One of my new things is to ask myself in the morning, “what would make me happy today?” and then try and do it. One overcast day last week I really wanted to go take some photos at Sabino Canyon. So after dropping small child off at school I ate my low carb breakfast and went for a walk. I cannot tell you how good it felt to do something simply because it made me happy.
We got more than a foot of snow in the nearby mountains the first week of January and as luck would have it our 11th day of Christmas tag read: “go find some snow.” So on January 4th I took my son and his friend up the mountain. I knew it would be crazy crowded and told them the first parking spot we saw above the snow line we were taking. We ended up at around 6000′ with a good 8″ of snow on the ground.
My son and his friend went sledding, made a snowman and had a snowball fight. We took a break for hot chocolate and cookies and once I heard complaints of cold feet we headed home. We got really lucky going when we did as at the bottom of the mountain the Sheriff’s Dept was stopping cars from going up until more cars came down as they had run out of parking! I read the wait was up to 25 minutes.
Keep your focus!
In a highly unusual turn of weather we have been getting snow here in Tucson. And not just in the mountains but here “in the valley” as they say. And not just once but twice already! And yet the pollen count is still high. This place really is crazy. These photos are from New Year’s Day.
And then on Wed (the 2nd) it started snowing around 9:30 a.m. Little teeny tiny flakes. It was too warm and wet for them to stick but they came down for more than 2 hours! My son and I went for a long walk and it was wonderful!
Keep Your Focus!
Not Christmas exactly but the days leading up to which are really the most exciting!
Keep your focus!
I know I have posted photos of the rose garden at Reid Park before, but the bushes are just so beautiful I always take more photos every visit. Thanksgiving weekend was the annual arts and crafts festival. The festival was a bit of a disappointment as the two vendors we specifically went there for were not there this year! But we caught the tail end of a blooming cycle in the rose garden so it was worth the trip. Enjoy!
Keep Your Focus!
I know when you hear “Veteran’s Day” you expect photos of flags, parades or Veterans. But we celebrate Veteran’s Day by going hiking at Madera Canyon. Since my husband and I are both veterans we feel we can celebrate however we want. And for me the freedom to go find a taste of autumn is what makes me happy. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember the sacrifices so many have made for me to have the freedoms that I do. My heart is filled with all those who served, voluntarily and involuntarily over the course of the years. A hike may not be a traditional way to honor those who served but it is my way.
We hiked the Carrie Nation trail. Only three miles but a steep, rocky climb. We got to scuff through leaves!
Nice and chilly and we found some beautiful color.
Another part of the tradition is hot cocoa and cookies at the end of our hike. Always the same cookie, oatmeal with reese’s pieces, more fall color!
Okay, here is a picture of a veteran! I am always curious as to what bloggers look like and if they have a picture how current it is…so here I am! (Photo taken by my guy down below.)
My favorite outside Halloween decoration is to gather leaves and scatter them by the front door and along the walkway for the kids to scuff through. I always get a few comments about the leaves. Most people are baffled about where they came from in a yard filled with nothing but cacti!
This year I gathered them up at Mt. Lemmon the week before Halloween and was lucky enough to catch the trees in a golden glory. No words necessary.
And finally, floating candles that looked very cool in the dark.
Keep Your Focus!
Last weekend we went camping at Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, AZ. Pure bliss!
On the way down we stopped at Apple Annie’s and picked pumpkins and did the corn maze. A very muddy corn maze but we enjoyed it anyway.
We found some fall color on our hike to Far Away Ranch. The weather was perfect, not hot, not too chilly.
Far Away Ranch has a great history filled with strong women. The fireplace was made from stones taken from a monument to President Garfield that was falling down. The names were chiseled by Buffalo Soldiers stationed there before Far Away Ranch became Far Away Ranch.
We had a wonderful tour of the house led by Ranger Anne.
In the afternoon we hiked to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is an old fire lookout tower and proof that we went all the way to the top.
At one point we actually hiked through the mountain!
I would have thought it was too cold for the snakes to be out, especially in the shade, but apparently not. This is a black tailed rattlesnake I believe, right near the beginning of the trail. Luckily other hikers gave us a heads up preventing any heart attacks.
Still there on the trip back, we had marked his spot with a small rock cairn so as to not get caught unawares.
There are no fire pits at Bonita Canyon Campground so we brought our own, perfectly legal. The rangers will let you have a small fire in the grill (if there are no fire restrictions of course!) This was much nicer and we cooked hot dogs and s’mores the first night. It was perfect sitting around the fire weather.
Okay, while seeing the snake on the hike and a skunk (which I did not take pictures of) one night near our campsite (when I was sitting alone by the fire!) did not exactly bring me joy it was still cool (you know, afterwards). But this guy brought a smile to my face:
The mom had already crossed the road and then I came along and the fawn stopped and I stopped and I told him to go ahead. I could see the mama deer anxiously looking back and after a moments hesitation the baby deer bounded across the road and caught up to his mama. We saw a lot of deer, they know they are safe in the National Park area during hunting season.
…leaf garlands does it take to make a house look autumnal in the desert southwest?
Let’s start with the kitchen, one above each window and two under the cabinets.
Two in the family room.
One in the dining room.
One at the top of my bedroom closet.
And two in the upstairs hallway overlooking the living/dining room.
And one in front of my south facing office window that would be really hard to take a picture of. That makes a grand total of eleven. So the answer is it takes eleven leaf garlands to bring autumn to the southwest.
Keep Your Focus!
My son is now going to a private school that observes Jewish, Christian and the traditional secular holidays so he was off on Monday for Rosh Hashanah. In fact the entire month of September he has one day off each week! With new computer time rules (which are working!) I find it is best to “help” him find things to do if he has a lot of free time. On Labor Day we went fruit picking at Apple Annie’s. This Monday we went hiking up at Mt. Lemmon.
Some early fall color starting.
We began with lunch at Viv’s Cafe because it is good to start a hike with a full stomach. Then up, up, up the mountain we went. The temperature dropped from 100° to a delicious 72°.
We decided to try a new trail and I was hoping to do a loop but after a long time of climbing uphill and unsure of exactly how much further we still had to go we decided to simply turn around. The hike back down was sheer perfection. Blue skies, a few clouds and oddly, some rumbles of thunder in the distance made the perfect autumnal hiking ambience. The path was shaded with dappled patches which I absolutely love!
The rain cloud.
A stop at a scenic overlook on the way home. I believe that is the San Pedro Valley.
Driving back down the mountain we could smell rain and observed some wet stretches of road way but no rain fell on us. We decided to stop at DQ for ice cream which ended up being our dinner and came home to collapse on the couch and watch “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”.
A dried up plant that screams autumn to me.
Best Monday in a really long time.