Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 23, 2016 Ridin' around in the desert

Jay found a group of guys that have ATV’s and UTV’s that like to ride around in the desert. One guy, sort of the leader of the group, Mike, has been living here since 2003 and has explored a lot of the country side around here. He thinks nothing of putting on 60, 80, even 120 miles in a day all on dirt roads, up hills, near the border, into the mountains, ghost towns, wherever there might be something interesting to see. And there is a lot of interesting stuff to see here. 

old building next to the store
Last week I went with the group and we headed south to a little community called Arivaca. We had the off-road vehicles on trailers, so we off-loaded them just a little south of there, then headed west toward an even smaller community called Sasabe. 

chilis hanging on the front door of the store

We stopped in at the little store there. The lady was just bringing out some fresh tamales, so I picked up two of those to supplement our lunch. Burning daylight here, according to Mike, no lolly-gagging around taking pictures, so we hop back in the rigs and take off toward the border. 

going all the way to the end 

the end of the wall

We checked out the wall and the border crossing station here, then back tracked a little and went further west. 

We stopped for lunch at the Presumido Ghost town. There are remnants of a few adobe and rock structures of what was likely a trading post.

So do you really think the Donald will get Mexico to pay to install a wall out here?
Jay is in Mexico, Hi Jay!

After lunch we kept going and were shown a spot where you can just walk across the border, I suppose if you really wanted to. It’s pretty rough terrain in this area and would be a long walk even if you stuck to the road. We checked out the fence line and in the distance on a hill could see one of the white border monuments.

On the way back, we crested a hill and paused to 
let everyone catch up as we saw a helicopter approaching our little caravan. I thought, ‘oh, there goes Ted Cruz’, he was supposed to be touring the area that day. Well, they didn’t just pass on by, they circled around us, not once, but twice and hovered around for a bit before finally heading north. One thing of note about it, it was the quietest helicopter I have ever heard, and that thing was pretty close to us. I had just put my camera away for safe keeping out of the dust and didn’t think it was going to loiter so long so I didn’t get any pictures of it. The other guys did, and this is the only one they sent. It was closer to us than this picture shows.

Then we finally started back, heading for the barn, so to speak. It was about 40 miles back to the trucks and trailers so we went pretty much non-stop, just a couple of breaks for water, (in and out) and to make sure everyone in the group was still with us. We did have one other quick break to take a look at some pictographs that Mike spotted. He said he had never noticed those before. 
that's Mike
hawk sitting on it's nest
Cool ride, lots of dust, but lots of fun stuff to see. 

Next up, Mt. Lemmon and Redington Pass. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016 Spring is springing

The days are getting warmer and the evenings are still cool. Just right for things to start showing their colors in the desert including some wildlife and flowers.

Spring is a time for renewal, I really like this time of year wherever I am. In Bellingham I always looked forward to seeing the forsythia bushes flowering and crocus poking their heads up through the cold ground, sometimes even with light frost. In Arizona, it’s the cactus flowers, but not only that. There is so much life in the desert, blooming shrubs, agave sending up their huge stalks and the tiniest of tiny wildflowers that you wouldn’t even imagine living in such an arid environment. Even though we haven’t had any rain since early in January these tiny little flowers still found a way to spring to life. 

A Precious Human Life

Every day, think as you wake up,
Today I am fortunate to have woken up,
I am alive, I have a precious human life.
I am going to use 
All my energies to develop myself,
To expand my heart out to others,
To achieve enlightenment for
The benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind 
Thoughts towards others,
I am not going to get angry,
Or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others

As much as I can.

I didn't realize I had caught the bee in flight

this one has an ant

the blocks are 8" x 16" to give you an idea of his size
no, we're not in Hawaii. One of the neighbors planted a hibiscus

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 8, 2016 Let's go for a hike!

Last Friday, March 4, Jay and I went to Nogales, Sonora to get our teeth cleaned. It was a lovely sunny day, nice for a drive and a walk through the town. We had a nice lunch, found the dentist’s office without any problem, and proceeded to wait. The patient before our scheduled appointment was having some extensive work done and she was waiting for him to build a temporary crown for her. We had a nice visit with her, and after about 45 minutes past our scheduled time she was called in and he worked on her for another 20-30 minutes, I gave up keeping track of time. I just figured we were on Mexican time, kind of like Island time when you go to Hawaii. Everything slows down. 

When he was finally finished with her, he apologized for the delay, made a joke about being on Mexican time and called me in for my cleaning. Twenty minutes later, all done and it was Jay’s turn. Then another twenty minutes and he was done, $40 US and we are out the door and on to get him a smart $6 haircut.

About 4:00 we are heading back home and I say to Jay, “We should call our friend, Penny, to see if she wants to come over for a beer. She’s by herself for a few weeks while her partner is out of town, maybe she would like some company.” Penny is new to our neighborhood, she likes to hike and play golf, a couple of things I like to do to and we have been trying to find time to get together to do those things. It’s hard because she works 4 or 5 days a week, I work two days a week, and other things take up our time. Jay called her up and she said yes, that would be nice, she would come over later and take us up on that beer.

Mt. Wrightson in January with snow. Tall peak on the right.
So Penny and a friend of hers from Tucson came over. She and I had been talking about playing golf this week and she asked if we were going to play on Sunday. I said, rather sheepishly, that I was, but not with her, so sorry. Then she jauntily fired back, “Well that’s fine, we’re going hiking tomorrow.” I said, well see how you are? Hiking without me. And her friend piped up and said, you can join us if you like. How nice is that? And so I said, yes, I would enjoy that very much, where are you planning to go? Oh, just up to Mt. Wrightson.
fresh start in the morning
 Cool, I say. I have been wanting to do that hike since moving here. This is no easy peasy hike. This is 5.4 miles one way, all up hill, with a cumulative elevation change of 4,200’. Which means it is 10.8 miles total round trip. You do start at the top of Madera Canyon, at about 5,200,' the top of Mt. Wrightson is 9,456’. The last hike I did was in Hot Springs, Arkansas, elevation change about 800,' maximum elevation about 4,200’ and was only 4 miles or so. And that was in August. I have however, been training for a triathlon so I have been doing a ton of bicycling, swimming and running over the last six weeks so I was feeling pretty good and figured I could manage the hike. Not even thinking that this would be a problem for my upcoming golf tournament on Tuesday.

Me and Penny about half way up
the instigator of the hike, crossing snow
We set out at about 6:30 from the house, the drive up to the trailhead only takes about 30 minutes and by the time we it the trail after getting all geared up it was about 7:30. Penny’s friend had said someone told her it would take about 6 hours to go up and back down, so we were all excited and figured we would be back home by about 2:00. Hah hah!!! It took us some time to get settled in to a rhythm, and it was slower than I think we thought we would be going. At about mile 2, we met up with Bob. Turns out Bob does this hike every week. Says it keeps his wife from bugging him to go to the gym. We walk with Bob for a ways, then he drops back and lets us go ahead. Later, after another break, he catches up to us and we let him go ahead, we kind of take turns walking along with him sharing stories. At one point while we are all enjoying the view during another break, Bob reveals that he is 81 years old!! And yes, we are all very impressed. 

looking north towards the observatory
As we near the top, Penny starts to slow down, she’s got a cramp in her groin, and her thighs are getting tired. We were only about 1/4 mile from the top and she can’t go on. I had been trying to keep step with Bob, but he left me in the dust as I was holding back for the others. Penny said she was going to go back and wait for us at the saddle. So the friend and I continued on to the top. It was pretty tough going, and if it wasn’t for her, I might have given up too. I got in to a meditative space and started chanting the Gayatri Mantra, helped me to keep step and just felt like a good thing to share with the universe at that moment. We met Bob on his way down, just a few switch backs from the top. Then once we got there, there 8 other people up there having their lunch and enjoying the 360 degree view. We took a nice long break, took pictures, visited with the others and signed the log book. I think it took us about 4 hours to get there. I kept meaning to check the time, but got caught up in the view and it didn’t seem that important. After resting and enjoying our lunch, we figured we best head back down and get Penny. We knew it would be slow going down too, we had to navigate downhill over a few snow patches and had some concerns about them being slippery. 

at the top
We found Penny, rested and ready to begin our descent. We passed a couple of guys going up who said they saw her and she told them to tell us she was waiting for us. All kinds of nice people on the trail. We were moving at what I thought was a pretty good pace, we were all feeling the up hike in our legs and knew that going down was going to be tough, and it was. After about an hour of going down, we were turning a corner at one of the switchbacks and Penny shouts out, "snake!" We all jumped and I just saw the little guy wiggling up under a rock, rattling all the way. That rattled us all pretty well(get it? Rattled us?) After taking a few moments to catch our breath, we made a wide path around the rock and continued our way down. We were surprised we saw a rattle snake at such a high elevation, especially with snow on the ground.

I stared in disbelief
when we got to the sign that said we still had 2.2 miles to go back to the parking lot. At that point it seemed like we had been hiking for a really long time. And we had been, about 7 hours by then. Those last two miles were really long. We did pick up another companion for that part of the hike, a guy who had hike up that far and knew he couldn’t go farther because it was late in the day. He was talking on his phone to his wife, describing what he had seen so far and had asked us a bunch of questions about our hike. He figured out that we had, at that point, been on the trail for 8 hours. No wonder we were getting tired. He stayed with us the rest of the way down and we had a nice visit with him too.

the trail we were on crosses the rock face about 1/3 of the way up in this photo
We were all glad to get back to the truck at the parking lot. It sure felt good to sit down and take off my hikers. I was tired, my feet and knees were a little sore, but I thought gee, I’m going to be okay. After a good nights sleep, I got up on Sunday morning for an 8:00 tee time. It was a beautiful sunny day, and my legs were feeling pretty darn good. Until the 14th hole. Then I just got tired. My knees were done, even though we were in a cart, I was just ready to go sit in a hot bath and soak. Which I did after the 18th hole. I managed to play pretty well considering how tired I got.

Then came Monday. Boy were my legs sore. My thighs decided to let me know just how sore they could be. Needless to say teaching 3 yoga classes that day was a different experience. My students loved that I was having a little trouble getting down to the floor and said now I can know more of what they feel like on some days. Then Tuesday afternoon was the first 9 holes of the match play tournament and my calves are still tight. 

My words of wisdom on this adventure, do some shorter hikes with elevation changes before tackling nearly 11 miles of a rather difficult hike. And don’t hike 11 miles three days before a 3 day golf tournament, unless you don’t really care about how you play. You will be sore and tired.

Happy trails!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016 I thought it was a hummingbird feeder

Seems that the bees found a good free source of food. They drained this feeder, 8 ounces in a day. I know they gotta eat too, but they're supposed to be out pollinating plants and stuff, not pigging out on sugar water!! Makes it hard for the hummers to get anything.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 29, 2016 Leap year celebration!

Okay, I'm a day late, but happy Leap Year Day! What did you do with your extra day this year?

Well, we have been having a lot of fun with our new toy. Jay has been out a few more times than I have been. I’ve been busy teaching yoga and playing golf. The golf is in preparation for an invitational tournament at a private club here. I’m fortunate enough to know someone who is a member. We had such a good time together last year, that she invited me to play again this year! I'll see about taking a few pictures next time I play there. It's a beautiful golf course, and has some fun challenges. 

 Anyway, here are some pictures of our ride out in the desert. We went both Saturday and Sunday but had more time Sunday to take pictures, and I think the light was better. We headed out from a parking area off of a road called Montana View. Then went west and south, just exploring and seeing what there is to see.
Jay ran back up the hill to give Ron some pointers on straddling the crevice.

Wiggle the steering wheel back and forth a little ........
 then lean waaaaaaayyyyy over......
give 'er some gas to get going down the hill......
 then gas 'er good to get up the hill on the other side!

Saturday was the day we did the technical bit. I made Jay drive down that steep part and up the other side. The pictures are of our friends Ron and Lynn from Saskatchewan. We went first then stopped to wait for them and take some pictures. I think you can see why I didn’t want to drive it.

These little flowers I found on Sunday. They are about the size of a pencil eraser, really tiny and so sweet.
 Sunday we found these neat corrals and fences. This one is old pipes and downed wood.

Us on the left, Gary in the middle, Ron & Lynn on the right.

July 28, 2018 It's been a busy month

It’s been a busy month. Brownie at Black Elk Peak aka Harney Peak After we shipped our grandson back home, we rested a little t...