Take a look at one of the many things we love around here. Late afternoon sun on the mountains right behind our campground. Beautiful!
In our previous blog I mentioned a golf cart parade we were to attend. As they say, it was "priceless!" There was lots of creativity and plenty of laughs. Bill and Rena did a awesome job of decorating their golf cart with "A Christmas Story" as their theme.
We continue to bowl on a weekly basis. Lots of fun and camaraderie.
One night we went with Bill and Rena as well as their friends Tricia and Alex to celebrate Bill's birthday at a Tucson steak house. Way good. From there we went to the local zoo to see Christmas lights. On another night Debbie and I spent 2-3 hours walking through a Tucson community called Winterhaven. Their specialty is Christmas lights. It's a rather modest community but they, as a group, go to great lengths to create quite a "wonderland." Great fun!
We have fallen off our 5 mile daily walking but somehow we're managing to keep off most of the pounds we lost. We seem to stay busy with who knows what, plus we've had a fair amount of rain, it's much cooler then we expected and if you give me a little more time I'll come up with a few more excuses! But we do continue to hike. Each hike has been in a different mountain range and each uniquely beautiful! I did a hike this past Tuesday that will be one of my favorite for years to come. It's Mt. Wrightson. The trail head is at 5400 feet. The peak is 9400 feet. The distance is 10.8 miles. I was with the "diehards" from Quail Creek that save Tuesdays for their recon or more strenuous hikes. As we departed they explained that they didn't know what to expect of the hike. Certainly there would be snow. They were SO right! The primary challenge of the hike became the snow. At the lower elevations we had mud that gave way to light snow and then much more snow and finally we were at times breaking through the crust of snow to a depth of 3 feet or more. It took us about 4 hours to go 4.5 miles. We finally stopped .9 miles short of the peak with 700 feet of elevation gain left. The problems included consistently deepening snow, the fact that only a pair of snow shoers had broken the trail ahead of us and there was also concern of running out of day light. So we turned around and headed down. Given that it was after 3pm when we got to the cars we concluded with confidence that turning around was a good idea. Plus the snow shoers later told us it was their most treacherous accent of the peak (and they have done it like maybe 100 times) so we felt like we had used good judgement! But the hike was BEAUTIFUL! Again I was somehow prepared for the conditions and I was never uncomfortable. The attached pictures are my contribution but, as usually is the case, they don't fairly represent the enormity of the beauty!
|My hiking mentors|
|The destination is closer but we didn't make it, too much snow!|
|Love that BLUE sky!|
One other side bar. Last week I took part in a half day volunteer activity related to removing an invasive plant called Arundo. It has snuck into the desert and is crowding out native plants. It's a bamboo like plant that has to be cut down and then the roots have to be dug out. I really enjoyed the activity. It's just one more opportunity to get to know the area, learn about the desert which is new to us, meet some locals and contribute to something worthwhile.
OK, we're trying to get the blog up to date so I'm going to share a little more and maybe we can finally click "post." What can I say, another great hike today. We met at Bill and Rena's house this morning at 7:30 am. It was about 28 degrees! We then headed for Sabino Canyon. (I love the fact that our destinations have names that include the words like canyon and mountain.) Sabino Canyon is a premier hiking area a little north of Tucson. Today's hikers included Bill, Rena and their son Brian and his girl friend Jen. They live in Manhattan - cool! Also, hiking were friends of Bill and Rena (and now our new friends) Fannie, Tom and their daughter Audrey. She lives in Seattle. Here's a picture of us all (minus Debbie, the photographer).
|From left: Bill, Duane, Rena, Fannie, Audrey, Tom, Jen and Brian|
Loved the event and the companions! After the hike we all went our separate ways. Debbie and I stopped for a In-N-Out burger, hit Walmart and topped it off with a visit to Dairy Queen. Great dieting! So tonight we're chilling.....quite literally. It's suppose to be down in the high twentys again tonight. We'll just have to spend more time hugging!
It's been a great year for us! Hopefully yours has also been wonderful.
We'll be in touch.