Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I challenge anybody to have had a better start to their day than I had.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
By the way, if you ever need to do conversion quickly and easily and you're in front of the computer then Google will do it for you in their search box. Just type "115f in c" and voila.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
About 5 minutes after I got to the top a vagrant arrived. This was a bit surprising as all the other hikers had high tech hiking boots, camel backs, Kevlar walking poles, altimeters, and heart rate monitors. He had a pair of torn grey flannel pants, a dirty button down shirt and unlaced very worn trainers. His hair was dirty and platted and some of it tied back with string and when he smiled through his matted beard you could see that alternating teeth were missing.
I had this urge to shout out "dad" but then I realised that although my father aspires to a status such as that he stills has far to go to get there.
He was carry a plastic shopping bag in his hand and from it he produced an almost finished bottle of water, some iced tea and a disposable camera. I offered to take his photo for him however he said that he could take his own but I'm sure that he just didn't trust me and thought I'd run off with his camera. We chatted for a short while and I learned that he was up there to watch the new moon. It was only going to be visible for a short while as it chased the setting sun in the east. I was somewhat surprised at his knowledge of the stars and moon phases but considering that I know next to nothing he could have told me anything and I would have believed it.
As I was about to leave he opened his plastic bag and pulled out some paper and what I thought was tobacco and rolled himself a joint. I started my journey down the mountain with Wern Snell of Colitas rising up through the air.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Wikipedia tells me that a meerkat comes from the mongoose family. So that leads me to wonder if that animal is in fact a mongoose? But looking at some pictures of mongeese tell me that it probably isn't.
...Pause while he goes off and does some more searching...
Okay I think I have the answer. I found to images of a Ring Tailed Cat (Bassariscus astutus) and I believe that is what it is.
Here is a video clip that I took at the top of Piestewa Peak today. This animal that looks like a small fox but has a ringed tail and the demeanor of a cat comes strolling along and hangs out with me at the top. I poured some water into a hole in the rocks at my feet and he (she/it) drank a fair amount of it. I'm sure he was looking for food but I know that's wrong so I didn't give him any.
Anyway, what is he? What type of desert animal is this. Very friendly and laid back, almost domesticated. And what the hell was he doing 1,200 feet higher than the closest house if he is a scavenger? (I'm assuming that people have been feeding him but at the peak? Why not lower down?)
The other persons voice that you hear in the video is someone who arrived at the summit with me and he said that he's been hiking to that peak for 20 years and had never seen anything like that. I think that 20 years is a hell of a long time to get to the top considering that it only took me 36 minutes but then that heavy panting you hear at the beginning of the video is the 20-year hiker catching his breath.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
The movie is based on a short story by EL Doctorow and follows the journey of a young woman as she travels across the country for ten years. Apart from Donald Sutherland the case will also contain Jessica Chastain, Rupert Friend, Theresa Russell, and Shannon Whirry.
Enough about the movie, it's not even out yet. Some friends were in town and we'd just been evicted from our local mall because our friends had their Chihuahua with them and our mall security weren't having any Chihuahua in their mall.
On seeing Greasy in the name of the restaurant I guessed that they weren't going to be as fussy and they allowed Timone (the Chihuahua) to run riot and knock over blades of grass and terrorize a colony of ants.
If you're ever in the town of Carefree, AZ, I highly recommend you try the Big Kahuna Chicken burger and the sweet potato fries with a vanilla malt shake. I do not believe that combination can be improved on. My wife thinks that the sauce they put on that burger was the best she's ever tasted (I would certainly put it in the top five) and I completely agree with her that the vanilla malt shake was the best that I have ever had.
Big Earl's Greasy Eats is at 6141 E Cave Creek Rd, Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Tell them that Big Guy sent you - but only if you want to completely confuse them because they have absolutely no idea who I am.
Two weeks ago while walking in Reach 11 I found their graveyard. Hundreds of tumbleweed tucked under the Honey Mesquite, Palo Verdes and Creosote Bushes. See photo for evidence.
This is the Elephant's Graveyard for Tumbleweed.
We came across a baby rattlesnake in the first 10 minutes of the hike which set the tone for a very skittish wife. We almost missed the rattler because it looked like a stick lying across the trail. After that all sticks were potential serpents.
Surprisingly, we saw very little wildlife activity after the sun fell. I was expecting to catch the reflection of pairs of eyes in the bushes every now and then but nothing.
We when got back to the car my wife said: "There's no way I would have gone out there with you if it was this dark when we started."
The con worked.
The Echo Canyon trail is 1.2 miles long (one way) and 1,264 feet to the summit at 2,704 feet.
Time going up was 45 minutes and down was 21 minutes with a 15 minute rest at the top.
The picture shows a rail to help hikers up and down the extremely steep parts. This is one of two rails. On the was down I sat on the rail and slid instead of walking.
The other way of getting to the top of Camelback Mountain is by approaching it from the east side on the Cholla Trail which is longer (1.5 miles) but not as steep.
I'm planning to hike with some friends from the south to the north rim of the Grand Canyon later this year and so I'm going to have to do plenty more of this type of hiking to train for that.