Ducks in the Desert?


I am still in search of signs of spring for Roda’s Challenge, so last weekend the hubby and I set out, once again, to hike in Sabino Canyon. This time we went further and higher into the canyon.

We went to Seven Falls, which was 1800 feet up and an 8 mile round trip. I had been assured that there would be water when we arrived, but being from Washington, I was skeptical for what passed as a waterfall in Tucson. I was completely amazed at the transformation!

Everything looked pretty normal as we entered the trail.


A mile or so in, we saw our first pools.


We actually thought that this may be the most water we would see. Along the way I tried to snap a couple shots of the stream.


We were rather impressed by this! Normally this is dry sand. As we continued up, and up, we were moving above the Saguaros. These are huge and we normally can not see the new growth on the top of the cactus branches. But now the spring growth was visible. It looked as though they were covered with cotton.


We could hear water, and then as we rounded a switchback, we saw the source of the sound. Can you see the multiple falls!


Getting a little closer.


This is where everyone was hanging out! It was like an oasis ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒต

Kids, and some crazy adults, were jumping into the freezing water. A few folks were feeding the ducks! What are Mallards doing in Tucson?? They had to be lost, of course men never ask for directions ๐Ÿ˜





I took a video and happened to capture one of the boys jumping in around 20 seconds, see if you can spot him!

Everyone was having a great time, as we all know this won’t last forever. Already the temps are in the 80Fs and by late May it will be closer to 90F.

I am so glad we went up this trail, it is currently one of my favorite hikes in Tucson ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Roda’s Signs of Spring Challenge๐Ÿ€

There is a very short window for spring in Tucson. This week is in the 80Fs already and it is only March 9th. That means it will be too hot (for me anyway) to be hiking at the end of the month. So the hubby and I are out as much as possible right now. Soon there will be rattlesnakes ๐Ÿย and scorpions ๐Ÿฆ‚ย out and about too!

We set out to hike Soldier Trail on nearby Mt. Lemmon. The out and back trail is just under 6 miles, but has some hefty elevation gains. It was rated difficult with an 1800 ft. climb. Eventually, it does crest! And, that is where we recorded our evidence of spring in the desert ๐ŸŒต

New growth on this prickly guy!


And at the tips of this spiky plant!


As with Sabino Canyon we found water flowing in Soldier Canyon! Look at that green color near the top of the steam, leading to a series of pools. That color won’t last long.




The canyon itself is quite deep, and plants grow in any crevice they can find. This one is hanging off the edge.


We went on our way and saw many examples of foliage that, somehow, thrives in this harsh environment.



Here is an old, craggy life form, hitting a modified tree pose now ๐Ÿ˜œ


We are heading back to Sabino Canyon this weekend, to the Seven Falls Trail! Hoping to find some bigger waterfalls before they dry up for the season ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿ’•


Roda’s Signs of Spring Challenge!


I hope this works! This is my first post from my new, and highly improved, computer!

I am so sorry to my blog buddies, I am so behind on many of your great articles, recipes and stories!! My old lap top just couldn’t keep up with anything anymore ๐Ÿ˜’! So after 2 hours at the only Mac store in Tucson, and a few grand lighter in my wallet, I am back online ๐Ÿคž.

The amazing Roda, from Growing Self Blog has issued a challenge! The mission is to find signs of spring as we say good bye to winter!ย ๐Ÿฆ‹

The weather is fabulous in Tucson (80Fs all week!). I had to get outside the other day and decided to head over to nearby Sabino Canyon. I have been there many times and while it is a great place, it has always been extremely dry. Not this time! Apparently spring in the desert means water, and lot of it.

This is the Sabino Creek trail, where I usually walk straight through the dry sand. Today there was no way to cross over to the other side.


The top of the dam, which is never wet!


We have never seen water trickling over the dam, but now it is in torrents!


There were families out enjoying this anomaly!

I had to take a video to prove to my family that this really did happen! Remember this is dry and dusty most of the year, and this was the first time we have had any evidence that the dam was more than just ornamental โ˜บ๏ธ

I will be out looking for more signs, if this post works! ๐Ÿ’•


Yoga Retreat, One More Time

Last January I let my hubby talk me into attending a yoga retreat. He is a big yogi and his instructor told him about a retreat she was holding just north of Manzanillo. I was skeptical. I don’t love Mexican food, we had been to Mexico many times and it was always way too hot for me and I only do yoga when I can’t rock climb or run. So, how much fun could I possibly have?

The answer: So Much!!

Our goal last year was to meet fun people and do some yoga. We greatly exceeded those expectations, so much so that we signed up to go again this year. We even hosted a reunion last summer at our house. My blog posts from last time Good Morning from Manzanillo!,ย Exploring Bara de Navidad,ย Happy Hour,Snorkeling and Lunch in Santiago Bay! andย Our Yoga Retreat Wrap Up!ย are full of pictures and images that we were privy to this time around as well. So, for this year’s post, I tried to focus more on what was different.

Bill and Susan, our hosts, were once again, fabulous! They made most of our meals and they both are great cooks! Additionally, they would take us to places that no other tourists go-we had day trips to Colima and Comala and they chose restaurants that the locals frequent. They are a big reason why we chose to repeat this experience. Of course Lisa, our yoga teacher, was another big draw to the event! Once again we met wonderful people and had even more adventures. We did repeat the snorkeling trip but otherwise the experience was unique.

We began each day with meditation at the nearby beach then morning yoga, at Bill and Susan’s home. Look at these views!


The infinity pool at the lower house


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View from the lower house


Another angle from the lower house

We did all our yoga at the upper house, under the palapa. You can see the pool at the upper house as well

We had morning and evening yoga sessions. This year Lisa challenged us with partner yoga poses. She would give us a pose and then we had to interpret that pose in a creative way. For example, Dennis and I did a “moon pose” on the beach.


And, Janet and Annie did this interpretation of the fish pose, in the pool


So these were more creative poses than the traditional forms. It was fun to see what everyone would come up with for their assignment.

In between all the yoga were the adventures. Snorkeling, hiking, museum visits and lots of shopping.








And the food! Oh my god, did we eat!! If Bill and Susan weren’t cooking then we were at some amazing restaurants! I have a few images, many of which were on Instagram, of some of the cuisine we were fortunate to enjoy.


Breakfast was wonderful! Bill’s granola and yogurt, with local fruit was a fan favorite. And with this sunrise, hard to beat!



Bill and Susan always served dessert-This is a Poncho Villa. Amazing!



Lunch in Colima, these crepes could have been from Paris



Bill and Susan selected this restaurant near Colima. So glad they did!


Many of you know about my coffee “issues”, This Sunday brunch spot, Los Portales de Suchitlan, was a true highlight. A young girl served as our translator as this was a local place, no tourists around!


And then this…A Swiss restaurant (?) in Comala, Mexico! Piccolo Suizo was spectacular!


You can see why we are trying to eat lighter after coming back to Tucson! We ate constantly on this retreat, and it was worth it! So good ๐Ÿ™‚

We had another wonderful experience this year, just like last time. One of the tasks I undertook was to organize a slide show for the final night, I was the only one who brought a computer (what a nerd, right?). I took the partner poses and some fun images of our experience to attempt to capture the feel of the week. It is short, only 2.5 minutes and our yogi buddies wanted to see it again. I thought I would post it here for anyone who wants to see a few more images.


So what is next for Dennis and I? We need to spend some time on the homes for now, no trips planned right now, but you never know!

The Final Family Climb in Tucson


Our kids have left to return to their lives in Seattle. Dennis and I were surprised at just how much we miss them ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Of course, we expected to feel a little sad when they left, but it has hit us harder than we thought it would. Perhaps that is because we know, as parents, that the window to have them available to us is closing. They are strong, independent young adults with dreams and bright futures ahead of them, which is what all parents strive toward for their children. But now, when they are fun and capable we want more time with them, not less!

We all got to have one last climb in Mt. Lemmon. We climbed “feed the sweed” on Barnum Rock. This is an easy three pitch ascent that we all enjoyed!


We climbed to the top of this guy!

It was a gorgeous day, really perfect for climbing! We drove to this spot in the picture above, crossed the street and started the hike up to the base.


This is the base looking up to the top


The view from the base looking over the valley. We started at the 6000 ft. level

Ryan led, of course, and Dennis followed. Alex and I were next.





With four people and just as many iPhones, we had plenty of photos of everybody.



Alex is making her way onto the top of the first pitch


Alex is belaying me as I climb, while Ryan supervises.


spoiler alert, I made it!

The view from the top of pitches 1 and 2



Some pictures of us climbing pitch 3







Ryan at the top!

Eventually, we all made our way up to Ryan. What a view!



Dennis at the top


Alex enjoying the view


Ryan and I packing some gear, getting ready for the decent


The obligatory summit selfie!

We had such an amazing time. The kids are really patient with us and chose a fun and simple climb. No one fell (I usually fall at least once!) and the rock conditions were perfect.

As I said before, Alex and Ryan are back in Seattle working and getting ready for classes. Dennis and I will be coping by heading to Manzanillo Mexico for a yoga retreat. We leave tomorrow, so don’t feel too sorry for us as we miss the kids!


Standard Route on Mt. Lemmon

Ryan and I first climbed on Mt. Lemmon near the base, at “the wall of the flying scorpions”. This was a single pitch crag and near 1500ft. elevation. We had fun, even though I did split open a couple fingers in the process.

This time we decided to head up near the 4000ft area to a multi pitch climb named “the standard route“. This climb is located on Chimney rock and is only a 200ft climb, divided into 5 pitches. Perfect for me but pretty lame for Ryan!

It was a gorgeous day when we got to the base of the wall.


Ryan placed his rope and some gear near the base and we “suited up”.




There was a party of three ahead of us, so we waiting our turn. I watched the two women ahead of us in the hopes of learning the best way to maneuver the route.

Then Ryan lead up to the first anchor.


There was a big ledge here to sit and wait for our turn on the second pitch.


The view just keeps getting better!

This is the start of the second, and my least favorite, pitch. This is the chimney, which is just large enough for your body to squeeze into the gap. You can see the last climber in the group ahead of us as she tries to work her way up the rock face.


Eventually, Ryan and I got up, through and over this pitch. Below is the top of the chimney and the start of my favorite pitch, number 3.


We waited here for a bit while the other group made their way up.





Helmet hair!



Ryan was tired of waiting at this point and was ready to head up.

The view from the top of pitch 3.



After talking with the group ahead of us, we all decided to combing pitches 4 and 5 and went to the top!


This rock teetering on the spike, was another 1000ft or so above us. Would love to climb in that area!


The obligatory Summit Selfie!



We waited for our turn to rappel off the top.


Ryan goes first and I wait for him to yell clear, then I head down. When we are both on the ground, we pull the rope through the anchor.

But the rope did not cooperate this time. Ryan had to climb back up and retrieve it!


This happens sometimes! Luckily he knew what to do because that rope is $300.00, Yikes!

After a fun climb there is only one thing left to do!


Happy Hour at Zona78!

Our next climb will be with the whole family!

The Climbing Adventure Continues on Mount Lemmon

Ryan and I have been climbing in the Southern Arizona area, and have been to the Cochise Stronghold area a couple times. We like that area, but it is a two hour drive from our home in the Catalina foothills and makes for a pretty long day. We decided to head over to Mount Lemmon, in the Coronado National Forest, which is only 40 minutes away.

The day was perfect for climbing with the temperature at 73F and no wind. And, since it was a weekday, we would not have too many other climbers to contend with on the wall.

There are many crags here, mostly single pitch climbing, all well bolted with “lower offs” in place.

We chose the “wall of the flying scorpions” because it had several routes, some low enough for me, and most harder, for Ryan to climb.

This is the view from the parking area and our routes are on the far right rock wall.


We had a bit of a hike to get through the gully and over to the crag. One thing I have learned about hiking in the desert is that the cactus are not the worst offenders. I used to believe that the cacti, with their sharp spines, were the only foliage to be avoided. But the cactus are not the biggest problem! ย The brush and bushes, none of which are the iconic saguaro variety, are the real danger. Look at the spikes on this bush!


This, and the many large aloe vera plants with their razor sharp leaves, are the real obstacles along the path.

We made our way to the other side of the valley and found the wall.



These are the easier routes, so just a warm up for Ryan! I made it up this first, 5.8 just fine.


But, 1/3 of the way up the second wall (5.9) I had a little problem.


Turns out this rock was a little sharper than I had hoped. As I pulled up on a finger tip hold, I sliced my index finger. It wasn’t too bad, but the blood made the rest of the route a little slippery and I then took a larger piece of my thumb off.


That was ok because these were the only two routes I was going to attempt on this wall anyway. So I finished off the climb and we moved down the wall to Ryan’s routes, 5.10b, 5.10b/c and a 5.11-.





Ryan’s routes were longer and obviously harder. At this point I was just belaying him and taking some shots from the base of the wall. A pretty view!


The view from the base of the wall, looking back on the road leading up Mount Lemmon



Ryan’s favorite climbing shirt. Last year’s Christmas gift from his sister.

We were not alone at the crag, a few other duos were there working the wall as well. We caught a glimpse of them as we drove away.


Zooming in on the wall, you can see one of their back packs (circled) where the belayer is standing and the arrow indicates the climber on his way up.


This must have been how Ryan and I appeared from the other side of the highway.

There are so many other crags to explore on Mount Lemmon and we will be heading back to check them out!