We have explored the backroads of Arizona extensively. Along our travels we have been fortunate enough to see all sorts of amazing scenery, and wonderful animal sightings. I always feel blessed to have these great animals cross our paths at the same time they cross ours. Some animals are common to see, elk and deer for instance. Others, not so much, but we have seen… bobcat, turkey, and even bear.
On a recent trip to Sedona we saw this elusive little critter practically under our feet. We spot lighted him with our flashlight and caught a fleeting shot. It’s a ringtail cat!
Apparently, it’s the Official State Mammal of Arizona (who knew?). They have a fox-like face with pointed ears and a long distinctive tail. The ringtail is part of the raccoon family… note, the familiar striped tail. They live in a riparian habitat in the rocks near water, making Sedona a prime area (apparently). They are noctural creatures, only coming out at night. So, we were lucky to catch of glimpse of him.
We had been taking night shots at an overlook in Sedona when he scurried across us, curious what we were he came back for a another quick look. Funny how that happens. Sometimes it is all about being in the right place at the right time.
See more Sedona pix…. https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/30/sedona-az/ and https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/30/oak-creek-sedona-az/
Before Fall Colors have even popped yet, we got our first snowfall. Fall Colors dropped against the blanket of fresh snow made the maple leaves in their varying color stand out.
I love the contrast of color Fall brings, with the green Pines, yellowing Oaks, and emerging reds amidst the scattered Maples. It’s a potpourri of color and textures.
The snow just adds another dimension in this already gorgeous time in our myriad of seasons we get to enjoy.
For more of my fall color photos, check out my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/20/first-snow-2/
We went out to check on Fall Colors, but it’s still a little early for this neck of the woods. Maybe next week will yield more color.
For now, we were happy to walk through the woods and take in the crisp air… as was this little squirrel we found.
Winter is coming. Storms are on the horizon, and we have already had our first snow. We’ll take it. Our burnt forest can certainly use a good soaking.
We’ll make another trek next week to check on colors again. It’s all good.
It’s true that the South Rim is closer than the North Rim… by a bunch! But, give me the North Rim any day. The views are better, and the crowds less (that by itself is reason enough).
We enjoyed the many overlooks and stunning views along the way.
The aspen leaves were turning and the fall colors were stunning. The roads and the hillsides were covered with their golden hue.
You can see more of my Grand Canyon photos here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/05/grand-canyon-north-rim-bright-angel-point/ and here … https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/05/grand-canyon-north-rim-point-sublime/
Following the Tinder Fire that devastated our communities, I have been intent on capturing the many faces of the aftermath. You can see my other post here…. https://kritterspix.com/category/pix/
In this endeavor I have been faced with the realities that are post-fire – the devastation, the soot, the destroyed vegetation and the re-birth of new vegetation. What I somehow didn’t expect was the realization that my photos truly are capturing a moment in time that will only be that way for that instant… to never be the same again.
I took this photo (above), I call Charcoal Tinder, just after the fire and we were finally allowed back in the forest. This cool tree still has the roots attached, charcoaled that they may be. It stands as a testament to the resilience of the forest, and the trauma that it saw with fire raging all around. I flinch to think about it.
I took these two photos of the very same tree just a week later, I called it Scar Face, now. It’s the same tree! It’s roots have broken off and already disintegrated into the charred soot at it’s feet. The cool branches that stood strong amidst the tragedy of that day… are now gone. It is already fading back into the earth from where it came.
It saddens me to realize that what is left now… may not be for long. Our forest will continue to change. Trees will fall, leaves will drop, plain sticks and hulks of trees will become more prevalent… until nothing but a heaping pile of remnants remain. Whoa! That’s too vivid… but that’s what it looks like on the Mogollon Rim, years after wildfire devastated it’s beautiful landscape leaving nothing but fallen tinder in it’s wake all these years later.
I remain extremely appreciative and thankful that it wasn’t worse, and that we still have our home to return to, where so many don’t. We look over a scarred ridge that serves as a reminder of what came so close… and I look toward the green trees amongst the brown ones and smile at their tenacity and strength.
Probably 2 decades ago, Route 666 from Clifton, AZ to Springerville, AZ was renamed for political reasons to Rt 191. The road hasn’t changed much, and is nearly as scenic as it has been… other than the devastating Wallow Fire which went through the area in 2011.
It was awful to see that the damage which still scars the beautiful landscape some 7 years later. The Wallow Fire was started by an unattended campfire (an all too frequent story), and was Arizona’s largest fire in history, burning more than 500,000 acres.
While grass has grown back, and new growth aspens, the sticks and moonscape are still burned into the landscape telling it’s story of devastation and carelessness.
People still come to visit the area.. but it has never returned to it’s hey day, pre-fire. Many business had to close down due to lack of tourism, campers, and visitors to the area. Today it is but a ghost town of what it once was. All because of the carelessness of individuals who walked away from a campfire not properly extinguished.
Hutch Mountain Lookout tower is one of many throughout Arizona. It is on the National Historic Lookout Registry. It was built in 1936, and still serves as a manned major viewpoint for fires in the Flagstaff area. Located off of FR3 (Lake Mary Road) at Milepost 310, not too far down a couple good dirt roads.
The day we were there there were 9 fires in the area, all started by dry lightening, including the Tank Fire. The Tank Fire was in the very same area as the Tinder Fire which devastated our neighborhoods just a month before. As an eery reminder of those terrifying days, our neighboring subdivisions CCP 1&2 were issued pre-evacuation notices. Fortunately, the fire was quickly doused and completely contained.
From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.
The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.
At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk. Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.