Bob and I met at the Wagner Trailhead today for the Fitness Hike. Ranger Amy showed up briefly to tell us that she had a sore throat.
Textured clouds made for a brilliant sky just prior to sunrise. I’ll admit to enhancing the sky in the photo below; the real thing was colorful too, but perhaps not quite as saturated. I could easily dial it back a bit, but I happen to like this edit. Marie is usually quite critical of such things, but she likes it too.
The sun rose while we were talking to Amy. She pointed it out, so I turned around and snapped a few more photos. Here’s one of them:
Our plan was to hike out to Rock Knob. We took Wagner to Granite and the started up the wash that parallels Bluff. Just after that first little scramble up some rocks, I encountered a Western Diamondback who promptly slithered into a nearby hole. Bob and I could easily see into the hole though. Here is one of Bob’s photos of the snake:
I wasn’t very quick on the draw as I had reassigned the button for setting the flash, but for me, being able to set the metering mode quickly is more important than the flash. But I finally found the menu option for turning it on and managed to get this shot:
Bob climbed up and around the snake, avoiding its hole. We proceeded on up the wash. We crossed Pemberton, staying in the wash leading up to Rock Knob. Below is a view of Rock Knob from that wash.
As we made our way northward to go around Rock Knob, we came upon a very impressive looking saguaro. Bob and I spent perhaps ten minutes in the area taking photos of it from various angles. Here’s one with Bob standing next to it. You can get a good feel for the size of this saguaro from this shot. Note, too, that each of the large arms have arms of their own!
One of the hazards of walking in an area with lots of Teddy Bear Cholla is that, sometimes, one will stick to your shoe. I got this one out with the aid of a stick. One of the past rangers who worked at the park, Crash, told me that a pocket comb works great for removing cholla.
The blue and white gaiter I’m wearing helps to keep sand and other detritus out of my shoes. Even so, a few grains of sand managed to work it’s way into my left shoe and found it’s way down between the first and second metatarsals. I now have a small blister there.
Here is a view looking up the saguaro. If you look closely, you can see a large nest off to the left.
Here’s a view of that same saguaro with Rock Knob behind and off to the right. I think we’re looking roughly southward here.
When we got to the Preserve side of the fence, we saw a very bleached bone sitting on a rock. Here, Bob is taking a photo of it.
Here is a closer view of the bone:
An interesting looking rock…
Bob noticed this tortoise along the way. I would’ve walked by it without noticing it. Bob said that he gave it some water and it perked right up.
Some flowers, thanks to the recent rain that we’ve gotten.
A view of Rock Knob from a vantage point to the west. We’re looking east, towards the park (from the Preserve) here.
There used to be a pretty good road in the Preserve which lead back to the Rock Knob Trail. The preserve managers churned it up so that it’s impassable by most vehicles now. It was even hard walking on it. It was easier to walk in nearby washes.
Once we got back to the park boundary and crossed the fence, we took the Rock Knob Trail to Pemberton. We took the Bluff, Granite, and Wagner trails back to our vehicles. We hiked exactly ten miles today.