Monsoon Horizon

July / August is our typical monsoon season. Storm clouds on the horizon bring great skies, wonderful sunrise and sunsets, and lush grass.

The lush grass brings out the animals happily feeding on the tender greens.

Nature takes care of its own as newborns are born around June to take advantage of the ample food and water to quickly nurture them to adolescent before the harsh winters are upon them.

It’s a beautiful season and great time to get out and enjoy its many blessings.

A-1 Lake

July / August is the perfect time of year to enjoy our lakes and rivers. The weather in Northern AZ is as good as it gets, and the water location yield great fishing and wonderful views.

We have hit over a dozen lakes this year, continuing the trend we decided to check out A-1 Lake outside of Pinetop-Lakeside.

The lakes not only offer great views, but amazing wildlife. This time of year is also full of baby animals of all types.

Early morning hours sometimes gift us with wonderful skies, great light, and early birds.

We love to see the innocence of youth in its beautiful environment.

A picture tells a story

I have been determined to get that great story telling shot, since I missed the shot here … https://kritterspix.com/2022/05/14/tucson-to-greens-peak-in-45-degrees/

The story I want to tell, is of an osprey catching dinner, trout in it’s talons, taking it back to the kids for dinner…. and of the photographer (that would be me… getting her shot).

We heard there were osprey at Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lakes. Along the way we saw herds of bull elk, deer, a bear cub, and coyote. At Willow Springs we found cute chipmunk willing to pose for the camera.

We headed to Hawley Lake hoping for better luck. We didn’t find any osprey, but we found turkey, elk, and bluebirds.

We kept moving, hoping for that illusive osprey shot. We found blue heron at Horseshoe Cienga Lake.

In the morning, still looking for osprey, we encountered beaver and baby Canadian Geese.

Still on a mission, we headed to Bog Tank for osprey, where we had seen them before.

We weren’t there 5 minutes, I had barely gotten out of the truck with my camera when we saw an osprey overhead… coming toward us.

With a lot of luck, (and a ton of practice), I actually captured my illusive shot. The osprey got his prize.. and I got mine. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you intend, but if you’re patient and take what comes one can get more than they sought.

Chasing the Weather

There is something to be said about chasing the weather.

I posted about Granite Dells here …. https://kritterspix.com/2022/03/25/blue-sky-blues/

Granite Dells is a picturesque lake with almost 2 miles of 1.4 billion year old Precambrian granite boulders protruding the water’s surface.

When we were there previously we got nothing but blue skies. So we decided to go back when weather predicted clouds. Tuesday was the day, according to the forecast. So we made reservations at the Watson Lake Park campground, feeling lucky to get a spot. Oh, but wait…. the forecast changed! Now it was Monday. After much cajoling of the City of Prescott, we were able to move our reservations to Monday.

This is the second time in a row we moved our reservations to accomodate the weather. Both re-scheduled launch times proved fruitful, as the weather the earlier night we arrived was the best it had been the whole time we were there.

It pays to be flexible and change with the weather.

Interestingly enough, Granite Dells is a sunrise spot as the sun peaks over the rocks to yield its lovely light. Of course, this can be a blessing or a curse with its harsh light and dark shadows. It all comes down to the clouds and how they may play out. Sunsets are equally opportunistic with the sun at one’s back and glows she may cast on the rocks, along with any light the clouds may cast on the water below.

For our re-scheduled visit, we got sunset light with clouds; and sunrise blue sky.

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.

North Rim, Grand Canyon

We frequent the North Rim of the Grand Canyon much more than the South Rim, in large part because we don’t actually enter the park.

We are able to enter the outside of the Park boundaries where we can camp and mostly enjoy great views in solitude. I will admit this time we saw more people on our trip than I think we ever have before. It was a treat to meet fellow travelers who were like minded and shared similar interests.

We drove all the way to Point Sublime (for which we obtained a Back Country Permit, as it is just over the Park Boundary) and camped for several days.

Surprisingly the leaves had hardly begun to change and temps were fairly warm. Unfortunately, we saw very few clouds. By the time we got home we were welcomed with cool temps, clouds, and rain. No matter what, though, it’s always a pleasure to enjoy nature and a good view.

Check out more pix here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/09/26/rainbow-trail/

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.

Snow Foraging

Elk forages through the snow with bull elk behind.
Buck prowls through the deep snow.

I never realized the trouble our animals had trudging through thick snow. With the threat of predators, swift winds, and deep snow, animals hunker down during large snow falls.

I can only imagine them running in heavy snow, with unknown ground coverage, rocks, and trees beneath their feet.

It made me happy for what we have, and not have to fend for ourselves or our food. It can be a harsh world out there, so take the time to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

See my other posts, here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/29/a-world-of-friends/ and here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/27/we-got-snow/.

Blizzard

Snow falls on road along Mogollon Rim.

Ok. That may be pushing it a bit. But we got 2″ in an hour along the Mogollon Rim. It was a virtual blizzard for a short time.

Which was a big surprise to us considering we just got back from 3 nights camping at Alstrom Point waiting for a single cloud! (See post here.. https://kritterspix.com/2020/12/12/alstrom-point/)

It was quite the winter wonderland, and made for a great way to kick off the holiday season. We loved it!