The gift of friendship was our celebration hike on Christmas day. Steve, Maria, Mark, Bill, Linda and me were the hikers. Starting near Tucson Estates we made a loop hike to a high point and back to the trailhead for a five to six mile hike (depending on the GPS you want to believe).
Maria was the first to spot this hawk perched atop a one time telephone pole. As Maria tried to get closer for a better photo, the hawk left its hunting perch to this interloper. (Note: clicking on photos will display larger images.)
Later we saw the hawk perched on a rock outcropping. Once again Maria got closer to get a better photo. Soon the hawk was flying again as Maria screamed as she encountered a cholla in her butt. With comb in hand, Mark removed the cholla and the hike continued.
Taking up the rear with Bill and Mark, I was intrigued by these two guys checking each others trivia memories of old movies. No contributions from Wandrin Lloyd. I just listened. (My answer to all movie questions is Jimmy Stewart. I was right one time.) Next time you need team members for Trivial Pursuit, get these guys.
With a wide variety of desert flora, the crested saguaro was the unusual specimen of many that we saw along our hike.
Arriving at the high point of the hike, the Christmas hike celebratory feast began. Our snacks were accompanied by wine and agave rum. Topping it off for dessert, it was orange flavored dark chocolate.
Posing for the photo were Bill, Mark, Linda, Steve and Maria.
Holding an arm with camera in hand I was able to include my sour puss in another photo.
As we sat there enjoying the views in all directions the sky clouded up and soon I was chilling down. I needed to move to warm up this body. Having been on this downhill trip before, I knew about the treacherous footing ahead on the crumbling rock. With the inner ear problems and balance issues, it was best that I moved ahead of the pack.
On the trail below the peak, I captured the group finishing off the bottle of wine.
The slopes are covered with saguaro. Noting that most of the terrain is rock, it is a credit to these saguaro and other desert plants that they have evolved to survive here.
Soon the rest of the group was coming down the trail. Captured Steve, Mark and Maria in a garden of saguaro.
Just a few minutes later, Bill and Linda moved into camera view.
Last evening we sat around a camp fire at Maria and Mark's. We chatted and shared stories until it was too cold for me to sit there any longer. It was only 49 degrees. But the four layers and long pants was just not enough.
Oh. Guess I didn't mention. It was a great day.