Sunday Morning Hike

Marilyn and I hiked 9.5 miles on the Pemberton and Tonto Tank Trails. We saw more fire damage from the Pemberton – see my earlier post for those photos.

Haze on the horizon made the rising sun look more like a moon.  It may actually have been redder than shown in this photo.

Looking toward Four Peaks on the Pemberton Trail:

We encountered a horse and rider on the Pemberton.

This rattlesnake was laying across the Tonto Tank Trail as I approached it.  I pointed it out to some bike riders as they approached; they stopped in time. Despite yelling out, “Snake! Snake!” several times a rider approaching from behind did not hear me and came within inches of the snake. It started rattling like crazy after that.

Fire Damage Hike

I visited McDowell Mountain Regional park on Friday afternoon. Starting from the competitive track parking area, I hiked part of the technical loop, stopping at the top of T-Bone Ridge to see if I could spot the fire damage. Later, I hiked the Pemberton until I got a closer view. I returned via the South Wash where I saw even more fire damage.

Looking toward Red Mountain from the start of the Technical Loop; there is no fire damage in this photo, but you can see how dry it is.

This is the view from the top of T-Bone Ridge. Look for the blackened ridge below the McDowells.

A closer view after getting closer on the Pemberton:

Yet another view, overlooking the South Wash:

I think the reddish orange coloration on the high bank of the wash was from fire retardant.

Still in the South Wash…

Wednesday Night Hike

It was cooler on Wednesday, so I ventured out into the desert…

 

Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable

Below is a photo of a computer that I built recently.  The Streacom Open Benchtable (red chassis below the motherboard) made it easy to plug and unplug memory, PCIe cards, and cables during bring-up / testing. The PCIe slots are populated by three video cards and a host bus adapter. The smaller graphics card between the two larger ones is for the virtualization host. The other two are for a Linux VM and a Windows VM. The KVM switch beneath the SSD hot swap bay / backplane is used to switch between the VMs.  At the moment, it’s connected to four different VMs residing on two different physical machines. (The other machine is not shown in this photo.)

For the most part, using the Streacom BC1 was a pleasure.  I did, however, run into two problems:

  1. The threads on one of the PCIe standoffs needed to be cleaned up.  Try as I might I couldn’t get one of them to work until I used a die to clean the threads.
  2. I ran out of 6#32 thumbscrews. Six are provided with the Benchtable. I used three for attaching the power supply. If you want to attach two disk-drives (which I did), you’ll need four more of the 6#32 thumbscrews, so I was one short.  I found an ordinary 6#32 that would reach all the way through the provided slots to use instead.

Bush Fire from Fountain Hills

Marilyn, Marie, and I went for an evening walk on Saturday, the 13th.  Marilyn noticed a reddish glow in the distance; we walked up a nearby hill to see better.  We saw an orange glow in the distance, behind some hills.  When we concluded our walk, I brought my camera out to get this photo.  It was much less bright than shown in my photo below; actually, at the time we were there, it was less bright than earlier in the evening.

On the ten O’clock news we learned that it’s called the Bush Fire, it’s in the Tonto National Forest, and that traffic has been blocked of on SR 87 (Beeline Hwy).

Update – 2020-06-14:

Marilyn and I went out for another walk, shortly after 8:00pm on Sunday, the 14th.  We first walked up to the top of the hill where I had taken the earlier photo. We returned by walking down the street upon which we lived.  At the top of the street (which is on a hill), we found quite a dramatic view…

Update – 2020-06-15:

On the evening of Monday, the 15th, I walked across McDowell Mountain Road, hiked up one of the hills to the north, and took some more photos.  According to InciWeb, on Monday evening, the Bush Fire is 37,900 acres in size and is still 0% contained.

Remember, this is a long exposure; this scene did not appear this bright while I was there. I was able to see some lights on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, I certainly wasn’t able to see this community in the level of detail shown here – it was much too dark. Likewise, the smoke didn’t have much of the color or glow shown in this photo; that too is due to taking a long exposure.

Update – 2020-06-16:

According to InciWeb, the Bush Fire grew to 64,513 acres in size, still with 0% containment. However, when I went out on my balcony in the evening to look, I saw only a faint glow in several areas. That being the case, I decided against going somewhere to take a photo and instead just took a shot from my balcony. Although my eyes couldn’t see much activity in the distance, a three and half minute exposure picked up a lot of hot spots on Four Peaks in addition to the usual glow in the smoke. I think that the long exposure smoothed out the smoke in addition to making the trees appear out of focus – they’re not out of focus; it’s just motion blur.

Sunday Night Snakes!

Yep, three of them.  I think that they’re all Western Diamondback rattlesnakes.  I saw the first one at dusk and the next two when it was dark.  I used both my headlamp and flashlight to look for them as I made my way back – much more slowly than normal. I was on a grassy jeep road, but none of them were in the grass.  I think they chose relatively open spots to stay warm as the sun set.

Thursday Night Hike

I hiked a little over 10 miles on Thursday evening. I was surprised to see a mountain biker midway around the Long Loop at around sunset. It was a warm evening, but I like it that way.

At one time, this area was popular with motorcycles.  The short, steep hills in this area are riddled with trails, often eroded. In some places, such as seen here, jumps have been built, most often with dirt, but sometimes with wood too.

Creosote, I think:

The grasses have become quite dry…

Prickly pear:

As I approached the wash that I’ve recently been exploring, I saw this hill with many saguaros.

Globemallow:

I was surprised to see this really huge rock protruding from midway up the wash bank.

This might be a Monarch Butterfly:

New Mexico Thistle with bee:

This path is is an exit (or entrance) to the wash.  The path eventually leads to an old jeep road.

Desert Marigold:

The exposed dirt banks have dramatic colors near sunset.

I’ve been seeing a lot of this type of snake.  I think it’s a Long Nosed Snake.

A view from the Long Loop somewhat after sunset.  I finished the hike with my headlamp.

Tuesday Night Hike

I hiked 10 miles on Tuesday evening…

I tried and failed (without hiking poles)  to hike up a steep, but loose hill behind me.  As I was backtracking, I noticed this view…

I think this is a buckhorn cholla blossom:

I got this photo while hiking part of the Long Loop:

Globe Chamomile:

A view of the Superstitions as sunset approached:

Saturday Afternoon Hike

Marilyn and I hiked 7.5 miles on Saturday afternoon.  We hiked a similar route to that from two weeks earlier, when I had last visited the park. I’ve been trying to pick routes where we won’t see that many people.

MMRP’s hours have changed so that the park closes at 6:00 PM.  Signs at the entrance indicate that the gates are closing at that time.  In theory, it’s still possible to get out after 6:00 PM, but I’ve not yet put that theory to the test.  I’ve been careful to limit the length of my hikes so that I finish before closing.

Poppies in Pemberton / Stoneman Wash:

One of many dead trees in the wash:

New growth on a buckhorn cholla:

This tree is the landmark that I look for as I near the point where the Long Loop crosses the wash. We saw three cyclists on the Long Loop as we approached.

I think this might be miniature woolystar/woolstar.  Probably the most I’ve ever seen in one place.

Globemallow:

Lupine – we saw big patches of it as we hike along the Pemberton Trail.

Owl clover; we saw a lot of this flower too, but it seems to be drying out now.

A view from near the former ranch homestead (along the Pemberton):

I think this is either Slender Goldenweed or Spiny Goldenweed, but I don’t know which.

Fairy Duster; we were both very surprised to see this so late in the season.

I think this might be a kingsnake. I took several photos from the side and them moved around to take photos from the front. As I did so, it backed away into the nearby brush.

Marilyn spotted this Lizard on the Technical Loop:

Wednesday Night Hike

Nine miles on Wednesday night; I somewhat reversed the route that I had been taking and (re)explored some paths that I hadn’t been on in over twenty years.

These photos were from early in the hike.  I got slightly lost midway through and got home well after dark.