Friday, May 12, 2017

AZ and NM Headin' to the Ranch

AZ and NM Ice Cream in the Desert

Our time in Flagstaff has come to an end.  One last Matador coffee.  An amazing breakfast at La Bellavia. (where we watched a dog, who was hanging out with his three college aged human friends, pick up girls for them, as they faltered and goofed it all funny)    

And we are on our way!  Headed south east of Flagstaff and eventually into New Mexico and the Gila National Forest.  

AZ and NM Is This Really Recovery?

Today is a recovery day, so Shey asked what we were going to do.  A couple hikes in the mountains, of course!!

But first, Coffee.....pretty much all day every day we are in Flagstaff we are happily slurping coffee from this place.

Then into the Aspens

Feels so good

Still some snow on the ground, so of course I slip and bust my ***.

I took my Cedar Ravine head band, neck gaiter and beanie and wore the heck out them.  Their material is super soft and functional and it makes me smile.  I'm testing out their neck gaiter/head band here. 

Ah, the smell of fresh pine trees

Blue skies and a nice little trek, before heading back to town for lunch at The Lumberyard.

Monday, May 08, 2017

AZ and NM Playing in the Canyon

Parking is not allowed at the trail head at this time, so we need to shuttle.  I checked the shuttle schedule online and the first one leaves at 5am.  We get up early and have an easy drive into the park.  Purchase park ticket from after hours machine, stash car in visitor parking, run to the bathrooms, then head to the shuttle stop.

As we come out of the bathrooms,  a bus is leaving.....we get to the shuttle area, where the sign says the bus leaves at 4:45 and we just missed it.  No one was on it.  The next one leaves at 5:15 and by the time it arrives, the sun is coming up and there are at least 15 people waiting in line.

The ride is quick and there are a variety of people on our shuttle.  Once we arrive at the trail head, I'm a bit turned around, since it's been dark the last couple times I have been hit that trail.  So, it takes us 5 long minutes, and a bathroom break, before we start down South Kaibab.  I am a little worried about starting after the sun has started to rise.  We were hoping to finish up around lunch time if we mosey down and up without pushing ourselves too hard.

The first view drains away all the stress of a late departure and we start our shuffle to the bottom.

Shey wears proper hiking attire.  Work pants, cut off into capris,  and a cotton tshirt.  Most importantly he keeps his head covered at all times and applies sun block repeatedly.


On my last hike here, the trail was saturated and full of puddles.  I fell several times on the run down, but it was also cloudy all day, which was GREAT.  This time the trail was clear and not washed out, but I knew the sun would be on us during our ascent.

Lovely morning.

After 30 minutes or so, we were stripping our jackets off.

We were caught behind these mules, along with three other college age guys.  It wasn't so bad.  They were quick on the rock sections and it forced us to slow down and enjoy the hike.

It was quite a ways before the mule train pulled over and allowed us to pass.  We continued on behind the college guys.  At one point a mostly full pack of cigarettes falls from the sky and hits one of the guys on the head.  He looks up the sky and is shocked.  It was hysterical.  They pick it up and we joke about how it will make for good currency in jail, or it  may get them a lemonade at Phantom Ranch.

The guys move along as I stop to take pictures and we reach the river alone.

Bridges are always cool!  We pass, very close, around another pack of mules and take a small break at Bright Angel trail head.

Then head out on Bright Angel in hopes of  hitting the rim before it gets too hot.  Bright Angel suspension bridge.

 The river!  Bright Angel had a good bit of shade and I was thankful.  It didn't feel as steep as South Kaibab.  We stopped for water twice.  The last three miles were tough for me, with the last mile seriously messing up our average.  There were quite a few people on the trail for the last two miles, who had come down to check out the views.  Shey was a trooper and was cool about me stopping when needed.  We finished in time for lunch and weren't any worse for the wear.

Done!!!  We caught an easy shuttle back to the parking lot and headed out of the park with no traffic issues.  The drive back was fun and we enjoyed looking at the landscape.

We showered and hit the streets for a quick walk to Hoa's cafe.  We ordered one of everything and Hoa did not disappoint!  The food at Streetside Saigon is amazing!  Even though Hoa was slammed with work in the kitchen, he took a few minutes to come out and visit.  I invited him to hike, but the trip was last minute and he has to make plans way in advance with the cafe being so busy, so he kindly declined.  

Hoa in the kitchen.

We went for a nice walk around Flagstaff to work off some of our lunch, then headed back to the hotel to put our feet up in preparation for another hike tomorrow.  

Sunday, May 07, 2017

AZ and NM In the Beginning

We have been fortunate to be able to travel to Texas to spend time with family the last few months.  Somewhere in the middle of April, we were back home, and sleeping in the Pisgah Forest, when I  mentioned that I thought we had a vacation coming up in a couple weeks.  We didn't have anything planned and neither of us had even thought about it.  

I spent the next weekend looking at National Forests and trails.  (I also snuck out to another fun concert with Molly and Jansen.) 

Ryan Montbleau

 Shey has never wanted to hike the Grand Canyon.  In fact, when we visit the area and hike near it he always comments that it looks just like it did 10 miles ago and then he goes back to the car because watching a bunch of kids run around the edge of the canyon while their parents are taking pictures and not paying any attention to the fact their kids could trip and fall a really, really, really, really long way down, stresses him out.

So, I'm looking at temps and snow melt and see that we need to head southwest again at this time of year.  He's in the kitchen making coffee and not really paying attention to me, so I say, "Hey, do you want to hike the big canyon?"  He says, "I guess I should do that sometime."  I say, "That's a yes!" and I disappear into the office.  An hour and a half later I have our trip pretty much planned and I make car and hotel reservations that night.  Done!  Whew!

We'll fly into Phoenix, mosey up to Flagstaff and trek up and down the canyon one morning during the week, when it won't be so crowded.  Then we will play around Flagstaff for a couple more days, before heading to Gila National Forest in NM and stop to see Kenneth and Kristina.  Perfect!

I decided on the regular route of down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel.  I didn't get to come up Bright Angel in 2015 when I hiked R2R2R, because I wanted to pick up the car that we had parked at South Kaibab.  I was excited to hike Bright Angel during the day.  Shey wasn't very excited.....but he knew there would be beer there, so all was okay!

We had some drama/trauma with the chickens, so we pushed out flight back until Saturday night and I spent the day trail running with these guys.  I did try to get them to stay out of the mud, but that never works.

She may not be a trail runner, but she is a wonderful couch potato!

We caught a late flight and grabbed midnight dinner at In n Out.  I was in need of a burger and that hit the spot.  The next day we drove up to Flagstaff and hit Buffalo Park for an easy run.

The view isn't too shabby.

 Next pizza, Wanderlust beer and gelato at Pizzicletta, with leftovers for the next day after our hike.

 So far so good........