Friday, February 19, 2016

Family, friends, sporting events and water time!

AZ Cardinals - NFC Semi-finals
Family, friends, sporting events and water time...all great ways to pass the time this winter!

If you know Tom then you know he's a die hard football fan.  Me, not so much, but I have always said I'd like to go to a pro game.  Tom's team, AZ Cardinals, made it to the play-offs and were playing at home in Phoenix so I said, "Let's Go!".  Thank you Stub Hub for the reasonably priced tickets just hours before the game.  We picked up my bother and nephew and headed out to a fantastic night of the best football ever!  Unfortunately they didn't do so well in their next game but we still got to see an incredible game.

Tom and Jake enjoyed some male bonding time at a college basketball game at U of A.  They headed to the court early and by doing so Tom had the chance to meet, and shake hands with, Bill Walton, Former ABC/ESPN/NBC Basketball Announcer, NBA All-Star Basketball Player, UCLA All-American, and one of the fifty greatest players in NBA.  

It's been great being so close to Phoenix to have several opportunities to spend time with my brother and his family.  In addition to the game, we visited Colossal Cave (his first time in a cave!) and Catalina State Park.

Rita shows us the ropes with Letter Boxing

In 2013 we met Stephen and Gisela on a hike in Bend, Oregon.  We've kept in touch ever since and finally had the chance to see them again.  They were passing through the area in their RV and stayed in a park in Benson.  We spent a day in Tombstone as well as wine tasting and a day at Kartchner Caverns.  So great to see you again!

Roxy & Moxie!

Downtown Tombstone
Even though we're in the desert I've enjoyed some kayak time with Rita.   Patagonia Lake State Park is a nice place to kayak and hike.  We've enjoyed a few trips to this park so far.

Girls Trip!  Rita, Sandy and I headed out for a 3 day adventure to the Lake Havasu area.  Sandy was a sweetheart and offered to go with us so that she could shuttle Rita and I to our kayak drop off and pick up points.  Thank you, Sandy!  We had a blast on our little girls outing and Rita and I had a fantastic kayak down the CO River through Topock Gorge - 15 miles of pure beauty and perfect weather!  

 Ok, so there was a little adventure.  Why not?  The 15 miles seemed way too easy so we had a little challenge at the end.  We heard from someone that had kayaked this stretch that it was difficult to find the take-out point.  We laughed when we saw the big sign for Castle Rock (our take out point) and wondered  how in the world they missed it.  Well, let's just say we now know!  This little path through the tall grasses is how you must end the trip to get to where your ride is waiting.  We laughed so hard getting through this area and will certainly not doubt the words from others!

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Winter in Tucson, AZ

Mt. Lemmon
Saguaro National Park

Yes, these 2 pictures were taken within days of each other but obviously at different elevations.  The rain we had down in the city in early January created the most beautiful winter landscape up in the mountains!  We had the privilege of ringing in the New Year with our first hike on January 2nd with our adventure friends Jake & Audrie (who are currently living in Tucson - yeah!).

Even though I often say I don't want to live back in the cold and snow I still enjoy the beauty of it (just for a short visit).  After the road re-opened to Mt. Lemmon I couldn't resist driving up the 27 mile winding path to get a close-up glimpse (and feel).  I also took a drive south to see the highest point in southern AZ (also snow covered).  I'm waiting for Mt. Wrightson to thaw a bit so I can catch some views from the summit at 9,453 ft.

Hiking continues to be my biggest joy while Tom is enjoying catching up on pickleball time.  There are 10 courts at our park and it's easy to find lots of players every day.

Very close to us is a system of trails for Mountain Biking called Fantasy Island.  We love going over there and have found an 11 mile loop which is enjoyable and challenging without killing us.  The names of the trails are cute and there are many things to see along the ride - Bunny Trail (bunnies of every type you can imagine - include some live Jack Rabbits larger than Moxie!), Snake, Bunnies Revenge, Rez and Fire have been our favorites so far.  We accidentally found our way to the difficult section on our first ride and steered clear of that even since!

The Bunny Trail - as noted by many different bunnies along the way
Nothing like a moonlight hike to see the sunset and the moon rise!  Rita, Sandy and Ed joined us for this fun time in Patagonia Lake State Park.

AZ has some of the most fabulous sunsets!  As Jake & Audrie call it, Butter Light.  So appropriately named!

Boyce Thompson Arboretum had an Australian tribute day so we took a trip and met Tom's hometown friends, Tommy & Clare, to listen to the Didgeridoo concert and tour the grounds.  I just love the sounds of this as my first exposure was in Australia on the Outback.  

Til next time...Happy Trails!