cardio x2, cholla


From yeterday’s hike. This is what ocatillo skeleton looks like:

aka “devil’s walking stick” for obvious reasons

I wanted to hike through a saddle NE of my position. I thought it would be passable based on two distant views but you never know. Looking back at the camper before I make an eastward turn toward the theoretical saddle:

van is center-right

Still can’t see the saddle area but the hill that was occluding the view appears to have a lot of animal tracks on it. They are quite faint but you may be able to make them out:

Going to have to be more specific in my bucket list to say I want to see a living mountain goat / sheep:

Thankfully, the saddle did exist:


Just before cresting the saddle there is a little hidey hole in the rock:

Whenever I see spots like that I wonder how many cowboys, travelers, or natives hid out there from the weather. It faces north so it might be better refuge from summer sun than from winter winds.

The view going down the other side of the saddle:

Much easier hiking. Still glad to have trekking poles but it was no longer a “place each foot consciously” thing. On the way down I kicked something with my boot and it went CLANG!!! just like an M1 Garand clip ejecting. I found it and it does look similar:


We came down, crossed the road and followed some two-track a couple miles. I was hoping to see a break in the hills that would allow me to get a Verizon signal back in there for some subsequent visit. No joy.


Also in the Department of No Joy, Muffin got cholla in her muzzle and paw. I got the one out of her paw without much struggle, ‘though she pulled away hard when I got it out and the cholla bounced back and got stuck in my fingernail cuticle. That was awesome.

She fought quite a bit on the muzzle bits but I got the spines out and she seemed to forgive me quickly. I remembered advice about using a pocket comb to remove the spine bundles and I resolved to carry one next time.

By this time my ankle injury was starting to complain and skies were darkening again.

It would take about an hour to get back to camp along the road so we called it quits.


It rained a bit again last night but skies are only 50% covered today. That’s enough to get meaningful solar harvest between the clouds, and the bank hit Vabs around 1100.

Muffin and I took off for another hike. There was a spot against the hill to the NW hidden behind a rise and I wanted to see what was there. Usually nothing, but it gives me a focus for the hike and sometimes yields a cave or something.

The saguaro are swollen with rainwater; accordion pleats allow the cactus to change circumference rather dramatically with available water.

We came over the rise and there was nothing in particular down there. Possibly a cave to the left in the shadows but it didn’t look approachable:

looking east - these hills are directly north of my campsite

A dead saguaro neatly dissected for your edification.

The ribs are used as a lightweight roof support by native people, then covered by even lighter materials. I picked one up off the ground and flexed it. They give as much as wooden yardstick or thin dowel rod.

Unfortunately, Muffin picked up more cholla. Fortunately, though, I brought the comb and it was easy and fast to pop them right off. You don’t have to get so close and you don’t have to be precise. Much less aggravating for both of us.