Canyon Lake Drawdown Revisited

Today we went back out to Canyon lake, this time with my trusty metal detector. I wanted to see if there was anything really interesting or valuable buried in the mud under the first bridge.
We quickly found this was going to be a problem as there was an insane number of aluminum cans buried in the dried mud. However while looking around I found one very interesting object buried under about 1 inch of mud. The mud had dried and cracked revealing it to me. I am surprised no one else had seen it as many people had been through this area, here it is after I got it home and cleaned it up:
You will note from the above image that the number has been removed from the lower part of the handle using a drill and a chisel. No other number is on the item. The slide and everything else was not attached and was not within 10 feet of it, possibly the other pieces had been dumped somewhere else. From where it was located it looks like someone threw it in as they drove onto the bridge. After we had finished our explorations we attempted to drop it off at the local constabulary in A.J. but it was not open on Sunday. Since the important parts are missing and there is no number I will probably remove the nickel plated parts that did not rust and dispose of the rest.

On this trip we decided to check out the second bridge, here are some pics:

In the above picture of the Bridge with the sun behind it I am standing next to the column for scale.

We had to do some hiking to get down into the lake bed under the second bridge. Once down there we could not walk on most of the mud as we would have sunk up to our knees. We carefully hiked around to the other side and walked to where the marina used to be before it was temporarily moved. In that area we observed (but could not get to):
more of everything we noted in my first list plus
A Boom Box.
2 Potted (but dead) ficus trees.
A stereo.
A Direct TV satellite dish.
A 20 foot mast with antenna attached.
Lots of shoes.
Many more lawn chairs.
A stereo amplifier.
Several badly rusted anchors of various design.
A complete and upright gas grill stuck in the mud.

As we were hiking out of the lake bed we saw this guy flying over head.
It appears to be a fully armed Huey Cobra.

No we did not find the wallet.


Canyon Lake Drawdown

Since we had bought a trailer, one of the places we were going to camp with it this winter was Canyon Lake. Well... wouldn't you know it they decided to lower the water level by almost 100 feet at this time so they can perform maintenance on Mormon Flats dam.
Not ones to miss such an opportunity we decided this weekend to check it out. We drove up there this morning around 08:15, and parked at an area where we have fished in the past. We started making our way down the steep crumbly sides of the lake when Mike stepped on a rock outcrop that gave way and he almost did a butt slide down the hill. in the picture below the white circle is around the chunk of rock that gave way.
He slightly damaged his camera and his pride. luckily he didn't break anything. He did scratch his back, left arm, and left hand.
Once we determined that an ambulance was not needed we continued with our explorations. The first thing we noticed was the lack of underwater vegetation, the large number of beer and soda cans, and lots of fishing line. We headed for the bridge you cross over to access the lake. here we found the buoys and their weights that marked the entrance.
The next thing we came across was these enormous cracks in the sediment at the bottom of the lake. The crack are 1 to 4 inches across, and 3 to 10 inches deep.
You had to be careful walking across them as they were very mushy and if you stepped in the crack you could twist your ankle quite severely. The next thing we came across was a jeep that had apparently ran off the road or had been pushed into the lake. No human remains were found inside.
We found a motorcycle but there wasn't much left of it. The really interesting stuff was found under the bridge.
We found 2 newspaper vending machines...
The bolt from a rifle...
and a small safe.
The safe had been shot at least twice, and someone had managed to rip a hole in the bottom. Some of the contents of the safe were still inside (remnants of porno magazines). Chris also found a 20 pound anchor (which he carried out). We then hiked back out and went to the section of the lake where there is a floating pier. They had removed the floating pier at some point and all that was left was part of the walk way.
This is the view of the second bridge (we didn't hike to it because there was water under it).
Some interesting things we found in this area was some broken up fish habitats, the junk under water where we had lost our drop shots, a fire extinguisher (discharged), some extra fresh squishy mud, and 2 cans of unopened soda (coke and sierra mist). We opened them and they were still carbonated. We left and were going to go to Mormon Flats dam but half way there we came across an ominous sign warning of all sorts of dire consequences if we went any further.

Some of the other things we found in the bottom of the lake:
Lots of sun glasses with one lens missing.
Many children's fishing poles.
Lawn chairs.
Sleeping bags.
Broken or complete, but rusted fishing poles.
Parts of fishing reels.
Places where bags of trash had been sunk.
A bicycle.
Tire Rims.
Concrete weights.
A "fun saver camera" (fun not saved).
A boat ladder.
A "Diver down" flag.
Some kind of old computer or phone switching equipment.
A warning sign to not "stop on, loiter, fish, or dive" off the bridge (we set this up in the mud below the bridge).
A ham bone.
Diving suit slippers.
Swim fins.
A child's toy camping lantern.
Car/Boat batteries.
The unidentifiable rusted remnants of another car from the 50's or 60's (it had round jet engine style tail lights).

We overheard 2 women who were walking around with their dogs under the bridge say that someone they knew had lost a wallet which contained about $1800.00 in the lake in that general area (we never saw a wallet).


Some Stuff

Saw this while driving through Mesa last week.
Yes it's him!
Jebus Mike Superstar!


Stock Photography III (what's selling?)

Well it's been almost a year since I started selling pictures that I have taken. These are the pictures that have been selling so far.

This was one of the more difficult ones to shoot and to get approved. It took me 3 tries. The biggest problem is that this is an isolation, to take the picture I strung the pistol up "upside down" by fishing line inside my home made whitebox. Once it stopped swaying I was able to take the picture. Color correct it, and remove the background. I then used a layer mask and overlaid a copy of the image in gray scale. I clone brushed out any dust, scratches, and the fishing line. Finally I removed any digital noise. The reason it took 3 tries at approval is that Dreamstime's website has very unclear instructions as to what they are looking for in an isolation. Number of times sold, 1.
The Durango and Silverton train at the station is my most popular download so far. Which is surprising as it was my first upload, and I edited it without having much experience. This one was rather complicated as I took the picture before I even thought about selling stock photography. I had to remove the name of the railroad, some tree limbs, several McDonalds related signs in the background, fix the washed out sky, and cover up some mistakes with steam. The sky was actually taken from another image, and I had to do some fancy cut and paste to the locomotive for reasons I cannot remember. Someday I might get ambitious and remove the guy with the red jacket. Number of times sold, 3.
This one was relatively simple. I had to lighten up the shadows and remove the "Scott" name from the SCBA's. Number of times sold, 1 on Dreamstime, and 1 on Crestock.
Same for this picture. Number of times sold, 1 on Crestock (Dreamstime didn't accept).
This is my second most popular upload, and was also problematic. I had to replace the sky, fill in the areas where the sky and tree meet, and cover up some problem areas with smoke. I also deleted some people and a picnic bench from the left side of the train. Number of times sold, 2.
I did not take this picture but never the less it caused me much pain. Both Crestock and Dreamstime allow you to upload your own x-ray's, so I did. I just remove my information. Number of times sold, 1.
Ah yes the humming bird image. This one was rejected by both Dreamstime and Crestock. Although I was able to fix it enough to get it re-accepted by Dreamstime. I didn't bother with Crestock. Number of times sold, 1.
This one is my personal favorite. The only things I did to it was to remove the word Phoenix from the truck, some power lines, and enhance the color. Number of times sold, 1.
That's it so far. All that hard work has earned me $8.75. Woo hoo!


Adventures in Cheese (Eating)

Over the last several month's I have made a foray into the world of cheese. This all started when Kathi was telling me about a cheese shop that used to be at Tower plaza, when Tower plaza used to be where it isn't. She was reminiscing about her memories of her father buying cheese there and how good it tasted.

The cheese in question is called "Danbo" a Danish cheese. I located a seller online at Igourmet as there appear to be 0 (zero), none, nil "cheese shops" in Phoenix, and the places that sell "exotic" cheeses did not carry it. I ordered 2 pounds of Danbo, one with caraway seeds and one without.

I'm not snooty enough to boar you with how self absorbed I might be with grand descriptions of all the wondrous flavours one might find in partaking of cheesy comestibles. I'll keep it closer to home. Danbo smells like Mike's (or anyone else's) stinky feet. The taste is similar to a very, very sharp cheddar. thankfully it does not taste like it smells. I didn't much care for the one with caraway seeds.

The next cheese was "Havarti". This cheese was an attempt to copy Danish cheeses and was first made in the mid 1800's. The smell is very mild and so is the taste. It tastes good straight or melted. It also comes with caraway seeds.

Then there is Brie.

I bought some Presidente Brie. This stuff looks freaky but tastes pretty good. The rind of this cheese is a mold that is related to penicillin. The Rind is 100% edible and taste just like... hmm... well... MOLD (blech). However the cheese itself is extremely soft, creamy, and tastes allot like unsalted, Velveeta (They're getting their torches and pitch forks in France now), with a very, very, slight ammonia aftertaste (in some brands).

Next up Gouda. I tried 2 different kinds, a young Gouda, and Beemster XO (extra old) which I am partaking of as I type.

This is definitely an old cheese. Igourmet reports it has "The flavor of butterscotch, followed by alternating waves of whiskey and pecan". Now I have tasted Butterscotch, Whiskey and Pecan, and this cheese taste nothing like those things. It has a STRONG but not unpleasant taste. There is a pleasant cheesy aftertaste. It does however have lots of tiny little white crunchy specks in it which at first I thought was salt, but I have yet been unable to identify. Regular Gouda is very smooth and tastes like a strong Muenster, Monterrey Jack, or Havarti. Chris and Mike like it melted on a hamburger.

Cheese connoisseurs like wine connoisseurs go on and on about all the different flavors they find in their favorite indulgence. I have a pretty good sense of taste and smell. I can tell when milk has gone bad, long before anyone else can. I can tell you what the ingredients are in most prepared foods I have eaten, but the whole "this taste like, this stuff" and "this is reminiscent of whatever" is BS. Food taste like it tastes, don't try to "church it up". if you like it eat it. If it doesn't look or smell too disgusting try it.


Gone Camping

After many years of talking about it, we finally are back to camping. Once again we went up to Woods Canyon Lake this time with Chris, Amanda, Mike, Jamie, and Sean.

On Friday I picked up Chris and Amanda and their "stuff" at 14:00. That's when I knew we were in trouble as their "stuff" completely filled the bed and back seat of my truck. Most of our "stuff" was packed in the trailer but some of it was going to have to be put in the bed of the truck. Since I didn't want my truck (which would be hauling a trailer) to have to carry an additional 500 to 800 pounds, and Mike's SUV would be packed with his "stuff", we decided to load up Chris's "stuff" in Kathi's car and they would drive to Payson.

This time we managed to load up our 2 cars and leave on time at 15:00. Mike could not leave until he was off work. Chris had thrown his back out last Sunday hanging "Halloween" lights, so he had been off all week. The trip up was uneventful. We arrived on the rim, filled the water tanks in the trailer at the dump station and managed to get 2 camps sites next to each other.

Even though we left at 15:00 we still only got there about 45 minutes before sunset, because of winter coming we forgot the days are getting shorter. We did manage to get camp setup before it got dark. Mike who had not been able to leave until about 17:30 arrived at about 20:30.

Much loud cussing ensued (from Mike and Chris) as we set about putting up Mike's "20 man tent" (it's a long story he can tell you about as to why he has a tent that big). Once his tent was setup and all had been fed we retired for the night.
[end day one 10-12-2007]

After everyone had thoroughly froze during the night we all woke with the sun. I got up first and started a fire. We made breakfast, Mike, Chris, and I set off to fish and hunt for crayfish. The girls (and Sean) went into town to spend money. We fished for several hours and took turns hunting crayfish. As the clouds couldn't make up their mind to stay or go, we alternately froze and fried. We caught zero fish and several crayfish. at 11:00 we returned to camp with many large crayfish, and had lunch (no we didn't eat the crayfish at this time).

At 13:00 we went back to the lake but it was cram packed with people. We decided to go to Willow Springs lake a couple of miles down the road. We hiked up the shore line for about a mile but were surprised to find not only NO crayfish, but NO minnows, very little plant Life, and the water was extremely clear. So we hiked back to the car and went back to camp about 15:00. That night we had steaks for dinner. Mike, Chris, and I then went back to the lake at about 17:30 to place our traps over night and to hunt for more Crayfish. We walked up and down the lake edge with flashlights and caught about 6 more. I had brought an aquarium aerator with me. I put the crayfish in a bucket half full of water. submerged the air tubes from the aerator in the bucket, and hooked it up to an inverter connected to a car battery and stuck it in my truck. I did this so the crayfish would "purge". Around 20:30 most of us retired for the night. Mike and Jamie however went to Payson and returned some time after 23:30. It was about this time that an Elk bugled and woke me up, this was followed by Sean crying (not because of the Elk). Mike and Jamie in their Ginormous tent got too cold, and so on this night they slept in their car. All through the cold night the Elks announced the time, in their elky way.
[End Day 2 10-13-2007]

The next morning Chris and I leaped out of our cold beds, Started a fire, and went down to the lake to retrieve our traps. It was a cold morning and mist was coming off of the lake. I took a few pictures.
This is all we caught in the traps overnight:
We hiked back with our "bounty" and fixed Breakfast. We started packing to leave, at 10:00 we went back to the lake for one last try at the crayfish. This time we hiked a mile or more west of the boat ramp. We netted a total of 6 (six) crayfish. We once more hiked back to camp and I packed the crayfish on ice and rock salt (to freeze them). The grand total for Crayfish was 25. We completed packing and left at 13:00. We got home about 15:30. Here are some miscellaneous pictures from the trip:

[End Day 3 10-14-2007]