Planted as seedlings about 35 years ago, my oak trees are thriving. I pose with one for a size perspective.
Over the 35 years, this creek has shifted about 12" toward the trees. Eventually a tree will be undermined so I'm going to have to get in there and alter the course of the creek while shoring up the left bank.
It's a jungle in there except for this one row and a few paths. During each visit, I select a section and clear it of the brush but it is a slow process.
The Buxton Inn, the oldest continuous running inn in the state. It was on the balcony, 5 years ago that I, children and a grandchild posed for a pic. We were going to recreate that image on Tuesday evening but the place caught fire that morning!!! What are the odds????
I drive to Zanesville to visit my 102 year old mom, passing the famous Longaberger basket which used to be the corporate headquarters. Now, it sits, empty as no entity wants to make it a home.
Always a very welcome sight, the 400 red oak trees I planted as seedlings, 35 years ago. Walking among these trees, I have something analogous to parental pride, to see how tall they have become and healthy they remain.
Part of my visit is to continue to cut the ash trees that have died from the Emerald Ash Borer. When I see one, I hack a path to it, try to make it fall on the path (rarely), cut the tree into fireplace length pieces and.....
.....push the pieces to a stack where family members can access for burning in their fireplaces.
Wow, a pleasant surprise! A tree fell at some point since my visit in May so th makes things much easier. The weather on this visit is as good as it was bad in May. First three days, temps in the mid 70's and sunny. Rain tonight and much cooler temperatures beginning tomorrow but that's ok for the work I am doing.
Not Quite Halloween
I took Jack the Dog for a morning walk. He is so much more energetic on the outbound route than the inbound route. On the return, I felt a tug on the leash and there he sat, refusing to go farther. It took a lot of tugging to convince him to continue.
I rode the previous day and than Amy and I got out for about a 25 mile route that included checking out the new pavement on Kolb Road and then doing a loop above Ventana Canyon Resort.
I arrived at the top of a pretty good climb a few seconds before Amy and snapped this pic as she was going by. On our way back....
....passed this SUV. It's interesting to me how the locals put far more effort into Halloween decorations than they do Christmas. I suppose the climate has an influence. The times I froze stapling lights to the front of a house in December yet here, no weather barrier exists. I put off visiting Ohio so we could attend....
....friend Dawn and Tim's Halloween party on Friday evening. Amy, above on the left, Dawn on the right.
Dawn put in a heck of a decorating effort and we had a good time. Of course....
....had to pose for the couples pic. Why do I still look paunchy???? Pull in that stomach Mark!!!! My costume was that of a mortician, caring for one of his customers. We kinda ate and drank too much and then the following morning, Amy drove me to the airport and I arrived in Ohio for a briefer visit than normal. More to come.
We're having great fun with the car camping experience. We stayed lower on the slope of Mount Lemmon, at mile 11 at the General Hitchcock camp ground. Admittedly, Amy does the lion's share of the work
I brought 6 bundles of wood, the packages you see when you enter gas stations or stores in southern AZ. But I also scour the surrounding area to find kindling and once again, also got lucky finding stumps at which I could hack to gain additional fire fuel.
Our campsite was next to a dry creak bed and across from it, a rocky slope that Amy climbed.
The fire is the focal point of the experience. I found a very long limb and placed it over the fire. Eventually it burned in two and became a nice, continuous source of fuel.
Oh if Jack could talk....
The temp was around 60 when we arrived. Starting the fire is one thing, keeping it going while building a nice base of embers is another but soon....
....we were able to heat our dinner. It's such a pleasant experience to sit by the fire, it crackling, throwing off heat, we're talking while Jack simply stays warm in his own chair.
Ohhhh, the morning. I'm first out to restart the fire. Soon after, Amy emerges from the tent and prepares hot tea and breakfast. Today, scrambled eggs, bacon and ham.
The surrounding area is interesting with all the boulders and not a good idea to walk in the dark at this campsite.
I did some exploring, crossing the creek bed next to our site. I was surprised, with all the recent mountain rain, the water was not flowing here. This site, and all others above us, close 11/1 for the winter but a couple others open on that date, below us so we'll be back to do it again.
Wasson Peak Hike
We attended an event at Dove Mountain with some friends, listening to a flutist who was playing from a nearby hill. Above, a guy gave a brief history of what motivated the event.
After a month of riding, I had neglected hiking but the month is over and back to the trails. I'll still ride frequently since I don't want to give up the cycling fitness but I'll work in a hike at least once a week. I thought Wasson Peak would be a good reintroduction so I arrive, Monday morning.
Rather than start from the popular King's Canyon trail head (I think that trail is exceedingly rough with lots of loose rocks) I start from the Sendaro Esperanza trail off Golden Gate Road. That trail is smooth dirt and a more enjoyable hike. Eventually it intersects with the Hugh Norris trail, another alternative to King's Canyon.
The route gives good views of Panther and Sombrero Peaks. I reach a ridge and....
....am greeted with great views to the south.
A beautiful morning for a hike with temps in the low 60s to start.
I reach Wasson Peak in a bit over an hour. There were 4 other people there but they soon left and I had the peak to myself. But, I could not linger because in a few hours, Amy and I were headed for our second car camping adventure so I too left soon.
The trail leads me back and soon I had finished with 8 miles and 1700' of climbing. A good return to hiking.
Jack and I went through a Macdonald's drive through so we could each acquire an Egg Mcmuffin. Upon returning home, there were 12 javelinas which, because of poor eyesight, mistake dogs for coyotes, a natural enemy. I did what I could to hustle them away and then ran Jack inside.
Safely upstairs, Jack watched them make their way back to a wild area.
A storm came through overnight so we enjoyed the dramatic scenes post storm.
Wasson Peak in the distance with a layer of clouds well below the peak. I hiked to the top a couple of days later.
The Drive for 500
The setting sun creates awesome views of the western side of the Catalinas. Every minute produces a slight change of color as I sit, waiting for a turn to play pickle ball. It was only recently I discovered that an evening group gathers at these courts. I kind of enjoy the evening group more so than the morning group. The evening gang is younger on average, have a wider variety of interests other than playing pickle ball every day...I don't know, I just prefer the atmosphere a little more.
Friday morning, Amy, her sister Tracy and I got in a 60 mile ride that included the long climb up Helmet Peak Road where....
....the road deadness at Mission Road with a view of Helmet Peak. From this vantage point it doesn't look like a helmet but from other points, it does. Note that Helmet Peak Road is newly paved so really enjoyed that.
Our route included passing the Pima Air & Space Museum. With this mornings ride, I'm 21 miles short of 500 for a month and will pick those up on Saturday. I'll still ride frequently but will work in more hikes, beginning on Monday I think.
Post ride, I took Jack with me while Amy was spending the night, dog sitting, at Tracy's house. Meantime, Tracy would be spending the night on top of Mount Lemmon, doing search and rescue training (SARA).
Did a recovery ride this morning on the east side which included a ride through a neighborhood which includes a golf course, the 49er Club. Kind of a goat track of a course but the dozens of homes that surround it really get into the Halloween spirt. More displays added since I went through last week. I liked the above with the freshly dug or uncovered graves and then of course....
....skeletons driving a tractor or being driven was creative too. I talked to a home owner who describes the scene when the kids arrive as chaos. Thousands descend on this neighborhood and the displays will grow until then.
Amy took this image of me, yesterday evening. It almost appears I know what I am doing. If my winning percentage was that of a baseball team, the manager would have been fired a long time ago. Most of these people play almost everyday and so usually, on which ever team I am playing, I get drilled but it's still fun. Well, I'm in week 4 of the plan for a 500 mile cycling month and I am comfortably on track. Rode 38 this morning, riding with Amy tomorrow morning, doing 50 on Friday and was invited to join a new group called "Shift Happens" and may ride with them on Saturday so that will put me well over 500. Then, back to a combination of hiking/cycling since the weather now is perfect for both. More to come, honest.
Amy had meticulously planned our entire adventure. Since I was designated the "hunter/gatherer" my work would come, ha, ha. We were about 5 miles up the mountain when she realizes while she had planned out the meals, we had actually forgotten to bring them. So, back down to retrieve, which wasn't a problem since home is close.
Amy sets up the tent. The temperature was around 60 with some wind. I quickly.....
....got a fire going. Too bad we had to use the large kettle in which to make the fire as that blocked some of the heat.
Our site even had a container for storage with warnings about bear activity. We had bear spray just in case. We had brought 6 packages of wood but it became apparent that may not be enough so....
....I went out to gather more. I brought a maul and began hacking at the side of stumps, cleaving off some nice pieces. Those pieces burned especially hot.
Night falls. We warmed chili and ate in the tent, drinking champagne (only a very small portion) to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. So far, our first camping experience had been very enjoyable. Next time, a sleeping bag on top of an inflated pad, won't be repeated. It was too hard. I've had this arrangement a few times in the Grand Canyon and it didn't bother me but I was probably so exhausted, it didn't matter. The next morning....
....yikes was it cold!! OK, 50 degrees but it seemed freezing. We had slept as long as we were going to sleep under the circumstances so up before the sun rose. Amy made tea and oatmeal while I got the fire going again. Jack the Dog had come too and if I had to guess, he too thought it too cold.
Amy invited him to lay in a chair, covered him with a sweatshirt and he stayed there, until we packed and headed down to the warmth of the valley. We'll do this again soon but at a lower elevation (the camp sites up here close in two weeks) for some added warmth and with alternative sleeping arrangements.
Officially, monsoon season ended with the entry of October but it continues to rain, which is a good thing. I intended to get out for a good ride but was thwarted by a long line of showers so ended up with only 30 miles. Then....
....Amy and I drove way up Mount Lemmon to check out some camp sites. We became interested in overnight camping and bought the requisite gear. We're both really looking forward to it. The daytime high up there will be around 60, the overnight low in the 40's so we're taking a lot of wood! On the drive down, we viewed an incredible sunset.
We paused at Windy Point Vista to take the above image. Note the group of people a little farther out and with a slightly better vantage point. Incredible view!
I've kept this blog going for well over 10 years. In that time, it's 97.25% about the hikes and rides. I think that's why anyone wants to visit and you number in the millions...ok, a slight exaggeration, lol. I think I have made certain statements in the last 6 weeks that would cause one to wonder if my personal life was ok so in the interest of full disclosure, Amy and I separated for reasons that only I and any other idiot would understand. I was so, so freaking stupid which is not easy for me to admit cause I'm generally kind of somewhat intelligent. The six weeks was a well deserved kick in the side of the head which really shook me to my core. Anyway, we are again, a very happy couple.
And the drive continued with a neat look at Thimble Peak and its surroundings.
Next morning, we did a 30 mile ride which included a visit to the 49er neighborhood. The people who live here create the most amazing and comprehensive displays I've ever seen. They've just begun.