photos and see how my apparel changed as the day grew hotter. Here we see long pants and kerchief still in the backpack.

 A Whiptail lizard doing his pushups. They really do pushups. It's a territorial thing, showing that they're in shape and not to be messed with. Kinda like Lou Ferrigno.

I debated whether or not to include all our photos of the arches themselves because a quick internet search will reveal all the same photos. In fact, although this is our own photo, if you search for Wall Arch, you will find almost identical ones all over cyberspace. However, in the case of Wall Arch, no one will ever take a photo of it again. It collapsed almost exactly one year after we saw it.

A favorite photo.

My very favorite photo of the hike.

Desert Cottontail. Eating a cactus!

The red-rock sandstone is very grippy and easy to walk on. This is extremely important to fraidy-cats like me.

And here is why. If you look closely at the sides of this photo, you will notice that I am walking on what's known as a "fin."  It's hard to tell from this picture, but it is a long, long drop off either side. It does not seem as wide as it looks when you're walking on it. If there hadn't been other people around, I might have crawled. I'm not kidding.

Speaking of other people, the two shown here were Germans. We always seem to run into Germans no matter where we hike. The Big Guy speaks German, but I don't, and when we first met up with this couple, they were trying to ask me to take their picture, but I thought they wanted me to be in their picture, so I got in their picture with them. Now some people in Germany have a funny story to tell about their hike in Arches. They're welcome!

We saw this little dude near the end of the hike. Once home, I searched and searched the internet trying to figure out what kind of lizard it was to no avail. I sent the picture to a Research Zoologist in Utah. He informed me it was a Gambelia Wislizenii otherwise known as a long-nosed leopard lizard in its immature stage. Duh!

OK, he didn't say "duh," but since part of his reply said "unlike their relatives the collared lizards, leopard lizards are usually not easy to approach or to photograph," I was curious as to why he didn't seem more enthused that I was able to not only approach but photograph this lizard. And seeing as I couldn't find a photo of it anywhere online, I thought perhaps he might have wanted to keep the picture for the website. Silly, lucky me, I guess!
  Bandana on head, pants zipped off into shorts, smiling even though I have a death-grip on The Big Guy because we're on that fin. The Germans took this picture for us. I didn't let them be in it.

Hikes Gone By, Part One

As I was cleaning out my computer photo folders, I noticed that there were several hikes that never got blogged about for one reason or another. Since it will be a few more months until we're into prime hiking season here and I won't have anything new to show and tell until then, I thought it might be fun to add those missing hikes to the blogosphere in the interim.

Most of them were done on various vacations, but the two in this post were local and done while family was vacationing here. The first was in 2004 when my dad and nephew came out, and the second was in 2006 when my mom and niece took their turn. We took them all to Sunrise, Mt. Rainier.

 Hello, mountain!

Pop explains something very important to Forest.

The Big Uncle and Kaia adjusting their cameras at the same viewpoint two years later.

Four For Hiking.

Two too cute.

Shadow Lake.

You may be wondering where Mom and I are in most of these shots. Mom stayed back at the lodge with her art supplies while the three of us made the trek, and I realized when going through the pictures, we never took any of her while we were there. There are plenty of photos with me in them, but I am unwilling to override my vanity and post them since there is a lot less of me to photograph these days. So sue me.

 Up the trail...

and down the trail.

A tiny mascot points the way to Frozen Lake.

Aptly named.

Other than the the beautiful scenery and spending precious time with loved ones, what I remember most about both of these hikes has to do with the kids' pants (and I sincerely hope both of them will be able to read about this so many years later and see how funny it was then.) As you can see in the second photo, Forest has his dusty sweatpants pulled up. We told him he'd be too hot in sweatpants, but he was intent on wearing them. The dust is from a fall that occurred while he was trying to pull them up because he got too hot.

Kaia was perfectly willing to wear shorts, but didn't have the right kind with her. Grandma and I took her on a quick shopping trip the day before to find some suitable hiking shorts, but once we got to the store, Kaia wanted to look at anything but shorts and had a hiding-in-the-clothes-racks meltdown. If I recall correctly, the shorts you see in these photos were chosen because thisiswhatyouregoingtowearwhetheryoulikethemornot

Ah, family! The best times, the funniest memories.