A modest ridge, a great divide

A small arroyo behind my house leads eventually to Mescal Wash and, from there, through ever widening washes until eventually reaching the Santa Cruz River, about forty miles to the west. Also near my house, there is this low ridge just a few hundred yards to the east. On the other side of its low crest is an arroyo called Cornfield Wash, and it leads a scant few miles to the nearby San Pedro River. That means that this modest ridge line marks a divide between two major river valleys in southern Arizona; the San Pedro drainage to the east, and the Santa Cruz to the west.

La tinaja

Water flowing into a tinaja, a term used in the American Southwest to describe naturally occurring basins that catch and retain water. They most often are found at the base of waterfalls where the scouring action of water and gravel can, over time, excavate depressions in solid rock. This tinaja is in the upper reaches of Paige Canyon in the Rincon Mountains of Arizona.

The repository of space

The high and dry desert grasslands of Cochise County, Arizona, seem to embody the idea of the wide open spaces. The grassy rolling country stretches away toward the distant horizon, unbounded by fences or buildings. It’s the repository of space, a refuge of emptiness in an increasingly crowded world.

As a storm clears

The strong, pure light of the Southwest often produces a dramatically illuminated landscape when thunderstorms sweep across the region’s deserts, grasslands, and mountains. Here, as a storm clears, two towering yuccas glow in the warm light of the setting sun. In the background, a bright rainbow and tattered clouds hang in the rain-cooled air. This photograph was taken in the high grasslands near Mescal, Cochise County, Arizona.

The seasons turn

The summer monsoon trails off in mid to late September in southeastern Arizona. Today’s streaming clouds and lush green grass mark the high point of rainy season’s bounty. However, the cool, dry breeze now coming from out of the west signals the monsoon’s end. Crisp and clear mornings will soon see temperatures dropping into the 50’s, and the turn of the season will be complete. This photograph was taken on the J-Six Ranch in Cochise County, Arizona.

The sound and the fury

Each summer like clockwork, the monsoon season blows into Arizona. During the afternoons, ominous dark clouds build, mainly over the mountains, and as the storms commence, bolts of lightning shatter the desert silence in an impressive display of nature’s power. But for all its sound and fury, the summer storms are welcomed by the inhabitants for the bounty of rainfall that they deliver.

Cube and sphere

These two rocks with very different shapes sit alongside Sabino Creek in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. The difference in their shapes probably reflects their different origins. It’s probably a safe bet that the rounded rock was sculpted by the stream action of Sabino Creek. The squarish stone most likely fell here from the canyon walls above, which here feature rocks with that same sort of blocky shape. Also, it is composed of the very same type of rock, banded Catalina gneiss, that forms the walls of Sabino Canyon.

Lava flows and sandstone bluffs

The Zuni-Bandera volcanic field stretches out from below a series of sandstone bluffs in El Malpais National Monument in Cibola County, New Mexico. The black patches visible on the valley floor are exposed lava flows. The last eruption in this area is believed to have taken place sometime around 1170 BC.

The blanketing shadow

This stretch of arid grassland sits at the base of the Mustang Mountains in an area known as the Rain Valley in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. A passing cloud has draped a blanketing shadow over the little mountain range, accentuating the tall golden range grasses in the foreground.

Looks like home redux

The old Jay-Six Ranch west of Benson, Arizona was a well regarded cattle operation run by a man named Jack Speiden. A large parcel of well-preserved mid-elevation grassland remains where the Jay-Six herds once roamed. Rancher Speiden followed sound range management practices and today’s flourishing grasslands are a testiment to his stewardship. A small piece of that land is now home to me and my family. Nowadays on maps and roadsigns the written form for Jay-Six has been simplified to J-Six or just J-6.

That’s how my second post read when I began this blog. A few months back, I was beset with some technical issues outside my control. Those issues have since been corrected, presumably at the source, as I did not cause them nor did I fix them. I did lose some content, resulting in a gap from March until now. I plan to rebuild with new material and republish some existing posts with new photos and discard some of the posts that I find are not as sharply focused as I would like. In the meantime, I probably lost most of my readership, but I’m just happy to be up and running again.