As well as being a new song by Jonny Lang, the title of this blog refers to an interesting event on our hike today.
First a bit of a catch up to our winter. I haven’t had much of an appetite for keeping our blog up to date this season, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Most of my posting this winter has been on Facebook, so if you’re not following us there, you have missed out on some of our events.
We have been limited on our hiking activities this winter due to the issues Sylvia has been having with her foot, but she has steadily been building up her stamina over the winter and today we were on an 8 mile hike which is her longest by far this winter. In an normal season we hike at least once a week if not twice, and this year we have been lucky to hike once every two weeks.
Our previous hike was a 6 miler that was pretty flat along a creek and Sylvia did pretty well, but we saved the most challenging hike for today. But more on that later.
We have also had to deal with an abnormally cool and wet winter this year. This has meant that many of the outdoor events we have enjoyed in the past were more difficult this year. Softball was a bit of a challenge in the cooler weather, and caused a few injuries on my team. At one point I was down to 9 regular players and had to pick up 3 guys off the street to fill up the roster. Needless to say we didn’t have a great season, but held our own in most games in a far tougher division than we played in last year.
One of the big events in our park is a Fund Raising event for a local Cancer Hospital. Groups from all over the park put together baskets that are auctioned off to the highest bidder. We provided Canadian centered items for the Hiking and Pickleball baskets and got involved in a 6 couple group effort to bid on the Hiking Club basket. We eventually outbid everyone else for the basket (we also spent more on it than any other basket that was auctioned off)
In the 3 baskets we won, there were several bottles of wine, Photo prints and art work, candy, gift cards and many other items. We had a deck of cards that we drew from to determine the order of picking, and I think all of us ended up pretty happy on the night. For some reason we ended up with all the bottles of Red Wine in the baskets….I think we might have a reputation to live down.
We haven’t played as much Pickleball this winter as we usually do, and part of that has to do with the weather, and part to do with working on the Pickleball Committee this season. We ran a tournament in February and tried to play in it as well, but both of us were pretty worn out and got bounced pretty quickly. The tournament was a big success though, and we enjoyed it enough to let the other folks on the Committee know that we’ll NEVER do it again. Well, unless they ask us to.
We have been blessed with a number of great sunsets like we are accustomed to, but haven’t had a lot of chances to sit out on the patio and enjoy them, as it has been too cool. Maybe next year.
And that brings us to today’s hike. We annually try and get in one specific group hike from First Water Trailhead to Canyon Lake. It is 8 miles/12 Km in length, and while it technically is downhill when you look at the track and quite steep at the end, there is a lot of Uphill involved, and we are all pretty beat by the time we get to Canyon Lake. The big bonus with this hike is that there is a Restaurant at the end, and the Fish and Chips are pretty good!
The weather was just about perfect for hiking today, and the 7 of us were ready to go.
There was quite a bit of water along the trail, including some in spots we’d never seen before.
There were lots of flowers, but honestly I think the huge amount of grasses and flax growing in the desert were choking most of them out.
One stop was at the Red Paint Mine. It kinda reminds us of a mini (very mini) portion of Sedona.
Green is the Colour of the Season this year. Last year this area was so brown we decided not to do this hike, as it was going to be boring….
After about 4.5 hours on the trail we reached the Lake, and right about here we could almost taste the food at the Restaurant. Sylvia did pretty well, although she had to take her boot off and subject herself to a foot massage about 6 miles in.
After a few changes of shirts, and a wholesale change of footwear, we were ready for lunch! The extra person in this picture is Cheryl, who drove out to pick us up and get us back to civilization, as we certainly weren’t interested in hiking back to the trucks at the trailhead.
And that brings me to the title of this Blog. In 9 seasons of hiking in Arizona we have only seen one snake until today, and it was pretty docile as I think it had ingested a Rabbit not long before I stumbled upon it.
The line most used referring to Snake encounters here is that the First person wakes up the snake, the Second person gets it annoyed and the Third person gets bit. Today, I was the Third person. Well, I didn’t get bit, but I certainly didn’t make it happy. As I was walking along, I heard the snake Rattle, and stopped in my tracks. I quickly figured out where the tail was, but I couldn’t see the head, and that’s definitely the most important part of a Western Diamondback Rattler. After a few seconds I determined where it was hiding, and did a silly walk backwards to get out of range. It was about 3 feet long, and while it was not coiled up, it was poised to strike.
After a couple of minutes of trying to figure out how to get around it, it popped out of the grass and wandered across the trail into the bush. As we walked by it started to rattle again, which caused more than a few hearts to beat faster. No harm, no Foul.
And that was today’s excitement.
We are still here for a couple of weeks, but I don’t think we’ll get out on the trails again, as we have several events planned and are getting visitors later this week.
And did I mention that we had our Son down for a visit last week? No? The fun never ends down here!