Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clear Skies: Two Hilltop Views for Skywatch

Looking down on St. David, Arizona
For this week's Skywatch, I thought I'd share two very different hilltop views, both taken on our recent trip through parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and California. 

The first photo, above, was taken from an odd little dirt road that we found ourselves on--one of those roads that looks like it should be paved when you find it on the road map. There we were, out in the sizzling desert on a never-ending and ominously-narrowing bit of empty dustiness. It was hot, it was still, and our car was the only one in sight. When we stopped to appreciate the silence, I took this photo looking back at the little town of St. David. It would be hard to imagine that any hardy traveler might ever be out there on foot. 

A little further on, a huge UPS semi-truck pulled out of a ranch road and left us eating his dust until we finally came to pavement again. We wondered what long-awaited and very large package had been delivered at the ranch house--a nice cool refrigerator, air conditioner, or chest freezer, we hoped. Have I mentioned that it was HOT that day?

Near Petaluma, California

The second shot couldn't have been in more different terrain. We were traveling a winding two lane (paved!) road back from the northern California coast toward the city of Petaluma. This view looked like the perfect definition of gentle and charming countryside to me--almost as if one might spot a hobbit or two, journeying along on some trail under the trees.

For Skywatch photos from all around the world, please visit Skywatch Friday.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

When I was little my Dad was always looking for short cuts and being the manly forest ranger that he was he didn't mind a bit blowing down dusty roads in search of the main road. Sometimes it worked, sometimes we had to backtrack for miles.

becky said...

Hiya Clair,
looks like you had a nice trip! So green in Calif right now! I am wondering if you have been getting the smoke from the AZ photos down south? It has been rolling in thick in the evenings here in Santa Fe, turning our sun & moon an orangey red. The first couple of times it came in, I thought there must be a local fire- boy is that smoke traveling. Speaking of traveling- I am taking my nephew to the airport today- he has been out visiting- his first trip to northern NM- it has been fun!

clairz said...

Yogi, exploring strange little back roads sure is different from in the old days, now that we have GPS and cell phones!

Becky, glad to hear you had a good visit with your nephew. We are expecting batches of visiting friends and family all summer--some from the east and some from the west. It sure will be fun to show them around.

We have been having thin, generalized smoke but yesterday was the first time I saw a really defined black plume rolling in from the southern AZ fire in the morning. You can see satellite imagery (thanks to a Canadian reader for sending the link) of the smoke here: Scroll down to Visible and enlarge the southwest part of the map. It's pretty amazing.

Sylvia K said...

Two such different sights/skies! Terrific captures, Clair! I hope the fires in Arizona don't get any closer than they already are to New Mexico! Such a nightmare! Have a great weekend!


nonizamboni said...

Nice contrasts!
My husband had cousins growing up in St.David; when visiting them I thought my sinuses would burst from the dust & dryness. Anyway, thank goodness for the verdant, lush California hillside.
I'm now going out to look for hobbits...

Photo Cache said...

one day we tried to avoid traffic along 101 and found ourselves driving for miles and miles along the backroads of petaluma and neighboring areas. it sure is pretty out back.

My sky is here

Kim, USA said...

Wow two different landscape and both have there own beauty!


Ms. Becky said...

Hobbits, YES! I love the contrast of these two photos. the first looks like a hostile environment but I love its beauty. one word comes to mind - dry! it amazes me that anything grows, but there is life in that desert. this sounds like just the sort of trip I would love, especially the back-roads part. not so much the dust though. happy SWF, and I hope your weekend is grand.

Kay L. Davies said...

The first shot is definitely desert, Clair, and the second has the charm of an English countryside. Wonderful contrast!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

joco said...

So glad that I will never be inside that first picture. Frightening thought. The heat, the drought, the isolation. Much prefer your hobbit country. Know what? This hobbit mentioning links us in a virtual way: I actually had an oil painting session in the room were Tolkien created his hobbit characters. Small world.

Keith W said...

Your first picture certainly conveys a feeling of DRY and Hot! Hard to believe that there is a town out there!... The Petaluma photo refreshes us! Thank you!

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots. Second shot is amazing greenery and landscape.

forgetmenot said...

Beautiful shots--such pretty scenery--do different from one another. Excellent. Mickie ;)

Laura said...

I can imagine a small band of hobbits sojourning through....beautiful vistas!

EG CameraGirl said...

There really is quite a contrast between the green and the much drier looking brown! I love exploring the back roads!