A couple of weeks ago I posted about an easy hike that we chose to see how Sylvia’s foot would react. It didn’t work out well, and afterwards she decided to pack it in for the season with regards to hiking. To help her feel better we decided to print a picture taken earlier in the season in the same area as her latest challenge and mount it on our wall.
This is the only picture we have mounted that I have not taken myself, as this was done by our friend Laurie but at least it was taken on my phone.
So, last week I was on my own with a fairly small group of hikers heading to Picacho Peak closer to Tucson. There were 14 of us, including a few who had never been to Picacho before.
This hike is pretty short at just over 3 miles, but is a slog of a climb straight up to the top of the peak using cables, boardwalks and spit to climb almost 2000 feet, with a couple of 300 foot drops thrown in. Eventually we were going to end up at the top of this peak. It is quite a grind, and some of our group has some troubles with the constant uphill trajectory. I ended up hanging back to help one fella along who had already decided that he had bit off more than he could handle, but he eventually made it to the top with a sense of extreme satisfaction. Once we got to the top I found out that there was a new tradition associated with this hike. One of our number had brought along a Mickey of Fireball Whiskey and a bunch of glasses. We are such a dedicated group of hikers, aren’t we?
The downhill return was also an issue for some folks with knee issues, but we took our time and got everyone back to the vehicles. One of the reasons we were pretty slow was that the California/Mexican Poppies were out in abundance and lots of time was spent getting just the right picture.
Debbie and Laurie were just a bit more dedicated than I was to get the perfect picture, and we found them wandering around the desert a few times very far off the trail.
After the hike we wandered up to the town of Eloy hoping to watch paratroopers training by jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, but the winds had picked up and everyone was grounded. We ended up sitting in the restaurant with a couple of groups of young men speaking various foreign languages, as people come from all over the world to train at this facility.
Over the next couple of days we had some spectacular sunsets to share. I never get tired of watching the skies here.
Last Sunday we hosted our neighbours from home for a couple of hours to show them our resort before they headed back to the Okanagan and it’s snowy weather. Roland is still working as a Consultant in the Oil-patch, and can’t be away all Winter yet, as he is still dealing with that nasty 4 letter word – WORK.
They do seem to be spending a bit longer down here every winter though. Smart people.aren’t they?
This week I was involved in a couple of Softball Tournaments, first with a pickup team from the resort that played in an event against other Cal-Am resorts. We only managed to play one game, as we lost in the last inning. The next day our season ending tournament was held for the team I manage. We ended up having the best record in the league, but lost out in the Championship game to the team from the resort next door to us. I think we got robbed, as I thought we had scored the winning run in the bottom of the 7th inning, but the Umpire didn’t seem to agree. We then played an extra inning, and couldn’t quite get our heads in the game as we were convinced we had already done enough to win. Oh Well, there’s always next year.
One of our games in the tournament was against another team from our Resort. This team has historically been a higher calibre team than the Coyotes, but we beat them pretty handily which took the edge off of losing the League title just a bit.
This week, we were approached by some of our regular hiking buddies to see if we could attempt our annual Through hike from the First Water Trailhead to Canyon Lake. I wasn’t very confident that Sylvia would want to try it, but as it is a tradition, she thought we should give it a shot. This hike is almost 8 miles long, and includes about 1000 feet of elevation change and I was concerned that her foot would not hold out, but she actually did fine and completed the hike with no foot issues at all. Maybe she’s going to be alright.
We all looked pretty shiny and chipper at the start of the hike, but it was pretty warm that day, and we thought we would have some issues with the heat and windy conditions. It was supposed to be 82F/27C by the afternoon.
The overnight winds had kicked up quite a bit of dust into the air so the morning pictures were a bit hazy. The wispy clouds kept the temperatures tolerable though.
Not long after I took this picture of some of the few flowers we ran into on the hike we came across this fella on the trail. The lead hiker in our group found himself pretty close to the business end of this guy before he noticed him. He ended up scrambling backwards pretty quickly and fell back onto his backpack. I was not far behind him and was quite concerned when I saw him stumble. I figured it was either a Heart Attack or a Snake Sighting, and was actually quite happy to find out it was the latter. This is the 4th snake we’ve run across over the years here, and is actually the first one we’ve seen that I wasn’t the first to spot. It was definitely time for someone else to have the chance to see Mr, Rattlesnake.
As usual this year there was a lot of water in the creeks and springs, but I was pretty surprised we didn’t see more flowers showing. One reason may be that there is a LOT of grass growing in the desert, and it may be choking out some of the flowers. That’s my guess anyway.
By noon or so, the skies were starting to clear a bit and the haze was diminishing. This pic is looking down on Labarge Creek . The big rock in the middle of the picture is Battleship Mountain that I was on top of a month or so ago.
Somewhere down there Debbie was waiting for us to get to the top of the Saddle to get a group picture.
From this point we could see Canyon Lake where we were going to stop for a late lunch. It was still over an hour before we made it to the restaurant.
And here we are at the Restaurant where we met our friends who had driven my Truck up to the lake so we could get back home. Sorry I cut you off Dana….my Selfie Skills are pretty limited.