|Spring in the desert is such an interesting time. While we have seen and identified many plants, we are now seeing an abundance of new flowers especially on the cactus. Our hikes have become more frequent which has allowed us to see more and more.
Last Sunday (3/25) Lauren and Mike came out to hike with us before she returned to California. We chose a path we had previously taken and were able to share with them some of what we had learned about edible fruit, types of plants, and in some cases how the Indians used them. We hiked to the edge of the McDowell Mountain foothills where the big rocks begin to gather, noticed an apparent mini-cave where we speculated coyotes might hang out, and traveled along a ridge overlooking a very large and very old stream bed. When we returned to camp we decided to reward ourselves with BBQ’d hamburgers before wishing Lauren ‘bon voyage’.
Monday was another thrilling laundry day. This time Terry offered her machines for us to use and this gave us a chance to visit. We also threw in a quick visit to Costco and along the way I managed to scare the crap out of Terry when I almost ran a stop sign. I followed her succinct instructions to STOP, which she repeated multiple times in just a few seconds at a volume I didn’t think she could produce. I was stop sign aware from that point on and we returned to her home unscathed. Nancy finished the laundry, and we had a chance to sit on Terry’s patio enjoying a perfectly prepared Gin & Tonic while watching the pool drain. Visiting with Terry though, was the best part.
On Wednesday we moved from McDowell Mountain Park to Usery Regional Park. This is where we began our stay so it was very familiar to us. We even got the same spot. Unfortunately Nancy tweaked her back so we curtailed our hiking a bit. We still took daily walks but on a flat surface. She decided to just “walk it off” and by Saturday she was almost ready to head back out to the trail.
We spent the better part of Saturday at Michael Calder’s. With our planned departure date of April 11th and his pending week long business trip, this was our last opportunity to see him. We enjoyed just hanging out in his beautiful home, cooking some grub, and sampling a few nice wines. It was a great day.
On Sunday we took a series of short trails we had previously hiked and modified the route a bit. There were lots of ups and downs through several washes in the beginning and somewhat flat on the back-end. However this time we included an additional leg that climbed 250 feet then descended the same over a quarter mile and included some switchbacks and tricky footing. The total hike was just 3 miles and at the end Nancy noted that last time this hike wore her out (2 months ago), but not this time. I think we have both benefited greatly.
This past week we have begun to consider actually going home. In some ways it reminds me of a Navy deployment – you know your voyage will end and as you get closer your focus changes just a bit. While we still have things we want to do in AZ, we have begun to look at routes home and potential weather along each one. I know our first stop will be near Las Vegas but the actual route we will take is not clear – yet.