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.

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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!

Deer Creek Hike

Check out my activity on AllTrails.
https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/recording-mar-07-10-12-am?p=22165800

Yesterday’s 6 miler. Sylvia did pretty well on this one. Much better than a month or so ago.
The hike was at Dove Creek about an hour away up in the high country. The plan was to stay away from the 80+ temps in the Valley that we have been waiting for all Winter. Go figure.

It was the first hike we’ve done with the club in a month, and really enjoyed it. Now we just have to see if Sylvia feels good enough to tackle the 8 mile trek we usually try to end our season on. We will see.

Not Much Rest.

We spent last weekend back in BC visiting Sylvia’s folks and resetting the clock on our 90 day travel insurance. We have discovered that 90 day packages are substantially cheaper than the 150 day packages that we would need to cover our entire stay in the Excited States. Essentially one of our airfares and a good portion of a car rental are covered by the reduced cost of a 90 day plan, so it gives us a real good reason to head back North for a few days.

We had fairly warm but typically wet weather for our trip, so we didn’t get a lot of Outdoor time while we were there. It was a nice day for a walk on Sunday though before we flew back to Arizona.

Monday was spent catching up on chores and organising the lineup for Tuesday’s softball game. As it turned out, I didn’t need to out in that much effort as we got beat in both games. Our record is 2 wins and 4 losses, and while that isn’t great, it’s better than the 0 and 6 record we had last year at this time.

On Wednesday I made arrangements to meet up with our next door neighbour from home for a hike. They are just dipping their toes into the whole retirement lifestyle thing, and are spending a month in Tucson to try it out. Brenda is an avid cyclist, and it seems that Tucson is the biking capital of the south with hundreds of miles of bike friendly paths and a 60+ mile bike only route through the city.

With Brenda committed to a lkng ride, Roland and I chose a rather challenging hike called Picacho Peak that is between our two locations to meet up and share some lies and jokes along the trail.

I promise to find a picture of him with his eyes open.

The next day Sylvia and I headed to Catalina State Park near Tucson (only about 80 minutes away) to hike with both of them. Unfortunately Brenda was a bit under the weather, so it ended up being just the 3 of us, but it was still a great day of hiking.

Just to make me feel old, somebody commented about how nice it must be to hike with your Son…..Roland is a whopping 6 years younger than me, but boy, do I ever feel old now.

After those 3 busy days we decided to get back to the projects on the new home and installed 7 new blinds in our Dining Room and Bedroom.

Before: Never did like the Venetian Blinds all that much.

During: Lots of light coming in now.

After: Honeycomb style blinds from American Blinds. They look great, and seem to be of excellent quality.

Now we can easily choose how much light we want to see each day, and we are very pleased with our choices. We even got a blackout shade for the bedroom, and is it ever dark!

Next week we get a new roof on the place, as ours was damaged by hail before we arrived. Projects never seem to end.

One More Special Day

One thing about having a Birthday is that having them is way better than not getting a chance to have them anymore. Sylvia turned #%%$#—%^€¥₩÷ years old last week, and we decided to keep it a low key affair after our busy Christmas and New Years. She didn’t even want a Cake, but I did manage to get some Cupcakes made for her.

The day actually turned out a bit different than we anticipated as both of the restaurants I scoped out to celebrate at were closed on Monday so we ended up tagging along with some friends at our old standby, Los Gringos Locos. Always a good time. Dinner out was put off until later in the week.

Over the rest of the week she managed to find a few more items to decorate our home, so once again I was let off the hook in regard to getting her a present.

First up was a piece made by a friend of ours here in the Park. Karen makes attractive and interesting Mixed Media pieces that we have always been intrigued by. We are quite pleased how it looks.

Then came another shopping trip to Mesa Market and she came home with these:

There will be more shopping trips to fill the vase and find something to place the Yellow flowers into. It seems the Birthday Gift season goes on and on this year.

We managed to get in a hike as well, and ended up at San Tan Mountain Park. We have been there before a couple of times and didn’t really enjoy the trails as they were soft and sandy which is rather more difficult to walk on than rocks for some reason. This time the trail chosen was a different one, so we thought we’d give it a try along with 40 other hikers.

The trail was called Goldmine, and while I have no idea if anyone found or even looked for Gold there, but we did come across a couple of Graves of notable residents from the area.

It wasn’t a sunny day, and the Views weren’t terrific, but we did enjoy the hike.

This week we are heading back to BC for a few days to visit family. Hopefully the weather there stays nice.