Sheep’s Crossing

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Arizona is a treasure trove of history and interesting stories.  If only the landscape could speak.  In this case… it does.  Sheep’s Crossing is one of those special historic places that few know about.

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It’s just north of Phoenix outside of Bloody Basin, down a long 3-hour rough dirt road.  There are multiple ways to get there, and all long and arduous.   At the end of the road though, one is rewarded with this historic moment of time.

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The Flagstaff Sheep Company used to graze sheep in this area around Verde River under a permit from the Forest Service as far back as 1926.  As sheep herders would move sheep during summer and winter months, they would invariably lose sheep down the swift river.

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During WWII, in 1943, they built a bridge across the Verde.  The bridge is 3′ wide and spans nearly 500′.  Using salvaged materials and erected with hand tools and a few mule, it is one of the last remaining suspension bridges in AZ.

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It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and was used from 1944 through 1979.  Some 11,000 sheep would be moved across this bridge twice a year.

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In 1988 the bridge was disassembled due to years of use, floods, and weathered over time.  It was re-built in 1989 as a testament to the pioneering sheepmen and ranching that existed in old Arizona.

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Fossil Creek

You may have seen my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/11/08/fossil-creek-nd/ regarding Fossil Creek.  I was pleased with the photos I got during that visit, so we decided to make the trek to do it again.

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After the long drive along the bumpy dirt road to get to the creek, there are several ‘entry’ points for one to ramble down the hill to walk along the creek.  We have been a number of times over the years, and enjoy the serenity of the water gushing over the rocks.

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It makes a wonderful place for a picnic to relax and let your troubles wash away.    (I know, I know, if only it were that simple.)  It does though provide a peaceful respite from our hectic lives.

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We did notice that Fossil Creek has become very overgrown and ‘scrubby’.  In taking photographs, I had a hard time cutting the clutter out of my pix.  You may notice that all these photos are tight knit to the horizon with no sky.  That’s because the horizon above the water was tangled and busy.

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Sometimes you just have to cut the clutter from our vantage point.

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Fossil Creek ND

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As I continue to strive to get better pix I find that if I stop to think about the photos before just clicking away at the shutter, my photos come out better.

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Case in point when I went out to get smoke pix, just because the smoke makes for more moody pix (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/19/mood-lighting/ ).

So continuing my current pursuit of Fall Colors, we planned a trip to Fossil Creek.  When I think of water pix, I think smooth silky water cascading over rocks, which means to me, a long exposure.

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So considering the outcome I wanted, I had to think about how to achieve my desired result.  Do I go first thing in the morning, dawn… or dusk?  With little light to be had, that could work… OR I could go in full daylight and sun and use a tool I carry in my bag – a Neutral Density (ND) Filter.

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I actually use a variable ND filter so I can control how much light I cut anywhere between 3 stops to 10 stops.  The ND filter allows me to stop down my exposure so I can take a 2 second exposure to get that super silky water.  Tripod required!

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Hmmm… it works!  Thinking through our actions does make a difference.  Who’da thunk it?  Ha!

 

Blue Ridge Shine

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ve noticed I’ve been on a somewhat futile quest to build a collection of photos of obscure lakes around Arizona.  It was Blue Ridge Reservoir that started the whole mission.

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We did an overnight trip to Blue Ridge and got some cool shots which got me to thinking about those awesome sunset / sunrise reflections in the water.

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So we visited a lot of dry water holes… and encountered a bit of smoke from prescribed burns along the way.  So why not combine the smoke and the lake photos by a re-visit to Blue Ridge Reservoir.

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I love it when a plan comes together!

Thanks to my friend Sue for sharing in this amazing experience.  It was a lot of fun!

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Hawley Lake

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Further to my ‘Lake’ collection, we visited a number of blue smears on the map.

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Admittedly they had some verbiage that indicated that there was water there… like Mexican Hay Lake and Lee Valley Reservoir, I was quickly reminded that this is Arizona.

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The ‘Lakes’ that we made our way to for photos were in fact, nothing by dry holes!  So much for that idea!  Maybe Spring after snowfall is a better time to do the Lake trek.

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The good news was we found water in abundance at Hawley Lake outside of Pinetop-Lakeside.   Even better news was that on our loop around looking for actual water in those fictitious lakes was that we did manage to encounter a variety of willing animals to photograph.

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Like this blue heron that seemed like he wanted to say something to me.  Or the chipmunk that posed for me.

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I caught these antelope running through the fields of yellow flowers along the road outside of Greer.

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One thing the trip made clear… winter is coming.  The overnight lows were chilly.  I’m not sure how many more lakes we will be about to get in, as snow will be soon following, along with closed roads.

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Hard to imagine.. but Christmas is just around the corner.  Get your winter woolies out!

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Reflections of Blue Ridge Reservoir

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There is something magical about sunrises and sunsets, and when combined with the soothing comfort of water – it makes for stunning scenery.

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It was a full moon the other day, so we decided to get some pix of Blue Ridge Reservoir at night… and in the morning.  The light cast by the full moon lit up the daisies growing through the patchwork rock that lines the ridges above the lake.

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The forest and it’s trees come right down to the waters edge at Blue Ridge.

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A brisk calm morning greeted us with gorgeous clouds and fantastic reflections in her still waters.  It doesn’t get any more relaxing than waking up to gorgeous scenery and the serenity of a calm sea and her comforting embrace of the beauty that surrounds her.

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Blue Ridge

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Crazy!  Last year I wrote about Blue Ridge Reservoid  (https://kritterspaw.com/2018/08/14/blue-ridge-reservoid/), as it had no water in the Blue Ridge Reservoir.

With all the snow we had this year… it’s now overflowing.

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Fallen logs litter the waterway from all the downed trees, and the water rises above the boat ramp.

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I look forward to the spring flowers, lunch outings, and camping amongst her many tall pines, soaring eagles, and nesting blue heron.  Nature does work in mysterious ways.

Bull Pen

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While I have come to appreciate our brisk winters and beautiful snowfalls, sometimes it’s just pleasant to get ‘off the mountain’ and get a change of scenery.   I suppose it’s true for anyone… even those who already live in a place other people come to vacation.  One needs to get away and feel the buzz, new inputs, and varied vantage points.

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Ours came this week via dropping off the mountain just north of Camp Verde to Bull Pen Recreational Area.  Arizona is certainly full of hikes and trails, streams and waterways.  We could have gone out to a restaurant for lunch, or shopping for things we don’t need… but instead we opted for a picnic with a view.

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We live on the ridges above Clear Creek making for excellent views of both East Clear Creek and West Clear Creek all along the lengthy traversing creek.  While most places requires quite a hike down hill (and back uphill) to view the creek, Bull Pen is easily accessible by dirt road.  And an excellent spot for a brief getaway picnic.

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Sedona, AZ

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We did an overnight in Sedona and enjoyed this amazing overlook from our campsite.

We ooh’d and aah’d along oak creek (https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/30/oak-creek-sedona-az/)  and saw our first ring tail cat in the wild (see post ….https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/30/ring-tale/).

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Words just don’t do it justice.  Hard to top this trip.  Where will we head next?

 

Oak Creek, Sedona AZ

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It’s fall in Northern AZ.  With all the snow (all 10″ between 2 storms) and wind we have had, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground on the Rim… so time to explore fall colors in other parts.

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Sedona along Oak Creek makes for a fine diversion.  The aspens were in full yellows and the ferns varying shades of reddish brown.  It was the kind of scenery that gives you pause as it takes your breath away.

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The cascading waters just added to it’s peaceful serenity.  It’s hard to beat scenery like this.  Arizona is truly a magical place.

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One that we are fortunate enough to call home.