Monday, December 14, 2015

A Short Visit and Winter Arrives

Suzanne only had two days here before her flight to Texas, so the first day we took her to the Tom’s Thumb trail for a great hike. We had not done this one before but it’s in the same vicinity as the Marcus Landslide, where we hiked the previous week, and we were anxious to return and see what the other trails were like.

The trail immediately began a steady climb to some steep switchbacks.

Tom's Thumb

Jim and Suzanne on the trail. Can you see the house below them?

I would love their backyard, but can never understand why anyone would need a house that big.

Another Scottsdale mansion. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve borders their property.

This area is just full of interesting rocks.

We saw a sign for a climber's trail to Tom's Thumb, so continued on, then realized we missed our turn when we intersected the Lookout trail. Since it was only another half mile we headed for the lookout.

Definitely the highest elevation we've been at in quite a while.

 On the way back down we decided to see about getting to the thumb, but after a short distance the trail became very steep and slippery, and our legs were already tired, so we scrapped that idea. If Mark and Bobbie had been with us I'm sure they wouldn't have let us give up that easily!

More cool rocks along the trail.

The following day Jim arranged for Suzanne to borrow/rent a mountain bike from one of the camp hosts. Unfortunately she just wasn't comfortable with the way it fit, so Jim let her ride his bike and he rode the Pivot, which is a much higher end bike than his Giant. We did about 8 miles on a few of the easier trails, and I'm guessing there will be a mountain bike in her future one of these days.

We had mid 70s and gorgeous sunsets while Suzanne was here.

On Wednesday we took Suzanne to the airport, our first time going to Phoenix Sky Harbor. We were surprised at how little traffic there was getting there from Fountain Hills. On the way home Jim wanted to stop at the Microsoft Store in Fashion Square again to ask some questions about our new Surface. We had to walk past the kiosk where the Italian guy accosted Jim with wrinkle cream, so we looked the other way and walked by as fast as we could. Luckily on the way back out someone else was being held hostage so we made it past without being approached.

I spent my usual Thursday morning at Fearless Kitty Rescue, and also filled in for someone on Saturday morning. Saturday from 1-4 is the only time the rescue is open to the public for adoptions. Other days are by appointment only. 24 cats were adopted out during the month of November, mostly due to them waiving adoption fees thanks to a grant from Zappos and Best Friends. and they're hoping December is another good month. They have reduced fees for black cats, of which they have at least eight right now. I did not know that black cats and dogs are the hardest for shelters to place, but then we've probably had 10 cats over the years and never a solid black one.

Almost black.

On Friday the temperatures dropped significantly, and it rained off and on much of Saturday. Yesterday was sunny and only in the mid 50s but we bundled up and took a bike ride. This morning I opened the shades to this lovely sunrise, and walked out to get a picture. Just as I did it began to hail, and it looks like the 40s and rain are here for most of the day. No complaints, though, as the upper 60s will be back by the end of the week. 

Winter in the desert can be so variable.

I've been holding off doing this post in hopes that Windows Live Writer would be magically fixed, but it doesn't look promising so I posted directly to Blogger, with all its frustrations. Jim thinks it's good for me to learn something new, but it is definitely more time-consuming having to resize all the photos, and trying to get the spacing and text to cooperate compared to doing it in Live Writer. Old people don't take well to change, you know, but I'm trying!


  1. I think a lot of us are struggling with going back to writing in Blogger. :(

    1. I've used Live Writer ever since I started blogging, so it's a real struggle. I did have a little easier time today than I did when it went down a few months ago so maybe I'll get the hang of it just about the time Live Writer comes back.

    2. Re Live Writer, you might find this helpful:

      And thanks for making the effort to post!

      -- Anne P

    3. We've tried Open Live Writer but still having issues which Jim thinks are because of using two step authentication. He is still trying to figure it out.

  2. Glad to see you posting.....Some of my stand by's have been taking some time off hoping that Live Writer will be back. I miss them..... I have always used Blogger directly except when long periods without internet. It has become more challenging though since my blogger became mobile friendly. Then it started having spaces around pics that I have no control over. I think you hit the nail on the head. It is always hard to embrace new changes as I have gotten older. I find myself holding on the familiar every time while dreading the changes. Glad you are struggling through it!!

  3. Just a place to park at the edge of the preserve would be fine. Can't quite tell if that's Doopey or Sneezey in that one rock. Maybe Suzanne will get a mountain bike for Christmas. And you and many others get LW back.

  4. Yes, I am sure Mark and Bobbie would have trudged on up to the thumb:) But sometimes we just need to listen to ourselves. How nice to have a couple days to hike with Suzanne:) Love, Love the rocks:)

    We had two all black cats. I was surprised to read they aren't as popular.

    We lucked out and had one perfect day to hike up Picacho Peak...Sunday. Clear sky and 60 degrees. Because we had the same weather Sat and today. Sure seems like a PA Dec right now. But we have been rewarded with some great sunsets painting the sky:) A trade off I guess.

  5. Boy, that's lots of great rocks! One photo where you mention interesting rocks makes me think of one of the 7 dwarves!

    All you folks with the Live Writer woes makes me very happy I've just used Blogger directly from the beginning!

  6. Currently we have two black cats; Seth and Bentley. As a child we had a wonderful black cat Hadies. Black cats are just like other cats and we think they are gorgeous.......Seth looks like an Egyptian cat.

  7. You did a great job with Livewriter. Everything looks really nice.

    I love the desert sky. I really miss that, and the beautiful colors in the rocks.

    That little kitten face is so precious!

  8. Despite the challenges with LiveWriter/Blogger, your blog looks great! Love the kitty photo -- our kitty was all black, with amazing jade green eyes. Never have understood why black kitties are hard to adopt out -- I think some people associate them with bad luck, but we always thought she brought us good luck. And she lived to almost 20 years old, which is pretty darned good luck. :-)

  9. I've always posted directly to Blogger and have never had the problems most other people have had…
    True, you need to have an internet connection to do write up a post on Blogger, but I just use Word or a "Notepad" when not connected then copy/paste when I am connected. Also, I don't have to reduce the size of my photos… just load them up, 5 to 10 MB. With a decent MiFi signal on our card it only takes 5 minutes to post. What's all the fuss about? :)
    I'm just on a Holiday Sabbatical from blogging… and it has nothing to do with Live Writer problems.
    And yes, I would have argued to push on on that hike :) You really need to get some altitude training in. The good news is that just camping and sleeping at altitude acclimatizes!!! We're headed up to snowshoe Red Mountain now… vacillating on whether or not to wear shorts and gators,
    Box Canyon Mark