Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 21 to 24, 2010

After a few days of heavy rain and flooding in many parts of the greater Phoenix area the weather let up and people started to peak their heads out their doors. With the wind pushing the rain around and carrying all the sand with it our car and motorhome looked pretty dirty. It's not likely we'll get any rain anytime soon to clean it up a bit so I guess I'll be out there doing it myself one of these days. It's not high on my list of priorities though.

We went to a dinner and show in the Resort on Wednesday. The show was so - so but the dinner was great. I got George, the Activity Director, to wish Lise a happy birthday and everyone sang the birthday song. She doesn't care for the attention but it was fun anyway.

We've finally been able to get a bit of reading in and spent Thursday and Friday just relaxing. Saturday we went to see a movie at the theatre - Leap Year. We both enjoyed it.

When we got back we noticed this truck and trailer in the parking lot in front of the office and the driver offloaded a hand built vehicle. It looks like it was purchased by one of the people here in the Resort from the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction which is held here in the Phoenix area every year.

We went out for breakfast this morning. We're trying not to eat out too much but it is hard. I had sausage and eggs and Lise had toast with our coffee and she shared my multi-grain pancakes which they offer with the meal instead of toast. It was plenty for both of us and didn't break the piggy bank :-)

I booked a tee time for us for this afternoon at the Sunland Springs Golf Course and then some of our friends came by to see if we wanted to go hiking out in the hills. While I like hiking I like golf better and Lise was ok with my decision to stick with the golf game. Next week though I think I'll check with our friends early on so as not to conflict with another hiking opportunity.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 17 to 20, 2010

The forecast for this week was rain right through to the next weekend. We were wondering what we were going to do to keep busy. Lots of reading probably. Wrong! The weather has been wet, particularly last evening and into the night, but otherwise the days have been fine. Lise's baseball games for Monday were cancelled but we're pretty sure they could have gone ahead as there hadn't been enough rain to affect the field. On Sunday Lise and I decided to go golfing since it didn't look like our usual Tuesday game would be happening. Wrong again! Tuesday was quite nice out and most of us from the Resort decided to go ahead and golf anyway. So, I got an extra round of golf in :-)
We thought today would be too wet to go hiking - shall I say it - Wrong! But, we slept in and missed the hiking group's departure. Once we were able to confirm that Lise wouldn't be playing ball today we headed out on our own little hike. We located our friend's cars but didn't run across them. Regardless, we had a great hike and once the sun came out it was warm enough. It's only 59 F right now (3:00 pm) but it seems warm enough for us.

So, the moral of the story for this week is - to keep your options open and don't spend so much time worrying about the weather.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 15 to 16, 2010

It was our 33rd anniversary yesterday. Busy times continue so we were pretty much doing separate things for most of the day. I went on an impromptu hike with some of our friends for the day - and Lise played two games at her weekend ball tournament. But the evening was ours and once we got back together - after 5:00 pm, we headed out to Carrabba's Grill, our favourite italian eatery. We had to wait an hour for seating but the meal was fine and we were finally able to sit and talk and enjoy each others' company. We toasted for 33 more and, in this day and age, who knows, anything is possible.
The Desert Stars had one win and one loss, and most importantly, Lise's thigh was a little less tight and she was able to play her regular game. It's all for fun but it's always better when you think you're contributing somewhat. This morning she is off again - left about 7:15 for a game at 8:00 am and another one at 9:10 and then the tournament is over for them. After she gets back maybe we'll go out for a nice cup of coffee at Paradise Bakery or Kokobelli's cafe :-)
Yesterday's hike was on the Arizona Trail. The Arizona Trail goes all the way from Mexico to Utah and traverses the State of Arizona in a north/south direction. It's about 93% complete as of mid-2007, and is planned to be about 800 miles (1,300 km) long when completed. It is designed as a primitive trail for hiking, equestrians, mountain biking, and even cross country skiing. It showcases the wide variety of mountain ranges and ecosystems of Arizona. The idea for the trail was originally developed and promoted by Dale Shewalter, a Flagstaff, Arizona teacher in 1985. The portion of the trail we travelled yesterday took us to the foot of Montana mountain. We saw a few white-tailed deer and we could smell what may have been a lair for Javelina (a kind of wild pig). You don't want to get near them as they can be quite dangerous. Someone hiking on South Mountain last week was bitten twice by one and it was later determined that the animal had rabies - so, best to keep away.
The trail we were on required us to go in by jeep for about 6 miles off Highway 60. That was fun; most of the road was easy to traverse but the last mile or so was somewhat more difficult and is not something I would have attempted with my car.
nice valley near the start of the hike - Sycamore trees
This would be rattlesnake territory in warmer weather
more examples of indian archeology - corn was often ground into corn meal, using wooden mortars and pestles. The mortars were made of short logs which were turned upright and hollowed out on the top end. The corn was put into hollows in rocks and ground by pounding up and down with a long piece of wood which was rounded on both ends.
Agave Tree and Prickly Pear Cactus

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 9 to 14, 2010

Lise played two softball games this week and her thighs are screaming for a break. She's been using ice packs to soothe her legs and can hardly run any more. I remember days like that when I was a teenager - who'd have thought people our age would be able to play so hard as to tie up muscles like that. We're not alone; I remember one of our friends playing softball last year and having the same problem. We all seem to have a hard time remembering we're not as young as we used to be :) They are doing well as a team though. They have 3 wins and 1 loss so far this season. Friday and Saturday is their first tournament - 4 games over 2 days; and then a double header on Monday :-( I'll probably have more to say next time :)

Batter Up!!
Another win in the books!!
We finally got around to booking our 5 month stay here for next winter. We'll be at the same Resort. There are so many people interested in getting into this Park that people that wanted to reserve their sites had to do so before February 1st. Because we are staying for at least 5 months we are able to keep our same site and we do like where we are so now we're confirmed.
Wednesday was a hike day and I joined our hiking group while Lise had to stick around for her softball as it wasn't likely we'd be back in time.
indian site used to mash corn into flour - found on our hike into the hills
Looking back at the canyon we walked through

There was a brilliant lightning storm last night and a fair amount of rain - only the second rainfall since we've been here. I wish I'd thought to get some pictures!

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 4 to 8, 2010

In case you think we're not too busy here - here's a synopsis of the last 5 days: On Monday we both went out for our separate exercise routines, Lise had softball in the afternoon and, after an enjoyable coffee at Paradise Bakery we went over to the golf range so I could try out my new irons (yes, I bought a set of Pings); Tuesday we attended the Resort's weekly meeting, went out for coffee, and then went out for our weekly golf game with the resort; On Wednesday I went on a really great hike (for me - challenging, steep, and views at the summit) which Lise couldn't go on as she had baseball (2nd game - 2nd win :) ); we ate at home Wednesday night and went to bed early in preparation for our trip on Thursday; on Thursday we picked up Art and Linda at 7:00 am (alarm set for 6:15 am :-( ) and headed for Tucson; we had breakfast in Casa Grande (about halfway) and then continued on to Old Tucson which is the site of many old western movies (a little pricey for us - $17.00 each), after which we drove a half hour further south to see the Titan 2 Missile still standing in its silo; arrived home about 8:00 after stopping for supper at Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande on the way back; on Friday we had to set our alarm for 7:00 am so we could be ready for another hike into the wilderness north of the Sonoran Desert Valley - hikers headed out at 8:30 into the Four Peaks Wilderness. All this to say that we do seem to be fairly busy these days. I don't mind but I think we do want to have days off once in a while to recuperate and do nothing, or just read some good books.

some current and former Yukoners enjoying life in the 'Old West'

Movie Set in Old Tucson Four Peaks in the background - another favourite hiking destination

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 2 to 3, 2010

We were up early for the omelette breakfast put on by the Resort. It is my favourite meal and they only charge $5.00 for omelette with your choice of ingredients, sausage, hash browns, orange juice and coffee. I don't think you can do any better anywhere else - except perhaps at home. Others must have felt the same way as us as there was a very large turnout for the breakfast and all the tables were full - of course it was outside, where else.

The weather forecast was for 70* F so shorts and t-shirt were definitely the order of the day. After breakfast I went hiking with five other friends on the Dutchman Trail. It is about 15 miles east of Apache Junction and then 7 miles up a very dusty, washboardy gravel road. Being a Saturday there were many hikers out and about and lots of families with children of all ages. The hike wasn't hard at all but it was almost 3 miles to the turnaround spot. On a previous visit to this area we had visited an old mine portal that mined turquoise. When I thought we were close to that spot I went climbing up the hill looking for the opening. It was the wrong spot so I started my descent back to the trail - I slipped and put my hand back to brace my fall and placed my hand right on a barrel cactus. Ouch!! Only about 10 or 12 of the needles stayed in my hand and I was able to pull them out pretty easily but it was definitely painful. You would think after the episode I reported in my last blog that I'd be a little more careful. Guess not :-) It didn't take long for the bleeding to stop and, even though my hand swelled up, I was able to continue the hike without much discomfort.

the view from the start of the hike after we reached the 'saddle' - the rock formation in the distance right in the middle of the picture, was our destination.
snack time - formation is called "Three Bears"
This is called Miner's Needle because of the hole in the rock - I'm not sure why
Picture as proof we made it
Lise wasn't on the hike as she was at softball practice. Her games start this coming week and some of them are on hike days so she won't be able to make many of them if it doesn't look like we wouldn't get back on time. If it is a good hike (and they all are) I am supposed to go out again on another day, with Lise, so she can experience it for herself. I hope my legs hold out!

Friday, January 1, 2010

December 30, 2009 to January 1, 2010

If I thought things were slowing down during the holidays, boy was I mistaken. On Wednesday we went out for our usual hike, this week to the Broadway Cave. It is not far from the resort, maybe five miles to the trailhead but it is a stiff climb up once we get to the side of the mountain. There was a good turnout and the weather was comfortable, although some of us donned gloves on the way up as it was still pretty cool. Everyone had been reminded to bring flashlights so we could see into the cave - it didn't go in very far though. There was lots of evidence of it being used by bats, but not recently. On the way back down one of our hikers brushed against a Cholla cactus. A ball of the cactus stuck to her hand with a number of spikes, and another ball stuck to her leg. Fortunately one of our group had an 'afro comb' and was able to remove them. He just put the comb in between her hand and the cactus and gave a quick yank! It was obviously quite painful but there was no other way and once removed the pain subsided fairly quickly (or so I'm told). From now on I'm going to make sure I have one of those combs in my back pack. At any rate she was able to continue back to the trailhead without too much discomfort and we all made it back safely. This is a great reminder of how one has to be careful at all times when out in the wilderness hiking. Sometimes we get too complacent to our own detriment.

When we got back from the hike Lise had to head out right away for her two hour softball practice. While she was doing that I was emptying the gray and black water tanks and recharging the water softener.
After an early supper we joined out friends and hiking buddies - Dick and Jan - and drove over to the Mormon Temple to see the Christmas lights. We had heard about this since we first arrived in Arizona 3 years ago. Certainly the outside lights were spectacular. We took pictures but none of them turned out as they were too shaky so I had to settle for an inside picture of some nativity scenes in their Visitor Centre. The best part of the evening was when Dick and Jan treated us to some yogurt ice cream at the Golden Spoon, a local frozen yogurt store. Yumm!
the cave entrance is near the middle of the hill
cave entrance and snack break
trailhead parking area - next to some pretty expensive houses
nativity scenes from countries around the world
Christmas Eve morning was spent running around to various grocery stores to restock our larders. After lunch Lise and I decided to go golfing at our favourite course. It was quite windy and really effected our game. That is not to say we were looking for an excuse as we enjoyed ourselves and had good hits and missed hits, about a typical day for us.
That got us back in time for a quick snack in advance of the New Year's Eve Party. The Resort put on a great party with live musical entertainment and we stayed out until 1:00 am, very unusual for us!
We had talked about going bicycling on the 1st but decided against and spent a quiet day at home instead.