Hiking the Lime Kiln Trail – Cottonwood, AZ

One way we celebrate the winter season in the North Phoenix, AZ area is to take advantage of the wonderful weather that normally hovers in the 65-75 degree range. We also consult our list of potential hikes in other areas for those days that may also be unseasonably warm.

This situation arose recently when we learned that the afternoon temperatures in Cottonwood, AZ were going to be in the seventies. We had earmarked Dead Horse Ranch State Park, which is part of the Verde River Greenway, as a hiking destination.


Map trails: Dead Horse Ranch State Park

The sign to the park is a bit ambiguous so if you are entering Cottonwood from the South, take the first right-hand turn right after the sign. It is a bit clearer coming from the other direction.

The one trail we had highlighted for our journey this day was the Lime Kiln Trail which seemed to be the most popular. The trail is used by horses and dirt bikers, but on this day it was lightly traveled and was not bothersome.

After a short walk up the trail, looking in a westerly direction, the surrounding mountains came into view.


Surrounding Mountains Come into View

While the trail is an easy one, there were some mild ups and downs. The adjacent areas had some pretty hills with colorful reds and whites.


Lime Kiln Trail had mild ups and downs, but relatively easy


Lime Kiln Trail had mild ups and downs, but relatively easy

As you can see from the picture below, the trail is very clear and relatively clean. There was little, if any, boulder scrambling required.


A representative trail section - level, clean and clear

As we gained some altitude, we could look back at the hills and see Jerome (yellow arrow), just to the right of center in this picture. Jerome would be a worthy stop after a hike with its unique stores and restaurants although there are certainly a number of interesting eateries in the “old town” section of Cottonwood which has undergone a Renaissance in recent years.


The City of Jerome nestled in the distant mountains

Some of the sections reminded us a bit of Sedona, with the red rock outcroppings.


Some areas reminded us of Sedona's red rocks

As we hiked further upward, I stopped to look at the town of Cottonwood sprawled out below the park.


Cottonwood sprawled out below the mountains

This was one of the steepest inclines we encountered, but it was very short.


One of the steeper parts of the trail, but still not too difficult

A side section of the hill pictured above was used by more adventurous bikers who wanted some challenging terrain; notice rocks and rough spots.


Alternate bike section that was more rough than the hiking trail

There are beautiful colors in the hills of Arizona even in the more northern areas during winter. The yellow creosote bush stands out in juxtaposition to the dormant plants, reddish earth and blue sky.


Beautiful colors even in winter

This is the desert version of driftwood. I appreciate the haphazard art created by nature’s random placement.


Nature's desert driftwood and abstract art

The park has a number of camping areas and with that comes the apparatus of civilization cutting through the wilderness.


Power pole brings electricity to the park

While the trail map we had lacked some specifics, there were signs along the trail to serve as guides and help hikers find their way. We weren’t going to complete the entire trail on this day, but we did take a side jaunt to see the less than remarkable rattlesnake wash overlook. Perhaps in the spring, the foliage would provide a more scenic view.


Trail signs: Rattlesnake Wash Overlook and Lime Kiln Trail


Park Trail sign with good markings

This was a rather straight stretch of the trail alongside a meadow; love the colors!


Another straight part of the trail along a meadow

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntias) are prevalent in the southwest and often grow in a tall candelabra type shape. This particular species was quite red and low growing. Perhaps the elevated and open location, with potentially more winds, kept it from growing upward. Spreading in a horizontal habit gives it an appearance of a caterpillar crawling across the ground.


Red prickly pear cactus spreading across the terrain

Here’s another picture of the surrounding terrain and flora.


Another photo of the terrain and flora of the area

We didn’t notice it on the way up, but on the return trip there was a sign calling attention to the actual lime kiln.


The actual lime kiln

Currently this is what the inside of the kiln contains…


a close up of the current contents of the lime kiln

Here is what the kiln looks like from the trail.


A view of the lime kiln from the trail

As we left the trail and headed for the parking lot, I stopped to take a picture of this stately tree which I am guessing is a cottonwood. The pipe to the right is a water flume draining water into a more natural catchment area.


A stately cottonwood at the end/beginning of the trailhead

Although the car was only a few steps away, I noticed several groups of ducks in the lagoons which seemed to be popular fishing spots. I couldn’t resist trying to capture a few pictures for my American Birding Association checklist and picture archive. I had a decent picture of a coot, but not a good one so off I went.


Jeff taking pictures of the ducks

Not a coot, but a Ring-necked duck.


A handsome Ring-necked duck

Notice the bright orange eye!


A portrait of a Ring-necked duck with outstanding orange eye

Oh yes, there were some American Coots as well…


An American Coot

 

** NOTES ** The location of the Lime Kiln trailhead is not very well marked. If you park near the lagoon closest to the horse stables, the trailhead is to the left as you head in the direction of the stables. There is a trail stake to mark the beginning. After a short walk, you will need to cross a bridge which is where the water flume picture above will be located.

ARIZONA STATE PARKS & Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Facility Information – Dead Horse Ranch State Park

  • 675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
  • Hours: 7AM – 6PM Daily
  • Amenities: Passenger vehicle parking. Restrooms
  • Length: 2.1+ miles
  • Elevation change: Mild (based on the first 2+ miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Use: hiking, biking, picnic area, playground, fishing and horseback riding

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Phoenix Art Museum – Tire Totem

We are in the weather sweet spot in the North Phoenix area and multitudes of people flock to the desert to find relief from the cooler, colder and drearier environs of the northlands. With this influx of “snowbirds,” a number of our friends and relatives arrive on an annual basis and many of them are repeat visitors.

We often face the challenge of providing interesting adventures for them. One of the places we look to is the Phoenix Art Museum. Compared to other major metropolitan areas, I think Phoenix is somewhat small, but the culture offerings are significant.

Our most recent guest is an artist and art student so naturally we gravitated toward the museum. During this visit, we focused on contemporary artists.

One installation I found particularly interesting was created by Mexican artist, Bestsabé Romero and was titled Columna interminable (Endless Column), 2015. The piece was constructed from rubber tires and gold leaf.


Tire column representing migration of ancient civilizations

The work focuses on the theme of migration which connects well with the idea of tires. There are a total of seventeen tires with various designs representing cultures from “pre-conquest North, Central, and South America…”


A section of the tire column representing the Aztec and Hohokam cultures

The snake in the topmost tire in the photo above is from the Aztec/Mixtec societies of Mexico while the oval shaped symbols just below are from the Hohokam of Arizona.

In the picture below, the dancing figures with headdress were drawn from the Wari or Moche of Peru with the abstract design below representing the Mimbres from New Mexico.


A section of the tire column representing the Wari, Moche and Mimbres cultures

I was intrigued by the use of materials and the beauty they created using an item that has historically populated landfills worldwide. The ingenuity and creativity of Bestsabé Romero is to be admired.

I recommend a trip to the Phoenix Art Museum if you are visting the Valley of the Sun. They have paintings from nearly every genre of art including the masters. There are numerous galleries that are sure to satisfy almost all guests.

Read more about the Phoenix Art Museum HERE

PSThey have one of the best art museum gift shops I have seen and I have seen quite a few!

 

NOTE – All photographs were taken with an iPhone 5 and represent works by the artists named in the stories. All work is copyrighted by their creator and is presented here strictly for educational and illustrative purposes.

Read more miscellaneous stories HERE


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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Photography: As Shot – Colorful Tom Turkey

NOTE – “As Shot” photographs are some that I have posted on Instagram, but without any unwarranted imposed crops, less detail reduction and more of an explanation.


On the road near Hereford, Arizona with storm clouds closing in

Tom shows his colors when is around the hens – Happy Thanksgiving – 2017!

On a hiking trip to Brown Canyon in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, southern Arizona, we were treated to a display by this Tom Turkey who was parading around in front of two hens.

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Metadata

File Name: turkey_tom_0597.CR2
Capture time: 2:26:46 PM
Capture date: April 12, 2014
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 25.065mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Photography: As Shot – Storm Brewing – Hereford, AZ

NOTE – “As Shot” photographs are some that I have posted on Instagram, but without any imposed crop, less detail reduction and more of an explanation.


On the road near Hereford, Arizona with storm clouds closing in

On the road near Hereford, Arizona with storm clouds closing in.

We were on a bird watching and hiking trip to southern Arizona near Hereford and Sierra Vista, when we were returning from hiking in Coronado National Memorial. Storm clouds began to close in on the area creating a dramatic scene.

Read more about Coronado National Memorial

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Metadata

File Name: 2369_sierra_vista_20150709
Capture time: 2:50:18 PM
Capture date: July 9, 2015
Exposure: 1/800 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 5.33mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Photography: As Shot – The Mittens

NOTE – “As Shot” photographs are some that I have posted on Instagram, but without any imposed crop, less detail reduction and more of an explanation.


East and West Mittens at Monument Valley, Arizona

East and West Mittens at Monument Valley as storm begins to roll in

Several years ago we visited Monument Valley. The only camera I had with me was a simple 8MP Canon PowerShot AS590 IS, but I think I was still able to acquire several fine photographs to document our visit.

The picture above is of two structures referred to as “mittens.” a name derived from the fact that they look like two giant mittens when viewed from certain angles.

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Metadata

File Name: 8834_mv_mittens
Capture time: 3:04:22 PM
Capture date: September 10, 2012
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 9.9mm
ISO: 80
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 5.8-23.2mm
Edited in Lightroom

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Photography: As Shot – Fall Colors


Fall colors of leaves - Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

This is the time of the year when certain areas are transitioning between fall and winter and much of the fall color is now gone. In the desert we don’t have a dramatic change of season. When we want to get a sense of fall, we head north to one of our other favorite areas.

The picture above was taken at the West Fork of Oak Creek, just north of Sedona, AZ. While the post on Instagram doesn’t show the entire frame nor the degree of detail, I thought this was a season-worthy photograph to share with the additional clarity and explanation.

File Name: DSCF0045.RAF
Capture time: 12:01:07 PM
Capture date: November 9 2015
Exposure: 1/80 sec @ f/6.5
Focal Length: 215m
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

  • Read more about hiking the West Fork Trail, HERE
  • Read more photography posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Hiking: Bootleggers Trail, Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Address: 31402 N. 136th St., Scottsdale, AZ
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
  • Amenities: Passenger vehicle and horse trailer parking. NO RESTROOMS OR WATER

A couple of days ago I wrote about capturing my first “decent” photograph of a Phainopepla while hiking along the Bootlegger Trail off of the Granite Mountain Trailhead which is part of the McDowell Mountain Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kudos to the citizens of Scottsdale for fostering efforts to support the acquisition of desert lands to be kept in their natural desert form. As you may imagine the population growth in the southwest is booming and native desert is disappearing fast. Land put aside to remain undeveloped is a treasure that can be enjoyed by everyone.

We have hiked other areas of the McDowell Mountain Presserve, but this was the first time at this particular location and we were not disappointed. Below is the view just a few yards away from the parking area.


View from the parking area

What helps to make this area somewhat unique and interesting are the boulders and boulder formations that populate the trail.


Numerous boulders along the trail

As we began to head west, the distant hills loomed large before us.


Granite hills rise up in the distance as we begin the hike.

The essence of the area really cannot be captured in individual photos so I hope the panorama below provides a sense of the expansive, hilly terrain.


A panorama reveals the full scope of the vista


To see a larger version of the panorama, click HERE

This was just one of the many boulder formations we studied as we hiked along the trail.


Interesting boulder formation

Boulder fields with rocks piled on top of each other often surrounded the trail.


Boulder fields with piles of rocks

As we hiked, I spotted a bird atop the granite hill far in the distance. Unfortunately my telephoto lens was not long enough to acquire a very detailed photo, but my guess is that it was a Harris’s Hawk (see the second image).


A distant bird; I think a Harris's Hawk


Closer view of the hawk

This is a description of the Harris’s Hawk from All About Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

“A handsome hawk of the arid Southwest, Harris’s Hawk is a standout with bold markings of dark brown, chestnut red, and white, long yellow legs, and yellow markings on its face. The most social of North American raptors, these birds are often found in groups, cooperatively attending nests and hunting together as a team. When hunting, a group of hawks surround their prey, flush it for another to catch, or take turns chasing it. This hawk’s social nature and relative ease with humans has made it popular among falconers and in education programs. “

While this trail is listed as moderate, we are inclined to label it more appropriately as easy. There were some inclines and the path does lead up to the distant hills, but we didn’t find any sections that we felt were strenuous.


Picture of the saguaros in the foreground of the mountains


More pretty boulders with the mountains in the background

The desert is a very harsh environment and death is often in evidence. Once stately saguaros often succumb to damage or drought. Even in death, they grace the area and give evidence to the beauty that is the desert.


Dead saguaro still graces the desert

This was a lovely area with the saguaro straight ahead and the boulder formation off to the right in the shade. There was a small “window” in the bottom, middle portion of the rock formation which enabled us to get a peek of the upcoming distant vista.


A bend in the path with a saguaro and boulder formation

As desert gardeners and proponents of native vegetation we always enjoy seeing clusters of greenery in areas that receive scant rainfall.


Green desert plants contrast with all the brown rocks and land.

At the start of the trail and then again as hikers make their way back toward the parking area, there are distant views of desert mountains and nearby housing developments.


Another set of mountains can be seen off to the south-southeast

We plan to return to the Granite Mountain Trailhead to take other hikes that lead to different areas of this interesting region.

  • Length: 2.9 miles
  • Elevation change: 175 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Use: hiking, biking and horseback riding

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

© Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Vide-Ohs: HS Dance Magic via the Wizard of OZ

To think that this performance was executed by high school students is astounding! This would be impressive if it were performed professionally on Broadway or at a Las Vegas venue. Everyone involved with this production should be saluted.

The choreography, dancing, scenery, etc. is wonderful and very well done. You will soon forget this was a hs gymnasium and I can guarantee that if you enjoy dancing and music, you will savor this masterpiece.

 

From the YouTube page notes:

The PAC dance team at homecoming Assembly-Wizard of Oz theme Walden Grove High School, Sahuarita Arizona Coach:

Kristi Lopez Assistant Coach: Kathya Quihuiz Choreography: Kristi Lopez ft. Cori Anderson, Quincy Harmon, and Malina DeSouza Props: Kristi Lopez, Kathya Quihuiz, and Carlos Quihuiz

 

More Vide – Ohs

To See additional Interesting Videos, click HERE


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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Enchanted Pumpkin Garden – 2017 – Part 2


The information below appeared on yesterday’s post so if you read that, feel free to skip to the pictures below. If, however, you didn’t read it, you can find it HERE.

This time of the year fosters much fun and merriment related to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Carefree, AZ offers a display of pumpkin carvings and pumpkin-based dioramas. Ray Villafane and his crew are carving magicians and once again this year their skill is on display.

There is more background information in last year’s posts. You can find them HERE.

As you will see below, this year’s dioramas are entertaining with their ingenoius scenes and situations. A few are a bit macabre, but overall the display and event are very family friendly. Here are some photographs from the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, 2017 – Part 2


Ray Villafane continued to work on this carving of the day
As guests stroll through the garden Ray Villafane (pumpkin carver extraordinaire) continued to work on this carving of the day.


Keep an eye our as there are pumpkins at nearly every turn
Keep an eye our as there are pumpkins at nearly every turn!


With all the pumpkins in town, sometimes  medical care may be needed
With all the pumpkins in town, sometimes medical care may be needed.


Unfortunate pumpkin has an injured leg
Unfortunate pumpkin has an injured leg.


This individudal had a run in with a Cholla cactus
This individudal had a run in with a Cholla cactus!


There were some who wanted to relax around a campfire
There were some who just wanted to relax around a campfire.


The ol' swimmin' hole was popular this evening
The ol’ swimmin’ hole was popular this evening.


Hard to tell if this pumpkin is having fun or not
Hard to tell if this pumpkin is having fun or not.


Having trouble lifting weights at the gym
Having trouble lifting weights at the gym.


A boxing match was held on the other side of the gym
A boxing match was held on the other side of the gym and…


The fellow on the left is knocked off his feet
The fellow on the left is knocked off his feet.


Pumpkins needed to watch out for the mean pumpkin catcher!
Pumpkins needed to watch out for the mean pumpkin catcher!.


The three witches were working on a brew
The three witches were working on a brew.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 
See previous posts about life in the desert HERE.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Enchanted Pumpkin Garden – 2017 – Part 1


This time of the year fosters much fun and merriment related to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Carefree, AZ offers a display of pumpkin carvings and pumpkin-based dioramas. Ray Villafane and his crew are carving magicians and once again this year their skill is on display.

There is more background information in last year’s posts. You can find it HERE.

As you will see below, this year’s dioramas are entertaining with their ingenious scenes and exhibits. A few are a bit macabre, but overall the displays and event are very family friendly. Here are some photographs from the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden, 2017 – Part 1


Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Sign


Ray Villafane wielding his pumpkin carving wizardry
Ray wielding his pumpkin carving wizardry.


Carved pumpkin closeup
Carved pumpkin closeup


This pumpkin appears to be afraid of spiders
This pumpkin appears to be afraid of spiders (dangling in front).


Bad news about pumpkins in the paper
This fellow seems disturbed about the pumpkins making the newspaper headlines.


Pumpkin piano man
Piano man doesn’t seem to be having a good night!


Halloween couple greets visitors on stage
A Halloween couple greets visitors on stage and will eagerly pose for pictures.


Have your picture taken atop hay bales with a pumpkin man
Visitors can have their picture taken atop hay bales with a pumpkin man.


A pumpkin farrier is shoeing a horse
Western themed pumpkin farrier is shoeing a horse.


Diorama chicks made from gourds
Diorama chicks made from gourds


These pumpkin horses are ready to go
These pumpkin horses are ready to go.


Stagecoach driver gets the team ready to move
A stagecoach driver gets the team ready to move.

Watch for Part 2 tomorrow!

 
See previous posts about life in the desert HERE.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com