Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mesa, AZ - Trail Creep

Ever heard of Mission Creep? I’m sure you have. You know, when you start out by saying that you’re going to go out for dinner and then add going out for an ice cream afterwards. You start with one thing and then add another and another until the day is full. Well, today we found ourselves with a bit of ‘Trail Creep.’ Actually it was a deliberate plan: one of the trails we wanted to hike was fairly short so we knew we would have some day left at the end of it and added another trail, which was on the way to the first one. Actually we had planned this the night before. And, even after we slept on it, we still decided it was the plan we wanted.

First was a stop for donuts at the local Fry’s. Our favorite donut shop is in the opposite direction (we’ve got to do more trails this direction) so our fall-back plan was Fry’s. I got my usual old-fashioned while Big Gar got his favorite long john and an old fashioned, too. Coffee, donuts and we were off. What a beautiful day: the temperature was in the low 60’s but we knew it was going to get warmer later. The sun was out - what more could we want? Our first choice was which trail to take first: my modus operandi is to do the most difficult thing first so it’s all easy from then on; Climb to the top of the slide and its all downhill from then on. Hmmm. What kind of masochist am I? Poor Gary, And, there we were at the trailhead of the longest trail. Now - which way? One way goes almost straight up the hill while the other is a gradual but inexorable uphill. Hmmm. Remember that rule: go to the top of the slide and the rest is all downhill. Yep - we took the side that goes straight up to the pass and then cruised on down the rest of the way back to the trailhead.

Now, I’ll have to admit that the last two hikes have not been easy for me. I am not in Arizona mountain hiking trail shape. I’m in great Des Moines bike trail walking shape but that’s not much help here. I’ve gotten to the end of our last two hikes with aching shoulders, a bent back, exhausted legs and a cranky disposition. All reminders that I passed middle-age a while back. However, today was much better, I moved right along, and even at the end of the day, my legs were fine, my shoulders and back were find and my disposition was much happier. Whew. Let’s go hiking.
The first hike was a desert hike surrounded by other mountain ranges. Great views, marvelous trail.
This part of the trail is fairly wide and the slope down not too steep - meaning that if one of us should fall, not much would happen except a little wound to the pride. And who thinks of falling on such a beautiful day? On the other side of the mountain was a much thinner trail with much steeper sides. The trail was about 12" wide and it was sloped towards the steep side of the trail by about 15 degrees. The trail itself was of tiny rocks which, though much better than marbles or ball bearings, were pretty slippery themselves. To compound this there were some sections of the trail that had been eroded and were at a 45 degree angle. You have to step or jump over these sections and my thought was: I hope I don't slip. Whew, made it. Did I get a picture of this part of the trail? Nope, I was concentrating too much on my footing. 
Then there were the bikers hurtling along the trail. How they made it through this section I haven't a clue. I only know that they did since we met them on the other side of the mountain. 
And, a bit of lunch at the end of the trail. Thanks to the Amundsons who put this bench here.
The second hike was next to a reservoir, Saguaro Lake. A desert hike but the water views added another dimension to the hike. The white things in the far reaches of the lake are boats in the marina.
Lots of fishermen, lots of kayakers and several boats out on the water. Here’s a skier. We’ve been here on Saturdays and the lake is packed. All of the boats from the marina above are out on the lake, not moored in a marina.

My brother likes the silly pictures - he likes seeing me in dumb positions. So, here we go - Nancy looking dumb. Here I am standing on the edge of a ‘cliff’ - actually only about 15’ down but filled with cacti. And, if you think this looks dumb, trust me, it looks lots better than the picture of me in the cactus.
Parts of this trail were also quite green and, if it were April, I’m sure that it would be even greener.
On our way back to the RV, we stopped at an overlook so I could take another picture (always room for another picture) and a father and son were there also enjoying the scene. The father was from Ohio and he was snapping pictures of everything he saw. ‘It’s just beautiful’, he said. I then asked the innocent question: ‘How long have you been down here?’ ‘I’ve been down here at the Mayo Clinic since May,’ the son said. Oops.

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