Moving On

After several years of being in one spot in Green Valley for the month of February, you’d think we would have at least some kind of rhythm for our time there. At the very least, we should have some kind of sense of fleeting time, so that when the last few days roll around, there’s not some insane scrambling to see all the folks we intended to visit, hike all the unhiked trails (I’m talking about YOU, Butterfly Trail…), and cycle to our favorite destinations. Ah, no….apparently we haven’t learned that lesson yet.

The drastic weather change of the last two weeks threw us for a loop.We went from 10 degrees above average, to five days of rain, to two weeks of at least ten degrees below average temps. Plus, just to top everything off, there was a big snowfall the night before our departure from Madera Canyon, so we awoke to this…20180228_0854401701013167.jpg20180228_073805120414573.jpgWhile it was undeniably gorgeous, our immediate concern was getting down the 18-20% grade on our driveway safely. Whew….no problem. I can almost unclench my fists now, three days later.

We appreciated and enjoyed all aspects of our Madera Canyon stay – hiking, cycling, and the chance to do some serious hanging out with family and friends. It’s great to drop in once a year, and pick up where we left off the year before. Green Valley is a great second home for us, and we hope never to lose our enthusiasm for our month-long visit.20180301_165958-1376875323.jpg20180301_1659101142238964.jpgBut, as you know, our passion is camping, and the Campsh@ck calls seductively near the end of the month. Time to roll….

So, here we are at Picacho Peak State Park, about 50 miles north of Tucson. We’ve hiked here several times, but this is our first time in the campground. Although the sites are very large, there is little vegetation, so it feels pretty open.20180228_17064418441007.jpgBut, always looming in the background is Picacho Peak (just above the vent in the camper roof). There’s a challenge issued here, and I am powerless to resist. Although I’ve hiked here three or four times (John several times more), it’s very tough. If you fear sheer dropoffs and steep ascents, this is not the hike for you.

We decided to take a new (for us) trail to the top. The Sunset Trail takes a longer path (than the Hunter Trail) along the backside of the mountain. We cycled to the Trailhead, noting with pleasure that the ride back to camp would be mostly downhill. Thank goodness for that! We were whipped.

After a ridiculously long hike up and down through the desert, (Peak is in the left background)20180301_1128131077881370.jpg20180301_110930447357576.jpg we finally began ascending at a relentless degree up the back side of Picacho. In several places, cables have been drilled into the rock, assisting your climb. There are thin footholds (according to the standards of my size 10 feet, anyway). It’s a matter of trying to prop yourself up with your feet, and haul yourself up with your arms and shoulders. Don’t believe me? Those ‘little’ cactus on the desert floor are probably 25 feet tall. It’s a long drop.20180301_1240441378067337.jpgPerhaps the descent is even worse – John prefers to back down, while I nearly always go forward (it’s the Know Your Enemy theory…).This is much steeper than it looks here.20180301_13583921054951.jpgIn between these cabled spots are some amazing scenic views. You can see John’s white shirt on the far right as he heads down the trail.20180301_1343051549391073.jpg And the lunch spot at the peak is stunning.20180301_130844750705295.jpg20180301_1307041546239957.jpgOddly enough, the hike was yesterday. Today, we are both having trouble putting one foot ahead of the other to walk to the bathroom. Getting old? Nah.

It’s good to be back on the road.

 

14 thoughts on “Moving On

  1. You two so impress me! I’m hobbling around after visiting Whisper Creek and sister Beth….made us go to the Spring Fling dance and popped a knee meniscus. How do I know this? I did the same thing to my other knee two years ago after taking a low impact aerobics class at our local senior center……..how old am I. Brain hasn’t caught up to the old body! Safe travels my friends! Biscuits to Jezzy! xoxoxoxo

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    • Say hi, if you’re going to pop a meniscus, it’s a much happier thing to do it at a Spring Fling than in an exercise class! Limp with pride! I’ve got a happy image of you dancing joyously in my head.

      We’ve done that Picacho hike three or four times in the last, but this last one really got to us both. For two days, neither of us could move without groaning, and getting down the steps out of the Campsh@ck was pure torture. This old age thing is new territory. I’m determined to go down swinging. 😊

      Hope you are still in FL waiting out all that silly nor’easter and all that other nasty weather stuff. Say hi to Beth/Pete, Bob/Susan, and Bob/Deb for us. And give John a big ol’ hug from me.

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  2. I loved looking at your snow pictures, but glad I was enough to the north and lower in elevation that I was still sitting in dry, relative warmth. It’s fun to look, but not to endure.

    Around 2002 I went with several friends to Picacho Peak. We parked one car at the bottom of the trail on the north side then drove to the trailhead on the backside. I do have a problem with dropoffs. I did get up the first area of cables (wasn’t it about 30 feet long/high?) and continued on up the trail. But the steep hillside got to me. When we got to just below the place where the two trail meet I had become dizzy. I found a place to sit and wait while the others went on out to the peak. I waited an hour or so. When they came back and I heard their description of that part of the trail I was glad I had not tried to go on. We then went the rest of the way up that part of the ridge, using another set of cables, then easily walked down the easy trail on the north side. I admire people who don’t have any acrophobia and I wish I were one of them.

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    • Hi Sylvia. You remember the Picacho hike well. That first set of cables off the back was very high and steep! It was our first time up them, as we have previously come up the shorter, steeper Hunter Trail. It’s always a good thing to understand and recognize your own comfort (and fear) limits on a trail. I’m not afraid of heights or exposure generally, but I don’t want to get too cocky about it either. In any case, it’s a wonderful sense to get to the top and have lunch. Hope I’m still up to the challenge in a year or two. (Not making any bets!)

      We are looking forward to some good hiking in California, as we make our way West.

      Take care.

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  3. The snow scenes were quite beautiful, almost enough to make you miss a Michigan winter?

    That was some climb, but the view from the top was worth it! I can see why it’s taking a few days to recover from pulling yourselves up the side of a mountain.

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    • Hi Jerry. I think the key word in your comment is ‘almost’. One day of snow doth not a winter make. Think I’ll stick with that theory.

      That hike aged John and me five years. We’re both bumbling around here, wincing at the wrong moves. I honestly don’t remember it being so painful before. Old age? Apparently!

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  4. I really enjoy your adventures. Hope Madera was a good catch up with your soul time. I gotta spend more time in AZ. and you’ve inspired me (again).

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    • Hi Liz. We need to figure out a meeting point one of these days. I still need to own a Liz Howell painting, so I’ll have to run you down to make that happen. From what I see on Facebook, it looks like you’re busy with shows and travel. Thanks for checking in.

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  5. Of all the the RV travelers over the yrs, your ultimate journey, you’ve been the ones I’ve envied the most. Thx for sharing. Cozygirl

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    • Carla!! So good to hear from you. I’m happy that you still read the blog – I miss yours very much. Everytime I see a kumquat, I think of you.😎 Hope you are enjoying life is the sunny southeast somewhere.

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  6. I suspect the downhill is harder on your legs than the uphill, but Wow! What beautiful scenery and kudos to your mountain climbing skills!!! Looks like you are getting some of everything – hot, cold, wet, dry, steep, gradual, flat, snow, rain, sun, wind, calm, mountains with lush greenery, deserts with little green – Did I miss anything? So grateful you are sharing. Have fun, stay safe. In case you hadn’t heard, Jill Martindale finished the Iditarod!!!

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    • Hi Alison. I think you covered all of the stuff we’ve got going on here. It’s two days now after we had our hike/climb, and my shoulders and upper arms are so sore. I guess I used them more than I thought to haul myself up the cables. Think I’m too old for this crap!

      Jill is my hero. We were glued to the tracker, and to Josh’s fabulous updates. I’m awed by her strength and grit.

      Hope your cycling season has started, too. Heard you were getting a bit of decent weather there.

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