Fall has Fallen

With the recent cold blast (we saw it as low as 22F) and the intense winds, we thought we better check out the Fall Colors to see where we were. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the fall colors were mostly on the ground rather than on the trees.

We’ve barely begun to run our rounds of our favorite haunts for Changing of the Leaves… but as it turns out, we may already be too late. It happens every year. It goes from hot to cold, and there definitely is a chill in the air, particularly with the high winds. It seems Winter is already here.

If you are hoping to catch the change of season…. better hurry out, or it will be the change to Snow that we will be catching next.

Elusive Bulls

We haven’t seen any animals in some time. I think they are all hiding from the mountain lions, as mountain lion sightings have been on the rise. The storms do bring in animals, though. I love our rains… they are so good for our forests and animals.

We were lucky enough to see 2 bull elk, still in velvet. It was a rare treat and one we relished. They foraged in the grass and lingered around until they wandered off as the thunderstorms rolled in.

They looked like they had been through a rough year as they slowly wandered off. I was happy that they had a brief respite from their harsh environment.

Returning to the Scene

We decided to return to the scene of my award winning shot (see post here… https://kritterspix.com/category/photo-musings/ ) before the forest closed.

With all the fires in AZ at the moment, we got quite the red sun at sunrise. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay long, as the AZ Game & Fish came by to advise us the forest would be closing due to the fires.

Many of the AZ fires have been human caused, and with super dry conditions they are out of control with little containment. Firefighter resources are very thin, so any new fires would be difficult to fight. We are actually thankful they are closing the forests to keep our forest safe. Nonetheless, it was disappointing to have to leave such a glorious spot. I guess we’ll have to go back.

Chavez Pass

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Weather – Finally!

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We have had quite the drought this summer, with no rain.  That finally changed with a quick storm that rolled in and gave us some rain, hail, and a little snow!

_40A9766_IR.jpg  We took the opportunity to run out to the rim to see if we could get some storm pix.

We loved the sky opening up and raining on the valley below.  It made for some spectacular views.

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When it rains on your parade, look up not down.  Without the rain, there is no rainbow.

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_40A9822_IR.jpg Bad weather always looks worse through a window…. gotta get out there and feel the storm and it’s intensity to live life to the fullest.

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It turned out to be a great day for storm watching.

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Late Arrival

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I was just talking about the animals fattening up for the winter..  https://kritterspix.com/category/pix/

I know, it may not seem like winter just yet, particularly for those in Phoenix.  But it was 39F here this morning… so winter is coming.

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Yet, somehow, we got our first little visitor.  Usually the babies show up in June – not September.  This scrawny little fawn, still with her spots, made a brief appearance.

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She’s got a steep learning curve ahead of her, and a lot to learn in a short time.  Not to mention that she needs to put more fat on her little bones!

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Momma, you hear that.  Bring her back for a visit more often.  We’ll do our part.  : )

 

 

Relaxing in the Woods

We got out to the woods recently if you saw my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/07/18/a-walk-in-the-woods/

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But since there are woods all around us up North, we are sharing the load.  A recent trip to Greens Peak outside of Show Low highlighted a much different environment.

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This forest is a bit higher elevation than the Mogollon Rim, and gets more rain.  So it makes a great spot for foraging and mushrooming.

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The woods are dense with trees and moldy rocks.  Lots of shade and shadows, and cooler temps.

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I love that we have the vast diversification of areas to solicit and wander through.  It’s a great way to relax and ‘chill’.

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Can’t wait to go back… we are already planning our next trip.  It is mushroom season afterall. 🙂

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Javelina sighting

It’s not very often we see javelina.  They are more of a mainstay in Phoenix area and southern AZ, in warmer climates than they are in Northern AZ.

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But we got our first glimpse of these unusual beasts.  Officially known as collared peccary, they are similar to wild boar.

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Javelina are prey to mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes.  As such they are pretty skittish and aware of all sounds and smells around them, particularly as they are known for their poor eyesight.

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This small herd of 5 we encountered appeared to be 2 adults and 3 young (perhaps less than a year old).

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We’re always happy to see animals, no matter what they are… the more ‘exotic’ the more exciting, especially if I manage to get a photo.

Desert to Tall Pines

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This time of year the snow is melting up North…. and the sun is shining in the Valley.  We have become pretty acclimated to the cooler temps… so HOT HOT is just HOT, as it was when we went down this past week and experienced a whopping 87F.  Ok, I know we’re spoiled… but we’re toughened up by our winters.

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We went to see the flowers, but in truth, while we got into a couple small pockets, it was already late in the season, as most were already gone.

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We enjoyed those we did see, and soaked up the heat.  But enough is enough, so we took the appropriately named, Desert to Tall Pines Rd (SR 288) back to the snow.

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In a matter of hours we were back in our comfort zone, with snow on the ground, amidst the forest and Tall Pines.

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We ventured to Workmens Creek, outside of Young, and enjoyed the cascading water from their snow melt.

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Ahhhh….. how refreshing. : )