Monday, February 5, 2018

Same Old, Same Old

IMG_2199                                                                  Last week’s full moon rising

Yes, we are still here at McDowell Mountain Park for another couple of weeks. Enjoying the warm, dry weather this winter which has allowed us to get out on the trails frequently either on foot or bicycle. Still going to the gym a few times a week, working at Fearless Kitty and hanging out with friends. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here three months already.

The past two Friday Fitness Hikes have been much tamer. One week we did a 6.5 mile loop to Dixie Mine and beyond to some petroglyphs. This crested saguaro is at the trailhead parking lot, which is at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd in Fountain Hills.One week we did a 6.5 mile


It was barely over 40 at 8am when we started out but it always warms up quickly once we get moving.






Looking down into the mine shaft.


Heading to the petroglyphs.


A couple of mine tunnels along the way.


I found a bit more information about the mine on the internet.

“The Dixie Mine was established in 1877, when scouts noticed expanses of red quartz in this area. Red quartz often occurs in proximity to gold and silver deposits, so the mine was established. Although some silver and gold was extracted from the mine, it seems that its major profits derived from selling, and then re-selling, the mine to hapless investors from the East Coast. It finally closed in 1917 and was given to the state.”



There are lots of petroglyphs, thought to be created by the Hohokams about 1000 to 1500 years ago.




We had to do some scrambling to get out of the wash where the petroglyphs are located.






Last Friday’s hike started at the trailhead staging area in McDowell Mountain Park. We hiked almost 10 miles on a few different trails but mainly stayed in various washes for a little variety.





I’m never quite sure where we are on these hikes, as we all just follow Kevin. It’s nice to walk and talk and not have to plan a route.


We had what we think was a barn owl fly ahead of us several times through this arroyo. I’m sure it was happy we finally climbed out of there.



While I was hiking last Friday Jim took the car to a place in Tempe called SubiWorx that only works on Subarus. He wanted to get the brake fluid flushed and have the brakes, steering and a few other things checked out. He was happy he got out of there for just over $60, as the dealer quoted $130 for the brake flush. And they did not think the lower control arm bushings needed replacing, although the Subaru dealer in Scottsdale said they did two years ago. Now that he’s discovered this shop, Jim doesn’t want to take the car anywhere else. Let’s hope we don’t have any issues before we come back here, probably in November.

Below are some murals being painted by a talented volunteer in the two main adoption rooms at Fearless Kitty Rescue. You can get an idea of how big these are by the one on the right and the location of the light switch by the door. I love how she painted the tail on the door.

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She wasn’t quite finished with the rest of these, but they are still impressive.


20180203_103439    20180203_103524     

Just a couple more weeks of cats and we’ll be off to Jojoba Hills. And rumor has it we may have a visit from our Box Canyon buddies tomorrow, always something we look forward to.

Friday, January 26, 2018

That Which Doesn’t Kill Us…

DSC09207                              Looking down on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Scottsdale, AZ

Last Friday’s Fitness hike was the Hog Heaven Loop, a trek up to East End Peak, the highest point in the McDowell Mountain range. This was Kevin’s description, which sounded a bit challenging, but I was confident I could handle “fairly strenuous”.

“I'm thinking about doing the Hog Heaven / East End route which is steep, loose and fairly strenuous.  However, the payoff is that it has some truly outstanding views.”

What he failed to mention was all the exposure, meaning there is a high risk of injury in the event of a fall. I won’t go into details of my panic attack about half the way up the mountain, but somehow I managed to get a grip and hop boulders across a chasm that definitely tested my fear of heights. After that, all the scrambling, crawling on hands and knees, and sliding on my butt were a piece of cake.

Here is Kevin, posing on the spot that nearly did me in. It never looks as bad in photos but it was two big jumps that would have resulted in serious injury or worse had any of us fallen. Out of seven of us on the hike only one other woman besides me had a bit of trouble getting up the nerve to  jump across.


It was a beautiful day for a hike.



Yes we’re going up there, via the climber’s trail.


Yes, Randy, I’m taking your picture again.


Randy and Kevin checking out the view from atop a boulder.



Sunaree and Randy making their way up the granite boulders.




Nice scenery and interesting rocks.



Thumbnail Pinnacle.



Thompson Peak with the towers on it is just a bit lower than East End.




After two slow miles we finally made it to East End, elevation 4,069’, with about 1,600’ of rough, rocky climbing to get there.




Coming back down wasn’t much easier since there was a lot of loose rock, but we all made it unscathed.


Glass Dome, left and Tom’s Thumb, middle.


The following day I attended a talk given by a local geologist about the McDowell Mountains, where we learned that all the granite we hiked on was formed 1.4-1.6 billion years ago. It’s hard to wrap your head around numbers like that.



Although relatively short, for me this was a very challenging and strenuous hike. I’m glad I did it but it’s one I don’t ever intend to do again. Kevin has a good write up and better photos on his blog if anyone is interested.

Of course I couldn’t do a post with nothing but photos of rocks, so here are some cats we spent a bit of time with this week.

This is Elf who is new and a bit shy.


Harriet lost her home after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.


Timid Dennis  won’t let me pet him but I can get him to come out and play with the laser light.


And lastly, my buddy M&M. He was just a kitten when we were here last year but had some stomach issues that required lengthy treatment. He is doing fine now but since he’s grown up and most people want to adopt kittens he hasn’t found a home yet. He’s very affectionate and playful and I’m confident the right person will come along one of these days.