Usery Regional Park
We have a couple of days left here in Mesa before we drive south to Tucson. There was a hike and a kayak trip we wanted to get in.
Lee and Trace were out for the day so it was Steve, myself, Bert & Kat going on the hike.
The Wind Cave Trail is a 3 mile moderate round trip hike. The cave isn't really so much a cave as it is an overhang. It wasn't anything too special but did have a great view from the top. If you wanted to get more technical, you could continue around the cave and up to the very top, but it is said to be rough and steep. It was later in the day and our group chose to just go to the cave. I was also a bit leery because there is a known bee colony up there.
Before we headed out another Rattlesnake slithered by Lee & Trace's site.
The view as you head up.
This is the hive hanging on the top of the "cave". I'm zoomed in. Luckily for me, there weren't too many bees buzzing around. I wasn't too sure if I was going to join the others at the cave as a couple coming down warned us that there was a swarm at the last switchback. Turned out not to be the case. Just some bees collecting pollen on a tree, not a swarm. Although the sound is unnerving. I tried my best to remain calm. I only flinched once while doing the video when a few flew by me. Have I mentioned I hate bees?
Deciding if we'll go on up or just head back down.
Down it is. The trail is pretty rocky and we didn't feel up to the scrambling today.
Nice enough view from the top.
Once down, we hiked another trail and did a little geocaching.
Looking back up at the cave trail.
We relaxed the rest of the day and joined Kat & Bert for a nice dinner and watched the sun go down.
Lee and Trace have a very nice inflatable kayak that is more easily stored than a typical kayak. A little inflation and viola! Your on the water.
This is a favorite spot to fish as well.
Trace & Lee
This was a popular place for kayaking today.
It's a beautiful little canyon, but for some reason it was a much shorter paddle than we remembered. After a nice lunch drifting about we headed out to the larger part of the lake to see if we had enough time to paddle towards the next connecting lake.
Trace & Lee
The lake is pretty open and can get very choppy quickly. It wasn't too bad so we stuck near the shore and looked up at the canyon walls.
You can see the tip of Weaver's Needle in the background.
Trace spotted this Bighorn Sheep up at the top. This is the best I could get with my cellphone.
We circled part way around the lake and wanted to make a couple of stops on the way back for some pictures at a couple of pull outs.
At this pull over there is a nice view of Canyon Lake from above.
Another short walk to Weaver's Needle View Point. Not really that great of a view of the Needle though. (back, middle) Weaver's Needle hike on the other side of the Superstitions is fantastic though and we highly recommend it. We did it last year. You can see the blog post on that hike and see how impressive Weaver's Needle is from the other side!
Before saying Goodbyes to all of our friends, we had one more dinner to go to at Jeff & Shelly's.
On the way we took one more picture of Flat Iron. This angle gives a good view of part of the trail.
See the slightly darker "line" going from the middle up to the top? That is the "draw" portion of the trail where you are doing the most rock climbing. And yes, it is as steep and straight up as it looks.
Jeff is quite the chef and really spoils us! Filet Mignon, shrimp in creamy polenta, baby potatoes and homemade Ceasar salad. I didn't get a picture of his homemade Crème Brule, but it was amazing!
We ate poolside and watched the Full Pink Moon rise.
Flat Iron in the background from their rooftop viewing deck.
Shelly & Jeff
Thank you for another great evening! See you again later this year.
After saying goodbyes to Lee & Trace who are moving on to Las Vegas and then Oregon, we headed off to Tucson for a couple of days with Kat & Bert.
Catalina State Park has some nice long campsites with great views of the Catalina Mountains in the distance. It's a great park, but a bit further from Tucson itself.
Our nice, private spot.
After a lazy day we watched the full moon set and drank some wine with the girls at our firepit and talked about the rest of our trips. They will be heading to Lubbock, Texas and we'll be heading towards the NM/TX border.
With one day left Bert and I decided to do a little bike riding.
I thought this would be a good ride as even though it was a hot and windy day, it followed the Rillito River. The lizards didn't seem to mind the hot pavement, they were everywhere!
Why do I always forget that many of these rivers are dry during most of the year? The path was nice, but just didn't have the scenery I was hoping for.
On to Thunder Canyon Brewery to finally meet Steve & Mona Liza of The Lowe's Travels. They are always on some great hike and Mona Liza takes beautiful pictures.
We really had a great time. So nice to meet you both!
Onward to Texas!