The winds arrived for the weekend, 20-25mph sustained with stronger gusts. I vividly remember spring winds in Ohio when I forced myself to go out on 50 degree days with strong winds but something about 80 degrees and strong winds, it isn't so bad. I wondered how Nick and the boys would do south around the Green Valley area during their road race in these winds. Anyway, I showed up for a group ride out of Catalina, headed to Oracle and then the screaming plunge down to San Manual, all directly into those winds. Seventeen showed up, mostly they were kind of paunchy looking (like me). We shoved off and on the first ramp on the 15 mile climb out of the valley, I gapped the group and soloed away to San Manual, finishing with 52 miles and 2700' of climbing. The wind aided way back was a lot of fun. Sunday I drove to Saguaro Park East and hiked the Tanque Verde trail. Above, I climb away from the road and parking lot.
Yellow, purple, red wildflowers are plentiful as I looked northwest. My legs were tired from yesterday and probably it would have been best to do a flatish hike but instead, this trail goes up to one ridge after another after another on the way to Juniper Basin, some 5 miles distant.
It was windy and one in awhile I gust would hit that brought me to a standstill. I began meeting people coming back down and all warned me of gusts ahead that were so strong it could knock you over.
Rincon Peak in the distance, framed by Ocotillo, which have red flowers on the tips. A hiking buddy of mine, Vagabond Jeff, is leading a group up that peak this weekend. So, so hard is that hike and memories too fresh from doing it last December but I'm starting to think about doing it just to give my support. Got to think about that some more.
I met one guy who told me he reached a meadow area where the ascent moderates but opens to the south and the winds just blasted him. He had to turn back. I reached the area at mile 3.5 and the winds were light but I knew it was a matter of lucky timing. I climbed some more and reached another ridge where the trail went down into a drainage area before ascending two more ridges to the final. I decided to turn around, eventually finishing with 8 miles. Lots more to come.
Looking back at the exposed meadow, the winds picked up again and I was glad to have gotten off there in time.
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