Healthy Tuesday, and that means the letter S!

S

It’s S Day – and I went on a 5.5 mile hike over the weekend on Spillway and Signal Wash trails! Hopefully this means my motivation is back! 🙂

The thing about both of these trails is that you actually have to hike Blevins Trail to get to Spillway Trail, and then you can hike Spillway to Signal Wash trail. But to get back to your vehicle, you’ll have to hike about half a mile on Meridian Trail to get to Amigo Wash trail to get to Blevins Trail to get back to the parking lot! That’s how it goes from being a 1.7 mile hike to a 5.5 mile hike! 🙂 It’s a pretty easy hike – the map lists them all as “easy”, and my seventy-two year mother was able to do it yesterday. But remember – watch out for snakes this time of year, and take LOTS OF WATER!!!

Hope you enjoy the pictures and have a great Tuesday. 😀

amigo 2

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My 73 year old mother in the blue shirt hiking with me. 🙂

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eagle claw cactus 1

X and Y

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a-to-z-letters-y

Good Monday morning, dear readers!  Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t post anything on Saturday – that’s because I was up and out of the house by 6am to participate in a two mile walk/run for Diabetes that the organization I work for put on.  It was interesting…I’ve never done anything like that before, and while I had a good time walking/running (well, to be honest it was more walking than running) it was hot by the time I was finished.  So I came home, took another shower, and just lounged around for the rest of the weekend!  🙂

Anyhoo, I thought I would combine Saturday’s post and today’s post together.  First, we’ll talk about X – the Kit FoX!

The kit fox is the smallest of the fox family that is found in much of North America.  They only weigh between 3-6 pounds, and have really large ears that help the fox to keep cool when living in the desert.  Kit foxes live in dry, open flat areas and are nocturnal, so it is not often seen by people. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen them is at the Phoenix Zoo!  The kit fox is carnivorous, and basically eats kangaroo rats for most of its diet.

kit fox1

kit fox2

Both pictures are from Wiki Commons

Y is for the Yucca arizonica, also known as blue yucca.  This plant can be found from the Sonoran Desert here in Arizona down to through the state of Sonora, Mexico.  It can grow up to 8 feet tall, with thick clusters of stems and leaves that range from a bluish color to yellowish.  One of the interesting things about the blue yucca is that the roots are used by the  Tohono O’odham people in Arizona (formerly called the Papago Indians) to used in their baskets.

Yucca_arizonica

NOT a plant I would want to trip and fall on!

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All pictures from Wiki Commons

Happy Hiking!  🙂

Treasure!

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Today’s post isn’t about a trail I’ve already hiked, but about a trail I’m hoping to hike this weekend!  If you’re familiar with these mountains…

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…then you might have an inkling of the trail – that begins with the letter T – I’m planning on hiking.  Give up?  It’s the Treasure Trail at the Lost Dutchman State Park!  😀

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Treasure trail is supposed to be about a 2.4 mile hike, and the trail description says it’s a moderate trail.  It also says that the elevation will change by about 500′ while I’m hiking, and that it can be completed in about 1 and 1/2 hours.  Apparently, Treasure Trail will take me right up to a rock formation called “Praying Hands”, but not to “Weaver’s Needle”.  I’m thinking that will have to be another hike…

Weaversneedle

Weaver’s Needle picture from Wiki Commons

I’ve been wanting to hike the Lost Dutchman State Park, because the Superstition Mountains fascinate me.  I live pretty close to them, and the feelings I get when I look at them change from day to day.  Sometimes they look foreboding…

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…and other times they look like something from an old Star Trek T.V. episode!  Either way they look on Saturday, I’m hoping it’ll be an interesting hike!

Happy trails to you (I just couldn’t resist)!  😉

Spillway and Signal Wash Trails – it’s S Day!

a-to-z-letters-s

It’s S Day – and I went on a 5.5 mile hike yesterday over Spillway and Signal Wash trails!  Hopefully this means my motivation is back!  🙂

The thing about both of these trails is that you actually have to hike Blevins Trail to get to Spillway Trail, and then you can hike Spillway to Signal Wash trail.  But to get back to your vehicle, you’ll have to hike about half a mile on Meridian Trail to get to Amigo Wash trail to get to Blevins Trail to get back to the parking lot!  That’s how it goes from being a 1.7 mile hike to a 5.5 mile hike!  🙂  It’s a pretty easy hike – the map lists them all as “easy”, and my seventy-two year mother was able to do it yesterday.  But remember – watch out for snakes this time  of year, and take LOTS OF WATER!!!

Happy Hiking!  ;D

1

Yep, there’s my mother about half way through the hike!

blevin 6

Some lovely cacti – you can buy these in the grocery stores here, and actually eat the (with the cacti spines, of course!)  🙂

8p

There are places where you want to watch your footing!

7p

Phoenix, Arizona is the sixth largest city in the U.S. – but

you really get the sense of being out in the desert, with no around you

when hiking at Usery Mountain Regional Park!

wondeRing…

a-to-z-letters-r

R is for wondeRing…yes, that’s right.  WondeRing!  🙂  You see, I’m sitting at my desk this chilly (to me – the window is open, and there’s an ever so slight breeze) Saturday morning with a cup of coffee…

cup-of-coffee

…next to my laptop and I’m wondeRing if any of my readers have a favorite trail they like to hike, a favorite place they like to run/walk, etc.  You see, I originally began this blogging challenge as a way of telling others about the Sonoran Desert, AND as a way of incorporating much needed exercise into my life.  You see, I’m 41 years old, I weigh 152lbs, my triglyceride levels are 232 (as of February), and my blood glucose was 98.  I changed MOST of my diet since getting the go ahead from my oral surgeon – had jaw surgery over Christmas Break and was on a liquid diet for 12 weeks, which accounts for some the high tri and glucose numbers – but I still have my morning cup of coffee!  Unfortunately though, I’m finding lately that I’m losing  my motivation to exercise.  A co-worker got me to sign up for a 2 mile run/walk for Diabetes next Saturday, and I really should get out and hit the trails to practice.  I don’t what to be the only sad, pitiful person huffing and puffing  1/2 a mile into it!  So what am I doing?  SITTING AT MY DESK! ~sigh~

So, dear reader, what do you like to do to exercise?  I would really like some ideas, as I’m wondeRing how to get my motivation back up where it needs to be!  Happy Saturday!  🙂

woman_thinking

The letter F is brought to you by…

Good morning dear readers!  Today’s letter is brought to you by….

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The Ferruginous Hawk!  This hawk is not an exclusive native of the Sonoran Desert, but can be found all over the western half of the United States.  The Ferruginous Hawk is the largest of the hawks, and is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior.  It ranges in length from 20 to 27 inches, and has a wingspan that goes from 48 to 60 inches.  This hawk weighs between 2.1 to 5 pounds.  I’ve seen the Ferruginous Hawk several times on different hikes, and it is a beautiful bird!

Our letter F is also being brought to us today by….

800px-Fishhook_Barrel_Cactus

The Fish hook Cactus!

The fishhook barrel cactus is a native of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and usually will grow up to somewhere between three to six feet high.  It has a pretty long life span – 50-100 years (which means these cacti will outlive me).  During the summer months it blooms, and the flowers will range from yellow to reddish-orange.  This cactus has a nickname – it’s also called the “compass barrel cactus”.  Why?  Well, the fishhook generally leans towards the south, so travelers throughout the desert learned that they could tell the general directions if they could find a fishhook barrel cactus!

Fishhook_cactus

Last by not least, our letter for today is brought to us by…

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The Foothill Palo Verde tree! I think Palo Verdes are interesting – their bark is green, the leaves are extremely tiny, and when they bloom the tree has pretty yellow flowers.  Another interesting fact about the Palo Verde is that most of the photosynthesis is actually done by the bark – the leaves are too small to carry out the process to keep the tree alive as it gets older!  Older is right – these trees live to be over 100 years old, and some of my research says that Palo Verde trees have been found to be almost 400 years old.  Imagine the stories these trees could tell!  🙂

A Patio to Write In

Good morning to everyone! I am so proud of myself today. You see, I’m writing this entry from my newly cleaned, organized, and “beautified” backyard patio. I’ve always wanted a place where I could sit outside and write – and now I have one! Now, I’m not done, but I wanted to share with you what I did (and how a little planning, shopping at second hand stores, flowers, bricks, and spray paint can really help).
I live in sunny Arizona – in the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert. We get A LOT of sun – it’s something like 300 + days of sun a year. Now granted, it’s too hot in the summer to be out on the patio during the heat of the day. But I get up early enough when it’s still cool in the mornings during June, July, August, September and October to be able to take my kitties out and let them wander around the backyard while being “supervised”.

There’s always been a vague idea in the back of my mind as to what I wanted my patio to look like. Over the past six years of living in my rental house, I’ve purchased items to help me achieve the look I was going for. Unfortunately though, I don’t make a lot of money, and things seem to progress so slowly for me. Couple this lack of $$ with dealing with depression and fatigue for the past four years, being a packrat, and just generally being lazy – and what you get is a patio that is messy, cluttered (old fish tank that hasn’t been used in four years anyone?) and just plain an embarrassment!

Now, don’t call the TV show “Hoarders” on me! I’m working on getting rid of the clutter, organizing, and making my house a home I can truly be proud of.
I’ve had four of my metal chairs for literally YEARS – try about nine! I got them one at a time from different second hand and “antique” stores and paid about $75 dollars altogether for them. The bench and this chair are actually from Target. I got them on clearance at the end of the season (I think it was two years ago), and spray painted them white to go with the rest of the furniture. The two small end tables were picked up at a yard sale about ten years ago. I finally put them altogether last weekend, along with the plants & bricks I’ve bought over the past couple of years and this is the look I know have (I’m not anywhere near being finished with the patio – I still want to add more flowers, repaint the small wooden end tables, make some new outdoor pillows, and add some lighting)!

                                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love my “new” patio, and am looking forward to spending mornings this summer outside while I write! It’s so soothing, and tranquil – just the thing to help me continue this journey I’m on to improve my quality of life.
What type of project have you started that makes you proud? I would love to hear about it!

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