Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sawtooth & Tierra Blanca Mtns Solo Backpack - ABDSP / BLM Wilderness

Last minute decision to go for a solo backpack trip that was a big loop thru the Tierra Blanca & Sawtooth Mountain ranges. This was an area I had not been to before and was on my todo list. I hiked close to 20 miles total in a day and a half and saw lots of great stuff, definitely worthy of another trip. I have been trying to use just my little Canon S100 camera lately and it takes great pictures when there is good lighting but fails miserably in low light and for star shots. Even with the CHDK installed it still just cannot handle low light photography well.

On my drive out I stopped at the wind turbine in Ocotillo that recently caught fire
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Wind Turbine that caught on fire

They say a picture is worth a thousand words..so here are a few thousand in no particular order of the trip...

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Fishhook Cactus

Ocotillo Wind Turbines at night from the top of the Sawtooth Range
Sunrise from the Sawtooth Mountains looking east at the red lights of Ocotillo Wind Farm

Sunrise from the Sawtooth Mountains

Gorgeous View of Inner Pasture in the morning

Checking out my sleep setup in the morning

Big Prints
Big Prints

Little Prints
Little Prints

Big & Little Prints collide
Big & Little Prints Together

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Drainage I took down into Inner Pasture
Looking down the drainage I decided to descend

Found the jet wreckage that I believe goes with the ejection seat I found on this trip
Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

Airplane Wreckage

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I saw footprints from 3-4 people that looked like they went up to Red Top, if that was you let me know!

Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 3

A selfie, not sure what inspired this but there you have it....me....only took 20 minutes of fiddling to get that damn camera to balance on a rock just right

More photos in my gallery here


Monday, January 12, 2015

Fish Creek Mountains Backpack Trip - BLM

Tom and I did a quick single overnight backpack up into the Fish Creek Mtns. According to the ABDSP visitor map there are a lot of areas you can explore in the Fish Creek Mtns that won't take you into the Carrizo Impact Area which is closed to public access. We hiked around the Fish and Eagle peaks area which is BLM territory. Pretty interesting area, you can find old mining sites and some old artillery shrapnel buried into the hillsides.

Sunset near the railroad tracks

Checking my maps while I was waiting for Tom to show up

Fish Peak in the distance and my '81 Toyota 4WD Pickup
My truck at the Fishcreek Mountains

Spotted some balloons way off in the distance, as I hiked over to get them they blew away off into the opposite direction
Balloons off in the distance, they flew away and I had to scale tall mountains to get them

But ultimately I got them...at the expense of Tom taking a break and waiting for me to go scale another ridge to get them

Lots of remains of the mining efforts in those hills are still there

Looking down into the mine

Old mine

Thanks to Tom for this next shot, I gave it no thought but I guess all he saw was my life insurance policy double..hahaha...
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You can find left over artillery and shrapnel in the hills
Big Ammo

There are several pieces of shrapnel in this photo, can you find them? The rusted color of the steel blends right in with the natural desert patina of the boulders
Shrapnel everywhere, can you spot it?

Sunrise before we head to go back to the trucks

Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 13
Total Mylar Balloons 13


Sunday, January 4, 2015

6 Days in the Turtle and Orocopia Mountains

We were supposed to spend 6 days exploring the Turtle Mountains but the cold, windy weather changed our plans and after 4 days we drove over to the Orocopia Mountains to spend the last couple of days, it was marginally warmer. I really wanted to get to Castle Rock but that didn't happen, we mostly hiked around the Lost Arch Inn and Mexican Hat trail. Don't expect to get very close in your car (legally) to the Turtles, it is mostly Wilderness boundaries now and most of the old jeep roads in are posted as no vehicle access. Browns Camp and the Lost Arch Inn are easily accessible though.

Turtle Mountains

First night camp near Browns Camp and the Mexican Hat Trail
Unamed Peak

Sunrises were great
Sunrise at Browns Camp


Some more starry night shots
Milky Way

My camp setup just after dusk
My Camp Setup for the evening, near Table #2

The Lost Arch Inn
Lost Arch Inn

Lost Arch Inn

Lost Arch Inn

Lost Arch Inn

The Car Corral
The Car Corral

The Car Corral

Coffin Spring area
Coffin Spring Trail

Coffin Spring Trail

The Lisa Dawn Cupola Mine is was left as is but with a large metal cover
Lisa Dawn Cupola

Lisa Dawn Cupola

Mexican Hat and trail area
Mexican Hat

Unamed peak at sunrise

Unamed peak

Here are some photos of the Heritage Trail area and Mopah/Umpah Peaks. We didn't get a chance to hike to them, the weather kept us away with strong winds, rain and some light snow
Heritage Trail

Mopah and Umpah Peaks

Joel near the Heritage Trail

I even broke out the bug hut and tarp for the weather
I put up the tarp and bug tent for the strong winds and rain, we got some light snow also

I guess they call them the Turtle's for a reason
Tortoise Shell

We packed up and started out for the Orocopia Mountains but first stopped by West Well, lots of wild burros out there
Wild Burros

Some petros and gorgeous colors in the hills

Nice colors in the sand and rock

We took the Red Canyon Trail into the Orocopia's, it was a fairly easy 2WD high clearance road
Red Canyon Trail in the Orocopia Mountains

Lots of great colors down in the canyon
Red Canyon

We camped out near Gucci Spring and hiked around the area
Gucci Spring

Gary pointing out the wildlife watering hole
Wildlife water tank at Gucci Spring

A Selfie at our camp near Gucci Spring, it was damn cold every night, teens and low 20's, freezing bottles each night

More sunset stuff
Sunset/Moonrise at Gucci Spring

Salt Creek bridge on the Bradshaw Trail, that is Rabbit Peak way off in between the bridge, it has snow on it
Salt Creek Trestle and Rabbit Peak with snow

Last day out we hiked Painted Canyon in the Mecca Hills, a really neat canyon I thought
Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon

Mt Jacinto in the distance with snow

You can see Gary down at the bottom of this huge canyon wall
Gary in Painted Canyon

Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 6
6 Mylars this trip

You can see more photos here

Turtle Mountains Photos

Orocopia Mountains Photos