Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meltdown on the canyon trail at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve this afternoon.

The temperature out on the trail in the bright sunshine was close to 100
but I have been out there when it was hotter. Today my natural laziness
took over, and almost really cost me.

The deli was closed in Morongo Valley that I usually stop at- the plan was to pick up an ice cold Powerade fruit punch flavor 32 oz and not the zero calorie
version, along with some cookies or trail mix. I decided to forgo turning around and stopping at another store, so I got to the preserve parking lot with just a one liter bottle of water, brought up from the OC, and warming rapidly in the non- air conditioned Morongomobile. Being a man on a mission to meet up with my favorite bighorn sheep herd, I kept on going.

Once I got to the preserve, I quickly set out down the trail. Reaching Junior
Cottonwood quickly, I took a video and rested a bit enjoying the desert cooling breeze ruffling the cottonwoods and my own sparse hair, all while sitting on one of nature’s chairs( flat topped rock) under the shade tree. Getting up to go,
I looked across the canyon floor and atop the high ridge top I spied with my four eyes, what appeared to be a bighorn ram. I immediately fired off a wide angle photo at minimum zoom, to be followed with the maximum zoom (42 x.)
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Now I will zoom in and show you the bighorn in the above photo.
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Can you see the bighorn above? I will try one more zoom in on the original photo below.
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Now here is the next shot that I took, as I waited for the auto focus to lock in, look what happened in the photo below.
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Evidently the ram tired of waiting, and walked off down the other side of the ridge. But my new camera acquitted itself well as you can see in this photograph. Feel free to double click on either of these photographs, perhaps
a photoshop expert out there can cleanup the image of the ram. He was there, I spotted him right away.

I hung around that area for about fifteen more minutes hoping to spy that ram
again but it was not to be. So I took off again down the trail, but by standing there in the hot sun for so long in one place, I set myself up for what followed down the trail a ways, when I ran into the wall, as some say.

The plan was to go down at least to the 1.5 mile marker on the canyon trail, where the bighorn were spotted previously and written about here. But I could
tell going down that something wasn’t right with me, almost like I was having a
sugar attack, and I had no candy or cookies for a quick fix, and by the way I am
not diabetic per my doctor, and my pace starting slowing a bit. By the time I reached this downed tree which now blocks the trail at around the 1.25 mile point, I was wore out and had to sit down on the downed log to try to recover.
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Click on the panorama to see a larger version.

I had a visitor playing hide and seek with me while I was sitting down. This was the only decent shot that I managed to get off, the rest were no good.
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After taking this photograph, it was off the log and out of the nice cool shade and back out on the sun drenched trail. By now, it had become painfully obvious to me that I had to give up my hike and go back up to my car. Off I went, slowly and stopping every so often for more of my now hot and dwindling water supply. After what seemed like forever, I made it back up to Junior Cottonwood and another rest break sitting on one of nature’s footstools under
the magnificent shade that he provided.

Click on vimeo to see a larger version.

After another few minutes, I shakily got to my feet and hiked back up to my car
and immediately drove to a store where I bought an ice cream sandwich and a lemonade tea, and then drove back to Orange County.


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