Friday, October 30, 2015

Odds and Ends


Not much exciting going on in our world. We’ve been riding our bikes most days on the many trails here at McDowell Mountain Park, but we’ve thrown in a couple hikes for variety.

The lovely Bluff Trail.



We joined about 25 people for the full moon ranger-led fitness hike on Tuesday evening on the 4.5 mile Scenic Trail. Clouds rolled in that afternoon so it turned out to be a full flashlight hike instead. Still a good workout and met some nice people. On a clear evening we should have seen the sun set and the moon rise over the mountains as we climbed up the ridge. This was as good as it got.


If the hike had just been scheduled for Monday it would have been perfect.



P1030211 (Large)

We’ve been slowly getting things cleaned up, but have lots more to go. We didn’t know the Subaru could ever look this good again, after all the mud and dirt it’s been sporting for months.


The hummingbird feeders have been busy, but not only with hummingbirds. Watching them certainly helps keep the cats occupied. The male and female Gila woodpeckers take turns getting a drink, but this female visits more often.


Jim is feeling better, having quit taking the Protonix for his heartburn. He thought it was causing a mental fog so he just stopped it and feels back to normal with only mild intermittent heartburn. He saw the gastroenterologist yesterday who said his endoscopy looked great, and the biopsies were normal. We wonder if the Xarelto was the cause, since he is doing better on the new blood thinner Eliquis, but the doctor doesn’t seem to think so. They want him to have one more test for reflux, which he scheduled, but may cancel if he continues to feel better.

When we rode through the trailhead staging area a couple days ago they were already setting up for tomorrow’s Javelina Jundred, a 100 mile or 100K costumed running race that must be completed in 30 hours. We’ll have to go watch and see what interesting costumes people are running in.

Housing looks a bit crowded. We heard there are around 600 entrants. Wonder how many people per tent?


And I am going to volunteer at the local no-kill cat rescue while we’re here, but more on that later.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Change in Plans


Although we had intended to stay in southern Utah for another month, health issues have again changed our plans. Jim has been having problems with heartburn for several months and it just isn’t responding to medication. He has a history of hiatal hernia but the meds have always worked in the past. Now that he’s on the blood thinner Xarelto, which causes an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, we decided it wasn’t a good idea to wait another month until his annual scheduled doctor’s appointments at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. We hated to leave the gang but he got an appointment this week and we are now at McDowell Mountain Park, after 3 days of driving with a one night stop at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, deep in the heart of the Navajo Nation near Chinle, AZ and the next night at the Home Depot parking lot in Payson.

This is Canyon de Chelly. The following night at Home Depot wasn’t quite as scenic. We first visited here back in April 2009. At that time the campground was free, but now it is $14/night with no senior pass discount. They do have flush toilets, water and a dump station.


We took the scenic drive along the south rim to several overlooks, where we could barely make out ruins on the other side. We forgot our binoculars but the camera has a good zoom.




This is Spider Rock, towering 800’ above the canyon floor.                                         


Being sacred Navajo land, all access to the canyon is by guided tour, except for the 1.5 mile White House Ruin trail, which switchbacks 600’ down to the bottom. Of course we had to go.


The White House Ruins were thought to be occupied from about 1070 AD to 1300 AD.




We spotted some ancient rock art.

Canyon de Chelly, Chinle, AZ

And some that was a bit more modern.




It was a beautiful spot. I can see why they chose to live here.


Fast forward to Monday, when we arrived at McDowell Mountain, settled into a lovely site, and went for a bike ride on a couple of the trails.


Yesterday was Jim’s appointment with the Family Practice nurse practitioner, who got him scheduled for an endoscopy this morning, took him off Prilosec and changed him to Protonix, a prescription drug that inhibits stomach acid secretion. And although he doesn’t see the gastroenterologist until the 29th he received a report after the test that all looked normal, but they took several routine biopsies. That was good news, but doesn’t answer the question about what is causing the heartburn. Jim did speak with the hematologist’s office, and they decided to switch his blood thinner from Xarelto to Eliquis, in case that is contributing to it. So after just two days at least we feel like some progress has been made.

We got home from the clinic about 11 this morning, and after feeding Jim a bowl of cereal and getting him in bed for a nap (he was pretty goofy!) I went out for another bike ride. This is a great place to be stuck for a while.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Red Rock Hiatus


Unseasonably warm temperatures and wanting to avoid the family crowds over the 4 day Utah Education Association school break which begins today, we decided to move higher to the Manti La Sal National Forest between Monticello and Blanding, Utah. We found a pleasant spot at 7,400’ with plenty of room for everyone.


Yesterday was Laurelee’s birthday so of course we celebrated with a hike. It was quite a change from scrambling on slick rock to wandering through the still colorful woods.







We wondered if Jerry is still single, or still alive.



It was a very nice change of pace.

Devil's Canyon Utah Boondock

A cold front  is heading our way this weekend and we’re not sure we care to stay on an already rutted dirt road with three days of predicted rain. Decisions, decisions….

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Another Hike in Lost Jacket Canyon and Blogger Meet-Up



After a day of rest following the Chesler Park loop we went back to what we have dubbed “Lost Jacket Canyon” to show Mark and Bobbie around the area. Laurelee and her dog Libby joined us as they stayed at the campground about a half mile from where we started our hike. We ended up walking 7 miles through new territory, more lovely red rock scenery.



At one point Jim took the low road.


While the rest of us got high.




Laurelee, Libby and I had a bit of a problem trying to get back down, but Mark came to our rescue.




During our lunch break Libby dug out a nice cool spot in the sand. She’s a good hiker.


This is a very scenic area with unlimited possibilities for exploring.



Just a mile or so in the opposite direction from our camp is another scenic canyon where some of us hiked.


And several miles away, in the middle of no where on a dirt road is Rockland Ranch, a polygamist community. Yes, only in Utah.


On our last day Suzanne, Debbie, Jim and I were in need of doing laundry and getting groceries so we went for a 40 mile drive to Moab. Just so happened that Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road) had arrived that day for a week long stay so we met them for dinner at Moab Brewery. Mark and Bobbie decided they needed to do some shopping, also, so they came later and met us.

Debbie, Suzanne, Bobbie, Hans, Lisa, Gayle, Jim.


Mark took my place in this shot.


After leaving the brewery we stopped at City Market, where Jim found this good parking space. We were embarrassed to get out of the car, but Jim said we were entitled to park here. Since getting old is no picnic I guess we should take advantage of it however we can!