Friday, December 9, 2011

Still in Tucson (Amado, Az)

If you're still listening I imagine you've about given up on us.  I guess we've been back in Arizona about 3 weeks and this is the first blogging effort since our return.   I won't bore you with endless details and timelines because I can't recall all the details. (otherwise I might).  But here goes....we LOVE this area.  I think I've mentioned previously that our camper is set up in a campground in Amado, AZ which is about 40 miles south of Tucson.  The primary attraction of the area is the mountains and desert.  We've invested significant energy in enjoying them immensely.  Viewing them is nice but hiking them is superb!  We hike with our friends Bill and Rena and we hike with a group from Bill and Rena's neighborhood (Quail Creek Country Club) in Green Valley. Tucson is literally surrounded with mountain ranges.  We've completed several hikes in the 6-9 mile range.   They've all been in different mountain ranges around greater Tucson.  Our best and most challenging was something called Elephant Head that we hiked with Bill and Rena.  It was about 8.5 miles round trip and took us 8 hours.  That's pretty slow for an average hike but this wasn't average.  The trail was either very steep, narrow, nonexistent or all three.  The goal was to summit the mountain.  It's not fair to say we were rock climbing vertical rock walls but toward the top we were climbing rocks at something like a 45- 70 degree angle.  That's not straight up, but clearly involves finding ways to reach the rocks overhead.

Elephant Head Peak

Bill and Rena on the way up

Debbie before the big climb

Now where??
Bill and Rena have hiked for decades.  Debbie and I are new at this but I have a huge reach.  Debbie was very much at the outer limits of what she could handle, but with some encouragement, coaching from Bill, and boosting from behind by me she made it nearly to the top.  Both Debbie and Rena had to stop short of the summit by about 500 feet.  The last obstacle was a rock with maybe a width of 2 feet.  It required a giant step to get up on and falling right or left would have been grim!  So Bill and I went on to the top and the ladies started down.

Many  leave elephants at the top

Debbie didn't seem too sad when she realized she couldn't go any further to the top.

Or Rena either!
We returned to our car just as the sun set. 

In no way can I accurately express the satisfaction we enjoy from these hikes!  I've gone on a couple hikes without Debbie.  The most memorable was a 9.5 mile hike in Madera Canyon this past Saturday.  By the end of the hike we enjoyed freezing temperatures, a little rain, a little more sleet and a great deal of SNOW!  It was a blast!  I was reasonably well prepared and never felt uncomfortable.  Mostly I just felt like a kid on my own little adventure.  So I particularly am  hooked on hiking no matter what the challenge or conditions.  With this in mind I'm falling into a pattern of hiking twice a week with this group called the Quail Creek Hikers. Bill, Rena and Debbie are normally with the group as well but I'm driven to join the group at every opportunity possible.

So lets talk about the weather.  Mostly it's been very sunny, comfortable (50-60, maybe some mid 70's) during the day but a steady stream of below freezing temperatures at night.  So lets talk about Quail Creek.  The community has about 2000 very nice homes, endless activities and top notch amenities.  Everywhere Debbie and I go we asked ourselves if we would retire in that location.  Quail Creek is a front runner!  In addition to our hiking we've done a little bowling, it looks like we'll be part of a Christmas golf cart parade this upcoming Saturday and we're meeting lots of very nice people.  The rest of this story shouldn't surprise you after all that I've shared.  As of now we expect to stay here until late April or early May.  As I've said, we LOVE this area!!!!



  1. Sounds like you're really enjoying yourselves and having a GREAT time!!!
    Travel safe

  2. So glad to hear that you love where you are. We hope to see this area next year if all goes well. Stay safe and watch out on those hikes!!

  3. Love all the elephants at the top of the hike! That's really funny to see.

    Sounds like a nice area for you - hiking gets into your blood. :)

  4. You folks are REALLY becoming quite the hikers!