Monday, March 2, 2015

A Climb to Jester’s Peak

 

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Last year while in the Yuma area we hiked up the very popular Telegraph Pass, a steep climb up a mostly paved trail. We can actually see it from our lot here in the Foothills but the trail is on the north side of I-8 and we are on the south side.

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Luckily we have access to miles of BLM land and trails to the Gila Mountains less than two blocks away. Through a friend we met Manny, a neighbor down the street who is an avid hiker and road cyclist, and he invited us to tag along on one of his regular trails for a hike up to Jester’s Peak at an elevation of 1,900’, pretty high by Yuma standards.

Rain was in the forecast so the skies didn’t make for great photos but our destination is the flag at the top of Jester’s Peak, which you can barely see here.

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Manny said it would take about an hour to climb to the top, but that didn’t factor in just getting to the trail, which was a couple miles away. You can actually drive to the trail head on a rough Jeep road to make it just a 1.4 mile hike to the flag, but starting from home we ended up doing just under 7 miles round trip in a little over 4 hours. It also didn’t factor in stopping to chat and catch our breath on the steep parts.

It’s hard to talk and go uphill at the same time.

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Not sure we would have found our way if Manny hadn’t been guiding us. The trail just disappeared at times among the rocks as we got closer to the top.

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There were several places where I was doubting whether or not I would get back down, since much of the trail is right along the edge, steep, and covered in small rocks that tend to make a foot easily slide out from under you. As it turned out it wasn’t as bad going back down as we thought it might be, and the reward, the views, was well worth it. Even on a dreary day.

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Jim and Manny check out the geocache and memorial.

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Proof.

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You can see our trail snaking through the rocky hills.

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Many of the beavertail cacti were blooming, and after the rain we got overnight more color should be coming out in the desert soon. We’ve never timed it right in the past but we’re hoping to get lucky and see more flowers this year.

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Manny offered to take us on another hike to an airplane wreckage site before we leave the area, which sounds interesting. Yuma just keeps growing on us, although doing laundry here is about as bad as in Quartzsite.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Another Side of Yuma

 

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On Monday we moved a whole 22 miles from Mittry Lake to a lot in the Yuma Foothills, on the far east side of town. We’ll be here three weeks while we take care of business, some of which we’ve accomplished since we arrived.

This is a very nice neighborhood, consisting of houses with adjoining RV pads. The owners are not here so we have a pleasant private courtyard and full hookups. And no dirt!

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Our street. It feels strange living in a “real” neighborhood again. By the way, the house and lot are for sale, if anyone is interested.

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We’ve taken a long walk and bike ride around the neighborhood, and a hike on the nearby BLM/AZ Trust Land. There are plenty of roads and trails going up the mountains to explore.

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Some of our time has been spent shopping for RV parts and tools to get the job done. After our faucet replacement I couldn’t stand looking at the corroded sink drains, so we found the right size and got to work. Of course it took much longer than it should because the old drains were a pain to remove. But after much cussing, elbow grease, and borrowing a tool from a neighbor, success at last. I forgot to take a before photo, but trust me, it wasn’t pretty.

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Jim is still in the process of redoing some of the old adhesive on the solar panel mounts, and we have decided to attempt the carpet and staple removal ourselves before the floor installer comes. Mainly so it doesn’t take as long, since we have to deal with cats while they are putting in the new floor.

Having an address means we can get mail and packages, so we’ve ordered some drawers to mount under the table for extra storage. Today someone is coming out to give us an estimate on repainting the faded black fake windows on the front of the Lazy Daze. And the cats have vet appointments on Saturday.

The foam in the chairs we had reupholstered here last year has collapsed, so yesterday we stopped by Action and had them take a look. There is a new manager, and he says they didn’t put the right foam in, so they are going to redo it next week, although we will have to pay for it. We just want it done right this time, as we’ve been very happy with the fabric.

So it hasn’t been the most exciting week, but we are chipping away at our list. Just part of living the good life!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

One More Mittry Lake Hike and a Ride on the River

 

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On Saturday Jim, Chris, Suzanne and I took one last hike around Mittry Lake. We wanted to go back to the area where we saw the sheep the previous day, hoping that’s where they hang out. What a nice surprise when thy appeared about fifteen minutes into the hike. Looked like the same family of four.

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We ended up doing a five mile loop, mostly along ridgelines where we had a nice breeze.

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Other than the sheep we only saw two women on horseback and an ATV.

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We could see the lake and our RVs but getting back to them is always a puzzle out there.

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Interestingly, that evening at happy hour a ranger stopped to ask us if all of our party was accounted for. Apparently a woman reported seeing four hikers and she was concerned that they were lost. He said they were getting ready to spend a lot of money on a search and I think he thought we may have been the four people.

Kim’s husband has an old college friend, Jim, who works at the Army Proving Grounds just up the road from Mittry Lake. A friend of his, Rob, owns a pontoon boat and they invited Kim and her friends for a ride on the Colorado River on Sunday. Kim, Debbie, Suzanne, Chris, Jimbo and I took them up on the offer, along with Jim’s 12 year old son Bradford. My Jim, who isn’t all that crazy about water and can’t swim, decided to take a pass. It was for the better as the day turned out very windy and cool, not the most ideal for boating.

Moochers at the dock.

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Backing away. That’s our fearless captain Rob in the white t-shirt.

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They put in at Squaw Lake by the Imperial Dam.

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Our first stop was Lake Martinez, a waterfront community that’s a mixture of huge lovely homes, park models and RVs.

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We stopped for a bathroom break at the Cantina.

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Where this photo was hanging right outside the lady’s room. Doesn’t look like any fisherman I’ve ever seen!

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Our next stop was to visit an old miner’s cabin. But in order to get to the little lake to access the trail to the cabin we had to go under this overgrown brush.

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Seriously? We thought Rob was kidding until he told us to get down as he plowed on through.

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Once we got done laughing and picking leaves out of our hair, it was time to get off the boat and take a little hike to check out the cabin.

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Suzanne and Chris relaxing on the porch.

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We were surprised there hadn’t been more vandalism. Guess because you can only access this area by boat.

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It was a beautiful area with trails everywhere.

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You can barely see our boat. Luckily it was still there when we got back down to it.

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The first cactus flower we’ve seen this year.

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After lunch on the boat the fun was repeated on the way out.

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Everyone down! I think the adults had as much fun as Bradford.

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And that wasn’t all the excitement. On our way back we went through some narrow passageways that turned out to be too shallow. We ran aground a few times, and finally Debbie, Rob, Bradford and I had to get in the water to push us out, since we were the only ones wearing water sandals. Who wears shoes and socks to go out on a boat, anyway?:-)

And wouldn’t you know we came upon five kayaks and another boat. The kayakers weren’t too happy to see us coming.

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There was barely room to pass the other boat.

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But we made it back safely due to our fine captain. The scenery along the Colorado River is lovely and hardly anyone else was out on the water. Rob said in the summer it’s packed with boats.

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Thanks again to Rob and Jim for putting up with Kim’s crazy friends for the day. It was a great ending to our stay at Mittry Lake.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another Week at Mittry Lake

 

Daily hikes have taken us to new trails and much off-trail scrambling. This area is remote and rugged and easy to get lost in, which makes for some challenging hiking.

Chris telling tall tales to Jim.

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Modern rock art.

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Any guesses on what this skull might be?

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Vegetation is sparse around here, but some of it looks quite healthy.

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The only saguaro for miles around. It ought to be quite majestic in an another 50-100 years.

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 Suzanne getting a close up of a blooming ocotillo.

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Jim getting high, again.

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Swastika bridge, with quite an interesting history.

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We had a special happy hour last week, with a visit by Nina from Wheeling It, and kB from Occupation of Independence, along with our resident gang. I forgot to take even one photo. Denise from Sassy’s On ‘Da Road arrived the previous day. What a nice RV she has! Jim lusted after her “garage”.

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Lazy Daze friends Charlie and Marti stopped by for a couple nights on their way to San Diego. Of course we had to take them on a hike to the Christmas tree, one of our landmarks. It’s just a sad looking ocotillo with a few silver ornaments hanging on it surrounded by cairns and odd names spelled out in the rock, but if we make it back there we know we’re only a mile or so from home.

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Yesterday Suzanne and I did a long hike to new places, and happened upon four bighorn sheep just lounging on the rocks. We were very excited, and they cooperated for lots of photos.

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We had a cell signal atop the ridge, and had been out for about 3 hours. I knew Jim would be concerned, since he doubted our navigational skills. I sent him a quick text. “Long hike, not lost. 4 sheep.” I got this instant quick-witted reply. “2 cats”. When I stopped laughing I told Suzanne this is why I love that man. After 32 years he can still make me laugh.

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Since we’ve given up on buying another RV for now anyway, this week we put in a new kitchen faucet. We also found someone to install new flooring in our Lazy Daze but are having a little trouble deciding on what we want to put down. We have a couple weeks until he can do it so I have a feeling we’ll be back to the flooring store a time or two more before making a final decision.

And our windshield repair was unsatisfactory, being on the driver’s side glass, so we got a new one installed. There is always something to have to deal with it seems.

Payback photo of Suzanne with her hair in curlers. Even us boondockers can have pretty, poofy hair! Too bad neither of us took “after” pictures.

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On Monday we’ll be relocating but have some fun plans for the weekend. More about that later, and for now, as Judy would say,

The End.

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