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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Phoenix outdoor living Part 2- Get Your Hike On

I am excited that hiking is a big part of outdoor life in Phoenix!   In the Phoenix area there are 12 Maricopa county parks and 10 state parks all with numerous trails.  I have two parks within 30 minutes. Yay!

I decided I wanted to increase the length and difficultly that I could hike.  I joined a meet up group that takes longer and more difficult hikes. We hike in the White Tank mountain park (west of Phoenix) and in some parks located north of Phoenix. 

A couple of weeks ago we hiked the mesquite & willow Canyon Loop at White Tank Mountains.  It is an 8.5 mile hike with the frontt half having a steep accent. I knew this would be challenging for me mainly due to length but decided to give it a try.  

We met at picnic area #7 at 7 am and headed out on Mesquite Canyon loop the most difficult part of the hike.  Sorry no pictures of trail head but my early morning brain was coming up short.  Actually I did not do a super job on this hike in the picture department but there is always next time.

As we started up the trail was wide, level, and well maintained.



A couple of the views from Mesquite Canyon. 


 This one is my favorite. Desert hiking has it own kind of beauty!



We went off-trail to rest and snack by a natural spring that was close to the half-way point. Yes, there is actually water in Arizona! Probably a good swimming hole after the rains in August but now not so much.



Can you find the desert beauty in the picture below?  


An opportunist growing in the rocks above the spring!

Not to far ahead we spotted a Gila monster with bright pinkish markings. We were quite excited because they are a rare site to see.



Mesquite Canyon Trail ends at 4 miles and 1600 ft elevation.  We had gained 1394 ft on the way up.  I was feeling some pain by this point. On to Willow Canyon Trail!!



A few pics I took along the trail. 








By the end of this hike I was exhausted and my legs hurt! Thankfully I had my camel back for this hike or I would have been very dehydrated.  I still could have used more water or maybe a sports type drink. It was extremely challenging but worth the effort and recovery time. 

I am looking forward to my next hike as I try to find my favorite desert trail here in outdoor Phoenix.

Do you have a favorite place to hike? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Green thumb? Maybe....starting my own seed trays.

I am not sure how this will end since my only experience with seed planting was in elementary school.  You know the science project where you planted the Lima bean.  Brings back a few fond memories and some not so fond ones as well.  I digress. Let me get back to this project.

Why have I decided to take this on?  
Well I won the garden basket I made for the basenji club raffle in February, so I felt karma was saying give it a try.  I should have started early but when Commander came up sick every thing was put on hold.

My basket had seed starting soil, biodegradable pots, and a variety of seeds (parsley, rosemary, sweet basil, forget-me-not, marigold).  I love herbs so of course my basket had several!



As I contemplated planting I realized I had not container for my pots so I had to improvise.  I used a couple of those plastic tops that cover the disposable aluminum pans.  


Each seed had its own directions for planting.  I ended up having to plant the parsley a day later because it said they should be soaked over night. The pot package also suggest covering with trays with plastic to help keep the soil moist.  Sort of like a mini greenhouse. 


I realized to late that I forgot to make a grid of where I planted what. Oooops! I have a general idea but it will be fun guessing.  I am so over perfection these days! Now I am just watering, waiting and on green watch!  Update coming in 6 to 8 weeks.