Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hiking the grasslands

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My location:  Las Cienegas NCA near Sonoita, Arizona

This morning looks to be a duplicate of yesterday.   A couple of nice photos of our early morning walk.  That’s the sun hitting the Santa Rita Mountains to my West and the MH.


Took my time with breakfast and round 10:30, we decided to hike to some Oak trees about a half mile to the Northwest of us.



We stumbled on this lone barrel cactus getting ready to bloom.  The only one I’ve seen out here so far.


There are the line of oak trees we are heading for.



We normally find animal paths to follow through the grasslands.  Much easier than forging on our own.



Only walked about a mile and a half on this hike and took us an hour, so we were back at camp before noon.

We rested for about an hour and around 1 p.m., my son Ben called.  He wanted to let me know that they were finally moved into their new home.  He didn’t realize how hard it is to move all “your stuff” from one place to the another.  Luckily, both places are in the same small town of Lebanon, Indiana.  Very happy for them to finally get settled in their own home.

Yuma and I decided this afternoon, we would go back to Empire Gulch and walk the length of it, since we came into the middle of it yesterday.  Instead of walking to it, we jumped in the Jeep and drove the mile down to the parking lot where it begins.  Here we go again!  Into the Cottonwoods.


Had to cross Cienegas Creek several times.  No bridges, but someone was kind enough to either put boards or tree limbs down to help.  Yuma didn’t need help.  He just ran or walked right through the creek.


Cottonwood Tree overload coming up!



Saw a sign telling me not to rest under these trees, especially on windy days.  I wonder why?



We had walked West all the way till there were no more trees.  The creek had disappeared underground and there was nothing but a gulch now.  We turned South when we hit a dirt road, hoping we would be able to find our way to the Empire Ranch.  Then we hit another dirt road heading East towards the Empire Ranch.

There are the Mustang Mountains off in the distance to the Southeast.


Came over a rise and I could see the windmill in the distance and I knew we were heading home.  Getting thirsty by this time.



The gulch is behind the new ranch house built with more modern conveniences than the old ranch house has.  It is empty as well as the old ranch house.  No one lives here anymore.  We had walked the length of the ranch from East to West and then went South and back East into the ranch.


Took the Heritage Discovery Trail to get back down to the gulch and headed back to the Jeep.


Must have taken a hundred photos to get this one of a butterfly on a flower.  Only needed one shot for the flower.



I walked five miles again today and Yuma must have gone a hundred miles.  He just loved this gulch.  He had to jump in Cienegas Creek a number of times.  I told him when we got home, he was going to have a bath.  And, he did!

Sun is again setting in the grasslands and the last sun rays are falling on the Whetstone Mountains as Yuma races for home.


See you later.


  1. What a beautiful picture of Yuma in the tall Grass! We should get that one framed. Wonderful photos of so many fantastic trees. Can't believe there are so many there. Amazing butterfly picture! It looks like you two had a super day! Great mountain scenes, too.

    1. Thanks Dolly. Was a nice day. I can walk much more comfortably on flat ground I have found.

  2. Who would think that pictures of trees could be so interesting ? But they are - with the blue sky, bright green leaves, and gnarly black branches. Good pic of you and Yuma up under the huge cottonwood/oak tree. Good closeup on butterfly and in photo of purple flower you can even see silk threads from a spider. Another Fun day - be sure to carry water because I don't think you want to drink out of that creek.

    1. Thanks Moonfly. Yuma enjoys drinking the creek water, but I probably shouldn't. I think I like trees as much as I do mountains. Then there is always grass. I love that butterfly shot. Took awhile for it to sit still long enough to get it. Yuma was getting bored.

  3. Another fun day there, did you spot any deer in the gulch, we managed to catch a glimpse of one in the distance.

    1. Saw one white tail, but he was gone into the trees before I could get a camera on it.

  4. Oh my goodness! What a great hike you and Yuma had! Those Cottonwood trees are sooo green, but they're aren't very strong huh? Or maybe they're just getting old and decrepid. :) The oak trees are so pretty too. I love the picture of You and Yuma in front of the oak. That was an oak wasn't it? Or was that a Cottonwood? And the picture of the butterfly on the purple flower? Just get out of town right now and start a career in photography! Beautiful! Also, those sunset pictures are my jam! You should blow some up and frame them for the farm so that you have pieces of the west with you at home! Have a great day today! Love you!

    1. Thanks Sarah. Only a family member would be so kind. It was an Oak tree and I do like to take pictures. Fun trying to make them look as realistic as I can.

  5. Looking at trees again this morning with my coffee - think I figured it out. The oak are the huge ones with dark green leaves and tend to stand alone. The cottonwoods have a more slender trunk, bright yellow-green leaves, and seem to be more in clusters near water if they can find it. Hope you and Yuma have fun Today.

    1. I think you've got it down perfectly, Moonfly. I wonder what I'm going to do today. After coffee and little white donuts, I'll think of something.

  6. Beautiful pictures of man, dog and the mighty oak! Looks like a great day and you must be happy you don't have the 92F that we have. Love your butterfly photo, beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Patsy. It was hard to get that butterfly to sit still long enough for me to get that shot. Couldn't do these walks in that kind of heat. Much easier to walk on flat ground, that's for sure.

  7. Wow! You and Yuma have been putting in some miles! Love the pictures of the big old trees. I saw something pretty neat on the news the other night. They had a piece about the desert in Barego Springs Ca. The desert was all flowered out. They said some of the seeds had been laying dormant for decades. They said it wouldn't last long with the high temperatures but it was amazing. Take care Dad. Love you.

    1. Thanks Steve. I saw that too. Wish I could have stayed longer and see it, but had to move on.
      Love you, too.

  8. Especially like that Butterfly photos.