After our appointment with D & R RV in Glendale last week, we moved back to McDowell Mountain Park for another week or so. While we were here over the winter and took care of our doctor appointments, I tried to get my primary care to switch me to a different type of thyroid medication due to some heart palpitations that I thought might be related. She was not comfortable doing this but referred me to an endocrinologist, whom I was not able to get an appointment with until last Monday, which is why we came back. She did change my medication, so now I will just have to wait and see if it improves things over time.
Jim had a few new growths sprout up on his face and scalp since his last dermatologist appointment a few months ago, so although dermatology was booked, he was able to get in with family practice and got some things zapped the other day. Looks like he has chicken pox, as the doctor went a bit crazy with the liquid nitrogen, but now he should be good until we come back next winter.
We normally leave this area long before it gets hot enough for things to really start blooming, so although the green desert we left back in mid-March is now brown, the cholla blooms are adding some color.
As are the ocotillo.
And the palo verde trees are full of tiny yellow flowers, which the bees just love.
But my favorite is the stately saguaro, looking even more majestic with a crown of white blossoms, the official state flower of Arizona.
Each evening after dark several flowers open, but by mid to late afternoon the following day they close up, never to open again. You can see the brown ones on the right that have previously bloomed.
During their short life the blossoms provide food for bees, bats and birds, who then pollinate the flowers. If a flower was lucky enough to be pollinated it will turn into a bright red fruit that matures later in the summer and contains up to 2,000 tiny black seeds, which will be eaten by birds and coyotes and distributed across the desert. A single cactus can produce over 40 million seeds over the course of its 250-year life, but few germinate and even fewer grow into cactus.
This northern flicker was doing its part.
Of course we couldn’t come back to Fountain Hills without spending a couple days at Fearless Kitty Rescue. Luckily there were some open shifts, and we were happy to fill in and get our cat fix.
Molly is one of my favorites. She’s older but very sweet and shy, loves to be brushed, and gets along well with all the other cats. She was adopted earlier in the year but brought back because they said their other cat would not accept her.
Tocho is a very friendly cat and I’m sure he will find a home soon.
Can’t remember this beautiful cat’s name, but it was new and a bit shy. Several cats we came to know over the winter have been adopted but there are always more to take their place.
One afternoon we drove to Chandler to meet our friend Debbie for lunch at Uncle Bear’s Brewery. The beer and food were good, dogs are allowed on the patio, and there are cute dog photos all over the walls. This is my pathetic attempt at a selfie.
We’ve mostly been biking the trails in the mornings or late afternoons to avoid the heat, but since it cooled off the past few days we took a hike to Sunrise Peak in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It was 5.8 miles out and back starting at the 138th St. trailhead a few blocks behind the Mayo Clinic off Shea Blvd in Scottsdale. We liked this sign at the start of the trail.
It was a 1,300’ climb on the rocky trail, but didn’t get too steep until the end.
3,069’ Sunrise Peak, our destination.
Not sure why but there were only a couple of blooming saguaros in this area.
Looking down on one of the gated subdivisions, where some of the houses have the preserve as their backyard.
Jim spotted this chest chained to a big rock down an embankment. We have no idea what it’s there for, as it would be a treacherous descent to get to it.
At this point it’s only another 0.2 mile, but 229 more feet of climbing to reach the summit.
Jim was behind me and about halfway up he somehow missed the last turn to the top. Luckily I spotted him below and yelled down to tell him he was going the wrong way.
Me at the high point of Sunrise Peak.
Views from the peak, looking down towards the trail.
Not only could we see Scottsdale/Phoenix,
but also Fountain Hills, which was blocked from view by the peak on our way up.
It’s a good hike, one we would come back and do again. Today we move north to Prescott and some new scenery for a change.