Tag Archives: Hiking

Creative Juice #312

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Creative Juice #312

Interesting articles to read this weekend.

Which Way: Hikers on the Trail

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Hikers on the trail
Can you see them?

More Which Way.

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Creative Juice #228

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Creative Juice #228

This is an art-heavy edition.

Back to South Mountain Park

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I’m horribly out of shape. I blame the pandemic. I’m just not one of those people who said, “Gee, since I can’t go to the movies or go out to dinner, I think I’ll concentrate on doing pilates. . .”

It’s been almost a year since I’ve gone hiking. I miss it. I used to go once or twice a month. A few weeks ago I headed over to South Mountain Park and couldn’t find a parking spot. It was a Sunday. Duh.

Last Friday morning the temperature here was 60 degrees–in my opinion, the perfect hiking temperature. I drove out to the Pima Canyon trailhead at South Mountain to hike down the main trail, which is fairly level. I needed an easy hike. I took my camera with me and put on my larger lens, so that I concentrated on a medium distance instead of what’s close by. I’ve taken millions of shots in the park, and I wanted to try to make these a little different.

They all pretty much show how rugged the desert is. See that cyclist near the right edge of the frame below?

I got another shot of him a few minutes later.

Oops. The little circle in the sky below is not a balloon or a UFO. Probably just a speck of dust on my lens.

I walked as far as the intersection with the Beverly Canyon trail, then turned around and headed back to the parking lot. The next shot is toward Tempe, where my home is. It also shows the cloud of particulates effectively sealed in by the surrounding mountains.

I’m not sure what this group of people was up to, but I think maybe they have sketchpads? Or maybe they’re all just checking their phones.

I feel sorry for the people who have left items on the trails, especially for the poor soul who lost his keys.

When I got back to my car, the temperature was 68 degrees. Can’t complain.

Hiking in the Arboretum

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Hiking in the Arboretum

Two Fridays ago my daughter Katie invited me to go hiking with her at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. It had been three months since the last time I’d hiked, so I was interested in an easy trail. In Katie’s memory, the High Trail at the arboretum was fairly level.

But to this old lady, it wasn’t. Not that it’s steep, but there are plenty of rises and dips, lots of rocks and steps. I was glad I’d brought my trekking pole; I couldn’t have made it without it.

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The Arboretum is located on 392 acres adjacent to the Tonto National Forest. Its landscape is desert, plus hardy trees and beautiful flowers. Many of the trees have been transplanted from other locations.

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We were fortunate to be there on a Friday, because we had the place seemingly to ourselves. There were plenty of cars in the ample parking, but the arboretum is large enough that you’re not bumping into the other visitors. On the weekends I believe there are larger crowds.

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum, hiking

My daughter Katie ahead of me on the trail.

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An example of the lush forest.

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Interesting rock formations.

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A fallen tree in the eucalyptus forest. Look at the root structure.

We’ve had an unusually dry summer, even for Arizona. Usually we have monsoons in July, and this little stream would actually have water in it.

 

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All the pictures up to this point were taken by me. Unfortunately, my camera’s battery ran out halfway through our hike. Luckily, Katie took some gorgeous pictures with her phone that she was willing to share. All the rest of the pictures in this post are hers.

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Yours truly.

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Garden path.

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Butterflies!

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Wildflowers.

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Shady path.

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Here you can see the roughness of the trail. Not horrible, but not smooth, either.

 

Creative Juice #147

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Creative Juice #147

Artsy stuff and more:

In the Meme Time: Try

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Try

Hiking in Usery Park

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Hiking in Usery Park

A week and a half ago, my daughter Katie invited me to hiking with her in Usery Mountain Regional Park, part of the Maricopa County Park system. I’d never been there before, but I knew it was a favorite spot of a friend of mine, so I was happy to accept.

I’ve enjoyed my hikes in South Mountain Park, which I think is gorgeous, but Usery Park is much more beautiful, greener.

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As we entered the park, we asked the attendant at the guard house where to find an easy trail for beginners (for me; I’ve only been hiking once since my emergency gall bladder surgery in April, and I wanted level ground). She recommended the Merkle Trail, which circles around a small mountain. We started on that, and immediately came to the Vista Trail, which went up the mountain, followed the ridge, and went down the other side. We decided to try it. The photo above was taken at the top. You can see the Merkle trail on the lower level.

The trail was rough and rocky in spots, but not too steep. There was one short stretch that was strenuous enough to get my heart pounding, but it was doable for an old lady like me. I brought my Sony Cyber-shot instead of my “good” camera, but it did a reasonable job of capturing the beautiful terrain.

Lots of cactus (click on the smaller photos to enlarge):

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And we met a little friend. Katie thinks it’s a chuckwalla. I tried to walk around him and take a better picture, but he took off.

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Here and there were some big outcroppings of rock.

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Painted on the mountains in the distance is an arrow pointing the way to Phoenix. You can see it from the air on the way to Sky Harbor International Airport.

When we came down the mountain, we followed the Merkle Trail back to where we started.

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I can’t wait to go back again.

Creative Juice #140

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Creative Juice #140

Fun and inspiration:

N is for North Mountain Park

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N is for North Mountain Park

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email:

Hi Andrea,
It’s me, Textile Ranger!  I am going to be in Phoenix the first part of next week, April 8 and 9, staying by North Mountain State Park.  I have stayed there before a few years ago, so you when you wrote about hiking at South Mountain, that registered with me.  It may be very far from your part of Phoenix to where I will be, but I just wanted to check with you about possibly meeting for lunch or an art museum visit or something on one of those days.  If you can’t make it, that is fine, but I didn’t want to come to Phoenix without mentioning it to you.
If you don’t know, Textile Ranger is the blogger behind Deep in the Heart of Textiles. I can’t remember how I stumbled across it, but I love it for the quilts Textile Ranger creates. She’s interested in (and writes about) everything textile, from fibers and dyes to antique clothing. She’s been weaving for decades. (She also has a nature blog, Little Wild Streak.) So, she’s something of a celebrity to me, and I jumped at the chance to meet her in person. And since I’ve been meaning to check out North Mountain Park, I suggested we hike there together before going out to lunch.
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We met last Tuesday at the Visitor Center. She gifted me with a nifty water bottle holder that clips on nicely to the shoulder bag I usually carry when I’m hiking. Now I have a free hand!

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Textile Ranger

And off we went. Ranger (she spent two summers as a park ranger at Big Bend) suggested a 2 1/2 mile trail that didn’t have any steep elevations. Perfect for walking and talking.
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The huge park has breathtaking desert and mountain views. We had some good rains a few weeks ago, and we’ve been rewarded with lovely wildflowers.
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Globemallow below:
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I want to call these buttercups, but I’m not sure that’s what they are:
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These flowers remind me of how little children draw flowers, just circles on a stem; I don’t know what they are–
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But there was an area that was literally blanketed with them:
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And the palo verde trees are just beginning to bloom:
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Closeup of a pale verde blossom:
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And the cholla cactus has these beautiful magenta blooms:
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Back at the visitor’s center, there is a water fountain that dispenses chilled water. Heavenly! And there are beautiful plantings by the building. Don’t know what this bush is:
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I think this is a pink globemallow:
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Cool sculptures:
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Which are the perfect backdrop for another picture of the Textile Ranger:
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I am so thrilled that Textile Ranger is not just a virtual friend any more, but a real friend whom I know face to face. We have lots in common. She’s also a former elementary school teacher, and she loves to read. I’m so touched that she reached out to me. Be sure to check out her blogs, Deep in the Heart of  Textiles and Little Wild StreakShe’s going to post her take on North Mountain Park on Little Wild Streak today.
North Mountain Park is a place I will explore in more detail in the future.
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