Our 10th Year in Tucson
Time flies whether you are having fun or not but when you are, it seems to go into warp drive. We are now getting ready to spend our tenth year as snow birds here in Tucson where the fun never ends. It seems impossible.
Having flown out, Betsy has been here in Tucson since the 10th of October. My road trip out fizzled after just 4 days and then I high-tailed it to Tucson putting my arrival time 7 days after Betsy's and thus she enjoyed her week on her own.
Unfortunately this winter her two favorite things are not going to start up: choir and line dancing. But all may not be lost. There is talk of having Zoom dancing and choir may start back up after the first of the year.
While I was road tripping Betsy got the HillBillyHillton in order, grocery shopped, took walks and tried to get used to the heat - it was still hitting 100 most days. She also got her trike road worthy and took it for a spin and had more than one quiet Happy Hour on the porch.
When I arrived I set about unloading the van of items we had decided we wanted in Tucson. This included 6 30 packs of Hamms beer which is hard to find here in Tucson, my trike, two wheel rail-trail bike, my hippie trunk, and various other items.
The day after my arrival the fun began with a hike in the Tucson Mountains just behind us and then we made the rounds to the Santa Ritas, Catalinas and Loop bike trail. We have been out almost every day hiking or biking and after a very lonely summer our social life is revving back up.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
Our back yard - the Tucson Mountains and the 20,000+ acre Tucson Mountain Park which has about 70 miles of trails, many of which are accessible for us by taking a short walk up to the Sarasota Trailhead.
We were delighted to see some new signage at the trailhead.
One of our favorite hikes is up to Krein Peak where the view is always fabulous.
The warm weather requires either early starts or getting some elevation so we have been down to the Santa Rita mountains a couple of times. On one visit we hiked the Nature Trail and had our snacks at the Wrightson picnic area while listening to Mexican Jays and watching acorn woodpeckers.
On the next trip we took another one of our favorite hikes in the Santa Ritas, the trail up to Roger's Rock. Betsy snapped this photo with her phone.
The morning of our trip over to Sycamore Canyon in the Catalinas we had a pretty colorful sunrise to start the day.
It's official! Betsy is now a Dirty Girl!
These gaiters are not for snow but for all the little bits of stone, sand and alluvium which we are always walking on. Our hiking buddies John and Janet both use them and that is where we heard about them. Now there is no more taking off the boots and socks to dislodge stones.
This is just before the trail drops down into Sycamore Canyon. Unlike the basin which is crispy dry, the creek channel was lush and green.
When we take this hike we always stop and admire this beautiful Banana yucca.
On the Thursday, October the 22nd we took a Sunday Drive around the west side. This took us through Tucson Mountain Park and also the west unit of Saguaro National Park which abuts it.
We have been on our trikes a few times. This was taken on the 130 mile paved Loop Trail. Pretty fancy counter!
We sometimes just bike around the streets in Tucson Estates where we live. On this ride we stopped to check on a neighbor's pyracantha and send her a pic of it. She is still in balmy Wisconsin but will be back down here soon.
We recently went hiking with Cindy and Rob who hail from Ft Wayne. They now have their own place in Tucson and like so many of us really enjoy being able to hike and bike all winter long. This was taken in Rattlesnake Canyon which is in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.
On January 4th of 2012 I led my first hike for the Tucson Hiking MeetUp Group. Now, 8 years and 218 hikes later I have decided to "retire" or at the very least take a winter off.
There were many positive things about leading all those hike all those years. It was a great incentive for me learn the different mountain ranges in the Tucson area and it kept me constantly looking for and scoping out new hikes to keep things fresh. That really gave me a crash course on hiking in the Tucson area.
Occasionally there were negatives associated with leading hikes but the good times far outweighed the bad ones. And although it was always wonderful to be on all those hikes, the best part was meeting so many new people. Some we saw only once and never again. Some hiked with us for a few years and then found other things or moved on to somewhere else. Regardless we made many new friends and at the risk of sounding corny it has greatly enriched our lives and made our winters in Tucson so much more fun.
The are three people in particular who come to mind: Beth, Kathy and Liane. I met all three of them on hikes I led. I am not sure how it happened but at some point we decided the four of us would meet for a hike once week. This worked out great and we have had many fun hikes together. Thus far Beth, Kathy and Liane and I had always kept our socializing to just hiking. That changed very recently when Kathy hosted a Happy Hour and pool party at her place in the Catalina mountains. I say "party" but there were just us three: Kathy, Betsy and I.
Liane had a busy schedule that week and Beth is still back in Indiana but hopefully we will all be getting together soon.
We arrived at Kathy's at 3:00 to take advantage of the late day sun and warmth. And it was warm! 91 degrees to be exact but with humidity in the single digits and a nice breeze it was quite pleasant.
Two of my favorite Senior Hotties. Looking good, ladies!!! (And the view ain't bad either.)
What a great way to spend the afternoon. The pool, the view and of course some tasty snacks and drinks.
Kathy had told us about some of the fabulous sunsets she had seen from her lofty perch and she was not exaggerating.
This is looking southwest to the Tucson Mountains
The last shot of the day with Safford and Panther peaks beautifully lit up.
Thanks, Kathy for a wonderful time!!!
~ Mike and Betsy