We are hiding out in AZ.. escaping the wet winter weather from the coast of BC. Here’s a few photo’s from the winter. I find that I’ve been drawn to create more black and white desaturated photo’s on this trip. Is it because I miss the blue and greens of home? Is it because there’s so many shades of brown down here? Whatever the reason.. here they are!
Disclaimer: I have an eye infection.
Result: I am trying to be super vigilant about having clean hands.
After a few beers and wine at Happy Hour, followed by more wine around the fire pit at the trailer… we head inside. I wash my hands in smoking hot water, shut the hot water off and proceed to make a snack for dinner. It’s now 9:30 PM.
Make a snack (which results in a blow up in the microwave).
Clean microwave. Eat snack.
Decide it’s time for bed. Get off the couch and discover wet rugs, pooling COLD water EVERYWHERE!!
What the hell? Confusion reigns!
ahhhh, the bathroom sink still has the plug in it and although I shut the HOT water off awhile ago, “drunk me” left the cold water tap ON…
Result: bath towels used for clean up are now soaking wet, bath mat is soaking wet, and carpet runner is soaking wet. All are outside and should be dry by mid day tomorrow. And Drunk Me is telling her tale so all may snort, laugh and have a good chuckle to end/start a new day!
We are spending the winter in Arizona at a RV Resort. Lots of activities to keep you busy. You wanna play crib? Cross crib? 2500? Bridge? Majohng? Poker? well do you?
I’m not much of a card player so to insert myself into the group here and get to know some of the fine people that surround me I decide to join some of the more physical activities that are offered here.
I’ve played badminton in my younger years, I can hit a ball with a paddle, I’m pretty sure of that.. Off I go and sure enough I can hold my own out there with the others. What else can I join?
I’ve played some billiards in my younger years, I can hit a ball with a cue, I’m pretty sure of that… Off I go and sure enough I can hold my own in there with the others. What else can I join?
I can walk a mile or two or three, I’m pretty sure of that. It’s the desert, it might be kind of warm out, but we are leaving early. I’ll wear shorts and bring a couple bottles of water. I’ll be fine… Off I go…
Me and 12 of my new friends meet at the clubhouse at 8AM. They look innocent enough, they have white hair, grey hair, dark hair and are a cross section of your typical winter snowbirds. Tall, short, medium, stout, skinny, wood walking sticks, titanium walking sticks, fanny packs, bright orange hiking shirts, durable footwear, smiles everywhere. Looks harmless… right?
My assumption is that we are going to all go to the site of our hike and then break into our “easy” and “arduous” hiking groups and all will be good. One group jumps into a van and off they go. The rest of us separate in to 3 trucks and away we go. We drive in the direction of The Wild Burro Trailhead in Marano, Arizona. When we arrive the 3 trucks park and we disembark.
‘Where are the people in the van?’ I ask..
I am told: “They went on the “easy” hike on Casa Grande Mountain. But don’t worry you’ll be fine!”
We begin our walk along a flat trail. It’s beautiful. My new friends point out different flora, fauna and cute little sing song birds that we can hear and see all around us. We walk for 15 minutes and stop at the kiosk. The kiosk is where you sign in to the trail system ( I found out later it’s so they know how many bodies they may need to retrieve if you fail to survive the Wild Burro Trail…).
We casually continue our walk along the wash towards the Tortolita Mountains and pass the lovely Ritz Carlton Hotel and Dove Mountain which you can see up the rise and off to our left after walking about a mile. I’m having a great time, I’m seeing chain fruit chollas, saguaros, ocotillos, ironwoods, agaves and jojobas. This is fantastic!
We have now reached the end of the wash and my new friends have stopped for a break, we drink some water, discuss the hawks, bunnies and birds that we’ve seen so far. Then our fearless leader points to the purple sign post that says “Wild Burro Trail” and the climb begins.. Are we really going UP THAT MOUNTAIN? … well yes we are.. OMG and before I know it, the 7 brightly colored orange shirts are off and climbing with ease.. It doesn’t take long before me and one other skinny guy wearing jeans are bringing up the rear. My new friends are being pretty polite, they holler down the trail to ask if I’m ok… I weakly wave and give a thumbs up that yes, I’m OK.. (can’t they hear me and Mr. Jeans gasping for breath from where they are?).. This torture continues for at least an hour as we climb, stop and gather our breath, climb, stop, climb, stop, stop.. We finally arrive at our intended lunch break spot at the basin of the Wild Burro Trail. We have a beautiful view of Marana and the valley. There’s an old ranch site, stone walls and round depressions in the rocks called morteros. They are thousands of years old and it is hard to imagine how many years of grinding it took to wear an 18 inch deep hole in a granite rock. Were they grinding acorns? nuts? beans? Maybe all of those things? Archaeologists aren’t really sure.
After catching our breath, battling the little gnats and flies while eating our lunch, we begin our return trip. I’m relieved when I find out that we are taking an easier route back to the truck. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you I’m thinking.. then away they go. We begin to climb a little more (I’m officially horrified to learn that we have to climb around this little mountain before we begin our descent). The view was incredible, there was a nice cool breeze, and we saw a batch of colorful flowers along the trail.
The name of the return trail is called… wait for it.. The Alamo Loop.. (you know what happened to the guys at the Alamo right?). But there’s not much I can do now, here we go.. down, down down, switchbacks, rocks, ledges, head down watching every step, don’t trip, don’t fall, don’t grab a cactus for support (Mr. Jeans learned that on the way up when I stopped suddenly and he had no choice but to grasp at the nearest thing to support himself).. poor guy, I felt bad for him.
We safely negotiate our exit, arrive back at the wash and trudge our way back to the safety of our vehicles. All in all our hike lasted 5 HOURS and our distance travelled was 7 MILES. I had survivor’s euphoria when it was completed.
All in all, I enjoyed my hike, it was longer than I thought it was going to be, it was more exercise than I thought it was going to be, but my new friends were very supportive, made sure I had water, didn’t leave me behind and didn’t manage to kill me or Mr. Jeans. I will definitely join them on another day!
We’ve been in the desert now since Christmas. We’ve been in Mesa where we visited my Uncle Al and Aunt Jean. We travelled on freeways and other state roads and seen roadrunners, coyotes, and a bobcat. Different types of cactus appear as you go up in elevation and disappear and change as you descend.
There are mountains here, more than you would expect. They have cool names: The Superstition Mountains (Mesa), Picacho Mountain (Casa Grande), Black Mountains (Oatman) and the Chocolate Mountains (Parker). There are 194 mountain ranges in the state. There are lakes created by dams along the Colorado and Salt Rivers. We’ve seen boats in marina’s along the lakes and rivers and we know there are places to fish in the summer here.
We haven’t done a huge number of tourist attractions (and there are many here). I guess we are kind of “touristed out” after all our travelling. We have been to Oatman and seen the burro’s, taken the Dolly boat ride on Canyon Lake, driven to Tortilla Flats and saw the fountain shoot over 500feet in Fountain Hills, and visited The Pima Air & Space Museum all while in Arizona. There is lots to do here and it sure is nice to be warm and dry. I miss the green and blues of Campbell River, but I don’t miss the grey winter rain. We will be home on Vancouver Island in 30 days. Hard to believe our circle is almost complete!
After 3 days of driving thru rain / wind / snow and some sun we arrived in Bullhead City to ‘the house’. We managed to find the gate, entered thru and drove up the driveway to the house. We grab the key, review the alarm instructions, nod our heads in agreement, yes we know what we have to do! – we enter, dash for the alarm panel, make a wrong turn at Alberquerkie (while the alarm alert goes beep beep), key in the code (while the alarm alert goes beep beep), and still – beep beep while we look for the OFF button (it is located in very small writing on the top left ocrner of the alarm panel) – beep beep – We push “OFF” – beep beep – and then, that’s better – silence. Our elation turns to alarm when we notice that the ALARMED button is still RED and still ON — our suspicions are confirmed quickly when the whole house starts resonating “WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP”, Immediately the phone rings, hello ALARM COMPANY, no we don’t know the password, we give them our names and hang up.
Within 6 minutes, or less, a very nice policeman strolls up to the opened front door and gazes in at these two road weary Canadians who have packed half their house across the USA and have now unloaded everything into this house. Cooler, computers, camera, tripod, 9 pairs of shoes, blankets, pillows, golf clubs, fishing gear, kitchen knives, spices, food stuff, suitcases, beer, scotch, juice, groceries that we just picked up at the store — all of it scattered everywhere as we just got here and are getting organized for our stay.
Oh, HI we say. yeah, sorry, it was us who set off the alarm, sorry, we didn’t know what we were doing. he says
‘what are you doing here?’
‘who are you?’,
‘do you have rental papers?’
‘do you have ANYTHING that says you are supposed to be here?’
Randy looks at me, I look at him, I calmly drag out my Super Duper IPhone that DOES everything, and has everything on it, NOPE, can’t find anything at that instant.
In the face of all adversity, I maintain a calm demeanour, so does Randy,
the nice friendly policeman finally determines that we are probably not Canadian House Squatters, but is still searching for evidence…
Do you have a?
a house key?
YES! YES WE DO!
here’s our key! and after he made sure it fit the lock, and it turned the deadbolt, he was on his way! It is so nice to be here, finally, and know that we get to spend our time in the “sunny river house”.