We took four really nice hikes while Blake and I were in Arizona visiting our parents. I went through all of the pictures we took and really thought I did a good job cutting them down to about 50. After that, it got harder, because each of them is a special memory. Then I gave serious thought to devoting a post to each hike – but no doubt some of you would have been terribly bored by then. So here’s one long overview – if you enjoy them, keep right on going. If not, there’s a delete key on your computer that comes in handy from time to time . . .
Arizona had a lot of rain over the winter so the desert is green and beginning to bloom. Of course, in Ohio we would put pesticides on this stuff and kill it . . .
First Day (3/25) -- Dad took us straight from the airport to Picacho Peak State Park, about 50 miles northwest of Tucson. He referred to this as the "warmup hike", but at least he warned us about the cables we used to pull ourselves up.
It’s much easier going up than going down. Going down, you have to hold onto those cables for dear life and blindly hunt for places to put your feet . . .
On top of Picacho Peak. That's I-10 in the background -- the peak is right next to the interstate and you can see it for nearly 50 miles in all directions.
Second Day (3/26) -- Hiking to Blackett's Ridge in Sabino Canyon. Not many bridges in Arizona since there isn't much rain. So if there is water flowing, you walk through it.
Some photos just don’t need captions . . .
Blake and I couldn't resist getting a picture next to this sign.
Third Day (3/27) -- 20 mile hike in Saguaro National Park. Started from near the Visitor's Center and went up the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail to Tanque Verde Peak, then on to Cowhead Saddle and back down the Douglas Spring Trail. Hike took almost 12 hours -- started at dawn and ended at dusk. Three fresh hikers shown here, along with a shot of our “designated driver.” Mom is a one-person support crew for Dad when he takes long hikes.
We could see the complex where my parents live from several spots on the trail.
Pretty soon we were above the "cactus line" and hiking through grasses and brush.
This was the view I saw most of the morning as we hiked uphill . . .
Once we got high enough, we started hiking through an evergreen forest.
I have always liked “babbling brooks” . . .
Had to get a picture by this patch of snow. We were surprised since it was nearly 70 degrees. Little did we know . . .
Dad said he likes to sit and rest on this root when he hikes this trail.
We had to scramble up a huge boulder to get to the sign atop Tanque Verde Peak.
This is what happens when a 74-year-old man gets cocky, decides to jump the last few feet off the boulder, and stumbles into a bush . . .
Remember that little patch of snow? As soon as we left Tanque Verde Peak and turned to the north side of the mountain, we found this . . .
This was one of my favorite spots -- out in the middle of a creek surrounded by boulders.
One of the many food breaks along the trail.
Dad up on a rock hunting for a cell phone signal to call Mom to pick us up at the end of the trail.
Blake was trying to get a good sunset shot as we neared the end of the trail. This was his best one.
Three tired hikers at the end of a long day. Dad was fine -- he is used to this. Blake and I were trashed.
After a day at Reds' Spring Training with Mom, one last hike (3/29) before heading to the airport. This is the Bug Springs Trail off Mount Lemmon Highway. Lots of rocks and boulders to climb over on the way up.
Dad loves to tell stories and point things out along the trail.
Looked like somebody (some big somebody) piled these rocks on one of the peaks.
Here, the wind was howling and we were holding on -- hundreds of feet of nothing behind us . . .
And that is more than enough. We had a great time and I can’t wait to go back. But now it’s back to reality – and back to the bunker to work on the new website. I’ll take a break next weekend for the Allentown show -- even with that it should be up and running within two weeks. But it will be a “work in progress” for a long time . . .