Sunday, May 9, 2010

Needles, Arches and Negro Bill Canyon Hikes

Okay, I am updating the last three major hikes I've been on.  At the end of April, a friend (Louise Murch) brought down her friend Sally to hike in the Needles area.  I was off the same days they were here so I hiked with them as much as I could.  They'd been planning to hike up over Wooden Shoe and also to Druid Arch.  I'd been wanting to make it to Druid Arch for a long time so I was really excited when they said where they were going.  The hike was a killer, but we all made it.  I was sore the next day, but during the hike I kept stopping to smell the wildflowers and take pictures of them.  I also LOVE the colors and shapes of the rocks in the Needles, so I took too many pictures of rocks.

Below Wooden Shoe

Wooden Shoe Arch
The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park is about 60 miles south of Moab, visible from Dead Horse Point and the Island in the Sky.  Instead of being up on a mesa looking down, we were inside the rock formations looking up at them.  We could also see the high red cliffs of Wingate sandstone that make up the Island in the Sky.  The weather was stormy for most of the trip, but there were periods of blue sky when we could see the La Sal Mountains covered in snow.  It made a great contrast to the red rocks.

Inside a joint between rocks.

Louise Murch and me at Druid Arch

Isn't it amazing?  Druid Arch, way worth the hike.

The Fiery Furnace is in Arches National Park.  The name comes from the fins of dark red sandstone, rising up to look like flames.  There are no trails in the Fiery Furnace but enough groups have been through and my friend had been there enough times we made it through pretty quickly.  There are hidden arches and great rock formations inside, along with a flower--biscuitroot (Lomatium latilobum) that is endemic to the area--it grows only between fins of entrada sandstone.

Inside the Fiery Furnace

Fun places to explore.

Finally, the last hike I did on my own.  I really needed to be outside but as I started late in the day, I only intended a short walk.  I ended up hiking five miles, up Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory Arch, which is really a natural bridge.  I loved the sound of the water and the birds singing, and the loads of wildflowers I passed.  I took pictures of some of them but mostly concentrated on the hike.  This is what I'd planned to do on my days off all spring, so finally getting out to do these hikes was a great start.  That's why I started the blog in the first place!  So here are some pictures to go along with the descriptions.

Blooming claret cup cactus in Negro Bill Canyon.

Hanging garden.

Morning Glory Bridge.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sonoran Desert Wildflowers and More!

When I started this blog I imagined myself being a lot more faithful to it than I actually am.  Anyway, here are the pictures and some details from my last two trips to Arizona!  The first time this year I went down was to visit my family--step parents and aunt and uncle from Anacortes, WA.  We went for some hikes and played a lot of cards.  The second time was in April and it was to see the desert wildflowers and visit the botanical gardens with my friend Arran from Canada.  She's as much into plants as I am so we had a great time!  We actually spent the entire day at the botanical gardens!

The family hiking in White Tanks recreational area.  We hiked the Waterfall Trail. It had just rained so it was great to see so much water in that area.

Isn't this awesome scenery?  I love the saguaros and chollas!

California poppy

Fairy duster

Arran stopping to smell the flowers.

Dove nesting in a saguaro.

I love this sign.  I've been fascinated with flowers for the longest time.  I love that they're only here for a little while, then they produce seeds to create the next generation of plants and flowers.  Maybe my next post will be on the wildflowers of this area...or my latest trip to the Needles where we saw all kinds of flowers and very cool rock formations.

Desert spiny lizard.  I followed it until it stopped long enough for me to take a picture.

So I know it's only 8 pictures of two very different, scenery and plant-filled trips but I didn't want to go on too long.  As soon as I download pictures from the Needles I'll post that trip as well.  I've got some half-days coming up at work too so maybe I'll get out into the Island in the Sky area more and have something to say about that!