October Fall

October always means FALL for us. We look forward to the fall colors and actively debate and explore different areas to enjoy nature’s beauty in full living color.

This year we found a new place to explore, Christopher Creek, and we were thrilled to find fall in it’s full range of greens, yellows, orange, and reds. It was stunning. Thanks for the tip Rosemary.

As if the changing of the leaves wasn’t enough we were thrilled and entertained by the cascading water along the creek with fleeting views of fall’s glory.

I am in awe of nature’s beauty and humbled by her harsh light and deep shadows and the many challenges of capturing her many moods. I guess I need to get out more and practice more. Oh, darn.

Tree Saddle

The Mogollon Rim is probably one of our favorite places. It is not far from where we live, and offers exceptional views and a myriad of roads to explore.

One of our favorite vantage points we have dubbed, ‘Tree Saddle’. It was never more spectacular than after a heavy dousing of frigid rain. We stuck it out and were rewarded with amazing skies.

Funny, I feel I must caveat some of these photos… yes the sky was that red and magical, it was not ‘photoshopped’. I was giddy with joy for this tremendous sky as it rolled in and turned bright red. As a boater, I was reminded of the old adage, ‘Red skies at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.’

While the views along the rim itself are stunning, the forest roads along the rim are equally beautiful.

When the fog rolled in the following morning, we wandered the forest roads capturing eerie fog pix.

I was completely soaked and freezing as clouds went from great photos to completely enveloping me as I got doused trying to get one more pic. While weather can be cold and uncomfortable, it does make more intriguing photos. It was absolutely worth it, and euphoric to be in the presence of such amazing views.

Rainbow Trail

Rainbow Trail is a great hiking / biking trail outside of the National Park Boundaries with great overlooks and dispersed camping.

There are 5 overlooks as part of the Rainbow Trail: Timp, North Timp, Locust, Fence, and Parissawampitts (say that 3x fast).

There are also 2 nice overlooks just inside of the National Park Boundary: Point Sublime and Swamp Point. Both have nice views and limited dispersed camping.

They are a bit of a drive to get to. But as they say, anything worth doing is worth doing well, and sometimes that means a drive.

See more pix here …https://kritterspaw.com/2021/09/26/north-rim-grand-canyon/

See Places with New Eyes

Sun rises over Carnero Lake as witnessed by patch of daisies.

It’s amazing how many times you can go to a place, and how it changes from time to time.

We went back to Carnero Lake hoping to catch osprey fishing, but there were none to be had. Considering the amount of rain we had, we were amazed to see how low the lake actually was. It was barely photogenic. Changing our view looking through the forest toward the lake at sunrise, yielded an entirely new view.

Juvenile robin hangs out in a wooded forest.
Squirrel checks out next pine tree to hunt

All we saw (in terms of animals) was a juvenile robin and a squirrel collecting pinecones for the winter.

It’s just a reminder to turn around 360 degrees to take in your surroundings, and actually SEE what different vantage points can present themselves if you take the time to take it in.

Big Horn Lounging

I do enjoy it when we see animals. We encountered these big horn sheep enjoying a grass field lying in the shade and munching away.

It was almost as if they were talking to one another, laughing and telling stories, while others just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Most of the ones in this herd were males, or rams, with only a few female ewes. The boys demonstrated their dominance by locking horns, but seemed more affectionate than fierce.

While I tried to keep my distance, they didn’t seem to mind that I was there and got closer to me than even I was comfortable. I took every advantage of their presence.

Gone to the Birds

Anna’s hummingbird hovers

We’ve seen so few big animals, I’ve had to resort to taking pix of the birds! We’ve driven to the rim and seen very few elk or deer. With all the fires, smoke, and lack of water, maybe they’ve taken up residence someplace else.

Woodpeckers forage for bugs

No matter. We always have all sort of birds to divert my attention.

Western Bluebird and Acorn Woodpecker vie for kernel of food
Western Bluebird, female

Living in Northern AZ we get quite the assortment of forest birds. I’ve never been much of a bird watcher, but I may have to take it up!

Passion

The dictionary defines passion as: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; strong and barely controllable emotion. I consider myself a passionate person, which actually can be a mixed blessing. Sometimes it gets me into trouble. My emotions can run strong and people tend to take my intensity the wrong way.

On the flip side, however, it’s that passion that drives my ambition and love for excelling at the things I take on.

In terms of photography, it’s that passion, which has driven me to get published. So it is with pride and joy that I share my recent contest win from the National Park and Public Lands. I won 3rd place out of over 15,000 entries. Check it out here…

https://www.nbcrightnow.com/news/state/the-winners-of-the-national-park-foundations-2020-share-the-experience-photo-contest-learn-more/video_82c929b7-d741-51ba-bcf8-a36f5d1bc92a.html

The award is humbling and feeds my passion further, and gives me validation of my work and growth as a photographer. It makes me want to be better and strive to work harder.

I guess it goes to show, you really can do anything you set your mind to. With determination and hard work, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve great things.

Mogollon Sunrise

Mogolllon Rim is littered with amazing views. One can pull over just about anywhere and be awestruck by the spectacular scenery.

It’s a special place for us, and we enjoy sharing it with friends.

Sunset / Sunrise are often difficult, as the Rim has a southern exposure. Unless one gets a spectacular sunset or sunrise that wraps around the sky, the color is either to the West or East. If you’re lucky, the clouds are with you, and great views follow.

Schnebly Hill Vista

We love to explore the back roads and take in the fabulous views we find along the way. We have traveled the Schnebly Hill Road on numerous occasions over the years.

Schnebly Hill road

The 12-mile road cuts between Flagstaff and Sedona. If one didn’t know better, they might think it a short cut. In reality, all the wind and lack of rain has continuously deteriorated the road.

Sunrise at Schnebly Hill Vista

You may know the road – it’s that really rough road the Pink Jeep Tours drives through out of Sedona. The bumpy road from Sedona to Schnebly Vista traverses over rugged rock shelf terrain. It takes around an hour to go just 6 miles, dependent on how much one wants to beat up your lifted truck or Jeep. It is not suited for passenger cars.

Little mouse collecting food

We even caught this industrious little mouse foraging through a cactus. It’s wonderful the things you see if you get out there. You can see more of my mouse pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2021/06/11/industrious-mouse/

Sedona city lights from Schnebly Hill Vista

We were delighted to have some clouds for some beautiful sunsets and sunrise.

Oregon

We love fresh seafood… and the water. Living in AZ, that means if we want to get our ‘fix’ we have to go East Coast or West Coast. West Coast is closer and a fairly easy drive, so we made the trek to Oregon to get our ‘fix’.

We had a lot of blue sky, windy days, but enjoyed the scenic drive down the coast, stopping along the way. Many of the shops and restaurants are closed (permanently or temporarily), and others only open at 25% capacity. So we mostly enjoyed buying fresh caught seafood from the local fishermen, supporting their trade and enjoying fresh fish while camping out.

The winds made the seas pretty rough and walking on the beach quite blustery, but we did manage to get in some scenic views, wooded walks, and take in some local wildlife.

Maybe next time we’ll do the East Coast, and plan a longer visit, perhaps once things settle down.

Check out more pix here … https://kritterspaw.com/2021/04/21/oregon-coast-2/