Hutch Mountain

 

hutch lo far_IR.jpgHutch 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.

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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.

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From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.

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The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.

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At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk.  Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.

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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.

Leaf Peeping

forestcolorPSi.JPGFall cometh early to Northern AZ.   I have told anyone that would listen, winter is coming.  It’s getting cold early and fast.  We’ve already had overnight lows below freezing.  So with it, the leaves are popping.  We have been out several times to see them, and plan on several more trips.  I think October 1 is the earliest I have ever seen this abundance of color.  Usually it’s not until at least 2nd or 3rd week of October.  My guess is by then we’ll be taking photos of snow instead of leaves.

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But we’re loving it.  The beauty is incredible.  I don’t know how I every lived in the valley without getting the 4 seasons.  I’m addicted… and love it.

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Talk about photographic fodor.  The color variations and possibilities are stunning.   We packed a lunch and had an amazing view amidst the burst of color we found ourselves in.

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Fantastic!

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The one that got away

Unfortunately, despite our many trips to the Mogollon Rim looking for animals, we just haven’t seen that many.  I don’t know where they are, but they just aren’t here.  It’s rut season here on the mountain, so the bull elk are collecting their harems.  We did just see a small herd of elk the other day.

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We saw a few little babies born this year with fading spots, and few cow elk, along with a young single spike bull.

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But the one I really wanted to get a photo of was the one on the way out and I only got a fleeting view of this big bull.

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Darn.  He was just the one that got away.  It astounds me how these big boys can walk (not to mention run) through our tangled forests with those big racks on their heads.

Maybe next time.

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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