Sedona Day 2

After our previous hike to Soldier’s Pass our group got together to have yet another Potluck dinner. This time it was to finish off the leftover from the previous day. Like most Crockpot and potluck friendly meals, it was even better the second day.

After the dinner we all hung around the fire and discussed where to go for our next adventure. The consensus was to head to a creek and hop boulders for 4 miles or so up a shallow grade. While this didn’t appeal to us a lot (we do a fair bit of boulder hopping in Gold Canyon already) we decided to head out with the crowd as we didn’t know where else would be better. By the morning we got educated on what would be a better hike by Deb and Dana and headed off with them to explore Broken Arrow/ 3 Hogs trail. It turned out that we were just the first to have second thoughts about boulder hopping, as the entire hiking contingent changed tacks and ended up in various spots in the Sedona area enjoying the scenery.

Broken Arrow is another popular spot, and is also accessible by Jeep  and we saw several of them on the trail, including many ‘Pink’ Jeeps which is an adventure touring company in Sedona. We met up with several of their clients while we were walking along the places where our paths crossed. One even took pains to explain to us how dangerous some of the various plants were along the trail. She had obviously been given the 30 second ‘Be Safe in the Desert’ course and had to pass on her knowledge. City Folks.

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It was a great day, and the skies were filled with just enough wispy clouds.

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Early on in the hike we saw lots of what we thought were dust clouds kicked up by the Jeeping crowd. Boy were we wrong.  I turned out that the breeze was kicking up clouds of pollen off the Juniper Trees. (Now who is a City Boy?) It was startling to see how much pollen could come off a tree at one time. All of a sudden my nose started running Big Time.

IMG_5290IMG_5297IMG_5298We were on our way to Chicken Point and while most of the way was on hiking trails we saw quite a few jeeps trying their luck on inclines and plateaus.

That long flat rock in the valley is called Submarine Rock, and is a popular climbing spot.IMG_5338

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Chicken Point is a very popular location and is the end of the line for the Jeep Tours. It’s really hard to get a picture here without people in it. We spent lots of time herding folks away from our sightlines when we tried to get close up shots.

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From here we walked back along Broken Arrow and headed to High on the Hog, Hog Heaven and Hog Wash trails. There were no jeeps on this section of the trail, but we did run into a couple of Mountain Bikers with a Death Wish.

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The view were spectacular all day, and I took a lot of great photos. Most of them over Debbie’s Shoulder.

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Sedona is a very pretty spot and is built to enhance the scenery, not impact it. I don’t think there’s a building over 2 stories tall anywhere.

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Lots of dead, but interesting trees.

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Sylvia found the house she would like to live in once we move to Sedona. Nice views from the ‘little’ Green house.

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After the hike we headed to Chapel in the Rock, which was built right into the rock in 1956 and is yet another popular spot for Tourists.

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Just below the chapel is yet another little home. I think Deb wants to move into this one when she convinces Dana to move to Sedona.

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And that was our second day hiking. Next stop Jerome Arizona, tomorrow.

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Cottonwood/Sedona Trip 1

This past week 9 couples from our park made a trek to Dead Horse Ranch State Park to camp out for a while, and explore the countryside. We had been to this area a couple of times, but not since 2011 so it was high time we went back for a visit. It is only a few hours away from our home in Gold Canyon, but for some reason we’d never found time to go back.

Sedona is a Tourist Mecca, for winter visitors. The Weather is tolerable, but a bit cooler than the Phoenix area because it is about 2500’ higher in elevation. The Scenery is absolutely outstanding, and the surrounding Red Rocks are a sight to behold. The community is filled with Artisans who show a wide variety of artwork, although we have never taken the time to visit any of the shops and galleries and didn’t bother this trip either. And it is a bit of a New Age Spiritual Centre, with lots of shops offering Aura readings and directions to the nearest ‘Vortex’. We passed by those vendors too!

Our first night in Camp was spent swapping lies and making plans for the week. The first order of business was Happy Hour followed by a Potluck Dinner. For those of you on Facebook, you’ll likely see some pictures where I was tagged piling food on my plate and stuffing my face. Typical Seniors behaviour.

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On our first full day, 15 of us took off on a hike to Soldier’s Pass. Most of the hiking trails here are very popular, so we took off at 7:30 to make sure we could arrive when the gates opened to the small parking area. There was already a line-up when we arrived, but by the time we left 5 hours later there were cars lined up out onto the street waiting for our parking spots to be free.

Here’s what our day looked like on the Soldier’s Pass Loop. That big spike in elevation near the beginning of the hike was a side trip to get to a cave that I’ll talk about later.

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We don’t see too many Juniper and Pine trees in our section of the desert, but they are thriving here.

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The 7 Sacred Pools is a popular spot, and lots of people stop here, but it is just 20 minutes or so from the parking lot

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Our next destination was a series of Arches and Caves quit a ways off the regular trail. Some of our fellow hikers had been here before and missed the turnoff for this attraction and were determined to get us there this time. It was quite steep and while all of us made it to the caves, more than a few decided not to climb up into the caverns. We did, and we’re glad we did!

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The cave we entered was hidden behind the trees in the photo above.

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One of our group found a Geocache box hidden in a corner of the cave and signed us in as the Canyon Vistas Hiking club. If you don’t know anything about Geocaching, look it up on Google. I don’t have enough space to explain how popular it is with the hiking and ATV people we know.

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Once we left this spot we eventually climbed up above the cave onto Brin’s Ridge and ended up just above the cave.

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No idea what this fella is called, but he watched over us for most of the last portion of the hike.

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A good time was had by all, but we ended up with only about half of us finishing the hike as a few folks had had enough by the time we finished in the caves.

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And now I have a confession to make. We have several different types of hikers in our group. There are those who try and go as far as they can, as fast as they can to challenge themselves. There are others who use a hike as a social event and chat away during the whole adventure. And finally there are those who love to see the sights and take pictures. Sylvia and I are in this group, but I have to admit that I hang around Debbie as much as I can as she has a great eye for a pretty picture and many of the shots I am most proud of are taken after seeing her stop and then taking a picture over her shoulder. Now you know all my secrets.

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Next up will be a hike to the 3 Hogs. Stay tuned.

Home Progress

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted pictures of the progress of our Reno here in Gold Canyon. Lots has been accomplished, although from day to day it’s difficult to see much progress from the outside, as a lot of the work has been done inside the walls.

I have spent a  few days working on the place as Head Go-Fer and Chief Tool. (No pithy comments from our lowbrow friends please)

On Feb 24th it was quite cool here in Arizona, and we took advantage of having the walls in place to sit inside and enjoy our little Sunroom. Dana and Deb came by for a visit and she insisted on documenting the occasion of our first  Happy Hour in the new AZ Room.

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I have to admit it was quite comfortable being protected from the cool breeze and sitting in the sunshine.

Since then we have had the roof installed, and I was there to help push the trusses onto the roof. The plan is to have an access hatch to the attic where we can store useful stuff like a Christmas Tree. (Useful??)

IMG_5155We have decided to not have a window in our bathroom (it is on the Sunny South side of the house) as there wasn’t a lot of room to place a decent sized one. Instead we’ve added a 2’ X 4’ Skylight and it provides quite a bit of light.

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The pocket doors have been installed, and this one accesses our storage closet in the AZ room. We decided to go with pocket doors as they don’t impact the space in the rooms as much as a swinging door would. Despite people thinking we are building a HUGE room, there is not a great deal of space we can waste.

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Our Front Door was installed this week. Originally this was going to be our only view north to the Superstition Mountains. We’re glad we decided to add the extra window.

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This is a view of where our Shower stall is going to be. No, it’s not the little space in the center of the frame. The 5 foot shower will be on the right, and a storage/linen cabinet will be put beside it eventually.

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This morning I hung around and helped with the installation of the Fascia and Soffits on the addition. Our Builder is a One-Man show most of the time, and giving him a hand once in a while is necessary to help him get things done that he’d have to hire help for, or take risks to do by himself. Besides, I kind of enjoy handling Air Nailers and big pieces of lumber.

The white support is what the old roof was mounted on. The extra height is what give people the impression that we are adding a huge structure. That support will be relocated  to mount the awning over our parking area. Then our truck will be fully shaded.

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I find it interesting how many folks walk by and comment on the progress, or mention how ‘quick’ things are going when we see them elsewhere in the park. More than a few times while we’re having coffee in the morning we have caught people up on our deck looking through the windows. As the windows in the Park Model are heavily tinted they don’t know we are watching them as they are peeping in the windows. It’s kinda funny, but just a bit creepy.

Lots of folks who stop and chat while we are working are surprised when they find out I am the owner, and not just a hired hand. One fella today just wouldn’t believe that we designed the plan ourselves, and are also working on it. Not many people are as Hand’s On as I am I guess.

We’re out of town on a camping trip next week, so in a couple of weeks I should be posting some more progress pictures. Maybe siding???

Guess What?

I mentioned a while ago (2 months) that I had inherited the job of managing a softball team here at Canyon Vistas. I had played on the Coyotes since the very first week that we arrived in the park in 2012 and we have had some good years and some not so good ones, but it has always been a good bunch of guys and a lot of fun, win or lose.

For the past several years the Coyotes have played in a different league, on a different day than the other teams here in the park, but this year decided to join the Superstition Softball League along with the other 3 teams. This cut into our pool of talent as several players who played with us on Mondays now had to commit to their previous Tuesday teams. We were left with only 6 guys who played on last year’s team, one guy who returned after a year’s absence, and a whole bunch of holes in our lineup.

I spent the last 2 weeks of December scratching up as many players as I could find. Some of these were only temporary players as they moved on from the park, some only lasted a couple of weeks before injury or indifference caused them to back out, and one was on the roster all year, but never played a minute due to shoulder surgery. It meant that, on top of trying to figure out where to best place all the new players, I had to figure out where to put new replacements almost every week. It was quite a challenge.

Needless to say, we weren’t that good for the first half of the season, and ended up losing all 8 of our season opening games. At the mid point of the season the league shuffled us down to a bit weaker division, and right about the same time we really were starting to play better. We took off from that point and ended the second half of the season with a 7 win, 1 loss record, only losing our final game.

This weekend, the season ending tournaments were held for our entire league. On Friday we played only one game, and won it 15-1. Saturday morning we played another team and won 18-7. We were on a roll. We sat around to watch the two teams we’d beaten duke it out for the opportunity to play us for the Championship. That next game was a real struggle for us, but we came back at the end to make it close before losing 14-12 to the same team we’d beaten that morning.

Because we had only lost the one game we played a winner-take-all Championship game against the same team which we ended up winning 8-6. It was a good thing that was all the games we had to play as both teams were absolutely worn out by the last game. More than a few of our guys limped off the field, but it didn’t stop them from smiling for the team picture.

I was thrilled how the team came together at the end, and couldn’t be more proud of how they improved week by week. (7 Canadians, and 7 Americans incidentally, ranging in age from 55 to 75).

And now I will show you our secret weapons. No matter where we played we had the largest cheering section of anybody. Our wives and friends followed us around to all the other parks, and easily outnumbered and out cheered all the other team’s supporters. In fact Sylvia says she’s just as worn out as I am today from beating and stomping on the aluminum bleachers at today’s game.

Thanks Ladies!

Softball is almost over as I have one more tournament to play on Monday and then it will be back to our regularly scheduled hiking and Pickleball.

We had a Busy Weekend

Among the various clubs and activities we are involved with, we are on the committee that runs the Pickleball club here in our park. This past weekend we organized a 3 day ‘Pickleball Fights Cancer’ fundraising tournament that went off very well. It only cost $5 per event and we ended up raising over $700 for the cause.

On Thursday, Sylvia played in the Ladies event, and while she and her partner didn’t do that well they had fun. On Friday, I played in the Men’s event, and we didn’t do much better but I console myself by noting that we lost to the eventual winners by only a couple of points, which turned out to be the closest score they had all day as they smoked everyone.

On Sunday, I had to set up the Sound System for our Church (another of our various jobs) and then hightailed it to the courts where Sylvia and I played together in the Mixed Team event. This time we fared much better, and ended up winning a Silver Medal in our division.

That’s us in action against the winners, Dick and Paula. The day was rather cool, but you can tell that we were the Canadians in the field, as we could still wear shorts when we played. Mind you, the Bronze Medal winners, Dan and Karen are from Saskatchewan, so I think we are just a bit crazier than they are.

We had a great time all 3 days, and also did a fair bit of reffing of various games everyday. The experience will be useful, as our club back home is sponsoring an even larger tournament this summer. Hopefully that will be as much fun.

Top Ten Pictures of 2017

I just have to let you see the pictures of a friend of ours from Kelowna. MaxxTrails has put together a compliation of their Top Ten pictures from their past several years of travels. Check it out. Sylvia can’t pick out any favourites, ‘They’re ass gorgeous’.

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Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2017. We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2017 🙂

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links … and just an FYI, all votes are anonymous, your name does not show up anywhere.

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2017 …

Sunset, American Girl Mine Road, California. Picture taken 4 January 2017

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Picture taken 21 March 2017.

Duck, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 4 May 2017.

Okanagan Lake, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 5 June 2017.

Pend Oreille River, Montana. Picture…

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