Saturday, April 19, 2008

A couple of good days

For all of you who are following my gutsy new outings, here's one for the books: I went on Friday and got my hair cut! I have grown my bangs out to chin length, and I am going to let them catch up to the rest of my hair. This means cutting the long stuff. I still have layers, but the longest hair is now just to my shoulders, and the shortest is at my chin. It's cute! I'll post a photo after I take one! :P

I also went yesterday morning and had breakfast at Beyond Bread... by myself! I had a little quiche, some delicious multigrain bread with strawberry jam, and a cup of skim milk. Yummy!

I went to pick up my bike from Performance Bicycles. They were fixing the gearing adjustment. The guys there all agreed that the bike was not going to be very comfortable for me, because the size was a bit large, the reach was too long, and the seat was wrong. :/

So I looked at new bikes! And I found one that I really liked, which the men agreed was a great deal and a good bike for me. I didn't feel quite ready to make the buy, though.

Today I awoke early and went for a bike ride with Jack. We went 20 miles, traveling up to Old Spanish Trail and on to Saguaro East. We continued a couple more miles to the Javelina Picnic Area, circling around there before heading back.

The ride was challenging, with ups and downs, and it was 20 miles. The traffic was light when we left at 7 am, but it picked up as we went along. But this was not a problem, because of the great bike lanes! Tucson is wonderful for cycling! The toughest parts for me were the left turns across traffic. These were made more difficult because I don't have a mirror.

After all the fun of the ride, I was convinced that I wanted a new bike. I dragged John out with the promise of lunch. After a fine Romano's lunch, we returned to Performance, only to discover that "my" bike was gone! They'd just sold it.

There was another bike, though, that had been calling to me yesterday -- a Fuji women's bike. It's white, transitioning to lavender-blue, and has flowers in the transition zone. All the stuff that's black on most bikes is white on this one! I rode the bike, and I loved it. The fit was supremely comfy, everything's easy to reach, and my angles all measured properly. Yes.. Doug measured my angles! :)

It is mine! Doug fixed me up with some trick-out things, and some of them had to be installed, so I'll pick up my new machine tomorrow. Next, I will figure out how to get the new bike back to Indiana.

And there was a party! Alleen and Lloyd were out in front of their cottage with a group. I got my chair and a beer and a bowl of peanut M&M's and enjoyed the evening with Alleen & Lloyd, Donna & Al, Leatha & Bob, Kathy, Eldon & Joanne, John, and some other folks who happened past and talked for a few minutes.

People continue to pack up and leave, and I'll be among them within the next ... week or so. I'm just not ready to go right yet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Photos from Safford Peak & Butterfly Trail

Better late than never, right? And I could have told you that I did the Safford Peak hike today, and you'd never be the wiser, anyway. :P So here are the photos from the hike.

Here's the Mountain. Even from terra firma, it looks daunting!

We're on the way up!

This is inside a sort of cave formation. This is all of us. Can you tell who made it into the photo with Photoshop?

Here are some of us coming down after going up the wrong way on this loose rock.

Here are some from up on the Peak:

On Monday, I was in a daze and incoherent with exhaustion. LOL not really! I just don't remember the day.

Tuesday I went on a hike with Duane and Herb on the Butterfly Trail on Mt. Lemmon. These Mt. Lemmon hikes are a great choice for this time of the year, because it's so much cooler up there! On a day when it was into the 90's down in Tucson, it was in the 50's up there.

The trail was both pretty and a mess (because of the 2003 fire), both enjoyable and physically challenging. It was, we estimated, 2500 feet of up, and that did not count the myriad downed and blackened trees that we had to maneuver around or over. Here are some shots from the trail:

But the most exciting part of this hike was seeing the Arizona Black Rattlesnake! Amid all the blackness of burned logs and branches, he was fairly well hidden. Duane saw him first, when he accidentally got his hiking pole a bit too close to the snake. The rattler assumed a striking position and put his rattles up into the air! When Duane told us about the snake, we stopped and planned an alternate route, giving the reptile a wide berth.

Once we were around him, I began snapping pictures, of course!

Me... with charcoal-blackened legs and chin:

Each of us lost some blood on this hike, from brambles or run-ins with logs. Of course, a good time was had by all!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday Hike

Sunday I did something different for Sunday: I went on a hike! For this one, I went with a different group -- the X-hiking group from, and we climbed to the top of Safford Peak. There are a bunch of photos posted from the hike HERE. I don't have any photos posted yet, but I will do that, when I get them ready. The cool thing about these photos, is that, since I didn't take them, I'm actually IN some of them! :)

The hike was difficult for me on a few levels. It was physically challenging, because it involved big up with lots of rock-scrambling, loose rocks, loose gravel, and oddly positioned cactus!

Another factor that made the hike difficult was that no one knew just exactly where the trail was. There were lots of trails, but we would get going down the wrong one, only to discover that we were going the wrong way, and have to go back up it.

There was one place where we scrambled up probably 100 feet with hand-over-hand careful climbing. Rocks were loose and, now and then, one would come loose. I was just past a particularly difficult passage when one of the leaders, who was straight above me, said, "We're going back." Huh? We were on the wrong trail! Back down, down, down, this steep rocky hill, only to find our proper trail, and head up, up, up, in that direction.

On the steep areas, I always end up sucking air. I feel strong, well able to pull myself to where I need to be (unlike 2007, when I was much weaker). But the cardio thing.. that's still a big challenge to me!

And I have discovered that I hike slowly. Most of the others were on up the trail, waiting patiently as I struggled up the hill. I got there, and they asked if I needed a break. "No," I replied, "I rest as I'm hiking!"

The trail was treacherous just because of the shape of the mountain. In one place, we crossed a narrow isthmus of rock connecting two parts of the mountain. The isthmus was probably a bit over a foot wide, and, on either side, there was nothing for 1/2 a mile straight down. I went across this on my butt, as did Lori and Eugene. I don't know what others did, but there are a few guys in this group who I cannot imagine going on their butts. There are two photos of me straddling this rock in row 5 of that photo collection.

So we reached the peak! There is a log in a box where people sign in, and I was proud to add my name to this list!

The trip down was problematic as well, partly because it wasn't all "down." Again, the trail was not what we thought at all times, and we ended up going up and down and up and down a few times in different places. This was tough.

The other tough part was the loose gravel and rocks! Everyone was falling, and I was among them! I ended up with several skinned up places on my arms and legs. At one point, I fell hard, landing with my arm hugging one of those oh-so-huggable teddy bear chollas! Yikes! Spines stuck in my tender underside of my arm, in my shirt, in the foamy parts of my poles... One fall would have been plenty, but I probably fell ten times. Sheesh.

Hiking again tomorrow! I just won't give up! LOL!