The pace of photo-taking slowed recently, which is good because I might soon get caught up to "today". The pictures below span from October to December, as we settled in at our current wintering spot in Tucson. We're really liking this area, with plenty of trails and hills and bike paths and moderate temperatures. John is also happy with his solar installer job at Technicians for Sustainability.
One of the first things we did was head up to the highest point we could see - Mount Lemmon. Back in 2008 we briefly visited Tucson and started up the road on our bikes. We might have reached the "20 miles to go - mostly uphill" sign (it doesn't actually say "mostly uphill" but it's obvious) before figuring out that we had no shot at getting to the top that day.
This time we were smarter, parking much closer to the summit and doing a reasonable up and back on trails. An excellent view from the Sunset Trail:
Occasional autumn colors to make us smile:
We climbed Marshall Gulch to the saddle and then over to the top of the mountain. Just as it's hard to glimpse the top of Lemmon from Tucson, there isn't a big overlooking view from here either. The observatory grounds were closed, so we couldn't roam around willy-nilly to see the various sides. Still, a solid hike and a great place to get into the trees:
I randomly came across info about a road race out at the Biosphere, including entry into the exhibits, so of course we were in for that. We got to run on roads around the grounds with views of the futuristic buildings:
That's a chunk of malachite and azurite:
The experiment of "a group living inside an enclosed space for months" is long over (early 1990's) but it's neat that a lot of the sections are still viewable. Quite the curiosity. One part is still being used, a controlled test of erosion on a large soil slope:
There are different habitats with various climates. This one looks familiar:
The desert section is quite large - an ambitious endeavor:
There's even a sizable indoor lake in the next zone over (upping the humidity):
And a wet jungle habitat:
Rather Star Trek-like buildings and a fun place to spend a couple hours:
Our Rivian truck got a software update before the end of October, allowing us to activate "Spooky Mode" - pretty funny! The accent lights turned orange, the open/close chirps turned into an owl hoot and a wolf howl, and the pedestrians on the driver display showed up as zombies. Thank you Rivian, that was awesome!
I drove up to Phoenix, or at least nearby, to volunteer at the Javelina Jundred ultra races. It was fun seeing all the great costumes and some of the trails at McDowell Mountain Park. Also the giant fountain at Fountain Hills, the closest town:
One reason for going was the chance to get together with my friend Jason who flew in from California to run the 20-mile night race. It was great to see you, Jason!
He took a nice picture of me and Tug-E:
Jason is big into running in costume, so this was a good event for him to choose. Hello from the aid station!
In November we drove up to visit the Grand Canyon, always awesome. This time we took a new (to us) trail down, and I guess it actually is relatively recent because it's called the New Hance Trail. It's definitely less traveled than others we have hiked, still decently maintained and only a couple spots I'd consider minorly sketchy.
And as is the case for everywhere we've gone in the Canyon (so far), there are beautiful views and spectacular colors:
Following the wash down to the river at the bottom:
We were here just over a year ago, and it was fun to return to the same spot except on the other side of the river (and staying on dry land this time):
Amazingly, our timing was perfect and we got to watch a rafting group run the Hance rapid. Super cool! The oarsmen did much better than we had, mostly hitting the "Duck Pond" and making a smooth run down the river.
Yay for another excellent Grand Canyon day!
A couple weeks later we drove over to California to see Danny and Emilio who are now living in Palm Springs. Happy Thanksgiving from Joshua Tree!
It was (rather surprisingly) our first time at this national park, and I was excited to get out on the trails for a run. Danny and John took a walk and caught me trotting toward them:
We knew about the unique Joshua tree agave plants, having seen a few from alongside the roads we have driven. It was wonderful to drive through large bunches of them in all different shapes and sizes. We didn't know the park also has a plethora of giant rocks. Such a great place to drive through (thank you Danny and John for these pictures):
Love the big rock formations:
We hiked a short way out to see the arch:
Love the heart rock - and love you, John:
Whoa, don't touch the teddy bears, no matter how adorable they might look:
Hey, there's a Rivian R1S (SUV)! We had to get a picture of the two cousins with their distinctive eyeballs:
Back in Palm Springs, on a little trail run above town:
And back in Tucson, on one of our local trails through the saguaros:
Our friends the Cooks came through town on their way to California for a holiday trip, and we were glad we could spend the day with them. Art, Olivia, and Jillian hiked with us up to the Romero Pools, where we exclaimed that there is actual water flowing. Probably not as big a deal to our Texas friends though:
Another heart-shaped geological feature:
Hiking through saguaros never gets old to me:
Thank you friends for a super fun day!