Looping Huachuca Mountain

Staying in Huachuca City meant one thing . . . we must loop the grand mountain.  We took off and drove through Patagonia, stopping for breakfast, before heading eastward on Harshaw Creek Road.  Along this stretch of the trip we saw cattle ranches, dry creek beds, lots of old interesting Cottonwood trees and the hint of a grassy valley.  We veered off Harshaw Road onto the San Rafael Valley Road, crossing a wide grassy valley surrounded by mountains.  More trees, one really good water spot at the San Pedro River and a few more cattle ranches.  There were lots of Border Patrol folks present in the area.  We drove over the Canelo Pass and then south on SR 83 past Parker Canon Lake.  We stopped there for coffee but interestingly, none of us took any photographs of the lake!!  It was cold and windy so that may have been the reason we kept our hands wrapped around warm cups rather than a cold camera body.  We stayed on 83 up to Montezuma Pass, a wonderful high point that we will re-visit.  It gives a wonderful, almost 360 degree of view to the Dragoon Mountains on the northeast and southward into Mexico.  Our final leg was a very cured, at times hairpin curved dirt road down into the south side of Sierra Vista.  Much of our trip was on dirt roads but they were mostly just fine with some washboarding in places.  I hope you enjoy our looping day!

 Heading up toward Canelo Pass.

Heading up toward Canelo Pass.

 Looking back and down at the San Rafael Valley.

Looking back and down at the San Rafael Valley.

 Grassland is amazingly tall.  We saw no evidence of fire, an amazing thing when you recognize how dry it is.

Grassland is amazingly tall.  We saw no evidence of fire, an amazing thing when you recognize how dry it is.

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 Steve got a  little to close to this guy and got his arm whacked.  It hurt.

Steve got a  little to close to this guy and got his arm whacked.  It hurt.

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 I really worked to get this one!  No, you generally don't want to point your lens into the sun, unless you walk back far enough and then put the sun behind a big branch.  

I really worked to get this one!  No, you generally don't want to point your lens into the sun, unless you walk back far enough and then put the sun behind a big branch.  

 Sun was behind me.

Sun was behind me.

 A common sight along the road.  I love old bare Cottonwood trees.

A common sight along the road.  I love old bare Cottonwood trees.

 There are many ways to process for a black and white image.  Doing so where the branches stand out against a dark sky is one very appealing way of doing it.

There are many ways to process for a black and white image.  Doing so where the branches stand out against a dark sky is one very appealing way of doing it.

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 This is the San Pedro River.  We spent quite a bit of time there trying to get creative reflections of the trees, grass and scum.  

This is the San Pedro River.  We spent quite a bit of time there trying to get creative reflections of the trees, grass and scum.  

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 I am learning more and more about black and white photography.  This image started with an intentional underexposed photograph.

I am learning more and more about black and white photography.  This image started with an intentional underexposed photograph.

 Same image as above properly exposed.

Same image as above properly exposed.

 We designated Tom as scum king a long time ago when he skunked us with his images of scum at Bosque del Apache.

We designated Tom as scum king a long time ago when he skunked us with his images of scum at Bosque del Apache.

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 Slow flowing.

Slow flowing.

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 I was trying to find out what would happen if I added a Kenko extender to my manual focus Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 1:1 macro lens.  It turned out that only the small extender would allow me to focus at all.  The only benefit I found in that limited experiment was the ability to get further back and still get a macro image.

I was trying to find out what would happen if I added a Kenko extender to my manual focus Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 1:1 macro lens.  It turned out that only the small extender would allow me to focus at all.  The only benefit I found in that limited experiment was the ability to get further back and still get a macro image.

 With the extender on the macro lens the depth of field became very narrow.  

With the extender on the macro lens the depth of field became very narrow.  

 San Rafael Valley.

San Rafael Valley.

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 Heading up to Montezuma Pass.

Heading up to Montezuma Pass.

 Looking toward the Dragoon Mountains in the far horizon.

Looking toward the Dragoon Mountains in the far horizon.

 Down the last curves to Sierra Vista.

Down the last curves to Sierra Vista.

There is a 22 mile hiking trail up and over the Huachuca Mountains.  It is part of the AZ Trail system.  We chose not to take that route but my impression is that it would be one great hike with the rugged mountain and great vistas.