Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hiking on South Mountain's Holbert Trail

This week's hike was at South Mountain park, right in my backyard! This was one of the few that I hadn't done yet and it was nice! A bit of a challenge with some nice Petroglyphs along the way.

The turtle and snake petroglyphs

The start of the trail

Desert Landscaping

My house is down there somewhere!

The Phoenix skyline from up here
So you can totally see the smog really bad from up here. Kinda gross! There were a few people on this trail but not a ton.

The trail from the side of the mountain

What a great desert shot

Nice view of the city

The trail

A window to the world

A view from the tip top
The main trail had an off-shoot that went up to Dobbins Lookout. This is the view from up there. It was another 700 feet of elevation gain or so, but so worth it! I hiked up to a point that most people drive up to!!

Another view from the top.
If you can see the little water tower in the middle of the picture, that's where I started from, approximately!

Off in the distance, you can see the Superstitions, where I hiked the last few weeks.
OK, so after I got through the up part of the hike, I was feeling really good when I turned around for the down part. Even though up to this point was about 3.3 miles with 1300 feet of elevation gain, I was feeling good! Maybe I got my second wind or something. My knees were hurting just a little bit but my lungs felt good and my legs were good. I had a bit of a bounce in my step as I turned back. I of "those people" that run on the trails! I only ran for the parts where the trail was pretty solid and there wasn't much of a chance that my clumsy feet would trip over themselves, but I'd guess that I ran for maybe about a third of the way down! It was kind of cool having the wind blowing through my hair as I ran along the trail. In fact, it was so fun that now I'm going to see about getting some proper trail running shoes and a backpack that doesn't bounce all over the place when I'm running. A little way to combine something I love to do (hiking) with some interval training! Whooo hoooo! Killing two birds with one stone!
I ended up the hike back and the parking lot having traveled 5.68 miles with 1438 feet of elevation gain in just under 3 hours. Probably the longest hike I've done in awhile with a good amount of elevation gain. I was SWEATING!!! Went home and took a shower before heading out with a friend to do some shopping. Looking for an olympic barbell to add to my collection of fitness equipment. I really don't want to pay too much so I was checking out the used sporting good stores. Found a whole lot of nothing. Guess I'm going to have to keep checking Craig's List.
Ended up the day watching the Suns get beat by the Jazz. I really thought they were going to pull it out in the end, but a stupid mistake cost them the game in regulation and forced it to overtime. The Jazz prevailed in overtime. A very costly loss for us. We've gotta get back on it and start winning again!!
Tomorrow, I have a Dog Scout hike with my pooch. That should be fun! I'll post about it later.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hiking Siphon Draw in the Superstition Mountains

So, last weekend I hiked Siphon Draw. It was a beautiful hike and a gorgeous weekend. The wildflowers were a little bit past their prime, but it was still really pretty.

The Superstitions

The trail up to the mountain

Beautiful greenery

Yes, that is a guy sitting on top of that rock!! How did he get up there???

The path

The waterfall....errr...drip
There were a bunch of wasps hanging out at the water hole. I couldn't get any closer than this to look at it because of them!!

Alvan Adams (NBA Rookie of the Year 1977) and friend hiking down

Beautiful Scenery
I don't know how much longer this weather is going to last, so I really want to take advantage of it as much as possible! I really have to figure out how I'm going to do some hiking when it gets to be over 100 degrees around here. I think I'm going to have to start getting up at 5:00 am or something!!

RIP Curiosity

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since my last post. I had a bit of a bad week two weeks ago. My sick kitty, Curiosity (Curry for short), ended up having a tumor in his abdomen that was pushing on his kidneys and causing them to fail. They said they could make his kidneys feel better by putting him on an IV and flushing him, but that would have only given him a few weeks, max. They also could have operated to remove the tumor, but that was risky given the fact that he already had a heart murmur. He was 15 years old and I had him since he was a pound and a half little ball of fur that fit in the palm of my hand. He was an awesome cat, the first pet that I had as an adult, and my first cat ever. I made the tough decision to have him put to sleep but not before I took him home to spend a last couple of days with him.

The first thing I did when was take him out into the grass in the backyard to bask in the sun. He always loved to lay in the sun and would sneak outside at any opportunity given to him to roll in the grass. So, I thought it fitting! I got some great pictures of him and a little bit of video as well.

Yes, I know....the grass needs to be cut!!

What a handsome boy!

Soaking up the rays

Where's the kitty?

It's surely a tough decision, but I can definitely say that it's easier when you have to make the decision than it is when it is flung upon you. My last kitty died unexpectedly when I took him in for his shots. He had a little kitty panic attack and went into cardiac arrest and died within 2 hours of our appointment time. It was horrible! I never want that to happen again, but I know I don't really have any control over it.

It actually kind of made me start thinking about euthanasia for people and why we don't do that. I know for sure that if I was on my deathbed and couldn't even move at all and there was really nothing that could be done for me save spending thousands of dollars on a treatment that may kill me anyway, I would definitely want to be put to sleep. Why burden my family and friends with the cost of the treatment or the repurcussions of it when it probably won't work anyway? I think it's definitely something that should be able to be done at the patient's request.

Anyway, now that I've thoroughly depressed you, I'm going to post my past weekend's hike on a separate post!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sorry about the formatting in the last post! It won't save properly for some reason!!

My hike for this week - Massacre Grounds in the Superstition Mountains

So, I had my hike yesterday. Out of all the people that I email, only one person showed up and he had to go at a different time because he had to be done sooner! It was really a great hike, though, so everyone else just totally missed out! The weather was a gorgeous, sunny, 73 degree day, so I couldn't have asked for nicer weather. It was a little chilly to start with because it was pretty breezy, but once I got down in between the hills, it warmed up a bit. The wildflowers are just beginning to bloom. It was gorgeous!! The trail is called Massacre Grounds Trail because in 1800 there was a group of Mexican miners that got massacred by the Apache Indians in the grounds below the cliff that this trail ends at.
Here are some pictures of the desert wonderland!

Beautiful wildflowers

These look like daisies!


More daisy kind of things with a yucca....kinda a cool contrast!

Baja Fairy Dusters in abundance

Even the cactus got into the blooming act!

Cool view

It's hard to tell in this picture but this guy actually had 2 horses. One he was riding and the other was following along with no harness or lead rope or anything. I asked him about that and he said the two are sisters and they never stray too far from each other. How cool!

The view of the surrounding area

A look toward the Superstitions

Cool rock formations

Desert Stonehenge!

A couple of dry waterfalls

More scenery

Lots of mountains can be seen from here

A very recognizable spire to guide you along the way

Rolling hills


The cliff at the end! That's a LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG way down there!! Somewhere down there a bunch of Mexican miners died in 1800.

The view from the top of the cliff

This is a view of the cliff from down below

Another view from the cliff

One of the waterfalls. There's actually real water there!

Unfortunately, a group of about 15 teenagers showed up about a minute after I got to the falls and kind of took over so I really didn't get to enjoy them as much as I would have liked. I was going to take some video of them so that you could hear the dripping water, but alas, they were making way too much noise for that!

The other waterfall. This one was actually dripping pretty good! I think this is called Massacre Grounds Falls.

A view from the falls looking the opposite direction.

Another view of the waterfall.

A view of the falls from a distance

Another view of the falls from a distance

The falls

The saddle as seen from the trail head

Look who was waiting to welcome me back to the parking lot!

There were actually 3 of these little guys right in the path about 60 steps from the parking lot. I stepped down and one of them scampered away. I grabbed out the camera really quick and then had a devil of a time trying to find them again! I had to move my feet so that they would move again so I could find them. I saw two right away and snapped the pictures of them but as I was starting to move off, a third one moved! So cute! They were pretty little....definitely not full grown. I used to catch these guys up in Flagstaff when I was a kid! How cool to see some down in Phoenix too.
It was a fabulous hike and a beautiful day. I got a bit sunburnt but it's all good. There were only a few people on the trail (with the exception of the group of 15 teens) so it was very nice and quiet. A great way to start the weekend!
The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful. The Suns lost AGAIN...this time to the Spurs.
There's no question that we have to win the game on Tuesday. We play the Mavs who have the 8th playoff spot that we're trying to take over from them. A win wouldn't put us there, but it would get us closer! After the game I did a little housework and a little yardwork. Made some dinner and now I'm just chillin' watching some stuff on the DVR.
I didn't get to do a workout today, but I've been running since I got up this morning, so I'll call that activity for the day. Back at it in full force tomorrow with a morning and evening workout. I have a tanning session planned for tomorrow as well, so it'll be a busy day! With 3 home games this week, it'll be a busy week as well.
So, the bad news....I also have a sick kitty. My baby that I've had for 15 years since he was a 1 1/2 pound ball of fur that fit into the palm of my hand is feeling very under the weather. He isn't eating or drinking at all and I think he's lost quite a bit of weight. He's also kind of dispondent and very limp when I pick him up. I'll be making an appointment for the vet tomorrow. I can't have him sick....he's always been as healthy as a horse!
Anyway, better get some rest for the busy week ahead. I'll check in later!