Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feb. 14 to 20, 2009

Most of Sunday was spent at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport picking up our Yukon friends. They came in on two separate planes, one early afternoon and one early evening. Naturally both planes were running late but with easy access to flight information over the internet there wasn't much problem that way. We did put on over 140 miles going back and forth though :-) Not a problem for us, just helped fill out the day. Art's golf clubs didn't arrive with him but the airline was able to retrieve them after they were routed through Chicago and then back to Phoenix. Not bad since they were shipped from the Yukon - Huh?

We've been out to the golf courses twice so far and expect a couple of more next week before he has to leave. I was hoping we'd have some pictures of them in front of their rental RV but I haven't managed it as yet. Maybe later.

They've been enjoying the beautiful weather and it has warmed up considerably over the last two days and is now in the 80s, with the same type of weather forecast for some time to come.

Wednesday's hike was up Picket Post Mountain. Lise and I have never been up before and we knew it was a tough hike; but it was much tougher than we thought. We made it to the top though and we found the famous mail box on the top of the mountain. It was filled with letters and notes, and a journal, placed there by previous hikers. We added out names and comments and are now part of that history! We liked the hike but it was pretty tough and somewhat dangerous in places and we don't think we'll be making that climb again. We're not getting paid to do this; and we don't want to fall off somewhere and do some permanent damage. In fact, I believe this hike was harder than Flat Iron and that's saying something!

Looking up the canyon we're going to be traversing

my beautiful wife silhouetted against an awesome backdrop
This picture represents a pretty good depiction of the kind
of climb this was!
View at the top

Our motley crew of hikers surrounding the mail box
On Thursday, while Art and I were out golfing and Alma was deep into shopping mode, Lise went out on a bicycle ride with our friends Terry and Tina from the park. They drove out to Tempe and biked on the paved bicycle paths up there. They biked about 24 miles in total and stopped up for lunch at a pizza place in Scottsdale. We'd been looking for that restaurant for some time now as we'd heard it was quite good. So, next time Lise and I head up there we'll have a good place to stop for a light lunch.
Friday was going to be our rest day as we'd had a pretty busy week, but our friends Claude and Marlane, also in the park, invited us out for a hike so naturally we accepted - being gluttons for punishment. It was a much easier hike among small rolling hills and was a good way to stretch out those muscles that had been tortured on the earlier hike. We brought sandwiches so were able to have lunch while sitting on some rocks looking out over the surrounding vista. The weather was perfect, about 74 F and the hike was thoroughly enjoyable.
That's our week so far; I'm sure we'll have lots to report next time. Be well - summer isn't far off :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

February 7 to 13, 2009

Well, since our last post the weather has gotten decidedly colder. We've been enjoying a rather long warm spell of weather in the high 70s to the low 80s, which I understand is warmer than usual for this time of year. Last weekend we had a significant amount of rain and the temperatures dropped down to a daily high of about 59 early in the week. It has been gradually warming up since and today we enjoyed a balmy 65 degree day.

In spite of the weather it didn't interfere with our usual activities for the week, so all is good. On Wednesday we had a hike up Usury Mtn. to the pass, a distance of about 1.8 miles, a fairly easy hike. We had 23 people out for this particular hike. We forgot our camera back at the RV so don't have any pictures. Once we reached the pass 5 of us continued around the mountain and came back to the parking lot from a different direction. It added about another mile and a half to our hike and we didn't get back til about 2 hours later than the main group which returned on the same trail we came up on. It was fun bushwacking a different route. It took us about half an hour of traversing the hillsides before we found the trail we were looking for.

Our friends, Michel and Micheline from la belle province (Quebec) left the park on Thursday. They were heading to Texas to spend some time before continuing east. We enjoyed meeting them this year and have made new friends that we will probably meet again in the future. It's a small world when living this life style.

Our hike coordinator arranged for a late afternoon hike up Silly Mountain, just southeast of Apache Junction. It is an easy hike, offers great sunset views, and we cap it off with pizza and beer (or soda) at the Garage Restaurant - a very popular watering hole. Unfortunately the restaurant was full to overflowing so we decided to go to the pizza place across the street. They didn't sell beer but two of our group went up the road to bring back two cases of 24 for those that wanted some. Apparently the pizza place didn't have a problem with this arrangement and we had a great time before heading back to the park. There were 33 people on this hike; it was popular last year as well. I wonder why :-)

Silly Mountain as seen from the parking lot

It's an easy hike but has some steep parts

as the sun was setting behind me it cast the mountains
in a reddish hue; love these views

some of our hikers, on top of Silly Mtn.; note Superstition Mtn in background

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February 2 to 6, 2009

On Wednesday Lise joined the hiking group to hike up Fish Creek Canyon. It was about 3 miles round trip and considered a fairly difficult climb. But, as you can tell from these pictures, greater risk equals greater reward. The small waterfalls and the pond are like an oasis in the desert; and the mountain sheep across the pond, are all worth the effort. Naturally I was very disappointed not to have gone on that hike. But we are apparently going to try it again later in the year, so all is not lost ;-).
how great a place is this to stop for lunch -

and with uninvited, but welcome guests across the pond;
(or perhaps we're the ones that were uninvited)!

hiking isn't just walking on a trail :-)

the hiking group (they're all from our park)

I didn't go on the hike as my knee was still stiff and sore from the previous two hikes so I thought I'd rest it. So, while they were out enjoying themselves in the canyon, I rode my bicycle over 20 miles on the city streets of Apache Junction and Mesa. It was quite a bit longer than I intended to ride and I got a bit carried away. However, after I limped back to the park my recovery time was quite short so I was wimping out for nothing :-).
I think Lise had the best of it this time and I can't wait to experience that trip for myself.
On Friday, we decided to visit the Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum, near Tucson, Arizona. It was about a two hour drive, and apparently an all day event so we left fairly early. It is a zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place. There were animals native to the area placed in enclosed, but natural desert settings. It was an enjoyable day spent walking around this 21 acre site. The highlight was a demonstration of free flight by a covy of Harris' Hawks. If I hadn't been so caught up in the demonstration, particularly when the hawks would fly right over my head, or between Lise and I at shoulder level, I would have gotten some great pictures. Can you imagine a picture of a hawk heading right toward you and about 5 feet away. What a picture that would make!!
Anyway, it was a great day and we capped it off by visiting Grimaldi's Pizza when we arrived back in the Phoenix area. They make their pizzas in coal fired brick ovens. Great pizza.
We heard from some Yukon friends yesterday (Friday). They are flying down to Phoenix next Sunday and will be renting a Class C RV for about two weeks and staying in our park. I don't know what the others will be doing but I do know there'll be lots of golf for me in the near future. Art said he hadn't been golfing since he was down visiting us last year. And, as you know, I'm not one to turn down an opportunity to get a little golf in. We're looking forward to seeing them and they're using this trip as a dry run to see if they want to spend their winters down here or in the Yukon - this needs a decision? Actually, spending winters in the Yukon isn't so bad. We've certainly spent many winters there.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pictures from previous hike

When we climbed up to the 'Flat Iron' on January 14th we didn't have any pictures from the top. Here are some pictures received from one of our friends who also hiked with us. The first picture will give you some idea of how far we climbed because the town below, Apache Junction, is where we started from - at least at that same elevation.

This is just a great picture of the area from the top. Note the hikers walking along the edge of the cliff.

This is the start of the second part of the hike. The first half of the hike is more moderate and takes us to Siphon's Draw, which is the bowl we are walking in. The hazy peak in the upper part of the picture is Flat Iron! Doesn't this look like fun :-)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back to Normal

There were 10 of us volunteered for the FBR on Sunday. We were positioned at the 16th hole and had good views of the 11th and 15th holes as well. The golf was very good but there were not a lot of well-known names left by the time Saturday and Sunday rolled around. Kenny Perry won in a playoff. We watched the finish of regulation play but then had to head back to the park to watch the Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals didn't look like they were going to make a game of it for a while but in the end it was a 'super' game and even though the Cardinals didn't win they definitely came to play and certainly stood a chance of pulling off a great upset.

Now that the FBR is done for this year things should get back to normal. Today was our usual Monday - golf for me, water aerobics and a 40-minute walk around the park for Lise. The weather is the same every day here. It seems to get a little bit warmer each week. The high for today was 77 F. and we're loving it.