Climbing in Squamish BC ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธโ›บ๏ธ Mom’s Take Away!

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One of the best perks, for me, as a mature climber, is that I get to climb with my adult children ๐Ÿ˜Šย Both our daughter and son are excellent climbers. Our daughter, Alex, began just two years ago, but as a former, nationally ranked gymnast, it did not take long for her to pass her parents in both ability and passion for the sport. Ryan, our son, began as a little boy. He joined the climbing team for a few years, and now is working on his AMGA Rock Guide certifications.

What this means is that I have this amazing situation where my son guides the family on all the best routes, in a variety of beautiful climbing areas. Smith Rocks in Oregon, Mazama in Washington, and The Cochise Stronghold in Arizona, are just a few of the sites we have climbed together.

But my favorite, from this season, was the weekend we spent in Squamish, B.C. The plan was simple. Ryan and I drove up from Washington, on Friday and secured a campsite at the Squamish Municipal Campground. Alex and her boyfriend were driving separately to meet up with us. What can I say about this campsite? It was definitely cheap, but far from quiet!! The reality is that we did not sleep much those two nights, thanks to some extremely rude campers๐Ÿ˜ฉย However, the nearby showers made it a favorite choice for Alex and I. Seems the guys didn’t care too much about that ๐Ÿ˜‚. Next time, mom needs a hotel๐Ÿ˜‰!

Ryan and I had some daylight left that Friday evening, and didn’t want to squander a minute of climbing time! We set out to climb Star Chek

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Ryan gearing up on the first pitch of Star Chek

This is a pretty easy, straight forward climb. And the views of the Cheakamus gorge are phenomenal! Another unique feature of this climb is that you first descend into the gorge to find the base of the route. It is steep, but there are fixed ropes to help, we did not find it too difficult.

This first pitch (5.8) is 4 bolts leading out to the arete. Pitch 2 (5.7) is longer with 8 bolts and follows the arete to an excellent ledge. Definitely a picture moment๐Ÿ“ธ

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Pitch 3 (5.9) is 4 bolts, which takes you to the top

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Ryan took some pictures and video of me on the way up! You can really hear the roar of the river in the video ๐ŸŒŠ

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As I said in the video “I love this climb”! We need to return so that hubby and Alex can send it as well. Just beautiful! And, the rock quality is excellent. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Now that we were back at the top, we walked over to the road, and our car. Just enough time to get dinner in downtown Squamish, which has many dining options! This is one camping trip where we did not need to pack a ton of food, or a cooler. It was easier to make the short trip into town. Lots of Tim Horton’s to choose from, because you know, I had to have my coffee โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ณ!

The next morning, now that Alex and Joe (boyfriend) had arrived, we all set out for theย Thighmaster bouldering area. I should mention that Alex and Joe prefer bouldering where Ryan favors multi-pitch climbing. As a result, I get to do both!

We made our way (very short approach) to the Black Mark boulder

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The route you see here is Black Mark (V4, 10 ft) and beyond my abilities at this time! But not a problem for Alex!

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She crushed it! Ryan and I were still warming up.

Then it was my turn ๐Ÿ˜ฌย I set my sites on Adam’s Apple (V1, 8ft). My history with bouldering is that I tend to get a move, or two, from the mantle and then struggle. ย This route is on the same rock, to the left in the picture above.

With the kids cheering me on, here I go!

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Getting to the lip was fairly easy

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I head right looking for a place to throw the heel, nothing here๐Ÿ˜ณ

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Head back to the left, and starting to get tired

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I throw it left, and the fight begins!! I have no idea how long I spent trying to haul over this mantel

The view from above was so sweet!๐Ÿ’•

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The boys seem bored๐Ÿ˜Š

And, only minor scrapings to show for it๐Ÿ˜‚

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This was my last send for the that day, I was ready for more coffeeโ˜•๏ธ. Apparently Ryan was done too, so we went to downtown to shop for gear while Alex and Joe went onto harder climbs ๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธ

After lunch, and some retail therapy, Ryan and I decided to do a little hiking. Squamish has plenty to do for the non climbers in your party as well! We found a trail that lead out of the downtown area and paralleled the estuary. The Oceanfront Interpretive Trail lead out from Cleveland Street in downtown and ended at the Howe Sound.

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I do recommend this easy hike/walk, as the view really is beautiful. Unfortunately, Ryan and I had to turn back to meet Alex and Joe for dinner. Next time, we will make it to the beach!

After another fine meal, and zero sleep ๐Ÿคฌย we decided on how best to spend the last few hours in this beautiful place. I did some campground yoga, while the kids poured over the climbing books.

It was decided that Alex and Joe would head over to another bouldering area, while Ryan and I set out to do some trad climbing on the apron, located on “the chief“. ย Officially known as the Stawamas Chief, it is a giant (over 700m) granite dome. It’s just gorgeous๐Ÿ”

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We settled on two routes that would get us to the top of the apron (red arrow). This was a slab climbing day, to be sure!

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We started out on Rambles, a 5.8- with 4 pitches. The approach was very short from the parking lot (love that!๐Ÿ˜Š) The pitches can be easily combined to 2 total. We did do the 10b variation on pitch 4.

Great view at the top of rambles!

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Rambles will get you to base of several other climbs. We chose Banana Peel, (5.7, 8 pitches). The first three pitches were pretty straightforward, pitch 4 had an interesting finger crack traverse, but quite easy. The rest of the route was just a lot of smearing along ย various flake lines.

I don’t have a lot of pictures as we were moving pretty quickly. We still had a decent drive after this! Ryan had told me we would walk off, but I didn’t realize this meant we would walk off down the front of the apron! ๐Ÿ˜ฌย I thought we would hike down the back, like most walk offs. He enjoyed videotaping me while I mentaling worked through this!

Obviously, we made it back to the car just fine! I can’t say that it was as easy crossing the border back into Washington ๐Ÿ˜œย such long delays!!

So, what did I learn on this trip?

  1. My kids are awesome, I am constantly in awe of their abilities and I am lucky they let me tag along ๐Ÿ’•
  2. Squamish is gorgeous! And the climbing there is magnificent๐Ÿ”
  3. Campgroundsโ›บ๏ธ are still awful, I need a bed, shower and a good night’s sleep. Hotel next time for sure๐Ÿ˜Š
  4. Tim Horton’s makes pretty good coffeeโ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
  5. There are many more climbs here that I want to send in the future, and I am strong enough to do some harder grades
  6. I want to learn to place trad gear ๐Ÿง—โ€โ™€๏ธ
  7. I want to do more leading, if Ryan will let me!๐Ÿ˜‰
  8. Crossing the Blaine border in the summer sucks! Nexus card perhaps?

Let me know your thoughts on this amazing, beautiful climbing area!

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A Family Vacation/Adventure to Remember ๐Ÿšฃโ€โ™€๏ธ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŒŠ

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I have finally, finally sorted through these pictures from our OARS trip in August๐Ÿ˜ณ!

If you happen to have seen the OARS trip that my hubby and I went on back in July, then you already now what fans we are of this organization.

It has taken me this long for a couple of reasons. 1. I have been fortunate enough to be extra busy this summer. I have been traveling and playing with my kids๐Ÿ˜Šย And, 2. mine was the only camera on this trip, which meant that my other family members would grab my phone and took far more pictures than my capacity to sort through!

I have lots of this:

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And this, to deal with!

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So….You can see part of why this took so long!

This was a true family vacation. My hubby, our two kids, one boyfriend, hubby’s parents and me, set out for Moab, Utah. Our plan was to visit both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, for the first couple days, then meet our OARS guides for a 5 day, 4 night white water adventure.

We flew from Seattle to Salt Lake city and rented two cars to transport the seven of us, and our gear, to Moab (a four hour drive). After stocking up our VRBO and getting a good night sleep, we all piled into one car for the 30 minute ride to Arches. To accomplish this task, two of us had to ride in the back of the van. The smallest ones got that honor!

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Yes, I have a coffee mug with me! This was not the highlight of the day, to be sure ๐Ÿคข. But is was worth it to see this gorgeous park!

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Of course, you can’t take climbers to the rocks and expect them to stay on the ground.

 

We had a blast climbing and scrambling up the formations!

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Even Grandpa could not resist doing some climbing!

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That evening, the kids and I decided to hike to the iconic Delicate Arch, to view it at sunset. My son set a rapid pace, so we got there in plenty of time!

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We hiked back in the dark and got ready for Canyonlands the next day.

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Canyonlands is beautiful, no doubt! But I have to say, for me, Arches was a little better! Of course the kids found plenty to occupy themselves๐Ÿ˜Š

Alex loves to boulder, so she had to work her way over the top of this ledge.

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And Ryan couldn’t pass up this crack climbing opportunity. I am sure that we received some odd looks from the other visitors ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Finally, it was time to meet our guides and start our trip down the Colorado River. Our path would take us through Canyonlands once again, but at the water level. We began with a couple days of motoring down the river. We had a lot of ground to cover before finding the rapids.

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We were treated to amazing views!

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And then the skies opened up and it pouredย โ›ˆย ๐Ÿ’จย ๐ŸŒŠย I am talking biblical proportions here! We all grabbed our rain gear and huddled, under what little cover there was available. But we had to keep motoring down river to make it to our first camp site.

Very wet!

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And, look at the color of the water! It was full of sediment streaming down the red rocks. The guides, who spend every week in this area, said they had never seen the water so red.

 

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Nevertheless, they set up camp and made us dinner๐Ÿ˜Š

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OARS trips are known for their amazing food preparations, even in the middle of nowhere! We had delicious dinners and breakfast (my favorite meal of the day) was perfect, every time๐Ÿ˜‹

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Our first night was wet, but fun!

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The next day was cooler than most, nice if you are in the desert, in August. We did appreciate the cooler temps.

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We did dock along the way and take some time for hiking around. Our guides were very knowledgeable about the local geology and the former indigenous tribes. We saw glyphs and old ruins that were the way of life thousands of years ago.

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The weather dried out and the hot temps returned showing us amazing sunsets and abundant wildlife. I especially loved the bats at twilight.

 

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While the guides made dinner, we would pitch our tents and play games. My son is throwing a horseshoe in the picture below, That is some follow through ๐Ÿ’•

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One night, I was taking some panoramic shots when the kids got involved.

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Each night we were treated to spectacular sunsets and moon risings.

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Our last day was rapids day! Sadly, I was too busy trying to survive to take any pictures of us actually navigating the white water. It took all day, and I swallowed a lot of the Colorado in the process ๐Ÿ˜†. Absolutely the best day of the trip! We did not flip, which is great, but we did go vertical a few times๐ŸŒŠ

All great trips have an ending! We motored to the extraction point.

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And loaded up into two, very small planes!

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Ryan jumped into the copilot’s seat.

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Our final view of Canyonlands came from above, making our trip complete!

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This is the “confluence”, where the Colorado meets the Green River. We were treated to a view that is unique due to that thunderstorm from three days prior! Really amazing๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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If you have hung on this far, then thank you! I do hope I have not driven you crazy with my wacko family adventures! If you get the opportunity to travel with OARS, you will not be disappointed. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’•

Adventure Travel and an Apology๐Ÿ’•

I am a terrible blog buddy! ๐Ÿ˜žย I am so sorry that I have not been paying attention to all your amazing and wonderful posts. I do have a feeble, but credible defense.

My adult children are both between jobs and done with college. Which means that when they call me up and say “mom, do you want to climb/paddle board/go on a hike/see a movie…” I say “YES!” You see, I know that this is a rare opportunity for me. Next summer, they will be working, and/or in graduate school, in other states. I am milking this for all I can while they are nearby! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The hubby and I have also been traveling quite a bit too. We recently went on an OARS trip for our anniversary in July. I have mentioned the OARS company when I wrote about adventure traveling. They organize and partner with local groups to set up adventures all over the world. This time we headed up to Bear Camp, at Chilko Lake in Northern Canada. This beautiful and remote property is owned and operated by Brian and Ashley, a married couple that hosts adventures all over the world! You can find out more about them at Iroamtheworld.com.

Granville Island, Vancouver

The first part of this adventure required us to drive up to Vancouver, BC. Having lived most of our lives in Seattle, we have been to Vancouver many times. But this was the first time we have ever stayed at Granville Island. What a treat!!! We were sad that we only had one night there.

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The island has running paths, ferry rides, paddle boarding… So many activities and in the heart of this amazing skyline.

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Check out these silos! The art work is vibrant and impressive.

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I found this building to be so unique.

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This pirate ship cruises around the island to the delight of many squealing kids!

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The local street market reminded me of Pike Place in Seattle. It is full of fresh foods, unique gifts and specialty foods. I took way to many pictures, but will spare you!

 

Getting to Bear Camp

Did I mention that this is remote?๐Ÿ˜ณย We boarded a small plane in Vancouver, and flew to Williams Lake. The plane held 18 passengers, with the pilots that makes 20 people total.

 

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Once at Williams Lake, we then pilled into a van and drove for another 4 hours to the camp. Many of us cited this bus ride as the low point of the trip. Still worth it to get there! But, a long dusty ride!

Arrival Time!

The main lodge, where we have our meals and meet for our activities, had our tent assignments and morning coffee drink orders! Yes, this is glamping!!

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This is tent #8, our home for the next 5 days ๐Ÿ˜Šย as seen from the lake.

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And, inside the tent…a king bed with lamps, heated blanket and beautiful wooden furniture.

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Some of you may be wondering about the facilities. Well, check out this gorgeous shower (one of three available for the guests). Each is hand crafted with the stones from the lake.

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And check out our view from the deck! The water is clear, clean (no filtration needed) and COLD ๐Ÿ˜ฌ. Canadian mountain water, all the way!

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The Activities

We only had three full days and wanted to spend as much time on the water as possible. We decided to brave the class I and class II rapids in the inflatable Kayaks on the first day.

It was actually raining a bit for most of the day. But we were supplied with full wet suits and were never cold!

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I was not good at this! And did find myself in a tree (or two!) but it was a blast!

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The second day we decided to attack one of the hardest hikes we have ever been on!

This is Mount Tuillan, it is 12 miles round trip, so that is 6 miles with 3000 ft gain, and back again!

 

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Finally, the views were starting to pay off about half way up!

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And then the top!

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We are smiling here, but actually suffering. So sore and the mosquitoes were the worst part!! ๐Ÿ˜ซ

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The biting bugs were so bad in fact, that we jumped on some paddle boards to get out onto the lake once we returned from this hike. Our theory was that there would be no bugs out there!

Look how clear this water is!!

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We really enjoyed the calm water, and the peaceful, relaxing time on the lake. Unfortunately, Dennis still managed to get a large bite while in the middle of the lake!

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After killing my upper body kayaking in the trees, and my lower body hiking the mountiain, I wanted something fun and simple for the last day. Fishing!! ๐ŸŽฃ

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We landed 8 fish between the three of us! We released them, but it was so fun watching the trout hit the lures. The water was that clear!

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The one activity that we did not do was horse back riding, but this is also available on this trip.

Now for something important, the food!

Of course we have to talk about the food! One of the hallmarks of an OARS trip is that they provide all the meals. And, they don’t skimp on that!

Our first dinner was served right on butcher paper, down the center of the table! I love this idea, and plan to steal it๐Ÿ˜Š

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Another dinner!

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Desserts were delicious too! ๐Ÿซ

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Dennis loved this vegan fudge.

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And, eggs Benedict anyone? Don’t you always make that when you go camping๐Ÿ’•

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All great things must come to an end, and it was time to make our long, long way back to civilization. Fortunately, we were spared the four hour bus ride this time! We took a float plane back to Vancouver. This was my first time on an amphibian aircraft and I was so excited!

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This time it was a family of 4 and us! 7 whole people on this flight, counting the all important pilot๐Ÿ˜Š

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Gorgeous views!

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And back to Vancouver

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From here is was just a simple 4 hour drive back to Seattle (thank you border control ๐Ÿ˜ฌ)

 

This was our second OARS trip and we enjoyed it just as much as our first, a decade ago!

When is the next one you ask? In 5 days!!!! Yep, our entire family -including a boyfriend and grandparents, are heading to Moab to raft a segment of the Colorado!

Thank you for hanging in there with me this summer!๐Ÿ’•

 

Ducks in the Desert?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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Getting a little closer.

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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˜

 

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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!

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And at the tips of this spiky plant!

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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.

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

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

 

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

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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!

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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.

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The top of the dam, which is never wet!

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

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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’•

 

Roda’s Critter Connection Challenge, Winter Edition!

Another Monday, another critter! I was lucky enough to catch this desert toad while we were hiking Saturday. Well, I didn’t have to try too hard, he is in a terrarium!

There was a children’s animal program at Catalina State Park, near the trail head. They brought in quite a few critters that are commonly found in the desert here, near Tucson. It was a warm day and the animals were quite active inside their enclosures, but these two toads appeared kinda bored with the whole deal! Check out his fingers!

The feature image is where we ended up at the top of the hike. It’s a beautiful park ๐Ÿ™‚

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I hope I can find an interesting critter for next week ๐Ÿ™‚