Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Buffle Grass and Busted lens

Buffle Grass and Busted lens...

I love buffle grass. I know folks are claiming that it is the scourge of the west, but it makes a great landing spot for when you have one of those klutz moments. I will try to explain, but I need to start from the beginning of the weekend.

We got up on Saturday with the alarm clock. Not my idea of a good time on the weekend, but it was for a good cause. We joined a few hundred other folks on the annual Climb to Conquer Cancer up “A” Mountain. Took us a little over an hour from the Pima Community College West Campus to the Peak. It was a beautiful morning and we did not stop the entire way. I waited to tell my co-walker until after we finished, that I had particular process in walks or runs. I may slow down, but I do not stop. Oh the joys of perseverance...

We made it up ahead of the pack, as we had departed early, and jumped right in line for Mexican food and an Eegee. It was a fine way to end the walk. We then sat around and watched the line of people as they made it up the mountain. The view is beautiful up there and now I understand why the ASU fans go up there when visiting for a game versus the Wildcats. Must be for the view, and to change the colors of the red, white, and blue “A” for the local University of Arizona Wildcats. I grew up in the Phoenix area so I tend to cheer for the Sun Devils, but that is another story. We also added a few of our thoughts and prayers on the memory boards they had placed on the top of the climb. We ditched the idea of taking the shuttle buses back down (what the heck were we thinking?!) and hiked back down. Took a bit of a short-cut through the UofA Desert Laboratory. We saw coyote and two hawks on the way back. Very cool! Made it back safe and sound to the car after a fun-filled walk. No idea on the distance, but our muscles were a bit sore. Must have been good for us then.

Spent much of the rest of the day puttering around the house. With the addition of some dirt to cover the trash can halves we should be ready for our Desert Tortoises. I am thinking that will make our back yard complete. Decided to hit Caruso’s Italian Restaurant for an early dinner. I think they add something to the bread to make it addicting. We seem to make it through two bowls of bread by ourselves and still manage to finish dinner. Maybe that is why I have gained weight…

Sunday found us getting up early again. Must have been due to going to sleep early. Isn’t that a sign of getting old? We were out of the door and off to Cindy Lou’s for breakfast. Always fun tie as the staff know us pretty well now. After getting our fill on one of the best breakfast’s in Tucson we headed towards Tucson Mountain Park and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I think we have gotten our money’s worth out of our annual membership again this year!

We tend to hike around out in the desert prior to going to the museum. Never know what we might find. We were able to get some cool landscape shots along with some cacti. And the weather was beautiful. I will try to keep that in mind when the summer heat cranks up and all the flowers and cactus blooms are fried into non-existence. Along the hike we discovered another Crested Saguaro. They are rare, but we have found several on our treks around the Sonoran Desert. It was shortly after leaving the Cristate Saguaro that we found some buffle grass.

We were trying to wind our way through the forest of chollas and back to the main trail. (I can be somewhat of a cholla magnet as proven in the past. It is not always fun to pull the spines out of various parts of your anatomy. Just take it from me and avoid the stuff if at all possible.) The grass covered an area of rocks and cactus that lead down into a dry wash.

As I maneuvered my way down the hill I stepped out on a rock. As I shifted my weight forward the rock fell sideways, taking me down. It was one of those slow motion falls that you can feel the impact before it happens. I knew better than to put my hand out as I try to avoid broken bones whenever possible. I did my best to relax and take the fall. Thought I did a pretty good job of it as there were no loud cracks or pops. A quick check of my extremities showed no extreme pain. Slight bruising where my shin and ankle skidded over a rock on the way down. Tested legs for weight support and felt pretty good for being a klutz. Picked up my camera equipment (had I mentioned we were taking pictures?) and inventoried my bag. All items were accounted for. The buffle grass had broken my fall, without me breaking any bones. Quick check indicated all was in order and we made our way back to the trail and on to the car.

Felt good enough to go on to the Desert Museum. As we were taking some pictures in the parking lot I discovered that one of my lenses was not acting right. Further investigation indicated that it had taken a hit during the fall. Not only was the $75 B+W filter gouged, the Nikkon 24-120mm lens was not focusing or zooming correctly. Not to be deterred I got out the original Nikkor 75-300mm lens and made sure the camera was still operational. All fine and dandy though that lens is an older one and was kind of in need of being replaced. Had a fine time shooting detail shots with the long lens. I find it interesting to take photos with a lens you would not normally use for those shots. I was pretty pleased with the results and have included several.

So now you know the whole story. Between the pictures being worth a thousand words each and this rant I figure you have a total word count of over 50,000. I think I am getting this new math figured out… Thanks for reading. If you see any buffel grass, feel free to thank it, before pulling it out of the ground at the roots. Sorry about the last two shots. One is a Turkey and the other a Coatamundi. I just could not figure out how to say, “The End.”