Hiking: Yellow-Throated Gilia, Sequoia National Park, CA

One of the reasons I enjoy hiking is that it offers opportunities for interesting discoveries; some anticipated and others serendipitous. We were hiking along the Crescent Meadow Loop Trail in Sequoia National Park nearly a year ago when we came across a patch of wildflowers tucked away in a wooded area…


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower

It was hard to believe that these were real. The colors were so vibrant and unusual in combination. It was an amazing sight. The next day we were on the Sunset Point Trail and there was a large swath of these wildflowers covering the entire hillside.


Yellow-Throated Gilia wildflower
Love those standouts adding their all white accents in the middle of the patch!

 
Nature is the art of God.” – Dante Alighieri

Read more about Yellow-Throated Gilia HERE

 

Read more JBRish.com posts:

Hiking/Exploring HERE, Nature HERE, Photography 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



Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

We were anxious to travel to Lincoln City, OR as we had read so many intriguing reviews of the areas we chose for hiking. The Cascade Head Preserve seemed especially promising. It is a coastal headland with two trails one of which is much longer; 4.2 miles. The upper trail leads to the most scenic views and brings hikers to the top of the hills overlooking the ocean and nearby shore. This was really a no-brainer for us.

We opted for the shorter upper trail which was a relatively flat mile-long hike. We had been hiking for several days already and planned to continue hiking once we arrived at Crater Lake National Park so this seemed prudent.

It was difficult to find the correct forest road (Cascade Head Road 1861) which is more of a cut out along the highway than anything else. We persevered and finally wound up at the trailhead ready to go.

The first part of the hike looked like a pathway in Jurassic Park with the fungi and mosses covering the tree branches.


Jungle-like growth at the start of the trail
Jungle-like growth at the start of the trail

After hiking for a a bit more than twenty minutes, we reached the meadow viewpoints. The vista was stunning.


The meadow and ocean revealed themselves
The meadow and ocean revealed themselves

As we moved closer to the descending side of the hill, we could watch hikers arriving from the lower trail.


Hikers were arriving from the lower trail
Hikers were arriving from the lower trail

The contrast of the golden meadow, the green trees and shrubs against the blue ocean was a superb display of nature’s palette.


nature's colorful palette
A contrast of colors

The craggy rock outcroppings were also very dramatic.


Dramatic craggy outcroppings


Dramatic craggy outcroppings

I couldn’t resist taking a panorama from this expansive vantage point with such a remarkable view.


A panorama taken form the top of the meadow

Feeling self-satisfied, we decided to attempt the trek to Hart’s Cove and drove to that trailhead. We were somewhat daunted by the steepness of the trail heading down as we knew it would be uphill coming back. One rule of hiking when there is no loop is that for every down, there is an up!

We asked some ascending hikers what their thoughts were and after some encouragement, we began the descent. It was indeed downhill!

The first part of the hike takes trekkers through forests of hemlock and Sitka spruce. We then arrived at the open trail to the grassy meadow with anticipation of seeing the cove.


Finally, the path to the cove
Finally, the path to the cove

We were careful with our footing and made our way to an area where we could have lunch and enjoy the view of the cove.


A scenic backdrop
A scenic backdrop

Although we couldn’t see the sea lions, we could hear them barking in the distance.


A wonderful spot to enjoy lunch
A wonderful spot to enjoy lunch

We lingered for a time taking in the view and enjoying the best this area had to offer. Although we faced a strenuous (for us) return trip, the memories will remain long after our muscles have recovered.


A final view of the cove before we headed back
A final view of the cove before we headed back

For more information, you can refer to this web page: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

 

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



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



Photography: As Shot – Saguaro with a Halo

NOTE – “As Shot” photographs are some that I have posted on Instagram, but without any imposed crop that might not be warranted, less detail reduction and more of an explanation.




Saguaro with a Halo as seen at the Jewel of the Creek Preserve, Cave Creek, AZ

One of our favorite places to hike is at the Jewel of the Creek Preserve in Cave Creek, AZ. This is a riparian area and has running water all year long. In the desert this is a commodity which is likely to attract many of its inhabitants including birds, lizards, snakes, etc.

The trails have some ups and downs, but overall the hiking is moderate at its most strenuous for those who do any amount of hiking. While on a hike, we were descending into a lower area and the sun was backlighting the edges of this saguaro. The light playing off of the surrounding foliage along with the halo over the main cactus caught my eye.

Technically, this is not the best picture. The only camera I had with me was my bridge camera which does not do too well at an ISO higher than 100 especially in this type of lighting situation. Having said that, however, there is something about this photograph that that I find artistically satisfying.

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Metadata

File Name: jewel_of_creek_IMG_0118-2.tif
Capture time: 2:27:04 PM
Capture date: Dec. 29, 2015
Exposure: 1/160 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 83.27mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom and Photoshop

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Read more photography posts HERE

Visit Jeff’s Instagram Portfolio 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



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



Gazania Mania

During our hot summer it is difficult to find plants that can “take the heat” and keep on blooming or even surviving for that matter. One of our favorites is the Gazania. Well, I am happy to report that they can take the cooler weather as well. While we do protect them from any frost, the cold weather has slowed them a bit, but has not stopped the parade of blooms and the array of colors.

Here is our bicycle planter with Gazanias in the planter-box basket

 

Orange Gazania in Bicycle Planter

Pink Gazania in Bicycle Planter

Closeups reveal the interesting streaking found on the flower petals with the dark starburst-like ring in the centers.

Orange Gazania Flower Closeup

Yellow Gazania Flower Closeup

Light Orange Gazania Flower Closeup

Pink Gazania Flower Closeup

For more information about growing Gazanias, you can read the following article:

How To Grow Gazania Treasure Flowers: Care Of Gazania Flowers

A New Plant in Our Garden

This year we decided to try a new plant in our late winter desert courtyard; Stock (Matthiola). I had seen this plant and known about it for quite some time, but I had never used it. I wondered how it would do in the very sunny southwest. I am happy to report that it has served us well as a full blooming, fragrant courtyard resident. It has been in bloom for weeks and with proper dead-heading, I think it will stay in bloom for some time to come.

It does have a tendency to set elongated seed pods so I snip them from time-to-time and cut back the dead flowers when a stalk is nearly spent. The picture below shows one pot against our faux brick wall near the front door. There is a twin pot on the other side of the door as well.

Stock in the Arizona Courtyard

There are many references to this plant on the Internet if you care to find out more. Here is the Better Homes and Gardens contribution about Stock.

Have you ever grown this plant? What do you think about the form and color?