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.
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…
As I approached the wash that I’ve recently been exploring, I saw this hill with many saguaros.
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.
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.
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:
A view of the Superstitions as sunset approached:
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.
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:
Marilyn and I hiked a little over seven miles through desert near our house.
We were on State Trust Land; there’s a lot of junk near the road, but if you are selective about where you look, there’s certainly beauty in the area.
Looking toward the McDowells:
New Mexico Thistle:
I think this is either Spiny Goldenweed or Slender Goldenweed, but I’m not sure which.
I was excited because we got to explore a wash that I hadn’t seen yet.
Looking toward Four Peaks:
Looking toward the McDowells:
Hedgehog cactus blossom:
A view of Red Mountain: