Hiking: Brins Mesa – Sedona, AZ


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Years ago we tried to hike the Brins Mesa trail with some visiting friends, but they weren’t hikers and soon decided that they weren’t prepared for the adventure so we returned to the car to visit other nearby and easily accessible vistas.

The Brins Mesa trail is probably best described as moderate to a bit more than moderate (at times). The trail is relatively well marked, but it is primarily uphill if you are starting from the main trailhead at the outskirts of town.

Soon after starting the climb, this is one of the scenes you will see.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

One of the reasons for undertaking this hike is to admire the beautiful scenery and red rock vistas encountered along the entire trail.

There are what has been referred to as “natural stairs,” but the operative word there is natural. Creating steps from a rock face formed by nature is no easy task and as you might imagine, the spacing is not always ideal. Hiking sticks may be helpful for those who are less sure-footed.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

In almost every direction, the red and sand-colored rocks rise above the trees to the wonder and appreciation of trailblazers.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

You don’t see the mesa itself for a while, but persevere and you will come to a shelf-like geological feature that is the Brins Mesa (pictured below).


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

It is unfortunate that years ago there was a fire that destroyed many of the trees and the carcasses of those sentinels can be seen along the mesa’s trail.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

For those who enjoy photography, there are numerous opportunities to capture memorable landscapes.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

As we were hiking along the trail, we noticed what looked like a ledge (drop off) and a valley. We also spotted an outcropping or rather a small hill and we decided to explore. There is a trail leading in that general direction.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

The picture below was taken while I was standing at the ledge. Notice the darker, reddish dirt in the valley.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

I took a couple of panoramas (linked below) as the red rock mountains were spread out before me. It was too wide and too beautiful for me to capture in just one or two pictures. After some exploration and appreciatiion, we decided to return to the trailhead. Although it was mid-October, the day was quite warm and we had a long day. This is the scene looking back toward the ridge and surrounding mountains.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

One rule of photography is to look behind you as you travel because sometimes, the best view is not in front, but in back. When returning along the same trail, this maxim becomes self-fulfilling. These are a few of the pretty formations we captured during the return to the trailhead.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Famous Bell Rock can be seen in the center of the photo below where the sky seems to meet the low-lying structure. It is hard to pick out, but look for the little nub on top.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Red rock spires and hoodoos (column of rock) are abundant.


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

Here are the two panoramas…


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

To see a larger photo of the scene, make your browser window larger and click HERE


along the Brins Mesa Trail - Sedona, AZ

To see a larger photo of the scene, make our browser window larger and click HERE

More information about the Brins Mesa trail can be found at the following links:

Brins Mesa Trail No. 119 – Forest Service (USDA)

Brins Mesa Trail – AZ Highways

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Streets of Gold in the Phoenix Desert (Gardening)

Palo Verde Tree in flower

As you can see from the photograph above, the desert is decked in gold this time of year. The Palo Verdes (along with some other flowering trees snd shrubs) produce an abundance of yellow blooms. There are streets that are lined with these trees and they build a seasonal hallway of gold.

Streets of gold

The ground is carpeted with spent yellow flower petals adding even more color to the street. While the neighborhoods aren’t paved with gold, they are covered with pretty yellow hues.

Below is a picture of the branches of the Palo Verde tree laden with its delightful burden of yellow flowers.

Palo Verde Tree flowers


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All photographs are Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved

 
See more JBRish gardening and desert gardening posts here HERE

Hardenbergia – Desert Lilac Vine

Hardenbergia close view

In the Sonoran Desert this is a transition time of year as we are moving from the cooler winter weather where the temperatures can be relatively low to the warmer daytime temperatures of mid-to-high seventies. This year it seems as though we have been breaking records with temps in the eighties already; yikes!

This has encouraged our Hardenbergia vine (Purple Vine Lilac) to put on quite a show. The wet winter without a frost and the warmer temperatures have our plant strutting her early spring finery!

Late afternoon hardenbergia spray with beee

The late afternoon picture (above) shows that the bees (upper left-ish) enjoy this plant as well.

What makes this post extra sweet for me is that this particular plant was a box store rescue. They had it on a discount table for $1. Of course it looked nothing like its current self and was a leaf or two away from the compost heap!

The photo below is one of my favorite (even though the shallow depth of field has only some of the plant in focus) because the bright yellow anthers look like little eyes and with a bit of imagination, I can see a face in some of these small flowers.

Another close view of the hardenbergia

Hardenbergia originates in Australia and likes to dry out between waterings which is well suited for the desert landscape with just a bit of extra care. It is often used as a ground cover down under, but with the critters we have in the desert, we don’t need to create more hiding places!

Here is a picture of the complete vine which is more than six feet tall!

Full length picture of the hardenbergia vine; higher than six feet

You can read more about Hardenbergia violacea here


See more JBRish gardening and desert gardening posts here HERE

Photography of the Italian Eye

The Painter Constructs, The Photographer Discloses

Photography is a significant interest of mine and to stay motivated and informed, I follow quite a few photography blogs. Through these blogs, I become aware of other photographers and their work. I am awe struck by the photography talent that is exhibited across the globe.

If you like unique, insightful, intimate and often very beautiful photography, I urge you to visit the site of Danilo Piccioni, The Italian Eye. You Won’t be disappointed!

Guitar player in the bathtub

You don’t have to leave the home page of the website to understand that Danilo is not only talented, but he brings a fresh new perspective to the art form.

It was difficult to pick just a small sample of Mr. Piccioni’s work to demonstrate his breadth and scope, but these are some of the shots I found interesting.

In the picture below, which is the master? Can you feel the bond between these two lives?

Man and Dog Relationship - Love

Two young girls, perhaps sitting together on a train, might be sharing a secret. This is a truly intimate look at friends being deeply connected. I can feel the intensity both in the telling and in the listening.

Best Friends Share Secrets

Danilo certainly understands how to capture female beauty. Without being blatant, the picture expresses sensuality; they eyes, yes the eyes! She is looking at you! The trick here, as in his other photos, is that the picture reveals to the viewer more than is actually shown.

They Eyes of Beauty

Oh…this cat. “What are you looking at?” the cat might be thinking. Don’t you love the lighting and the colors? Where do those stairs lead? Does anybody own this cat?

Marmalade Cat Has Attitude

I want to thank Danilo Piccioni/The Italian Eye for allowing me to use the images for this post. It is a pleasure to be able to learn from so many gifted photographic artists!

If you do nothing else at the website,http://www.theitalianeye.com/, scroll to the bottom of the page until you see:

“Mag-EYE-zine
Here is a magazine format small selection of my work for your enjoyment, click on EXPAND and start flipping thru the pages.”

And click and expand the pictures presented in large format in all their beauty and often juxtaposed thematic presentations. I couldn’t help but be inspired.

A True Artist Is Not One Who Is Inspired, But One Who Inspires Others

All Photographic Rights are reserved by Danilo Piccioni and the Italian Eye

 


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Desert T-Shirts

Living in what I call a designated tourist area such as Phoenix, Arizona has both positive and negative aspects. Of course during those months that are cold in a good part of the United States and Canada, we have an influx of tourists, part-time residents and guests.

When guests come to visit us, one of the areas we like to take them is Old Town Scottsdale. There are some historical attractions which we look at, but the gift shops of all varieties are the real draw.

As the resident Phoenician, I get a kick out of going to the tourist shops to see what new desert themed T-shirts are displayed. They generally come in two categories, 1 – The beauty or uniqueness of the desert or 2 – Poking fun at the unusual life styles and/or environment of the desert.

The t-shirt below reminds us of the beautiful wildlife we have in the area. We do have some extraordinary lizards, although nothing quite like the one pictured.

XXXXXX

Of course Phoenix is a big draw as well as Scottsdale…

XXXXXX

And to celebrate the heritage and uniqueness of the desert…

XXXXXX

Then there are those that make fun of the harsh environment and cowboy atmosphere and this one tackles both…
XXXXXX

115 degrees is hot, but c’mon it beats 30 inches of snow, doesn’t it?

One of my favorites this day was this punful one…

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All of these T-shirts were found at Scottsdale Southwest Gifts and Apparel just north of the Scottsdale Historical Museum on the same side of the street.

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I am not making a recommendation although I have made purchases there. Many stores offer unique apparel both authentic southwest as well as humorous or stylized southwest items.

When you visit Scottsdale’s Old Town, be sure to bring your camera and your sense of humor. I am sure you will have a good time. Don’t forget the Scottsdale Historical Museum in the center of Old Town.

Desert Snake – Coachwhip

As noted in previous posts, I live in the desert southwest and one thing we have in our neighborhood is snakes. Yes, we have a good number of snakes. We don’t seem them every day, but every spring and summer we encounter several of them.

Unlike some people, I like snakes. I even like the poisonous snakes because they fulfill an important role of keeping the rodent population in check. I just wish the would have larger appetites so we didn’t see as many rodents in the desert.

One day I peered outside to see a Coachwhip commonly referred to as a Red Racer (Coluber flagellum piceus) because it is very fast. I had to be quick to get these two photos because once the snake decided to take off, it exited a break neck speed.

I think there is a lot of beauty in the coloration of this particular snake. The blurb below from the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum explains the derivation of the name.

Coachwhip Snake

 
Coachwhip Snake

This long, slender snake reaches lengths of 3 to 8¼ feet (90-260 cm) long. Quite variable in color, it can be tan, gray, pink, black, reddish-brown, or any combination of these colors. Broad crossbars may be present. The scales are smooth and the eyes large; the head is distinct from the body. Unlike the adults, young may have obvious dark brown or black blotches or bands on a light brown background. This snake receives its name from the braided appearance of its scales which resemble the whip used by stagecoach drivers in earlier days. Quote courtesy of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Read More About the Coachwhip:

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Reptiles of Arizona


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The Beauty of Australian Fungi

Two of my passions are photography and nature. I like hiking and discovering new plants, animals, vistas and I enjoy photographing them along with all the challenges that this entails.

I was excited to see these amazing photographs of fungi posted by PetaPixel.

Beautiful picture of fungi from Australia

Beautiful picture of fungi from Australia


Photographs by Steve Axford via PetaPixel

There are many more beautiful photographs at the link below:

Photographer Captures the Beauty and Diversity of Australian Fungi

Who knew that fungi could be so varied and so beautiful?!