Tinder Run-off

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We have been trying to take advantage of the moody skies, fog, and rain to capture the aftermath of the Tinder Fire.  Only yesterday, this ‘water hole’ was dry.  But with a recent rain storm, and lack of vegetation destroyed by the fire, the water ran down the hill and formed this instant lake, crippled by ash scum coating the top.

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It’s one of the many features and stories told by the aftermath of the Tinder Fire that I want to capture for posterity, having lived through it.

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If only these signs of the fire could talk and tell the story for themselves of the fear and danger approaching.  The charcoal and cinder, soot and burn left in it’s wake as testament to the flames that rolled through.

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It’s a new day post – Tinder Fire, and may we all remember the horror and effect of forest fires and the camaraderie of others during difficult times.

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See my additional post here… https://kritterspaw.com/2018/07/22/tinder-aftermath/

 

 

 

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Big Lake, Greer AZ

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There are a number of little lakes around the Show Low / Heber area in northeast AZ.  Originally named, Big Lake is one of the larger lakes, with multiple camp grounds, and boat rentals that make up this Recreational Area.

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There are signs everywhere to be aware of bear… but we didn’t see any, only Journey who enjoyed a dip in the water during the water summer sun.

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We did see some antelope which is always a treat, along with the occasional deer and elk.

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Somewhere Where It’s Quiet

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Now if that doesn’t describe where we live, I don’t know what does!

We live in the most amazing place, with the most amazing people, and the most amazing animals.  It is truly somewhere where it’s quiet.  Somewhere between the Mogollon Rim and Moqui Draw, surrounded by Potato Lake, Knoll Lake, and Blue Ridge Reservoir, and littered with elk, deer, bobcat, mountain lions, fox, and coyote.  This is what we call our home.

After the devastating Tinder Fire (https://kritterspaw.com/2018/05/02/tinder-fire/)  which we still continue to clean up from that raged in our backyards, we are blessed to have friends and neighbors helping each other out.

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And this is what it looked like BEFORE the fire.  My photo of Moqui Draw, now scarred by the Tinder Fire.

“At sunset, fog shrouds a ponderosa pine forest at Moqui Draw, along East Clear Creek in the Coconino National Forest.  This spot is about a mile southeast of State Route 87 and northeast of Potato Lake.”  Photograph by Kathy Ritter, published in the June 2018 Arizona Highways Magazine, just after the Tinder Fire devastated this very same area.

Elusive Elk

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We go to the Mogollon Rim often just to look for animals.  Our elk have been very elusive lately.  On our most recent trip we saw a large herd of probably 100 elk.

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But with all our multiple sightings, they were very camera shy and spooky… and by spooky I don’t mean scary, I mean scared. They ran at the mere sound of us, and just wouldn’t stay still for a shutter release.

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I keep telling ’em… I’ll make you famous :).   But they don’t listen.

No worries… I’m persistent.  I’ll be back!

 

Tonto National Monument

I was born in Phoenix, AZ… and have lived here all my adult life (despite the fact that I have traveled and lived in a dozen or so states).  So we are pretty familiar with AZ, and her backroads.

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But, I have never been to Tonto National Monument, until this week.  It was a first for both John (who moved here when he was 11 mo. old) and myself.

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Despite the fact that I was less than impressed, it was a good trip, a nice hike (which Journey was marginally allowed on), and very scenic.

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We loved the view of Roosevelt Lake from the ruins more than we liked the ruins themselves.  It was blue blue sky day… but made for a nice diversion for the day.

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Mary Colter’s Watchtower

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All the sudden I am fascinated with Mary Colter.  While she is a figure from our past (born 1869), I find her a fascinating character.  When her father died at only 53 (who refused her pleas to go to Art School), she struck a deal with her mother that she would use what little money he left to pay for her to go to school.  She would then get her education and become a teacher to provide monies for her mother and young sister.  Her mother agreed, and Mary moved her mother and sister from St Paul, MN to California to go to the California School of Art and Design.  There she got her architecture degree in 1890, and as promised got a job teaching to support the family.

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By 1902 she was hired by Fred Harvey to design a style of architecture that would become known as Rustic National Park, used by most National Parks to follow.  Her association with Fred Harvey lasted for 48 years.  Many of the Fred Harvey buildings she was associated with have been since demolished by the railroads.

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But the Grand Canyon remains the single largest treasure trove of Mary Colter works , including the Lookout Studio, Hopi House, Hermit’s Rest, and the Watchtower, all of which continue to thrive and entertain… albeit, unfortunately as gift shops today.

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One of her last ‘masterpieces’ was the Watchtower at the Grand Canyon-South Rim.  It was built in 1932.  It was modeled after several Indian towers, mostly all already in ruins.  She wanted a tower that could serve as a spectacular vantage point to take in the awesome Grand Canyon vistas.

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But she wanted it to last… so she had it built with a concrete and re-bar support structure on top of which the ‘boys’ had to cull the landscape to find the individual stones from the natural environment to plaster on the exterior.  Individual stones would pop out to cast eclectic shadows, and different styles and designs from different tribes made up the exterior.

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The inside was painted by the then well known Indian painter, Fred Kabotie, based on ancient drawings provided by Colter to assist in the decorations.

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It is a fascinating building, and largely intact from the original tower devised by Mary Colter… though one can no longer go onto the roof, and glass window panes have been added for safety reasons.

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If you find yourself at the Grand Canyon – South Rim, don’t miss the Watchtower, as it is a fascinating piece of living history outside a stunning landscape.

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See more Grand Canyon – South Rim photos … here.

 

 

Leave room to Run

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While I like the action in this photo, as this buck was spooked.  It is not a great photo because it is too constrained.  It is instead, a perfect example for what not to do.  I have left no room for the buck to run.  Since I cut off the action, the viewer is left to wonder what spooked him… or where he is going.  It lacks that sense of place.

 

A better photo that shows a sense of place, and includes the subject (my buck) and his environment – the forest and trees.  One where the subject is looking at you, and it’s eyes sharp are a bonus.  Having the subject well lit, and not in the shadows help to draw the eye to your subject…. albeit often hard to get everything to line up, particularly when working in the wild.

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