Milk Ranch Road

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Just off the Forest Road 300 is an obscure road marked FR 218:  Milk Ranch Road.  Along it are magnificent overlooks of the Mogollon Rim below.  One can find an open spot in the woods or down a long rocky rough road to be rewarded by this great expanse.

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If you’re lucky you’ll be blessed with amazing skies, puffy clouds, and remarkable sunsets and sunrises.  If you’re not, just enjoy the view, a nice picnic and peaceful, relaxing visit.

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For more from this trip and Lessons from a Squirrel check out my post HERE.

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Smokey Rim

It’s hard for me to imagine that this was our first trip to the rim this year.  It’s June already, and we just haven’t found time.  Life sometimes just gets away from one.

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Unfortunately another deterrent has been that much of ‘our’ rim has been closed due to a local fire…. WAY TOO CLOSE to home.  Only 20 miles away, this one was a scary one.  It was more the area that made it difficult for firefighters.  The rim is very steep with a lot of dead and down, fallen pine needles and thick dry forest due to years of Forest Service policy of no-burning.  This particular steep area can’t be reached by fire fighters, so all they could do was hold it back and try to avert it from cresting over the ridge.

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The good news of it is, that it had top priority in the Southwest, which meant that it got all the resources they needed.  Local control was handed over to the Feds, as they brought over 1200 firefighters, helicopters, and planes to douse it out and work the fire lines.  The comforting fact was that they were clearly working it hard… we had regular meetings held locally by the Forest Service to give us status reports and answer any questions we had.   It is now, thankfully, completely under control… and smoke is dissipating.

So we thought we’d make a trip to the rim – at least the outskirts of the area that isn’t closed – to see if we could get some pix.

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The animals were out if force, seemingly enjoying the nice day just as we were.

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We couldn’t actually get close enough to the fire to see any smoke, other than that on the murky horizon.  But we enjoyed a very pleasant and relaxing day out – and wondered, what has taken us so long?

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First Snow

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I must admit, I never ever thought I could get used to snow.  I hate the cold.

But never say never.  Now that we live somewhere where we have 4 seasons, I enjoy every one of them… including the snow.  There is something pristine and innocent about the beauty and cleanness of snow.

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It hangs on the trees and coats the ground in white fluffy clumps.  If one is lucky, the first snow of the year coincides with the end of fall… and changing of the colors, yielding an intersection of seasons in all it’s beauty.  Check out my Snow Trees post on kritterspix.com.

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Limestone Ranch

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We like to frequent the Mogollon Rim as it is close to us, and bountiful with it’s awesome nature and scenery.  We always feel so fortunate to live so close to something so stunning, and are always finding something new and interesting.

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On a recent trip we ran across this old cabin.  There was no signage to get there, but this old cabin was well kept and maintained.  We wandered around it and were mesmerized by how well built it was.. and how lasting.  We estimated it was built in the 1930’s, and still standing.  We could imagine that some old rancher set up home here… cutting down local timbers, perhaps even mixing his own concrete to chink the lumber walls.  Corrals still stood from apparent horses, and old farm implements strewn about allowing the tenants to live off the land.

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All that’s left is the evidence of a past life, an era gone-by, and the new tenants that stand guard.

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Milky Way over Mogollon Rim

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The Mogollon Rim in Northern Arizona is very near to our home, for which I feel very fortunate.  The views are stunning, and varied.  Every overlook uncovers another view, with great ledges, moss, rocks and trees… truly a photographers haven.

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June is one of the best months of the year to see the Milky Way.  It is low on the horizon and bright in the sky.  With a new moon, it’s the perfect time to get great Milky Way photographs.  So with such a great opportunity we took full advantage of it, and got out to see if we could photograph the Milky Way over the Mogollon Rim.

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The challenge is to get decent foreground, but far enough away to be able to see it against the starry sky background.  The rocks in the front just don’t show up.

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So I selected 2 trees… one on each side of the Milky Way and did a 7 photo panorama to show the whole galaxy.

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Cool!

Then, I did a star trails photo.  This shot is 75 individual shots, each taken for 30 sec, over an hour… then stitched together to show the movement of the stars over time.

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