Yes, I'm still here. Been riding a lot more but I don't take many pics while riding but I did see my first rattlesnake of the year. On the pavement at Dove Mountain but clearly, that's a rattler.
The picture that I bought in Key West arrived so I hung in on my wall and like it. I may take it to Amy's once in awhile, maybe for special occasions. It's an eye stopper that's for sure. Soooo, you are aware how busy my mornings are but the afternoons, especially in the summer, can be a little boring. I interviewed to be a store greeter at Wal Mart but was told I just don't have the personality, true dat. Then, out of the blue....
....a small/mid size golf company based in Europe, contacted me. As most of you know, I spent almost all of my adult life in the golf industry. It was a very enjoyable career that took me from Tasmania to China (ugh, never again) to Japan to New Zealand, etc... For a segment of that time, I designed and developed golf clubs and related accessories. Yup, hard to believe. I've kept in contact with the foundries and glad I did as I'm back in the product development game. That ought to fill a few afternoons.
Our group gathers in Sahuarita, consolidates vehicles and heads to a trail head where parking is limited, around a large water tank. We have arrived to hike to Keystone Peak, the high point in the Sierrita Mountains, southwest of Tucson.
Twelve of us pass through a gate and begin hiking, steeply at times, on property of the McGee family who generously allows access. We pass a few homes, then the McGee Ranch Cemetery as we follow a wide, well groomed, dirt road.
As is always the case when climbing in this region, the higher one goes, the more magnificent are the vistas. It's odd that even though we are in such close proximity to Tucson, there are no saguaros, mainly scrub oaks and junipers.
After 1.3 miles we reach Shiloh Pass. At times our ascent had us walking up 21% ramps although it felt steeper. I assured the group that the worst was over and it was but there would be several other steep sections, just not as long as what we endured. Along the road, we could see several abandoned mines.
Our hike continued and at one point, I paused to look back. What a neat sight with the serpentine road.
A few communication towers can be seen but although they appear to be atop this nearby peak, they are on a more distant one.
After 2.7 miles, we reach the abandoned West Star Cabin, built in 1912 to support area mining. It's a pretty site with plenty of shade.
Some of us left the trail to climb to a nearby ridge where we encountered 5 cows and....
....awesome views to the west which included......
....Kitt Peak on the left and the Coyote Mountains on the right.
We resumed our hike and soon.....
.....reach a collection of buildings and towers. This is not quite the peak but a good place to take our break. Marc and Lorna....
....start climbing a tower that was not fenced off nor having any warning signs to discourage. Marc actually made it to a platform while Lorna thought better of it and returned to the group.
We then made a quick ascent of a hill that was slightly higher then where we had taken our break and found a summit registry. Officially, this is the highest point as we marveled at the views.
Mount Wrightson, just right of the pole, Hopkins to the right of Wrightson. We began our descent.
Occasionally we passed other roads and I thought it would make a neat network for our gravel bikes, which are welcome by the McGee family. We finished with 8.5 miles and 1550' of climbing.
I finally succumbed to the many emails sent out by reps of the TBC, soliciting volunteers. It's good to give back to the cycling community and since this was the first time in 2 years the event was to be conducted, I wanted to do my part. So, up at 4:30am, drive an hour to Sahuarita, arriving at 6am. Cold and dark as I learn my duties.
I kind of got a plum assignment, standing at the first barricade and checking credentials of all drivers attempting to go beyond me, as all 500+ cyclists walked/rode back and forth to to the start line. Unfortunately, someone wasn't thinking when they placed the Porta-Johns directly across from me.
Team cars were allowed through as the event hosted not just amateurs but many pros.
I heard every excuse in the book for why dozens of vehicles ought to get through who were not qualified so I turned them around. I want to assure you that I did not allow this awesome authority to turn me into one of "those people". I remained cheery.
Between the vehicles, cyclists, spectators, things got a little chaotic at times but by 11:00am, my job was done so I turned in my orange vest, clip board and headed to....
....a birthday party for our hiking friend, Lorna. Amy did a great job of preparing and we all had a good time.
Whew, the high Thursday was 86. While I was taking a break on a 41 mile ride, I made sure to sit in the shade, behind a column at a gas station. I usually sit on the concrete and for a few minutes, it's not so bad. On the very windy Friday.....
...I did a short hike via the Linda Vista Trail and almost walked on this guy. Note how well it blends in with its surroundings.
I got close and kind of motioned toward it so it opened its mouth and hissed. I soon left it alone. I've seen lots of pics posted on hiking groups of rattlesnakes so am back to being cautious.