As usual we’ve had our fill of chances to play pickleball and softball this week and enjoyed it all. I was asked to play on the top team from the park this week, as they’re quite short of players due to injuries and temporary departures due to family emergencies. I am by no means good enough to play with these guys, but I can at least run and catch, even if I can’t quite figure out how to hit a softball out of the infield. We lost both of the games I played in, but only by a couple of runs and everyone seemed satisfied at the result, if not pleased. They’ve asked me to keep the uniform and play with them again next week, so I couldn’t have been too bad.
We were glad that the hiking club picked a hike for Wednesday that we hadn’t been on before and we joined 25 others in a trip to Apache Overlook. It’s only a 3+ mile hike, but there’s quite a bit of elevation gain as we ended up at the top of this hill. It’s about 850 feet above where we started, but after climbing up and down quite a bit we ended up with 1130 feet of total elevation gain. The temperatures when we started were quite cool as we had to drive up into the hills, but we were by no means uncomfortable.
Almost half of our group decided to climb down from our starting point, as it was on a graded road all the way, but was still quite steep. The road is for access to a dam on the Salt River, and is kept in pretty good condition.
We had no graded roads to follow, and the path was very narrow and steep in places but you have to get up off the road to see the best scenery so we pretended we were billy goats and headed up the hill.
The scenery was absolutely spectacular as usual, and as the morning went on the day became quite warm. Our jackets didn’t stay on very long.
Once at the top we had a nice view of the 4 Peaks which are the highest peaks in this area and are the background picture on Arizona license plates. The Salt River flows through the valley in the foreground. This area has been called the Grand Canyon of the Superstitions. It may be small, but is really pretty.
I know I’ve mentioned it before (many times) but the landscape is much greener than we’ve seen in previous years. The Cholla, Beaver Tail and Yucca plants are healthy, and very large in this area.
This is one of the few places within a hundred miles of here that we’ve seen Soap Yucca plants, also called Joshua Trees.
Cactus will grow anywhere.
There were quite a few desiccated Century plants in this area. These are a type of Yucca which flower once every 25 years or so, and then die.
Just before we started on the downhill trek we stopped for a picture. We were one of only two couples willing to stand out on this ledge. About 2 feet behind me was a 500 foot drop off. Sylvia surprised me by walking out there with me.
We had a quiet afternoon once we returned to the park, and ended up wandering over to the new section of the park to listen to the music at the scheduled Happy Hour there. As we approached we heard some very old fashioned country music being played, complete with yodelling. We continued right on past the party (which wasn’t very well attended) and wandered back to our site to read and eat our own snacks. I really don’t know why 90% of the music here has to be country, and old fashioned country at that. Doesn’t anyone else appreciate some good guitar rock once in a while?
As I was outside manning the BBQ at sunset I managed to catch a couple of nice pictures. The legend around here is that ‘When the Mountain turns PINK, it’s time to Drink’. I’m not too sure about that, as it seems that retirees start a lot earlier than sunset around here!
I guess we can always drink in the scenery!