[ A steep, rocky slope, dotted with pinyon trees & lots of rocks; above that, the sky is dark grey. ]
A perfect time to go rock climbing: right as the clouds roll in!
… look, I didn’t say it was a GOOD idea.
It really wasn’t rock climbing so much as rock scrambling. Major Tom still disapproved of the amount of effort involved.
Looking down at my foot, in classy purple Keens; I’m standing near the edge of a rock. Several feet below is Major Tom, a big grey tabby wearing a black harness. ]
Loiosh was pleased, though.
[ Loiosh, an orange tabby wearing a green harness, caught mid-step while walking across a big rock. ]
We got pretty high pretty quick!
[ A view down the hill; the foreground is a pretty steep stretch of red rock, & well beyond that is the grove of trees where I spent the rest of the day. ]
But then I took a break to let the boys catch up. Action shot!
[ Major Tom, caught in the act of leaping to a higher rock; both his forepaws are off the ground, & his face is very intent. ]
Another break … hard to see my chair all the way down below, but it’s there.
[ An even smaller stretch of red ground, with the grove beyond it; but most of the picture is taken up by the forested hill on the other side of the valley. ]
Action shot twice! I’m really impressed I got decent pics of both of them mid-jump.
[ Loiosh is running up the hill rather than jumping, but he looks pretty intent too. ]
Tom declared this break would be longer. I wasn’t complaining. Or moving.
[ Tom’s flopped on the ground, leaning against a big rock, hindpaws braced against my shoe. He really is fond of feet. ]
Some of the rocks had these bumps. I don’t know if they’re harder bits that weather slower? Or if they somehow form there?
[ A close view of a grey rock; small nodules, the biggest maybe a half inch across, stick out from the surface. ]
Tom gives the hill a skeptical look.
[ He’s standing on a slope littered with small & medium rocks, looking to the left & up the hill. ]
… this is why.
[ The next part of the hill, which is about a five foot high sheer slope. ]
Fortunately, I’ve got monkey toes, & I’m not afraid to use them.
[ A view down at my feet, which are next to my purple shoes, because feet are better for climbing. ]
It was a bit of work, not gonna lie. But I grew up rock-scrambling with my dad (usually with my mom at the bottom of the hill making concerned squawking noises) & when you’re dangling by your fingers & three toes, the skills come back quick.
No, I didn’t see how Tom got up there.
While bending over to put my shoes back on (even when I was a kid my feet weren’t up to cactus spines), I saw this.
[ A tiny, perfectly circular hole, perhaps a quarter inch across, leads straight down. Pine needles & other debris are arranged & fastened around the sides of the hole, to create just a bit of a ridge around it. ]
I wonder what built it?
That’s about when the rain started falling. But I had a plan! Or at least a rock.
[A REALLY big, red rock, with a bit of a space under it. Yes, we did all fit. ]
Tom wasn’t too sure about my choice of shelter.
[ Tom’s standing just out of the rain, rock overhead, staring deeper into the space underneath. ]
But he settled in after a while.
[ A close view of Tom’s face. He’s looking rather thoughtfully out across the valley. ]
Time to head back down! Tom managed some Dramatical Posing.
[ Tom’s sitting on the slope right above a bit of a cliff, looking off to the right in a concerned manner. Behind him are a couple of pinyon trees. ]
Sometimes I find something the geology training won’t let me ignore — there’s some nice cross-bedding on these sedimentary rocks.
[ A deep red-grey rock face. Lines of slightly more durable rock, which have eroded slightly less than the rest, stick out; they curve & swoop across the rock face, looking rather like waves. ]
Loiosh wins at Dramatical Posing. Excellent choice of venue, perfect posture.
[ A dead, weathered juniper trunk splits around a big rock, which is caught between the trunks. Loiosh is standing on the rock, facing upwards, a noble look on his face. I think he was watching a bird. ]
We didn’t make it all the way to the top, though I think we were three-quarters of the way there.
[ The view up: a couple dozen feet of steep, rocky slope ( with Major Tom sitting somewhere in the middle) leads up to a band of trees. Above that, a steep cliff makes up the top of the slope, with more trees atop it. ]