Friday, March 8, 2013

Ironwood Forest National Monument

On Wednesday, I finally found it. Like a lot of people comment: there are more saguaro, grease wood, and any other type of cacti than ironwood trees. So the idea of a forest is rather strange. It's remote and lonely, even though it's not that far from civilization. I was so close an my first trip out, that on the way back, I backtracked to where I had previously been lost. I want a companion the next time and lunch in my backpack.

The two pictures above are the same except that I was playing with Elements.

In the picture above, the dark spot between the two biggest saguaro is an ironwood. Below, you can see how lonely the area is. I wanted to go off on a side road, and the Tracker was begging me, "Mom, let's go four-wheeling!" Incidentally, on the left side of the picture, the dead tree is an ironwood!

This morning's sunrise. As I post this, the wind is howling outside and the temp has dropped 20 from this morning's balmy 63.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sort of Lost

My adventure of choice last Friday was to find the Ironwood Forest. Naturally, I thought I knew where it was and where I was going. Not true. Decided to tackle that another day, and ended up here at the El Camino del Cerro Trailhead. It's the end of El Camono del Cerro Rd as far west as you can go. Met some nice people on their way up, and another couple who had just come down. I didn't go up, because the boys were with me. Another day.

These shots out my side mirror always intrigue me. This really wasn't the best time of day to be taking pictures, but I did it anyway hoping to photo shop them to something decent.

This is at the Red Hills Visitors Center in Saguaro National Park where I thought I was supposed to meet a birding group Saturday morning. I was supposed to be at Tucson Mountain Park. Oh well, I stayed and took advantage of the morning. This forest of saguaros look like they are in an aerobics class with their arms in the air.

This a view of the visitors center from a trail in the arroyo. The remains of the ironwood tree below reminded me of two animals fighting.

Above is the carcass of a saguaro with fungus growing on the outside. I'm not sure it's really fungus, but it made an interesting picture. It's in the parking lot as you go into the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

This is the Ironwood Picnic area, and I guess it gets its name from the huge ironwood tree at the very end of the road. The people are some birders that I joined up with to see a few birds and take some pictures. Really  nice people; all snow birds except for the leader who is a local.

According to our guide, this lady is a pyrrhuloxia or desert cardinal. Naturally, her male counterpart is much more colorful.

Just fooling with the camera and the ironwood. I actually have one of these in my yard. I look at the mesquite as the New Mexico species. Below is what I call "capturing texture" in photography.

I have big plans for this coming week, as long as I don't get lost.