Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sabino Canyon Hike

Got a call from Mark just as they were leaving Gilbert Ray to go hiking in Sabino Canyon. Great. That would give me 45 minutes to get ready and then the 15 minute drive to Sabino.

Brushed the teeth. Put on hiking attire. Laced up the hiking shoes. Loaded the pack with water and a snack and headed to Sabino. I arrived at the park just a few minutes before they did. Mark and Bobbie were joined by Susan and Maikel (also parked at Gilbert Ray). Known Mark and Bobbie for many years (Mark's blog. Bobbie's blog). Over the years I have tracked the travels of Susan and Maikel -- when they aren't working. They are not recording their current travels.

Chose Hutch's Pools as the destination. Taking the tram to the trailhead, we headed up the switch backs and noted the first poppies we had seen this spring.

Looking back, there are views of saguaros clinging to the slopes in all directions.

This was the first water crossing. Stepping rock to rock the others posed for a photo before I crossed. Geez. They didn't even wait for me. What if I had fallen in. :-)

The leader of the hike changed from time to time and the sweeper (also know as mountain lion bait) changed from time to time.

On part of the trail, Maikel and I were hiking together and talking about our common Boulder (Colorado) experiences. Turns out more common than we had thought. We both had worked at StorageTek (no longer exists). Maikel was in manufacturing. I was on the dark side with marketing and sales.

The working of the brain is a marvel. Although looking ahead of me and focused on the center of the field of vision, the brain (probably the animal part) that is on the lookout for anything unusual in the peripheral vision. That is when I noticed what certainly was an unusual leaf shape. Didn't take but a second to realize it was the underside of a turtle. I didn't take a photo at the time I found out. (The photos taken later.) I found the carapace between two rocks. More than likely it became upended and died trying to right itself. The carapace was not completely empty, but nature had done a good job at recycling most of the body.

Then we came to the second water crossing. The inner ear balance/focus problem kept me from even attempting the crossing of that log. I was already having problems on the trail staggering from time to time. (And it wasn't Crown Royal. Too early in the day.)

After Maikel, Mark and Bobbie (behind Mark), Susan was the last to cross and mid-log she demonstrated the movements of the hula. Didn't know she could do that. Not into hula dancing, but I would have a hard time doing it on flat land -- let alone on a log.

As they headed up to Hutch's Pools, I sat down to eat my snack lunch of an apple and Lloyd's gorp**. Soon I was wandering along the water barrier that kept me from joining the others. Was wondering if there was a spot in the water that might have been shoe top height. Took a while, but with some rocks and a few steps in the water I could have made it. The hiking shoes aren't water proof and wearing the usual wool socks, it could certainly have been done and I could have continued hiking. I've done it before.

That was about the time the only hiker on the trail came across the log. He stopped to rest and he and I chatted for a few minutes before he headed down the trail. Back to the trail head, the five of us passed him as he was resting at a high point enjoying the view.

Soon after the hiker left, the rest of the group was returning from the pools and were preparing to cross the log.

I didn't allow them to rest too long as I started to hike down the trail. Didn't tell you that this is one fit group. Jeesh. And I am the oldest of the group by almost a decade.

Walking the trail, the peripheral vision of Maikel or Susan spotted the grinding/pounding stone just off the path which attests to the one time long ago residents of the canyon. Two metate depressions are to the left some what obscured by the branches of a bush. The pounding holes are to the right. Susan is demonstrating the technique. Might work a whole lot better with two hands. :-)

This is one of those trails with several changes in elevation. At times it seemed like it was uphill in both directions. At one point, the tram is visible below in the turnaround. From there it is all down hill. No more up hills. Finally.

After that 7.7 mile hike, Maikel wasn't wore out from the hike so he ran back to the visitor's center. We arrived only a minute or two before he did. Oh. To be young again. Although I was never a runner, long hikes were easier when this body was younger. Those were the days I could also do 14 mile hikes without a problem. (Paragraph edited next day to correct the impression it was a 14 mile hike.)

Good hike. Great scenery. Fantastic fellow hikers. It was an outstanding day.

**Lloyd's gorp.... Contents changes from time to time. That day the gorp had unsweetened cranberries, unsweetened dried cherries, pistachios, macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bridal Wreath Hike

There were several choices for Tucson exploring on Saturday. Considering the recent snowfall, a hike to Bridal Wreath Falls became the destination. The hope was to see more water than the usual dribble that is called a water falls.

A Saturday morning ritual is listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me via satellite radio. At ten I headed out. A late start gave the sun a chance to warm up things a bit. Temps were still cool in the low fifties.

The Speedway trail head is a busy stop on weekends with hikers and the horse trailers resulting in a quarter mile hike just to the trail head. Much of the Douglas Springs Trail is moderately flat with some work out sections with lots of stepping to gain over 1000 feet in elevation to get to the falls.

Long before I was at the falls, I realized the camera was sitting in the truck. Fortunately, I had the iPhone for this very poor photo to show the amount of water.

In  previous visits there was a single stream of water coming over that top resembling the water from a large garden hose. With the amount of water on this visit, there was a pool of water with enough water to create a small stream. In previous visits it was dry land all the way to the falls.

A great web site for hikes in Arizona describes the Bridal Wreath hike as 5.6 miles round trip. However, my GPS has always recorded closer to seven miles for the hike. I'll go with my GPS reading. Perhaps all those off trail meanders add up.

It was a cool day. Required me to wear two of the three layers for the entire hike.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snowy Day In Tucson

If your reading list includes snow birds or others currently traveling in Arizona, you already know that it was a snowy day in Tucson.

Yesterday, the temps were in the upper 60s as I hiked in Saguaro East NP. Today as the snow was falling, the temperature was 35 degrees outside. Spent most of the day inside where I am paying to stay warm.

When I crawled out of bed this morning, it was 50 degrees -- outside. It was another of those cold days in Tucson. Been way too many of those. With the frequent wear of long pants, it was time to put that pair in the "to be laundered pile" and get out the other pair.

Not to worry. Still wearing a Hawaiian shirt under another warming layer.

This winter has been colder than usual. In past years there was the occasional 70 degree day. There haven't been many these past months. More 50s and 60s are predicted for the next ten days. Just a prediction. That could change.

50s and 60s is good hiking weather. Snow is not good hiking -- unless I am on snowshoes. The snow shoes are in the basement of Wandrin Wagon. However, that is where they will stay. No plans to go snow shoeing.

Keeping balance requires bad and good. If every day was perfect weather, there would be no balance. Wouldn't recognize the good. SOOOO. It was a great day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mini Book Review: The Long Emergency

The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler

The full title The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

Cheap fossil fuels has made the USA the country it is. However, the days of inexpensive and unlimited fossil fuels are already showing that the well (pun intended) is running dry. Scraping the barrel (another pun) to get the last fossil fuel out of the ground with fracking is an example of getting that fuel.

However, no natural resource will be available forever. There are limits. Peak oil occurred in the US about 1970. Depending on the source of information, the world is at peak oil now -- plus or minus ten years.

It really doesn't matter when fossil fuels run out. They will. That is what Kuntsler relates in his book. Time to prepare for the downhill run (The Long Emergency) as fossil fuels become less available and more expensive. In order to create alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal, nuclear, etc, fuels are needed in the manufacturing process. Time to build those systems while fuel is still available.

However, nothing powers the auto like refined fuels. When fossil fuels are gone, we might have to resort to horses for transportation. Or even walking. Wow.

A readable book and worth the time whether you want to believe in peak oil -- or not.

James Howard Kunstler writes weekly at ClusterFuck Nation

Other sites recommending preparedness in a changing world:

Check US Energy Information Administration for:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Looking Good on Pink

Not caring about color police, the orange ladybug looks good on pink.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dancing On The Green

Keep on doing those "childish" things.




Dance on the green.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vintage Ford

After a lunch with Linda and Earl, it was a stop at Ford to find out what birds were making all that noise in the diesel engine. It was a good day to be inside waiting for the latest maintenance to keep (my vintage 2000 Ford F-350 diesel) Silver Slug on the road for a few more miles.

Waiting in the cavernous lobby and showroom and using the free Wi-Fi at Jim Click, there was the chance to ogle over the four Mustangs on the show room floor. Really didn't want one. Did notice that two of those had list prices higher than a diesel truck that would pull my trailer. Certainly must be something special in those Mustangs. Or it might just be a luxury tax for a car that looks nice, sucks a lot of fuel, and is unable to go faster than any other vehicle on the roads of rush hour. Cars can only go so fast on a parking lot.

Also on the floor were a couple of vintage vehicles including a 1941 Ford Pickup. Lots of chrome on that pickup.

Knowing that many of my readers might be called "vintage", no doubt many can also explain the reason for the slot in the center of the grill (red arrow) just above the bumper.

The fix for Silver Slug. It wasn't birds. The parts were a serpentine belt and the belt tensioner. After paying bail for Silver Slug, I headed home. That $500 wasn't bad. There were more expensive days in the summer of 2012. Still hoping for another 100,000 miles on vintage Silver Slug.

Okay. Hoping is one thing. Reality is another. Still a great day -- even though it was cold and rainy in Tucson.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A New Neighborhood

The good part about a home on wheels is that you can move when you don't like the neighborhood, the rent is due or the grass is too long.

None of those were factors in my move -- except for the rent part. For me, three months is a long time in one place. Sometimes you just have to move on. Yesterday was that day. 25 miles from Justins Diamond RV on the west across Tucson to the east to Far Horizons RV Resort. This is a resort with many organized activities -- including a hiking club. There is a pool and spa to help relieve the aches of the hike. The laundromat is large -- and the washers use hot water. Laundry was my first "activity" when I arrived at the park.

Good and bad to everything. Life is about balance. Without bad, there would be no good. There are no mountain views from in the park. Spaces are small compared to Justins where the spaces were unusually large.

The good is that shopping is a half mile away. First destination this morning was the Frys grocery. Overhead it was blue skies accented with some clouds. Snow was visible on the Catalinas and the Rincons. Weather changed. Cooled down from yesterday's high of 68. Early afternoon today, the temperatures are struggling to get into the fifties. Yup. It is another long pants day.

Far Horizons is another long term stay. In three months it will be May and time to move north. Looking forward to see the saguaro in bloom before leaving Tucson.

New neighborhood with nearby shopping. Starbucks is a short drive. Close to hiking in Sabino Canyon and Saguaro East. Life is great.

Why was the first stop at Frys... Silver Slug needed a refill of diesel fuel. A more important reason was that Frys had Crown Royal at 50% off. Hard to pass on that.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Just Sharing

After reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers about the 10,000 hour rule, I've quoted that rule in several conversations since that read. For me, I wasn't willing to put in the practice to become a good trumpet player. Hated practice. Fortunately, for everyone around me I quit the instrument after two years.

Today's Scott Adams' Dilbert was a great summary of my lack of 10,000 hours on the trumpet.

Feel good video... from Youtube that will warm your cold heart about a boy, his dog and a puddle. With over five million views, it certainly is in the viral category. Sorry to continue the virus. Couldn't help myself.

On eating healthy... Over the past several years I have written on this blog about statins and cholesterol in my diet. No statins. I also eat all the cholesterol laden foods that we have been told we should not eat.

I'm about half way through the book The Great Cholesterol Myth by Bowden and Sinatra. It corroborates all the material that I have found over these past years when I declined to take the statins per the doctor's recommendation to address my high cholesterol numbers.

There are biases in every book and no doubt this book also has some. Regardless, my personal experience (nothing more than anecdotal evidence) was that the bad cholesterol was reduced by 50 points by eliminating grains from my diet. Feel better. Sleep better. Also became fat adapted with rare hunger pangs.

Life is good. Excuse me. Life is Great!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hood Ornament

Once upon a time cars had hood ornaments. Started out as a decoration/handle for the radiator cap. When the radiator was under the hood, the ornaments continued on the front of the hood. With each model year, the manufacturers modified or stream lined the hood ornament and sometimes it was nothing more than the auto logo.

Eventually the hood ornaments or hood decoration disappeared from most cars and trucks.

What was the auto brand that wore this hood ornament. Small clue: the brand no longer exists.