Saturday, February 17, 2018

2/14 Piccacho Peak

As you drive on I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson, you will see a mountain on the west side of the highway with a unique shape, less than a mile off the freeway.  This is Picacho Peak, and there is a state park campground at its base.  The peak was formed by a volcanic flow that never reached the surface, but is now eroded away by time.

This mountain has a long history with travelers as a landmark for travelers because of its unique shape and the fact that it can be seen for miles.  In fact, even pre-historic travelers knew this peak and one of their major trails went past it.  In fact, the park even boasts a Civil War battlefield.  In looking online for more history, I found an excellent student paper on this place. 

I only stayed here for two nights, and it was cloudy during the day, so I did not take many photos, but this is one of my favorite way-points along I-10 and a highly rated campground.  


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

2/10 Brief Tour of Heard Museum

In between watching hoop dancers, I went inside the museum and wandered around.  I have been here before, so did not spend a lot of time at each exhibit.  They have two gift shops and a very nice restaurant/cafe. 

This was a jewelry special exhibit.

And just some random photos of the museum.

The museum owns thousands of katsinas.  Surprisingly, many were donated by the late Barry Goldwater. This explains what katsinas are and how they were used.  Sorry for poor photo quality, but I was not allowed to use a flash. 


2/10 Hoop Dancing Competition at the Heard Museum

I came here two years ago and saw the adults, so this time I decided to see the kids on Saturday.  
 I barely made it here in time to see the entrance parade.  The adults led, with kids from oldest to youngest following.  Click HERE to play the video.

After the entrance parade, they had a ceremony in the center. 

There were about half a dozen tiny tots.  Some were not sure what they were supposed to do.  All had smaller hoops to dance with. Click HERE to see a short video of the youngest kids. 

This girl was in the 6-12 age group and was pretty good.   This age group had medium-sized hoops.  The object is to constantly dance while making patterns of the hoops and putting them around your body, stepping through them, and sometimes putting them over your head.  Rules say dancers must keep time with the drumming no matter what.

This started the over 12 group.  They had bigger hoops and more of them.  This kid was pretty good.  Click HERE to view the video of part of his performance.

And one of the two teams of drummer/singers.  Click HERE to see a video of the drummers with a girl dancing in the distance. 

It  was a beautiful day with temps in the lower 70s and not too sunny. 

This is the courtyard entrance to the museum.  Once you paid to get into the hoop dancing, you did not have to pay a museum fee. 

OK, now I have to show you my new chair.  Here it is in its small carrying case. I got it because it is small and weighs less than two pounds.

Out of the bag. 

Luckily the pieces all have stretchy cords between them, so all you have to do is straighten them and slide them into place.  Looks like a giant jigsaw puzzle at this point, however. 

 Ta- Da!  Finished.  It is a little smaller than full-sized, but it is supposed to hold up to 250 pounds.   Very handy, although the legs did sink into the grass a bit.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2/8 Desert Hike at Usery Mountain Park

I took advantage of a short ranger walk today.  The path was a mile long, but very flat, so doable for me.  Unfortunately, the ranger had done a lot of hiking so walked faster than I and a few others could handle, especially since we kept stopping to take photos.  

Who says the desert is empty?  This one looks pretty full.  

This is what happens to a barrell cactus when it looses it top bud--it splits in two and produces an attached twin

It has been extraordinarily dry in this part of Arizona, so I was really surprised to see this rock covered with green lichen.  

Here is a closeup.  Will have to try to find out the name of this lichen. 

And this is a packrat's burrow.  Notice that he or she has carefully brought in and arranged a fence of cholla buds to protect his home from snakes and other predators.  Pack rats are a serious problem for campers in the desert because they like to get under vehicle hoods and chew wiring.  I have not had any problems, but many people put strings of lights underneath their vehicles to dissuade them.

Best friends. 

I found out that this is a buckhorn cactus.  I posted one a few days ago and called it a staghorn, but that is not correct. 

As the sun gets low just before it sets, it lights up Slash Mountain in oranges and yellows. I took this photo from my campsite.

Sun has set behind my rig. 

As you can see, the campsites in this place are really spread out, so you end up feeling as if you have a whole chunk of desert to yourself.  There is no one across the street from me and the next camper is quite a ways away.

I'm headed to Tucson, but will be back here for another ten days in March.