Saturday, May 21, 2011

Watson Lake at Sunset

Watson Lake is a picturesque place of curious granite boulders, high desert plant life, and reflective waters.  During mid-day, the sun brightly reflects off the rocks, but during sunset with dramatic clouds overhead, the raking light of the sun sets the rocks aglow.  During this particular evening of May 20th, 2011, the lake was in complete shade as the sun was blocked by a massive cloud.  I knew the sun would show through a gap in the clouds eventually.  The moment came, and I was not disapointed. Here are five of my favorite shots:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Tonto Natural Bridge is a hidden gem in Arizona.  It is a state park and worthwhile spending a few hours exploring.  We only had one hour, so we hiked the steep 1/2 mile into the canyon to get under the bridge.  It resembles an outdoor cave with mineral deposits and petrified moss/lichen formations.  A spring from above rained on our heads.  This place is ancient!  Next time you are driving by this place between Camp Verde and Payson, stop in for a quick visit and support our State Parks.

Horton Springs

Horton Springs Trail is fifteen miles east of Payson.  I've driven past this area so many times without stopping and had no idea the beauty that resides there.  It is at the Upper Tonto Recreation Area; picnic spots, camping, hiking, and places to play in the creek.  At the start of the trail, there was little or no water in Horton Creek, then suddenly we could hear the fall of water.  The water must go underground at some point because there is pleny of water in Horton Creek.  The area is lush, forested, and verdent.  Other people were playing in the water, but it seemed a little cold for that, although it was almost 80 degrees.  We made it to the springs around lunch time (I forgot our sandwiches in the fridge so we only snacked on pretzels), finding the spring gushing out of a small opening in the rock.  I will definitely come back!

I have no idea what these are.

Minature Niagara

vibrant greens

At Horton Springs

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grand Falls

I always wanted to check out the Grand "Chocolate" Falls, recently mentioned in the Arizona Highways Magazine as looking like something out of Willie Wonka.  To our dismay, it was dry!  We hiked down to the water to get a closer look and the kids didn't mind the water. There was plenty of thick, juicy mud probably from recent silt deposits.  We will have to make it back after a heavy rain and/or snowmelt. 

My niece Aubrey on the quicksand beach

My nephew Connor wondering how deep?

Volcanic Rock