Just some random stuff from recent hikes.
This was my view for about a half hour on Monday. I had the entire saddle (the apex) on the Pass Mountain Trail all to myself so I just sat there quietly and contemplated things while eating an oatmeal/raisin granola bar and drinking water. Every time a breeze came up and rustled the bushes I laughed (though not maniacally!) because it reminded me of the movie The Happening. Thankfully, the flora was content that day and I lived to tell this story. Oh, this photo might look like a repeat of an old shot, but I took it with my new wide-angle lens.
For the lack of a better word, this is the "bark" of a dead and dried up Cholla cactus. Prickly pear seems to dry up similarly. It feels almost like plastic and since it's completely dehydrated, it's feather light. It's structure fascinates the hell out of me for some reason, perhaps because of the repeating pattern. Yes, I really do like shiny things and repeating things. I wanted to bring it home but it's probably better for everything and everyone to leave cool stuff where you find it. This photo will have to do.
This is one of the many rocks strewn all around the local desert. I came across this one about 3 hours into my last hike. Back in the good old days, the Phoenix valley was volcanically active and these fair sized gems remain to tell the story. It almost looks like super-sonic raindrops pelted it to death but I'm assuming the marks are caused by the way it cooled after it was ejected. It's weird how the larger boulders don't look like this, only the basketball and slightly larger size rocks do.
This is a cave on the opposite side of the shallow valley that divides Pass Mountain from the Goldfield mountains. It's a pretty good distance away but I'm really not sure how far. All I do know is that I was at full zoom to get it. Honestly, I don't know anything about it other than the fact that I want to peek inside. Nobody seems to have written about it. Any references to caves refers back to the Wind Cave Trail which is on the other side of Pass Mountain. From Google Earth I did find a spur trail that leads off in that general direction so I'm going to assume that's where it leads but since the last section of the trail is obscured by a dark shadow, I can't be sure. I must see inside it and that's all there is to it. Yes, I do carry an LED flashlight in my pack. Though I hold no hopes of finding ancient artifacts from a long lost civilzation, I equally hope to not find empty beer cans or far worse.
Finally, the obligatory gecko photo. She was such a good sport in giving into my photo shoot request. I discovered her on the last leg of the ascent to the saddle, right where you have to start scrambling up solid rock. I named her Pierre because I haven't got a clue what sex she is and I wanted to be completely fair. We observed each other for several minutes and then I gently shooed her away, just to remind her that not all humans are nice. Parting was sad but I hope to see her again.