Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fountain Hills

Another one of those spots I've always driven past is the 'lake' in Fountain Hills. The fountain is rather famous. When it was built, it was the world's tallest fountain. Using all three 600 hp pumps, the fountain shoots 560 feet high. Normally they only use two pumps for a height of 300 feet. On the day I was there, the fountain wasn't operating.

The lake is filled with reclaimed water and thus no swimming or boating is allowed. There's a wide array of public art around the lake. When I was there it was abundantly clear that many of the local residents enjoy an early morning walk around the lake with their four-legged friends, although this was the only turtle spotted.

This sculpture intrigued me, in part because it seemed it was an open invitation for kids to climb on it.

This was the smallest sculpture that caught my eye,

but it was the horse that sucked me in. I must have spent 30+ minutes looking at the details of this fascinating piece of art.

Everywhere you looked, you'd spot another unlikely component to this horse. This is the left side

And this is the right side. Somewhere, there's an old, now empty, kitchen!

Yes, there's a geocache there somewhere. No, I didn't find it although others have since I was there. I'm going to have to go back with BJ since she spots stuff I can't find.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tempe Town Lake

For years while the town of Tempe was developing the Tempe Town Lake area, I would drive by everyday on my way to work. I never stopped to wander. It has really developed nicely and I took advantage of some shirt sleeve weather to wander around a section of the lake. Free parking was available at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

I hadn't expected the various public art pieces displayed along the way. I headed west on the left shore of the Salt River, starting just below the dam that creates the lake.

I found the public art fascinating, enjoying the way the talented artist-welder highlighted nature features.

Obviously, there were even famous mathematicians involved.

I did get a snicker out of the badly sunburned sign, especially the part about the 'fast currents.' It's been a long while since we had enough rain to have fast currents in this section of the Salt River.

The section below the dam does create an interesting riparian environment. Standing here on the Priest Avenue bridge provided a different viewpoint to watch the Great Blue Heron that were fishing.

Of all the public art on my walk around this section of the park, this one was my favorite. It's a very realistic looking tree until you get up close.

The tree is all metallic. The leaves each have the name of someone who donated funds to plant trees in this revitalized area.

If the last tree wasn't enough, further east on the north side of the lake are these three art trees that include even more names of donors.

I guess you could say that public art comes in all sizes. The origami building, better known as the Tempe Center for the Arts, is rather unique. Given its location on short final for Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, noise was a significant concern for the architects. Each of the three performance venues inside the building are separate structures from the outer envelope.

My favorite piece of functional art was the walking bridge. It crosses the lake (a dammed up portion of the Salt River) just upstream of the dam with the southern terminus right at the Center for the Arts. I imagine that is could be very busy with bikes and walkers at some times, but it certainly wasn't that way the morning I was there.

I'll be back to explore more of the area!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

An Excuse

The new phone chimed last night with a notification that a new cache was published, not far from the house. As usual, I checked to see who and where before bolting out the door. This one had a few red flags flying. It was placed in an area that needed Park Supervisor approval but there was no mention of said approval. It came up as "disabled" but there was no log entry from the cache owner explaining the disabled status. The last flag was that the cache owner had fewer than 50 caches found, most recently over six years ago, and had never before placed a cache.

No sense going for a night hike with that many red flags, but since I only had one last chore to do before we headed off on a cruise, I decided the new cache would be a good excuse for a sunrise hike.

Since the GPS was already packed for the trip and I was too lazy to get it out, I decided to use my new phone, recognizing I didn't have any track record of its gps accuracy.

My phone's Ground Zero seemed to agree with the hint given in the new cache description but I didn't locate a cache at that location. There was similar location about 50' away so I checked that as well. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find a cache supposedly listed on a different website that hadn't been found since 2013. Meanwhile, the listing for the cache I'd been looking for was retracted.

Not to worry. Any excuse for an early morning walk in the desert is a good excuse!

I got back to the truck just in time to get a message from a friend who needed a 'health check' on one of her caches.

The resulting walk down a different trail was well worthwhile. It was there that I spotted that most elusive of desert phenomenon, a mud puddle!

Now it's time to go do that last chore.

The next step is to see how well the Google Fi phone works on our Panama Canal cruise. The blog will continue to autopost drivel on a weekly basis. One of these days we'll have some posts about the trip.