Fawning About

I adore watching the animals, and when I get to see baby animals it’s all the better.

They have this curious sense of newness and wonder that they wear on their faces.

Mom dotes on them and protects them from harm… and the baby listens and hastens at her insistence.

All the while the baby is tugged by this new world it finds itself in, with all the wonders to discover, and adventures to be had.

At this stage of their lives, with all their innocence, they have no fear of danger. If only mom could always protect them. They must be quickly schooled on the harsh reality of their existence.

Carnero Lake

I posted some photos here .. https://kritterspix.com/2020/07/31/carneros-sunrise/, from our last visit to Carnero Lake.

Sunrise Color_IR.jpg

IMG_7821_IR.jpg

We enjoyed it so much, we went back for more.

Carnero canoes_IR.jpg

chip prize

While most folks go to a lake to swim, fish, and canoe, we go to relax and watch the animals and the sunset / sunrise, and take pix.

osprey fish

Carnero SunriseReeds

I could sit by the waters edge and watch osprey fish or chipmunk play all day.

Carnero Pontoon

Nosofast

 

Buck Springs

Buck Springs Cabins_IR.jpg

Buck Springs is one of a number of old cabins littered around Mogollon Rim’s back dirt roads.  Tree Shadows

Cattail vu_IR.jpg

There are two standing cabins on this site.  The smaller of the two was built in 1923, while the larger was built in 1946.

DeerWoods_IR.jpg

ElkGlare_IR.jpg

The cabins found in this area were built by early Forest Service, ranchers and settlers while they worked the land.  The area is also home to animals looking for food, water, and shelter.

bs pond_IR.jpg

Reflection Pond

The natural springs throughout the area provide vital water and pools for the wildlife that inhabit the area.

Morning Reflection

If you visit, remember leave it cleaner than you found it.  These are precious places that hold their own history and beauty.  Leave a lasting positive impression for future visitors…. not one of trash that one brings in and leaves as a poor testament to today’s mankind.

Chavez Pass

_40A5877_IR

Arizona is filled with many vast expanses and amazing viewpoints.  The landscape is diverse and varied, with cactus in the south and pine trees in the north.  The land has seen equally disparate travelers, from the Indians that roamed the land hundreds of years ago, to the early European / American settlers who risk life and limb to trek across her rugged peaks and valleys.

_40A5847_IR

Back 1000 years ago, tribes roamed this land having left abandoned ruins that leave only to our imagination life in another time.  From A.D. 1050 – 1425 the Sinagua lived, foraged, and hunted this land from this ancestral Hopi pueblo, now known as Chavez Pass.

_40A5882_IR

A large oval depression north of the pueblo is the remains of a prehistoric ball court.  It also served as a trade center for a network that reached from the Hopi Mesas and Zuni Pueblo to the Pacific and Northern Mexico.

_40A5873_IR

There is very little left of what once was.  The overgrown thistle and foxtails outnumber the petroglyphs and stacked rock walls, or what’s left of them.  Yet, the opportunity to wander through something so ancient and decaying into the land over time, allows us a glimpse of simpler times, when life really was rough.

_40A5889_IR

Live Every Day to the Fullest

Shadow Dancing

Finally… instead of going out taking photos when our schedules allowed it… we decided to go out because there was weather in the forecast.  Sometimes you have to make time for the things that are important to you.

Tree Perch Vert

Never was that more clear than this week!  I have two friends in the hospital, and one recently out, all awaiting or have just undergone serious surgery.  It’s very scary to see people you love facing such a difficult time.  While in your heart, you know they will be ok, you can’t help but ache for their situation.

Milk Ranch Vu

It’s made worse by their having to go through it alone (due to covid restrictions), without their significant other by their side to hold their hand and keep their mind off of the upcoming surgery.

Tree Crevace

While I know my friends will be better as a result of the surgeries, it really gives you pause.  Enjoy life, every day!  Do the things one enjoys. And don’t take life for granted.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  One never knows what the future brings for any of us.

sunsetsky

To Doug, Pat, and Meg:  Be safe, be well, and know that you are loved.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Rock V

As I look out across the ridge, I am awe stuck by the beauty around me.  The skies opened up and cast this amazing glow as if to say, it’ll all be alright, life is beautiful and there is a lot more to see.

 

Mogollon Rim toward Payson

We have been to the Mogollon Rim many times.  The ‘Rim’ we frequent is off of SR-87 long Forest Road – 300.  The Mogollon Rim escarpment actually continues for several hundred miles.

_40A3447_IR

It passes through some gorgeous country and spectacular views, not to mention a number of lakes.  Bear Lake and Knoll Lake along FR-300 are popular, and if one continues on they can visit Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs.  Though the latter two lakes are more easily accessible from Payson along SR-260.

_40A3499-HDR_IR

_40A3458-Edit_IR

Continuing East on SR-260, the Rim Road (FR-300) crosses the highway and continues all the way to Show Low.  We had never taken this section toward Show Low before, so we took the occasion to check it out.

_40A3552-HDR_IR

We found the early part to have some nice views (and a LOT of campers, as it is very close to the SR-260 highway).  Continuing on, the East side is completely fenced off and entry to the Indian Reservation land prohibited.  Through this stretch the views are obscured through thick trees.  You literally can’t see the forest through the trees.

_40A3588_IR

It was a beautiful drive and yielded some photographic opportunities, although the weather struggled to cooperate.  We set out under the forecast of rain, and rain we got… and fog, and barely a sunset or sunrise obscured by dense cloud cover, and then clearing to blue sky after the storm had passed.

_40A3639_IR

I’m not complaining, any day spent in the woods with some gorgeous views, is always a good day.

_40A3696-HDR_IR

 

All Torn Up

What have you done during Quarantine?

It’s a popular question these days.  For us, we did what we do… and pursued our already scheduled project of adding water hydrants closer to the house.

1orighyd_IR.jpg

I know.. boring, right?!

Well we didn’t think so.  We were more upset by the rationing of ibuprofen for our aching backs, than lack of TP (let’s not even go there!).

8ditchdown_IR.jpg

6drvwayditch_IR.jpg

After taking 8 hours to jack hammer the first 10′ of ditch 3′ deep, we were already tired…. and had another 140′ to go!

2help_IR.jpg

So we solicited help.  We hired a back hoe… and more importantly, a hammer hoe, to get through our all rock terrain.

3hammerho_IR.jpg

In 4 hours a Case 580 made short work of our ‘little job’.  But in doing so, it completely obliterated our previously well manicured road.

4shovlg_IR.jpg

9jackhammr_IR.jpg

Even with big machinery, it took nearly a month of hard physical labor – jack hammering, shoveling, digging and moving rock and dirt, to ready our 150′ of ditch to drop our water line (between snow falls and freezing temps).

10layg line_IR.jpg

11runngline_IR.jpg

Once the line was all in, we covered it with sand, and backfilled the ditch.  We cleared rock, graded the road, and spread 22 ton of gravel.

12 gravel_IR.jpg

In the end, you would never even know what we did… except we don’t have to walk all the way out to the road to get water any more.

Whew!

What will we do next?!

13spread_IR.jpg

 

Mystery Castle

P1010198_IR.jpg

Having lived in the Valley for years, we certainly had ample opportunity to visit any number of the many ‘attractions’ that Phoenix offered. Working and traveling for a living, many came to wait until after we retired, such as the Mystery Castle.

P1010163_IR.jpg

The Mystery Castle is known for being this eclectic ‘castle’ on the top of the hill, just below the popular hiking trails at South Mountain Park in south Phoenix. We only knew that it was made up of common items and a bit ramshackle, but never knew its story. For our $10 admission we were given the Tour of the 8000 sq ft ‘mansion’, with 18 separate rooms, 13 fireplaces, and a myriad of interesting details.

P1010116_IR.jpg

It was built by a man by the name of Boyce Luther Gulley, who left his wife and child and escaped Seattle, WA to a life of isolation with the very contagious and deadly disease of tuberculosis. He moved to AZ to find a warmer climate to live out his final days in 1930. He lived much longer than anyone expected, and over the 15 years between 1930 and 1945, when he died, he built this monstrosity of a house.

P1010142_IR.jpg

He staked claim to presumably dig for gold at the base of South Mountain. He had amassed 40 acres of land through his claim and the little gold he did find. He likely built the house to establish living quarters, and perhaps a place for his family to live after he had gone. Not having much money, all the materials were found and procured, such as the many slump bricks that with ‘mistakes’ in the firing process (now expensive oddities and rare treasures).

20200229_121112_IR.jpg

As he continued to survive, he continued to build in a run-on and ramshackle manner with inventive flourishes throughout. He added on a large great room, fireplaces, and flagstone floor. His big expenses were concrete and food. Most of the stones came from the surrounding land, and decorative pebbles throughout the flooring from the nearby Salt River.

P1010185_IR.jpg

Archways and circular windows with old thrown away pressed glass containers (early versions of Tupperware) as glass blocks and sky lights. Having no electricity or running water, he added holes in the ceiling for ventilation and light. Later he added a guest room, a little girls room for his young daughter, and later a bar and chapel. Eighteen rooms in all, most with fireplaces to warm the cool winter evenings. He built paved pathways, breeze ways and roof top patios, all with little to no education, power tools (or power), water, or assistance.

P1010144_IR.jpg

P1010129_IR.jpg

Feature shelves jut out randomly and selectively from its breezeway walls for knickknacks and special decorative treasures. Benches built into the walls were convenient for sitting, reflecting, and rests through the day. Arches and pillars lead one from the main house area to the auxiliary bedrooms for his daughter. Pebble snakes embed the floors as a sign of good luck and virility.   I couldn’t help think that he was like an unknown Frank Lloyd Wright with great design ideas, architectural details, and well thought out features, but without the entourage, money, and fame of the arrogant FLW.

P1010179_IR.jpg

His family finally came to see him just in the months before he died in 1945. His wife Nell and now 20-year-old daughter Mary Lou lived out their lives there. They found that people would pay to see the house and in 1948 began giving tours, which have continued since. The daughter Mary Lou died in 2010. She set up a Foundation to take care of the house and her father’s legacy and continue the tours into the future.

P1010125_IR.jpg   P1010148_IR.jpg

It was a fascinating look into the tenacity of a man, desperate to leave something for his family. In the end he left much more. The innovativeness of what the human soul can create with limited resources and shear will is on display at the Mystery Castle. While the finish work is rough and amenities slim, the workmanship and work effort are awe-inspiring.   It was fascinating a tour and an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.

Creative Outlet

Ever feel like taking a break from life?  Things are pressing you down a bit, so you need a new perspective?  It’s those times, that it’s good to get out and fill the mind with something constructive, new, maybe even inventive.

layout_IR.jpg  Layout

We decided to take a ‘break’, and do something creative and fun…. so why not build birdhouses.

plasmacut_IR.jpg  Plasma cutting metal

Birdhouses are an easy creative outlet.  They can be made of anything – wood or metal… and be of any size or shape.

benchgrinder_IR.jpg  Bench grinding sides

With a little ingenuity, a few tools, some time and patience, one can build anything one sets their mind to.   We find ourselves proving that time and again.

anglegrind_IR.jpg  Angle grinding fronts

With a dash of creativity one can use just about anything to make something extraordinary.

braiseshutters_IR.jpg Braising on ‘shutters’ from antique chain link

In the end, something special can be created from nothing, if we just feed our imagination and give ourselves time to flourish.

weldg_IR.jpg  Arc-welding panels

Never underestimate our own power to surprise even ourselves and others with perseverance, determination, and shear will power.  Stay the course, be strong, and good things will come.

bluhous_IR.jpgFinish birdhouse – full of character and rustic charm

 

The Ones that Didn’t Make the Cut

You may have seen my Best of Landscapes 2019, here…. https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/  or my Best of Wildlife 2019 here… https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/ .  Below are some of the ones that DIDN’T make the cut.

1. Pismo Beach, CA... wish I could get sunset shots like this in AZ! PismoSundown_IR.jpg

2. Lil Buck… If only AZH had published THIS pic  _40A9745_IR.jpg

3. Hawley Lake ….  Through the Fog is Clarity  _40A4245_IR-2.jpg

4. Javelina … not a common sight in this neck of the woods  Javifurup_IR.jpg

5. Snow Elk…. Animal behavior can be so much fun to capture, sometimes these little guys do the darnedest thingsrest_IR.jpg

6. Moqui Snow … I need to work on getting more landscape snow pix  snoburst1_IR.jpg

7. Oak Creek Fall … Gotta love waterfalls & fall, such an amazing combination BoulderBed_IR.jpg

8. Morman Lake Elk Pool …   While this is a busy pic, lots of fun interactions to look at morman lake elk pool_IR_IR.jpg

9. Kaibab Daisies … I had never been to Kaibab Lake before, I need to get out more _40A2967-HDR_IR.jpg

10. Babies Rule … love me some baby wildlife!  Cuddle_IR.jpg

I could go on, but I think the exercise of limiting oneself to only the best forces one to be critical of oneself, encouraging growth and improvement.  Something we should all heed in our lives.  Happy New Year!