Eight Days in the Sun

It’s hard to believe we have been in Arizona for an entire week.

During that time we’ve:

-Spent 3 days getting the house organized, cleaned up, packed away and supplied with Food (I should be buying shares in Costco).

-Had 2 softball practices and played one Double Header.

-Replace the Toilet built for Goliath with one we brought from home. The Replacement is fully 3.5 inches lower than the old one. My feet can reach the ground again!

-Attended 2 Pickleball Board meetings including one with the Resort Management. (I just wanna PLAY!)

-Helped spread 600 pounds of Grass Seed on the Softball field. (I also now seem to be the resident expert on Irrigation Systems, as I definitely have experience)

-Gone to a Live Play in Gilbert.

-Gone out for Dinner a couple of times (Thanks D & D)

-Gone on a 6 mile hike to test out Sylvia’s Tootsies (Successfully)

-Played some Pickleball (at least Sylvia has. I’ve not had a chance yet)

-Gotten the Church Sound board figured out and running for another year.

-Picked up supplies for some of the projects on the Honey Do list for this winter. The list is down to 8 items, and at least I have 5 months to accomplish them.

-Gone from ‘Were you warm enough under the covers last night’ to ‘Covers? Who needs Covers?’ in just a few days.

As usual we have swung into the Social and Activity side of life in Canyon Vistas with a Vengeance. We have held off a bit on the more adventurous Hiking though as we wanted to see how Sylvia’s Tender Tootsies would survive a moderate hike.

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On Wednesday we took off by ourselves to try a gentle 6 mile hike along the base of the Superstitions called the Lost Goldmine Trail. It is a favourite of ours to get started for the year as there is not a lot of elevation to be encountered, but at 6 miles of Rolling Desert it is not just a walk in the park either. Sylvia did really well on the hike and didn’t experience any Major issues, although her feet were a bit tired by the time we finished. (Mine too)

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We were quite surprised and concerned to see how much tall dead grass was still hanging around. Over the summer there was a large Human caused fire that lasted several weeks just beyond the Superstition Mountains. The final size was almost 125,000 Acres. “If you enlarge this map you can see how close it came to Gold Canyon, although it never came over the Mountains in front of our home. Most of the hiking we do is between the Red Fire Line and the Superstition Mountains in the bottom left corner of the picture. There has been quite a bit of flooding along the north side of the fire since the summer though, and the road from Tortilla Flat to Theodore Roosevelt Lake is closed due to washouts.WoodburyFire_map_1125pm_MST_6-27-2019

With fuel like this available, we can’t be surprised there was such a massive fire.

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It was a bit cloudy to start the day, which kept the temperatures manageable, but by the time we were finished it was well over 84F/29C and this was at just 12 O’clock.

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We have been walking past this particular Saguaro for several years. It is beginning to lean to the left as the malformed crest gets larger. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

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And finally one last interesting bit of news. While we were out at the play the other evening a Rattlesnake decided to wander across our property. The Bricks you see here belong to our neighbour, but the Gravel is ours.

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Kathy contacted the local Fire Department and they came by to relocate this fella. Top Right of this picture is where we park our Truck.

Snake 2

That’s just about enough excitement for this week.

Uh oh.

Actually we are just fine as Timing is Everything.

Our friends Colin and Contessa of the 5C’s blog https://www.contessajewall.com/ are one day ahead of us and woke up to this scene at Chateau Walmart in Mountain Home Idaho.

One day later we saw remnants of the snow, but there was nothing on the highway as we passed Mountain Home, and nothing at all once we reached Twin Falls.

This is not to suggest it is warm here, as the temperature is hovering around freezing, but we went for a nice walk with Bill and Kay in their Neighbourhood and wandered around downtown Boise when we went for dinner.

Alas, we were not able to convince them to hook up their trailer and follow us to Arizona but we will not stop trying.

We had a great visit with them, and suggested they consider opening up a B &B as they are in a great location for those of us heading South from BC. It is under consideration.

We got away early and are about to pass into Nevada. We should be in Vegas by early evening, and Gold Canyon tomorrow.

Can’t. Hardly. Wait.

Knock Knock

Just checking to see if this blog still works.

We have departed the True North, and were accepted across the border into the Excited States early this Afternoon. It was a painless crossing, and we were only at the border for about 2 minutes.

Yes, we are on our way to Arizona, and are figuring out almost every hour what we forgot to pack for our trip. Considering we spent 4 days packing, have the box of the truck packed to the brim, and even found room for a Toilet I am amazed we didn’t get it all.

First item that came to mind was my Camera. Picture taking is going to be interesting this winter, although my new Phone takes pretty good pictures.

Next item was Sylvia’s cookbooks. We managed to bring along everything we need to make Muffins and various Christmas baking except the actual recipes. Again, it is going to be an interesting winter, but there is always Google and AllRecipes to assist. I don’t think we will starve.

At least we have all our sport and activity gear with us, including Sylvia’s boots, as we hope she can handle more trail activity this year.

Dry Lake Viewpoint

It was a great day for a drive, and we are planted for the night in Pendleton Oregon. We have a short trip to Boise tomorrow to visit friends, and should be in Gold Canyon by Tuesday evening.

Finally, a look at the end of Summer Hairstyle, and the Ready for Arizona cut. I was surprised it was not even shorter. Her hairdresser didn’t want to shock her too much. Looks good though.

A Kelowna Mini Blogger Convention

Our Summer has been rather busy, with visiting Parents, Kids and soon, Grandkids coming for several days each. Then there is the never ending Nature Retreat out of our back door where we watch the Hummingbirds, Golden Finches, Grouse and Owls frolic about in the ravine.

Then there is the constant battle with the local Deer who managed to mow down all of our Roses last night. And I do mean ALL. And who can forget the Bat that plopped out of our Sun Umbrella when I opened it up the other day. Never a dull moment around here.

We have also been busy with Pickleball, though I think we have spent close to 10 times more hours manning our laptops and spreadsheets than we have actually playing Pickleball. It has definitely shown in our lack of success on the courts.

This past weekend our local club hosted 300 players from several provinces at the Second Canadian Super Seniors Pickleball Tournament. Neither Sylvia nor I had much to do with the planning of the event this year, but still managed to put in 3 Fourteen hour days making sure it went smoothly.

Over the Summer a few fellow bloggers have contacted me wondering where I had disappeared to. I haven’t really gone anywhere, but what little work I have done with Social Media this summer has been on Facebook or Instagram, and very little of that to be honest.

Last week, Contessa of 5C’s Que Pasa called and said we should get together for dinner. We had spoken on the phone before and emailed many times, but had never met Face to Face. Also invited were the authors of Maxx Trails who we have met several times both here at home and in Arizona.

We arrived at Contessa and Colin’s place for a tour of their very classy home and gab fest at 5:00, went to the Italian Kitchen restaurant in their community at 7:00 and closed the place down before leaving after 10:00 (nobody told us the restaurant closed at 9:00…oops).

We spent those 5 hours talking about what we enjoy most: travel plans, projects and purchases and other bloggers (Were your ears burning Croft and René?) Somehow we never managed to get Colin to pick up one of his very special guitars and give us a mini concert though. Maybe next time.

To show how out of practice I am on the blogging side of things, I did not take a single picture, but Contessa was kind enough to send some our way.

The Three Musketeers, Rod, Contessa and Mrs Maxx.

The whole gang, including Colin who took the pic and inserted himself later. He is a Professional Photographer and is Very good with Photoshop. Behind us is Ellison Lake, which is Colin and Contessa’s front yard.

The start of a great meal and lots more talk. We have to do this again sometime soon. Next time though, Crofts Travels is going to be invited.

‘Til next time.

In Case Anyone thought we were Bored

I know we haven’t done much with the Blog for a while, but we have been busy. We have been home for 2 months, got the yard in shape (the Lawn is fuller and thicker than ever), replaced some Rose’s that didn’t survive last winter, spent a couple of hundred hours getting our Pickleball club organized, scoped out Wedding Venues for our son (Painted Rock Winery in July 2020), turned our thoughts to what we can renovate next and tried to win the award for the longest sentence ever.

So, we have been anything but bored.

The first Reno on the agenda is our downstairs fireplace. The following pics are before, during, during again and after.

The stone only took about 7 hours to install over 2 days, but I still have some painting to do, as the Mantle and Hearth didn’t come off easily.

Next up is new flooring, and we have chosen Vinyl planking, as we really like the flooring we chose for our place in Gold Canyon. It should be installed in a few weeks

Pictures to follow.

Snake in the Grass

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.

Deer Creek Hike

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)

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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.

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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!

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The weather was just about perfect for hiking today, and the 7 of us were ready to go.

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There was quite a bit of water along the trail, including some in spots we’d never seen before.

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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.

 

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One stop was at the Red Paint Mine. It kinda reminds us of a mini (very mini) portion of Sedona.

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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….

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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.

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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.

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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!