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Climbing Picacho Peak….

I’ve driven past this landmark on the way to and from Tucson innumerable times over the last two and a half decades…finally climbed to the top….kinda cool.

Tried to get there at sunrise to see the grand walls adorned with the fresh morning’s light….

Picacho Peak from Toltec Road Overpass

Parked outside the gate to Picacho Peak State Park…in the below image.  For anyone who enjoys the Wikipedia take on things, here’s another link…which addresses the redundancy of the name.  “Picacho” means “peak” in Spanish….so this is Peak Peak State Park….

Picacho Peak sunrise from the state park's entrance gate

The trail is going to take us up to the uppermost point on the prominence to the left…the eastern summit.

Hunter trail-head, start of the journey

Hunter Trail goes in a zig-zag switchback manner up the front of the slope in the above image, reaches the saddle at the notch on the right, and then drops down over 200 feet and then skirts along the south side heading east, and finally climbs up and up and up…..

Approaching the saddle of Picacho Peak, looking southeast from the north side

The above photo shows the view looking north and south from the front of the slope in the image just above it….and the photo below shows the saddle…looking east.  And yes, that is the “peak”….the destination…at the far left side of the image.

Picacho east summit and saddle viewed from west end of the saddle

Hmmm….lovely defacing of the placard…the peak is believed to be about 22 million years old….

Placard at saddle of Picacho Peak

Looking north and west from the saddle in the below image….a crumpled-blanket-looking-desert….

Looking southwest from the saddle on Picacho Peak

And now heading down from the saddle (below) with the double steel cable hand-rails…going waaaaay down the steep slope.

Double cable handrails heading down from the saddle on Picacho Peak

Looking directly south from the above slope…out over the irrigated desert’s fields….

Looking south at desert fields and desert hills

In the below image, we have made it safely down that severe slope and have headed east along the south side of the mount…climbed up a bit, and have arrived at something like an arena or amphitheater in the rock’s backside….

South side arena of Picacho Peak

Saguaro cacti, Palo Verde trees/shrubs, and Creosote/Grease-wood bushes….  The below photo is what is inside of the shadows in the right side of the above photo…

Inside the shadows of arena on south side of Picacho Peak

A singular cross on Golgotha….?

Western wall of arena on south side of Picacho Peak

Another incredibly steep climb upward with the double cable hand-rails….nearing the top….

Double cable handrails approaching summit plane of Picacho Peak

My only company on the summit….

Picacho Peak summit wildlife

In the below image, we’re looking north and west from the top….fascinating green veins where the water runs in its season…

Looking northwest from Picacho Peak summit

And looking north and east from the summit, in the below image, over the irrigated fields…over the freeway heading toward Tucson to the right…and over Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch…in that white hangar-like structure…toward left of center…

Looking northeast from Picacho Peak summit

Looking west from the east and highest summit…over the western summit….

Looking due west from Picacho Peak summit

And now looking further west from that western summit….

Picacho Peak lower range viewed from western summit

In the below image, the eastern summit proper…the Picacho Peak….viewed from the slope of the western summit.

Picacho Peak summit proper

Looking up at the “trail” we just descended…heading down on the Sunset Vista Trail…which loops back around the Picacho Peak massif, heading west….

Looking back up at double cable handrails on Sunset Vista trail coming down from summit

The southern side of the mount just west of Picacho Peak massif, from the Sunset Vista Trail….

Desert mountain range west of Picacho Peak massif

And the western end of the massif…looking east….with Picacho Peak proper being around and behind….to the far right.

Picacho Peak massif viewed from the west on Sunset Vista trail

So, now we’ve seen Picacho Peak up close and personal…which will change how we “see” it from this day forward.

I hope you enjoyed the hike…thank you for coming along with me….

A view from Marshall Lake, Arizona

A last reward after a long hike in northern Arizona…a view of the San Francisco Peaks from the shore of Marshall Lake (marsh) in the Coconino National Forest, just south and east of Flagstaff.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in that cabin in the distance….?

Clouds over San Francisco Peaks from Marshall Lake

into the treasure box

The camera-phone six hundred and some miles away clicked in my daughter’s hand…fingers poked a message into the screen, and the image was transported across digital waves of something/nothingness and caused a small vibration from my phone…and I found it, many hours later, a tiny treasure…full of meaning and memories…of little ones cuddling on my lap, whispered words of “Papa’s mountains,” and the feel of a trail underfoot…images cascading in flashes of recall…sounds of water crashing or quietly rolling down the canyon…a scent of warm summer pine and wildflower…or the comforting wood-smoke on an icy morning while snow crunched underfoot….

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I have crossed that bridge dozens of times…under the thick canopy of spring and summer fullness in the trees above, while the heady aroma of the mountains blew light or strong down the canyon….or atop a foot or more of snow piled high and reassuring, while I stood or knelt and made images of Christmas-tree-like reflections in the ice and snow rimmed stream…and then gone home to little one’s arms around my neck…”Did you have a nice hike, Papa…?”

 

*Iphound treasure courtesy of K. Brill, 8/31/16, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah.

City Paint Phoenix 17 – Tribute to Bowie

When a couple of you mentioned that the man in the last installment of City Paint Phoenix looked like David Bowie, it reminded me that I had previously observed a section of city wall that had actually been decorated with images that were very distinctly Bowie.

Bowie-mural-left

The mural is located at 1715 N 7th Street in Phoenix, about one block north of McDowell Road for any local readers….

bowie-mural-right

While I was never a fan, I understand that David Bowie was an iconic figure in the music world for a period that spanned decades.

Bowie-mural-panel-1

So instead of blabbing on and on about the guy and his career from any research that I would have had to conduct in order to do so, I will simply offer that I find the mural and the skill of the artist to be rather compelling….

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And lastly, to give proper credit for the work, I will close the post with a panel sharing the artist’s information…Maggie Keane…please click on her highlighted name to learn a little more about her.

Bowie-mural-artist-info

As always, thank you for visiting and viewing another presentation of iPhound beauty….  If you’d like to view other presentations of street art from both Phoenix and Salt Lake City, you can click on this link to be taken to a continuous scroll of the posts.

Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

It’s been close to two months since I made the almost 190 mile trek north to flee the city and its trappings and find a bit of solitude and soul restoration in the wilderness of the Kaibab National Forest (Williams District) located just south and west of Flagstaff.

Lenticular clouds over San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff Arizona

These lenticular clouds were an added treat as I found the silhouette of the San Francisco peaks in the distance…looking east.  Humphrey’s Peak is at the far left of the ridge, the highest point in Arizona.  You might remember my hike to the top in this post.

Morning trail along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

The weather forecast for the day said it was going to be partly cloudy up here…and those clouds in the first image were the only ones I saw for the entire six hours on the trail…  No cloud cover, but excellent canopy cover in the forest….

High desert prairie, Williams Arizona

The day’s hike is actually the Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail…an 11-12 mile loop that starts in the Ponderosa pine forest, crosses some meadows, meanders up into an oak and cedar forest that covers KA Hill…goes back down into the Ponderosa, and then skirts the Canyon.

Entering Oak forest while climbing KA Hill

The view above is entering that oak forest…and the view below is from atop KA Hill, looking east again at the San Francisco Peaks.  That lighter area along the road is where I stopped to make the photo for my recent post “yellow…along the way…

Looking east toward San Francisco Peaks from atop KA Hill

Coming out of the oak forest and making a fast descent from KA Hill through a mature Ponderosa forest quickly leads to this open area that looks like a lava field that is slowly being covered with wild grasses and less mature pines.  I don’t know if this area has been burned in the last century, but the majority of the trees were much smaller than the surrounding forest.  Maybe it’s because they’re growing in a lava field….

Lava-covered prairie

The drainage from the above field leads down into the natural pond/cistern in the below photo….

High desert forest pond beneath lava prairie

…and continues down into this stream bed that leads back into another forested area….

Sycamore Canyon forest and stream

….and probably less than a mile later, leads to this surprise….

Lava walls and lily pads

….a lava-wall-bordered pond with lily-pads…actual lily-pads…in a pond…in the high desert of Arizona…..  Wow….!

Cliff-sides and lily-pad pond

Two of the three people I saw on the trail all day….and their two dogs….

People at Pomeroy Tank, Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

Another of the “Pomeroy Tanks” that are important water sources for the wildlife in the area.

Greenery and stream-bed

Heading back into the forest proper…crossing a dry stream-bed with more lava rocks….beautiful green….

Under cover again on forest trail, Kaibab National Forest

The loop eventually comes to what are referred to as the Sycamore Falls…behind me and to the right in the below image…which was not flowing…and which is a favorite spot for rock-climbers to practice their skills.

Canyon long-view from Sycamore Canyon Falls

You can easily see the two guys in the below photo…but how about the guy in the one above….?

Rappelling down Sycamore Canyon Waterfall lava cliffs

I stopped to have a snack at the below location…on the eastern ridge of the canyon (looking west) with the falls to the right…where you can see a man in white above where the other two guys were climbing….

Time for lunch along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

I think the stream-bed would be an excellent place to explore…for hours and hours…maybe even days or months…..

Wrong turn cliff-side

I made a wrong turn…or took the path less-traveled that took me to the cliff-edge of the canyon…and had to turn-around, retrace my steps…find the real trail…back to the loop, but it was a beautiful diversion…with lots of compelling green.

Something's out of place, Century Plant along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

The trail eventually led up toward more of a plateau again…forest covered…with strong breezes and winds whipping and almost roaring through the tree-tops.  With the lack of cloud-cover that I thought I would have for the day, the winds were welcome in keeping things from getting too warm when walking outside of the cover of the forest.  Almost as surprising as finding the lily-pad pond shared above was the discovery of these Century Plants with their bright yellow bouquets…and attendant butterfly and humming bird.

Walking the Rim, along Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail

Another view of the actual canyon rim…provoking thoughts of what the place must have looked like when it was forming in the aftermath of the San Francisco Peaks‘ volcanic eruptions in those 200-and-some millions of years ago….

Long view of Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest

Thank you for visiting….I hope you enjoyed going with me along the Sycamore Canyon Rim Trail…amid the green, forested north of Arizona….

PS….and for what it’s worth, this is my 1,000th post on WordPress…..  Thank you for accompanying me on this journey, as well.  I’ve met a bunch of wonderful people here and a solid couple of handfuls of very special friends over the past seven years.  :)

City Paint Phoenix 16 – King Wong Whisper….

It’s been a while since I shared any of the city’s building art, but here’s another installment in the City Paint Phoenix series…something that I have named “King Wong Whisper,” as it appears that the young man is suggesting that we speak quietly…or maybe he’s encouraging us to not tell a secret….

King Wong mural 1

The images have been tucked-away in my phone since May of this year….  I was “out in the field” for work and happened to notice the brilliant colors on the side of the building as I drove past.  And I knew that I absolutely had to turn around and take a minute or two to grab a couple of photos.

King Wong mural 2

Amazing work…in my opinion…by an unknown artist on the north side of a strip mall located at 2545 N 32nd Street in Phoenix…”King Wong Chinese Restaurant.”  Click on the link to view the menu…and to see if you’re in the delivery area….

King Wong mural 3

Another bit of iPhound art…..

Fisher Point perspective

Just over two years ago, I took my first “Arizona hike.”  I had journeyed up to the Coconino National Forest just south of Flagstaff and ventured along part of the Arizona Trail to the convenient turn-around location of “Fisher Point.”  In reflecting upon this particular landscape feature, I have referred to it as a stone tee-pee, as that’s how it appears….

Lewis Point with stone tee-pee and human perspective

I suppose the mass might appear to be large enough on its own, but I thought the miniature human bodies would help provide a bit more perspective.  The “doorway” of the bottom of the rock is a bit of a cave that doesn’t go too far into the rock…maybe 20-30 feet.  Fisher Point, by the way (unless I’m mistaken), is atop this particular stone tee-pee.  There is a trail that takes curious hikers up through the draw to the left of this rock, winds up and along the hillside, and finally deposits them at a safe distance from the edge that still allows a greater view of the canyons and meadows that exist around the Point.

yellow….along the way….

The prairie had a name…posted on a wooden placard roadside…west of Flagstaff and east of Williams…close to my destination and far, far away from home…that elemental and figurative place that exists in heart and mind…and has an elusive definition that encompasses both desire and acceptance….

Yellow wildflowers in a field of prairie grass east of Williams, Arizona