"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Shaking off the crazy at Wave Cave and Queen Creek Olive Mill

It has been chilly here in the valley causing flight delays at Sky Harbor Airport until the sun came up and melted the frost off the planes.
We are headed to the mountain on the left, part of the way up is Wave Cave near Gold Canyon.

The cave is on the lower right hand corner. The was air brisk and sun shining.

We weren't really sure this was the trail and followed the cairns hoping someone wasn't tricking us.

The state has closed some of the areas on the way here due to ATVs and people tearing up the public land so badly. This side of the road is so nice and part of the Peralta Wilderness.
We were asked by a non hiking couple, if we had problems with all of the wild animals or if we were afraid while in the wilderness. The city can be more scary  than out here to us.

This is a trail?

My job as a nurse gets a bit crazy at times on different levels in critical care. I just need the fresh air and exercise to bring it all back to ok.

Looks like a moonscape to us.
Our visits to the Olive Mill in Queen Creek reminds us of our time in Italy.

The old olive press

We mostly go for the food that is so good but probably not that good for us. Eating too many olives can make me very thirsty.

The time goes quickly on a 13 week contract. We have to get to the list to see and do all  the things before time runs out and we move on. We have been fortunate to spend time in this part of Arizona several times and it would be easy to go to the same places we enjoyed in the past. It takes a conscious effort to do new things and see new places but well worth it.
It has been nice to go to the hot tub in the evening or sit by the fire and watch the stars. Often, we are the only people there.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Desert Botanical Gardens and Blue Point

The second Tuesday of each month is free entry into the gardens. It seemed like the perfect time to check it out. There were docent stationed throughout the gardens to educate us which added greatly to the experience.

Around the holiday, luminaries are placed along the paths and lit up at night.

We were shown how the Native Americans used the skeleton of the prickly pear cactus to make brushes and utensils.

What a nice sundial.

Rock fountain

Replicas of the homes of the Indians that lived in the desert. The mesquite seeds were ground to make flour high in protein and made into hard biscuits to be worn on a leather cord around their necks and eaten while out hunting.

The inside of an old saguaro

The woodpeckers make their nests in the saguaro and cause a scar to form. Then other owls and birds can use it for their nests once it is vacated.
It was a chilly morning with a high of 53 degrees with plenty of sunshine. It seemed like a good day for a walk along the Salt River and look for the wild horses.

We saw plenty of herons, cranes and hoof prints but no wild horses this time.

 The sky has been much clearer with the rain and cool breezes we have had. Often when it gets cooler, the air gets pretty dirty from the inversion. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Canadians are coming

The estimated number of snowbirds in Arizona is around 300,000 with 270,000 from Canada. That seems to be the case here in the community that we are staying. Canada's economy is heavily affected by the price of oil and wheat. Now that oil is  below $40 a barrel, it has negatively affected their dollar. For quite some time, the Canadian dollar was pretty close to the US's if not stronger. Now it is $0.75 and then they have to pay to exchange it.

Many Canadians brought their strong dollars in 2008 and purchased properties that were a bargain then. Now they are looking at paying 30% more for utilities and taxes but the return on their sales higher with the exchange. Many are ready to sell.

We are enjoying meeting our neighbors from the north and learning more about them. They can only stay for 6 months without a visa since they can be charged US income tax if they stay longer and possibly lose their health insurance. As you hear they are very nice people elongate their ooooos and like how cheap beer and wine are at Costco. Eh! or "A"!

I am taller than this orange tree and I am not tall.
When I need a lemon, just pick a monster lemon. I guess they will run out pretty soon.
Saguaro skeleton
We found some new trails for desert riding not far from our spot.
We are enjoying our new friends. Many of our fondest memories include the people we meet along the way. Our usual stay is 3 months in any place. Here it will be 4 and we are getting the itch to see new places.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sunrise Peak Scottsdale and Boyce Thompson Arboretum

 If you have seen enough cactus and dirt pictures, I get it. But that is what we have here.
 Mike had surgery on his face for skin cancer and was in the process of healing. We wanted to get out in the fresh air and thought an easy hike would be a good idea. Sunrise Mountain wasn't a stroll but uphill.

The trail wasn't too rocky requiring him to hang his head and watch where he was walking too much. But he did end up with a swollen eye by the end of the walk.

The wind was a little unruly at times but felt good keeping us cool.

We have been learning about the geology of the area and how the mountains were formed here. Volcanos, moving plates and continental shifting over time changed the shape of the Sonoran Desert.

A long trek down to the parking lot way down there. You can see the cones of dormant volcanos in the distance.

We had never been to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and decided to take the tour that was starting as we arrived. The volunteer was very knowledgeable and taught us much.
We came across this hummingbird nest as we were walking.

You can see the entrance on the side of the nest.

It was an easy 1 1/2 mile walk though the many different plants of deserts from around the world.

Queen Creek that Mr. Thompson would visit everyday.

Boyce Thompson's home overlooking Queen Creek to the southwest and the copper mines he owned to the northeast.

Desert pupfish and Gila topminnow are protected in Ayer Lake surrounded by some interesting volcanic rock.

There are many classes and educational opportunities offered throughout the year that would be great to attend. I find that I get much more out of experiences when a good docent is there to tell a good story.

Music by flute, didgeridoo, guzheng under the fall colors of the Chinese Pistachio trees made for a nice way to spend our day.