"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Back to CA to See A Meatball, John Denver & A Flaming Duck

Palm Springs, California
Thousand Trails Resort

Boy did the winds pick up leaving Arizona and driving through the deserts along I-10.  At some spots we had to slow way down as the sand was blowing across the road and making it very hard to see at all in some spots.  We'll be spending a little time back with the kids and checking on my parents.

At least it was nice in Palm Springs where we stayed a couple of nights to relax.

Maybe all that wind blew the fur right off our neighbors' dog?
Cute rig across from us.

We then overnighted at the Elks Lodge in Ontario and had dinner with Roger and Penny, sister of Sue (Guy and Sue).  We had a nice visit then it was off to one night at the Atascadero and Santa Barbara Elks Lodges.  
Spring is bringing out all of the colors.
Salinas, California
Elks Lodge
We're at our sons in Monterey to celebrate Jaxon turning 2.  Jeez, it goes fast!  He loves to be at the beach and play in the tidepools.

I think it's a Trilobite.  There is so much marine life in the Monterey Bay.
We came across the John Denver Memorial while geocaching.  This is the spot he was piloting his kit plane and crashed on October 12, 1997.  We grew up with his music and while I loved so many of his songs, Grandma's Feather Bed was one of our kids favorites.

We made a stop at the Point Pinos Lighthouse which has been shining its third order French made Fresnel Lense since 1855.  

Celebrating at preschool with the 2 other Birthday Kids.
Ryan (Daddy) , Jax and Uncle Shane.

Aunty Lindsay and Aunty Alex.
Party at home with Mom & Dad.

Another night Auntie Kaylee took us to dinner.  After she wanted to try this place known for Tequila Tastings.  We ended up with The Duck.  Very silly.  It came with several shots of Tequila and it's own light show.
Well those 2 weeks flew by.  Next we'll be escaping up to Oregon to celebrate someone entering a new decade!

Monday, March 14, 2022

Hiking Flatiron & Bull Riding - AZ

Apache Junction, Arizona
Lost Dutchman State Park

It was time to swap the paddles for hiking boots.  Our friends, Tim & Leslie, will be arriving in a few days and we need to prep for out upcoming hike up to Flatiron.  Steve and I will hike part way up to "The Bowl".
Weather is beautiful and the flowers are spectacular.  This is a look back down at the campground.

Look who we ran into!  Flat Iron Jim is somewhat of a celebrity in these parts.  He lives in BC Canada but spends the winters here.  He hikes Flatiron 3 times a week!  AND he's now 90!  I'm happy to make it once each year.  The last time we crossed paths on the trail was a few years ago.  Glad to see he's still doing it!

Thumb Rock
It's all up!
Flatiron with the white stripe in it.
Zoomed in.  Isn't it awesome?!
You spend so much time concentrating on the trail but it's important to stop and look back at the progress you've made too.  Plus, the view looking down is always amazing.
And back up the canyon.
The pink area in the middle is "the Bowl".  It's the halfway point and most people turn around here.  After the bowl it gets much more technical and there will be more rock climbing, less bouldering. 
Zoomed in more.  Can you see the people climbing the Bowl?

This is our turn around point for today.  Heading back down.

Once down we relaxed and had a quiet night.  I love how my new blue dragonfly lantern looks.

It's been a few days and now Tim and Leslie have arrived, and we head up to Flatiron.  This will be the first time for both of them.  They just came from Picacho State Park and they both hiked Picacho, so they know what they are in for!

Here we are at the Bowl.
Sometimes in the middle of the Bowl you may catch some water flowing down.  Tim pointed out an old carving in the wall dated from 1936.  Of all our years coming here, I have never noticed it before.  It was very cool to see.
This view gives you some perspective on how steep the Bowl is.
Here comes Leslie.
Taking a rest and Leslie is deciding if she'll turnaround here or keep going.  I give her a lot of credit as she is afraid of heights but decided to keep going.
From this point on I didn't take any more pictures as there is a lot of rock climbing and you just need to pay attention to what you're doing.  There is 2000 feet of gain in this one-mile section.  Straight up!  Crazy stuff but lots of fun!  Leslie did amazing!
This is the final wall.  It's about 30 feet but super scary.  I am up top looking over the edge as best I can.  You can't really tell but it's a doozy!
The only flat part is walking the short distance to the point of Flatiron.
Before heading there, they took a breather and I went the opposite direction to find the plane crash memorial site.  I've known it was there not too far off trail but never tried to find it.  This time I found it.
Very sad.  In 2011 a plane carrying a father, his 3 young kids and two others crashed here and they all died the night before Thanksgiving.

Looking up to the high point, The Pinnacles.

Since we climbed a bit slower so that Leslie could be comfortable with her climbing, we were a little later turning back.  So it was just a quick snack and a couple pics and back down we went.

Bouldering down this section of the wash.
Leslie deciding the best way to rock climb down this section.
And before you knew it we were down the draw and at the Bowl.
Looking back up the bowl from the middle.  So steep.
And we still have to go down the rest.  It's a combo of careful climbing and some butt-scooting.
Looking back up the Bowl at Tim resting against a boulder.
Out of the rough stuff.
Not sure I noticed this cat boulder before either.  Tims spotted this too.

I was only a little worried that we wouldn't be down before dark but since we were very close and it was a full moon it wasn't bad.  Besides, I've done this section in the dark before.

We're on the homestretch and the setting sun is once again casting a deep glow on the mountains.
One last look back up at Flatiron.

Watching the sun go down.  We feel so accomplished!
As quickly as the sun goes down in the west, the full moon rises in the east.
How beautiful is that?  What a way to end our hike.

And now it's time to celebrate at Dirtwater Springs with a Liquid Marijuana. So tasty! We also had some great burgers to fill our bellies after that crazy hike!

On St. Patrick's Day Curt and Glenda joined us we had a great meal of Corned Beef & Cabbage.  Glenda made some yummy sour cream cookies.

We had a nice fire and enjoyed the rest of the moon glow.

After we recouped a couple of days we took a shorter, easier trail to enjoy the wildflowers that are exploding with color now.  We really needed to stretch out our tight leg muscles too.

We did about 4 1/2 miles on the Treasure Loop.

Steve photobombing us.  It was really hot and we were super hungry so we headed down the road to the Hitching Post Saloon for some grub.
We found a shaded table and enjoyed some lunch.  There was a junior 4-H bull riding event going on next door so we watched some after we ate.

Watch these very short videos and see how these kids do!  What? Did you think by the title WE were the ones going to ride the bulls?  HA HA, NOT!  The kids were so brave though!
Ride 'em Cowboy!

These kids were amazing!  Not too many injuries either.
On our last evening together, we relaxed and ate some charcuterie that Leslie made.  Great view from their spot looking back up at the Superstations.  What a great 2 weeks we had.  Time to say goodbye and see ya next year Flatiron!