Monday, March 14, 2011

Quakies, Snow and Other Sights

I have been wanting to take some decent photographs of quaking aspens in the snow for quite some time. I decided a few years ago that the only way this was going to happen was to go to Flagstaff when a snow storm is coming, hole up in Little America and sally forth from time to time to do some photography. Storms have come and gone over several years without me going to Flagstaff to be in one. I finally faced the facts, which are these: I hate being cold and wet and despise driving on snowy, icy roads. Therefore the chances of me deliberately going to Flag in the middle of a snowstorm are slim and none. So one day last week I rounded up an old white haired guy and went to Flag for the day. Below--Old White Haired Guy

The weather was beautiful;clear blue skies with an occasional white cloud, no wind, Phoenix temp 80+, Flagstaff temp 61. We drove from Flag to the west of Mt Humphries and north on the highway that leads to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped at some aspen groves along the highway that had a turnout associated with them. Otherwise we couldn't stop the car along the highway because of the snow. We were at an elevation of 8000' plus, and there was plenty of snow, although it wasn't too cold. As seen below we were able to take advantage of a snowmobile track so we could walk in the snow without sinking in up to our butts.

The quakies in the snow are beautiful. Below are a couple of photos.

While walking along the snowmobile track we came to this magnificent old quakie. I don't know if this monarch of the forest is still alive, but I hope so. I plan on going back in late spring to see.

We stopped in Flag on the way home, had lunch,and took out a bank loan so we could buy enough gasoline to get home. While filling the Jeep with gas we noticed the cat below at the attached car wash cleaning the inside of his car. Apparently he exists in a portable anti-gravity bubble. I can think of no other explanation for his pants not being on the ground.

We drove on what I call the back way going and coming home. This road runs from Mesa through Payson, Pine and Strawberry and alongside Mormon Lake and Lake Mary. On the way home we saw a bunch of waterfowl in the shallow end of Lake Mary in an apparent feeding frenzy, probably after a school of fish, and a bald eagle flying close to them to see what was going on. No place to stop so no photos. I have traveled this road for at least 30 years and have never seen a bald eagle along it before. A fitting end to a great day.

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