Tim Connolly: Blog https://www.timandjean.com/blog en-us (C) Tim Connolly tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:32:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:32:00 GMT https://www.timandjean.com/img/s/v-12/u276370740-o758539522-50.jpg Tim Connolly: Blog https://www.timandjean.com/blog 120 96 Hidden Falls https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/3/hidden-falls This felt like a low-use trail to me, definitely less traveled than any trail I've been on in Catalina State Park.  It's hard to say what "wild" means but I got the feeling there weren't many people through here and, paradoxically, both the sound of birds and the quietness were more noticeable.  But maybe the remote feel really comes from the creatures who live there, the result of easy access to a spring and waterhole plus fewer humans.  

Whatever that feeling is - whether the presence of animals or the absence of humans - it was confirmed in two ways: finding a strong animal scent, and spotting a large critter as we neared the falls.

The trail leads to a high waterfall also known as "dripping springs" from an easily accessible area of the park, if you take the left fork.  You start out by taking Canyon Loop Trail in the counter-clockwise direction (or, from the very east end of the parking lot) to the turnoff for Sutherland Trail.  Up the stairs, continuing to the next rise, past the first bench, then along Sutherland for perhaps another 3/4 of a mile to a second bench.  At the second bench, take the spur trail to the right.  Very easy to find - I followed the same general directions that I got online.  Within a few hundred feet the trail descends then settles into comfortable flatness (see posted photo).

 We reached the "Y" about a mile after turning onto the spur trail, and chose right.  This led to a shelf above the main canyon (the one that parallels Canyon Loop trail), then down steeply where it ends in a series of substantial pools surrounded by boulders and large sycamore or eucalyptus trees (white bark & thick trunks was all I noticed). 

I had recalled from the online directions that the right fork led to the falls, so after reaching the pools I was looking around to see a 70-foot waterfall.  There wasn't much sign of anything of the sort, but up canyon I could see a cleft in the tall cliffs, so we boulder-hopped upstream, thinking there might be a falls hidden there.  We didn't spend much time exploring the possibility of a waterfall around the corner. Partly, this was because a heavy animal scent pervaded the area.  It was neither skunk nor javelina but I got the feeling of not wanting to linger there.  

We climbed back out of the canyon and went back to the "Y" (about a 1/4 mile), then turned right.  Since we hadn't seen any falls, I was hoping I was mistaken about which fork led where.  This trail was also single-track, but sloped moderately up much of the way.   We were clearly headed to the back of another small canyon, with a faint stream running to the left on the other side of thick brush.  Large boulders lay amidst the vegetation on both sides of the trail.

After about ten minutes of walking, I heard a loud rustle and caught a glimpse of a large, brownish-red creature bounding away to my left.  Its tail gave it away as a coatamundi, even as he rushed away from us.  It scampered up a boulder and stopped, maybe 30 feet from us.  I grabbed the camera and hit zoom.  I could mostly see his back through the brush, but then he turned and looked over his shoulder, staring directly at me with a look of alarm.  I tried to snap a shot but he bounded off again.  I got a very clear glimpse of his raccoon-like face.  Seeing this guy was exciting, as I've only seen them before at night and in silhouette.

We continued along the trail another 1/4 mile or so, and saw the tall gray cliffs ahead which were obviously falls.  At trail's end is a pool which had an assortment of animal tracks leading to its edge.  Beyond that were large boulders and brush, which I climbed up partially.  You could probably bushwhack up and get just below the falls, but I was hesitant to do so since I was sensing a lot of happy critters who didn't want their watering hole invaded. The falls were a clear, gentle ribbon of translucent water that were entirely silent.  We figured any dramatic whitewater would only come after a heavy rain.

We walked back the way we came, taking a few photos along the trail.  At the junction with Sutherland we turned right and took the quick way back to the car, rather than doing the whole loop.  Highly recommended short hike for beautiful scenery and a the likelihood of having two canyons all to yourself.

 

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) catalina state park hidden falls sutherland trail tucson hikes https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/3/hidden-falls Sun, 03 Mar 2013 17:24:28 GMT
Sutherland Trail, Catalina State Park https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/2/sutherland-trail-catalina-state-park Sutherland trail was the perfect antidote to Finger Rock: smooth, gently sloping, little work for a satisfying payoff. We hiked it on a day when the weather was also the ideal winter mix of clear, calm and a mild 60 degrees. Tim and I arrived at CSP around 10 and proceeded through the gate to a nearly-full parking lot.  Alan, the cairn terrier, accompanied us with great enthusiasm but very short little legs.

This trail is accessed off the Canyon Loop trail, so we left our car and walked to the east end of the parking lot, then hiked .8 miles along Canyon Loop to the turnoff, which is clearly marked "Sutherland Trail." Water was flowing higher than normal in the two stream crossings and I soaked a shoe at one crossing while trying to balance on the rocks as Alan pulled on his leash.  

The trail begins with a climb up a couple of dozen stairs to reach a faux-ridge with a fairly wide, sandy path leading north.  The views to the left (west) included parts of Oro Valley. To the east-southeast the high & rocky Catalina Mountains were dusted with snow and they made for a stunning backdrop.  The trail included another brief climb, then leveled out for a long, gentle incline all the way to the turnaround.  It dipped and snaked and curved, and fairly soon turned into single-track of nicely tramped earth.  These types of conditions are fairly rare, with little dust nor mud and a perfect walking surface.  We hiked through a few stands of tall, plump saguaro, eventually weaving among large boulders and walking over slick rock.  Really pleasant hiking without much work.  On the way out, we passed one couple with their poodle and a family with two small black dogs.  

We reached a rusty, barbed-wire gate just as we heard the sound of fast rushing water.  Through the gate, the path dropped down into a significant drainage, which I believe is called Cargodera Canyon. The trail crossed this small portion of the canyon via several stepping stones and a wide, flat rock that looked like the perfect lunch spot.  After this it was a short jog to reach the split for "50-mile" trail to the left; we went right up what was described as an old jeep road but was more like a dry creek bed.  We hiked up this road and aside from slightly different mountain views due to the change in direction, it was clear the scenery wasn't going to change.  The end of this trail is the top of Mt Lemmon, a 6000+ elevation gain for a total of 12 miles.  Since we weren't going that far, we decided to turn around, about 3 miles from where we'd begun.  It wasn't much fun trekking on that road anyway, and something had spooked Alan because he couldn't wait to get back.

As soon as we got off the jeep road, Alan stopped straining at his leash and relaxed. We took a break at the canyon/flat rock area just as another hiker arrived, but it was clear he was only resting, so we sat and shared an orange. Just as I was beginning to relax, another hiker came from the other direction with two very large huskies on leashes and we decided to leave.  It was clearly a popular destination point.

The hike back was delightful, as the whole walk was a mild downward slope, and the trail itself well maintained.  Plus there were better views of the jagged, snowy mountains in the distance.  Near the junction with Canyon Loop, I took a photo of two grazing horses (posted).  Their owners sat on a bench nearby.  When we reached the main trail, we turned left and continued the rest of the loop (1.6 miles) back to the parking lot.  Saw many people along the way, and everyone seemed happy to be out.

Neither Alan nor I suffered undue fatigue and that puts this hike squarely in the "easy" category.

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) catalina catalina state park sutherland tucson hikes https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/2/sutherland-trail-catalina-state-park Sun, 24 Feb 2013 00:38:50 GMT
Finger Rock trail https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/2/finger-rock-trail My plan was to climb to the base of Finger Rock itself, so I could gaze at it later while driving around town and look back nostalgically about having once been there.  This plan did not come to fruition because once I'd reached Linda Vista saddle, I said, "I've had enough."  I said this to my hiking companion, Jenna, or perhaps I just mumbled it under my breath (which was coming in gasps).  

The trail is accessed at the end of Alvernon road.  There is a little parking lot that was overflowing when we reached it about 9:45.  I knew is was a tough, steep hike so I figured we wouldn't see many people past the first mile. In fact, there were dozens of hikers out, enjoying the 75 degree day.  Usually I resent the presence of a lot of other people on the trail but today I was sort of grateful because I could watch them suffer and realize I was not alone.  Plus I was so tired through most of this hike, I really didn't care.

You hike about a mile through a drainage area, which is full of large embedded rocks on the trail.  This creates a little bit of rock hopping, but there is plenty of even, dirt trail to be found.  After a mile, the nature of the hike shifts unceremoniously to a steep climb up the west side of the canyon.  When I say steep, what I mean is large rock outcroppings, some of which have to be climbed over hand-over-hand.  Most of it is just steep without the use of hands, over flat rock or loose rock with infrequent reprieves of maybe 15 feet which are relatively level.  It's really not much fun.  In addition to the steepness (there are virtually no switchbacks), the path is narrow and close to the edge of a dramatic precipice that drops into the canyon, so you really have to pay attention in order to not go sliding into oblivion.  We hiked up, with Jenna taking the lead.  

I attempted to keep up with Jenna but became seriously short of breath, had to sit down, and nearly passed out.  Now I kind of know what an asthma attack feels like.  I realized it was simply the pace, as I was trying to bolt up a very steep hill as if I were running a race. So we continued at a slower pace, and took rests.  A little over an hour of climbing took us to a short footpath that led to a canyon overlook.  We took a longer break there,  at about 12:15, when I figured I should stop and eat lunch.  Jenna asked a hiker who was scrambling down how far we were from Linda Vista saddle and the hiker pointed up to where another group of hikers was standing and said, from there you go right and it's not far.  So we decided to eat when we reached the saddle.  It didn't take long to get to the "top" but we discovered that once we turned right things kept going upward and the phrase "not far" lost its meaning.  Around 1, we reached the saddle, from which there were terrific views of the south and west of Tucson.  It was a nice lunch spot that we had to ourselves.  Just as we were leaving, two young men who had started the same time as us and kept stopping and then passing us, also came to where we were and I asked if they were going to the top, to Mt Kimball.  They said they weren't sure of the way, so I gave them my printed directions.  In fact, I gleefully handed over the directions.  As we head back down from the saddle, we met up with the main trail, which continued upward, and chose the downward route.  I had absolutely no desire to keep going up; in fact the trail up had a malevolent look to it.

Going down was an exercise in keeping myself from falling over the side, mostly.  We went at a decent pace, and actually passed one couple.  When I looked back up the side of the canyon to where it seemed the two of them were clinging to the path, I saw how very slow they were going.  But it really paid to move slowly because the hike down was more dangerous.  At one point I just sat on the smooth rock and slid...at another, I slid down some loose dirt that wasn't safe to walk down.  We reached the car at 3:45, 6 hours after we'd started.  We average exactly 1 mile per hour.

 For someone very fit, or at least fitter than average, Finger Rock might be a fun day out & a healthy challenge.  But I can't really recommend this hike, unless you are either a masochist or an athlete.  The only way I would try this again is if I were in significantly better shape. Although I suffered a bit on my last hike, Agua Caliente Hill, I enjoyed it a great deal more and the views were at least as good.  It was simply hard to enjoy the Finger Rock trail because I was either out of breath, watching my footing, or climbing over rocks - sometimes all three.  In a way, I now have a better understanding of how someone who isn't used to hiking, or is out of shape, feels like when they try an "average" 5 mile hike with a little bit of uphill & then swear off hiking forever.   

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) finger hiking kimball mt rock tucson https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/2/finger-rock-trail Mon, 18 Feb 2013 03:51:26 GMT
Stumbling toward Agua Caliente Hill https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/2/stumbling-toward-agua-caliente-hill As far as I'm concerned, "hill" is inaccurate.  The thing ahead that looked hill-like was not the summit, and JR kept pointing that out but I refused to acquiesce.  He turned out to be right.  Fortunately he was a gentleman about it and only brought up how right he was 6 or 7 times throughout the rest of the day.

The hike involved a shuttle of about 15 minutes, with one vehicle left at the end of Synder road and the other at the end of Ft Lowell road.

You drive as far as you can go on Ft Lowell road and it ends in a lovely little paved parking lot, from which it is a 3-mile hike to a saddle that leads to AC Hill. I was wearing three layers, including my wind-resistant bicycling jacket...and was also donning a winter knit cap.  JR had only a thick T-shirt, but he's from Alaska. Within 45 minutes of climbing up the trail, I had taken off the jacket and replaced the knit hat with a baseball cap.  The temperature was supposed to be 55 and it turned into an ideal hiking day with just a minor chill at our highest point, where it was breezy and 2,000+ feet higher.

The gradual climb to the saddle begins in cactus terrain on a well-maintained footpath. For the first half hour or so you can still see several high-end homes down below but pretty soon there are no more sights or sounds of civilization.The trail climbs moderately the whole way, with two dips down into drainages, the first after maybe a half hour.The trail eventually flattens out more dramatically at the second drainage in what seems to be a dry pond. . .then continues to the right.  At the point, we approached what JR calls "the wall" which was steep climbing for no more than a 1/2 mile.  After that comes the saddle, which is clearly marked.  As you ascend, cactus gradually gives way to tall winter grasses.

The trail is piled with a lot of baseball-sized rocks in places which makes for a lot of walking with eyes focused downward.  

Once we reached the saddle, the trail we would eventually take to our shuttle car descended ahead of us; we turned to the right to attempt climbing to Agua Caliente Hill.  The trail sign posted at the saddle read 1.5 miles.  At this point I wanted to go all the way to the top because I was not yet very tired, and I thought I could handle 1.5 miles - even though I had been warned by the Internet and other hikers that it was very steep.  JR was less enthusiastic.  Tim was willing to try a little ways.  We decided to go at least far enough to get a view of the peak.

Not long after starting up, the trail became as steep as any section so far; we trudged slowly and had to stop periodically to catch our breath.  Within about 15 minutes, it got preternaturally steep and I thought "uh-oh, we haven't even reached the 'steep' part yet."  All the while I was gazing up at a lovely, near-symmetrical, cone-shaped peak with some rocks on the top, all set about with yellow grasses, thinking that was our destination.  It looked like it would be about 1.5 miles from the sign. But after another 1/2 mile of rocky incline-hell, the trail gradually leveled out and scooted us around to the right of the peak I had been eyeing.  And, I had to admit (silently, to myself) that JR had been right.   After passing this false summit, we saw that the trail just kept going, far into the distance, with a rocky outcropping perched high above us, which must have been AC Hill.  

We stopped in a flat area and ate lunch.  As we were munching away, a hiker walking a poodle came by and we asked him if was heading to the top, and he said yes, then pointed out it was actually 2.2 miles by GPS to the top, and he was hoping their wasn't any snow up there.  I found this somewhat comforting.

As we started down I realized how tired I felt, not to mention kinda sore, so was glad we turned around when we did (plus it was already 1pm and it would've taken us 2 hours to get to the top then back to the saddle).  We descended back down to the saddle where we met a woman with her teenage daughter, and JR gave them information about the hike.  Then we headed down (forward).  

This new trail took us along several ridges with wonderful views . At certain points it felt like you were walking on the edge of the world.  The canyon fell away so sharply it was nearly dizzying.  For JR and Tim, both of whom have vertigo with heights, there were no side trips to peer over the edges.  The very rocky trail gradually descended as it meandered along the edge of a ridge overlooking Agua Caliente canyon.  The vistas were spectacular and the plant life much more varied than the first half of the hike. The very last bit included an extremely steep, rock-strewn descent into AC Canyon, then a mile or so of flat walking on a narrow, sandy trail to a paved road that led to JR's truck.

We think we hiked 9 miles, or close to it, in 5 hours.  It sure felt like 9, anyway, but could have been closer to 8 since I am not certain how long the section of trail from the saddle to the shuttle car was.  I'd like to try again with more time to get to the top.  The whole hike would be 10.4 miles: 3 up to the saddle, 2.2 to the summit -- and back by either route.  Although this is a strenuous hike, it is a beautiful mixture of desert and grassland, and the views are well worth it.

 

 

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) agua caliente hill tucson east hikes https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/2/stumbling-toward-agua-caliente-hill Mon, 11 Feb 2013 04:30:33 GMT
Ruby, AZ https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/ruby-az Took a trip to Ruby with our friend John, which turned into a full day.  The landscape in this part of AZ is beautiful, in some ways like the Patagonia/Sonoita area but with many more interesting mountain ranges in every directions.  Lots of tall yellow grass, open valleys layered with small hills and rock outcroppings.  We had a mellow, cloud-covered day with no breeze, perfect temps in the low 70s.  For hiking around in a ghost town, it seems like ideal weather to me.

We drove out east to get John, since we were already up and he was still getting going.  This added about 30 minutes each way to the total driving time, but it was well worth it since he's great company!  We drove out of town (stopping for Egg McMuffin, which proved to be important & necessary fuel), then through Sahuarita, onto I-19 south, exit at Amado and another hour or so to Arivaca.  Took a left here and spent about another 45 minutes on dirt road.  Tim has been to Ruby many times and  made sure we made the right choices at various Y's in the road.

When we reached our destination, about 5 miles north of the Mexican border, there was a small sign with the dirt road continuing a 1/4 mile into town. The caretaker's office stood in the center of town at the top of a rise.  You could tell because it was the only sign of life and activity, and his RV was parked behind.  We drove up to that structure and parked behind it, greeted by Ada the dog.  The caretaker came out and introduced himself  and took us inside the office (and I use this term loosely) and explained it was $12 for a self-guided tour and that all the funds raised (including the occasional grant) were being used to maintain & preserve the schoolhouse. We signed waivers.

We first walked up the hill past the office to look at two large structures.  Both were dilapidated enough that walking inside was a dicey proposition, but they had walls and roofs.  These were probably houses owned by someone of status, as they were large and standing above everything else in town.

Walking then downhill past the office, we headed back toward the town entrance where the school, general store, and prison were located. The schoolhouse is the largest building in town, and obviously the only one getting any rehab.  Wooden floors were intact, as well as the adobe walls & roof. The building was spacious with 14' ceilings and many large windows, some of which had been recently improved with new wood and glass. Adobe walls were also intact, with a good portion covered in smooth stucco, but there were plenty of signs that maintenance is slow and irregular. Outside was a pile of adobe bricks, beginning to melt from being left exposed.  Inside were stacked bags of cement that had long-hardened.  

In the main classroom, you could see where the alphabet had been posted up above the chalkboards, from one end of the room to the other. The black chalkboards remained, just barely...there were no signs of the original desks.  Lining some of the inside walls of the second room were posters from a couple of old scientific conferences (one on the cicada).  Out back I found my favorite structure in town: remnants of a very tall metal playground slide, firmly planted with poles sunk into concrete, the slim metal slide itself workable but long rusted, with its wooden sides fallen into decay.  It was ruthlessly steep and would never pass the various codes and safety regulations for today's schools...!  Behind the schoolhouse were posts that framed an old basketball court and three "changing rooms" that Tim pointed out.

We next explored the old mercantile and the prison which stood not far behind.  The prison was a thick concrete rectangle, not much bigger than a dorm room, with a single, tiny, barred window. The whole building could not have been more than 10 x 14 feet. It was completely intact and will be there long after everything else in town has fallen down. Inside was a heavy metal door that was locked. The whole set-up looked pretty uncomfortable for even one night's stay.  I wonder if they put the prison behind the school to remind the kids of their fate if they fell into bad habits.

The walls of the old general store were decaying reddish adobe, no roof left, but you could tell this had once been a large space.  

We walked across town past a few more decaying wood and tin-roof buildings toward the lake, full of dark water and obviously no more than a tenth of its full capacity.  It's more of a pond.  Off in the distance we could see a wide stretch of white, which turned out to be sand.  Beyond this scenic sandy beach (John noted it was crushed mine tailings) was another, larger lake.  A lone canoe with a couple of fly-fishers occupied it.  We walked along a narrow road above.  The brown, dark water combined with cloudy skies made the lake seem foreboding, but according to Tim the water's been tested thoroughly and is pure and clean. 

We headed back the way we came as the fisherman portaged across the sand to their truck (parked on the other side of the beach), and walked uphill past the foundation of the stamp mil. Tall, concrete sides were extant and what looked to be a rusted-out boiler lay on the ground. We passed by a row of small residences (more like stalls), ending up at the next-best preserved building in town: a house on top of a hill.  This was a square wooden structure with the wooden frame for the central door awning still intact, wood floors that could be walked on (at least by me), but interior walls rifled with holes and disintegrating sheetrock.  It had the architectural look of a government-built and occupied structure: well-designed, efficient, functional but not fancy. This house on the hill was positioned near the mine, as if overseeing it.

From there we climbed up narrow road to peer down into the mine itself.  This consisted of a creepy open gash in the hillside into which you could see a cross-section of the underground workings:  old broken ladders, wood used to shore up sides, decayed wood long shed from its structures.  Cold, moist air streamed out.  There were no "danger" signs, just a little bit of wire strung across.  Behind us was another hole that descended into pitch black.  I didn't stray too far toward the edge.  We checked out the Assayer's building (pictured), also fairly intact with smooth adobe walls and some old tables and other equipment inside.

Then we slowly meandered back to the car, stopping to look at the old tavern with its bar still standing, and the crumbling adobe walls of more housing.  In ten years there won't be much left of these, as only dirt bricks and dry wood are holding them together.  A few door jambs are still in place, and I took a picture of Tim standing in a doorway. Apparently much of the miner's housing were tents, which is why there were only a dozen or so structures for a town with a population of 1,000 to 1,500.

We drove back to Amado, had a late lunch/early dinner at The Cow Palace, and returned the way we came.  Dropped John at home about 5:30 and back home a little after 6.  Plenty of driving but would highly recommend this little gem of Arizona history.

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) arivaca, az ghost towns ruby, AZ https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/ruby-az Sat, 26 Jan 2013 16:47:08 GMT
Agua Caliente - Milagrosa Loop https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/agua-caliente---milagrosa-loop Agua Caliente/Milagrosa Canyons can be accessed from taking Tanque Verde Rd east to Catalina Hwy.  Turn Rt on Synder Rd, then left on N Avenida de Suzenu.  Park at the end (you'll probably see a bunch of cars - this place is full of Mtn Bikers as well as hikers).  You hike through a posh neighborhood down a mostly paved road to get to the actual trail.

I got directions off the web, which turned out to be a mistake.  When we returned home, I checked out the internet for a better description of this hike and was able to find one detailed one, with pictures (by Sirena), showing a group doing this same loop in reverse. It involved climbing steep rocks straight up from the canyon floor and appeared to be the kind of hike you should do with a guide and/or group.

After hiking down the road, you turn left not far after the intersection with Whetstone Rd, after passing through a wash...then veer left up a crushed, white rock/dirt that climbs slowly up a ridge for a quarter mile, then becomes quite steep for about another half mile or more  According to our directions, after then descending from this ridge into the wash (Agua Caliente Wash), where there is a large, flat rock shelf.  That is true - we saw the rock shelf and stopped to take a break there.  You continue up a hill, turn right at a Y, then begin descending into the wash (presumably the Milagrosa wash) then up the other side of the canyon and back in the direction you came...meeting up with the original trail near the very end, within a mile or so of your car.

The directions didn't include any distances, or an overview, but I had the general idea because I've been to Agua Caliente Wash twice, although many years ago. The first half of the loop I've done, but many years prior.  I've twice hiked in via the trail described above, until reaching the wash (about 2 miles, maybe a bit more, from the car), then turned around.

In this case, we got off track right at the beginning, partly because the description of where to turn left (shortly after leaving the paved road, which was only about a half mile's distance) was not great ...I can't blame the directions fully, though, because I've been here and remember making the same mistake on a prior trip.  It was only after we'd gone too far, crossed Agua Caliente wash, and began up the other side that the trail description made no sense. We turned around to look back from where we'd come and right then we spotted a couple on the other side of Agua Caliente wash heading up a ridge, and we both realized THAT's the ridge we should be climbing up. So we turned around and more or less followed them.

From here we hiked up, at some points quite steeply, across bleached out rock.  It was obvious why mountain bikers love the trail, as much of it is similar to Utah slickrock.  You couldn't lose the trail because deep canyons dropped off on either side.  Also there was a gate, just as described in the directions.  Then you began to descend into Agua Caliente Wash.

Our next wrong turn was after we'd reached the bottom of the descent.  After leaving this down point (we'd hiked about 2 miles total so far) in the Agua Caliente wash, next to the large, flat rock shelf, the directions described climbing up the hill and coming to a Y. But there was no mileage estimate from the wash up to the Y.  About a 1/2 mile out of the wash, we did indeed come to a Y, but the right turn was covered with dead century plant stalks, which someone had obviously placed there.  We took this right turn anyway, thinking the trail would soon begin descending into the canyon.  But the trail petered out into rock and there was no obvious way to descend into the canyon - it was just a sheer drop off into a wash very far below.

Having now checked the internet and looked at photos of this loop from the other direction, I'm relieved we didn't try to do the loop.  Climbing down into the canyon would not have required rope but it certainly would require knowing where you were going as the trail is simply the rock sides of the canyon!  Indeed, it seems best to do the loop from the other direction, as it would be easier to climb up steep rocks than down them.  Peering down into this canyon from the ridge almost creates an optical illusion, making it difficult to tell even how far down it is...in other words, it drops precipitously and is not inviting for a climb-down.

Nonetheless, after realizing the Y we'd taken wasn't going anywhere (I still do not know if this was the right way - it's quite possible there was some point at which we should have begun climbing down nearly vertical rock after the trail petered out), we backtracked onto the main trail and continued forward, and up...thinking we would come to a more obvious Y and/or a way to descend into the canyon. This trail climbed steadily, but not unpleasantly, along a ridge.  The views of both canyons on either side of us were fantastic.  I stepped just next to the edge a couple of times to get the full affect (Tim declined - he gets vertigo from heights).  We walked up and covered about another mile...soon realizing that getting down into the canyon from where we were would require 1,000 of rope and rappel devices...thus sparking another conversation beginning with, "this CAN'T be right."  Part of reason we had gone so far up the ridge is that we ran into 3 other hikers about halfway up and told them we were trying to do the loop, and they said, "oh it's up ahead," but I now question that information as they had not themselves done it.

I felt determined to find the Y this guy had been talking about in his AZ Hike directions, so we could begin descending into the canyon, through the wash a 100 feet or so, and up the other side.  But we agreed that directions just weren't going to work.  We'd gone about halfway, although hiked quite a bit further due to turn-arounds, and figured heading back the way we came was the best choice.  

We estimated we hiked between 6 ad 7 miles, probably closer to 7 as we were out almost 3 hours. I did love the ridge hike and we got a great workout. The other upside to this failed journey is that there appears to be a thru-hike (shuttle) from Molina Basin to where we began this hike.  It's a popular mountain biking trail, because it's down-down-down.  And that seems like it would be a blast to hike, with shuttle.

I also found this hike mentioned on a Green Valley Hiker's Club list and it was rated B, Difficult.  Now that I've seen the photos of all the rock scrambling (not to mention route finding) I think I understand why.  

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/agua-caliente---milagrosa-loop Mon, 21 Jan 2013 22:39:58 GMT
Brown Mountain Loop https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/brown-mountain-loop We went out today with the intention of enjoying the warm weather after two weeks of unseasonably cold days.  But when we arrived at the trailhead for Kings Canyon (we planned to do Kings Canyon/Esperero/Gould Mine) the lot was chock full of cars and a school bus.  There was something about the school bus, and our uncertainty about where the trailhead was, that sent us over to Brown Mtn. This is just a sign that says "Brown Mtn" and a little turn off.  The picnic areas lead eventually to the trail.  As with any low elevation in Saguaro West Park, this was a perfect winter hike as the whole trail is exposed and very sunny.  

We wanted to simply hike to the top of the mountain, having done this trip about 6 or 7 years ago, although neither of us could remember specifics of the trail.  I vaguely recalled crossing several small washes during the flat part just at the beginning.  After going through the washes, the trail veered left and remained flat.  After only 10 minutes of walking, we met a couple and he told us to continue just a little ways, then turn right at a sign that says "cougar 1.1" so we did.  At the point you climb, moderately, for perhaps 3/4 of a mile until you reach what appears to be the top, but isn't. You then hike along this ridge and the trail dips down again, only to climb up another big hill, apparently the actual Brown Mountain.  The mountain gets its name from the way it stands out from surrounding hills with a definite brownish color, but up close the rocks are purple, red, orange and the color of the trail itself changes at various stages of the hike.  

After reaching the second "peak" you see that trail dips down once again and seems to climb to a third peak.  Off in the distance, to the right and ahead, are the buildings of the Desert Museum.  The third climb in fact doesn't continue to the third peak at all, but skirts a bit to the right around its base, shady and flat.  As we were traveling this section, figuring we would turn around when we reached the parking lot just south of the Desert Museum, we could see an enticing, smooth trail down below on our right.  We decided to head back on that lowland trail.  At the end, we came to a sign that read "Gilbert Ray Campground" and pointed back from whence we had begun. We had walked what felt like about 2 miles. We continued just 30 steps or so past the sign and there was a large cairn and an unmarked trail that seem to head to the right and in the general direction of our car.

This unnamed trail was easy, flat and eventually paralleled a large wash on the left. The desert here had what my sister describes as "that manicured look." It was a very easy hike at this point.  Plenty of saguaro, nice healthy ones, were all around.  The desert was very open and a little less interesting than Brown Mtn itself, but pleasant.  We came back to a saguaro with it's top sheered off, and I recognized it...at its feet was a cairn, so we turned left and after a few dips back through the washes, we ran into a picnic area.  This was not the same picnic area where we'd started but actually the trailhead itself, with the usual sign & mileage - it read that we'd gone a total of about 4 miles.  Our car was parked at the next picnic area up.

We passed 3 groups on the way out and saw no one on the flat trail back.  I'd rate this hike as "easy," mainly because there was limited elevation gain.  The footing is somewhat rocky in places. Pretty views at the top but nothing to rival Hugh Norris trail.  My favorite feature of this place are all the colors - the reds, purples and oranges of the rocks stand out beautifully against the green saguaro and palo verde trees.

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) arizona hikes brown mountain hiking saguaro park west tucson hikes https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/brown-mountain-loop Sun, 20 Jan 2013 01:10:48 GMT
The Serial Killer Whisperer https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/the-serial-killer-whisperer This was a strange book.  I can't accurately recall why I got it from the library, either.  Maybe on a whim.  I do vaguely remember the author, Pete Early, as having written something I liked but when I looked at his other books I couldn't recall what.  So it's probably the beginning of short term (and maybe long term) memory loss for me. 

This book surprised me, but was hard to read because of the gruesome, detailed descriptions of murders.  The narrative is about a man named Tony who, at the age of 15, was in a boating accident that left him with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).  The story is really about Tony, but there are 3 killers he gets the most information from, and much of the book is their first person accounts of their dirty deeds. 

Before the accident, Tony was a smart, popular, go-getter but after almost a year of rehab he still had many of the hallmark problems that befall TBI survivors: impulsivity, fits of rage, trouble with depression, difficulty with learning.  However, he came out of it better than was expected and had a very supportive family.  He couldn't work, but lived at home with his parents, and was encouraged to find a hobby.  

He decided to start writing to serial killers who were imprisoned, to find out more about them.  He felt that he had some things in common with these guys, since he was prone to rages and had trouble controlling himself at times.  Because of the TBI, he was also very nonjudgmental, with a childlike outlook in some ways.  This meant he was able to get very honest accounts (to the extent that a serial killer can be honest) of the nature of their crimes. More than any other true crime book I've read, this one shows the kind of thinking these guys are walking around with.  It's creepy and it's hard to read without thinking about what their terrified victims went through.  Despite the horror, Tony develops pen pal relationships with three and goes to visit one of them.  He wonders if he really is like them, but after a period of years realizes he's able to connect with the victims, too. He gets some information about crimes they had not reported and, over the course of several years, gets a lead from the roommate of one killer, Robert Hansen, who had been imprisoned for decades in Alaska.  Hansen did not write back to Tony, but his roommate did and began to get information from Hansen.  This led to finding a body and closing a cold case, almost 40 years after the victim had disappeared in Seward, AK.  

Tony had experienced a near-death vision when he was air-lifted to the hospital after the accident...in it, he had strong sense that he could chose to stay or leave his life, and he chose to stay because he felt he had something to do.  It took him years to figure out what that was, but he finally told his parents that with the information he'd given to police, he knew he had come back to help people.  

Despite all the evil in this book, the more convincing theme is Tony's recovery and his ability (with the help of his family) to bring some good out of a tragic situation.  I wish I could recommend it without reservations, but some of the sick things these guys did I really wish I could forget.

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) brain injury" pete early serial killers, traumatic true crime https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/the-serial-killer-whisperer Mon, 07 Jan 2013 00:54:02 GMT
The Hobbit https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/the-hobbit One of my favorite books, which I read at age 21 and haven't revisited, so I'm a bit hazy on the plot details.  This film only covers the first third of the book, and follows Bilbo, a set-in-his ways hobbit, as he joins a band of homeless dwarves seeking to regain their cave/fortress from the clutches of an evil, gold-loving dragon. There can really be little critique of Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh since they've elevated fantasy films to a whole new level with the LTR trilogy.  My only issue is it was a tad long, but that might have been no issue at all if the theatre hadn't been cold and there weren't two different patrons (trolls) texting during the movie. There is an old saying in education: "the mind can only absorb what the butt can endure" and it applies here...the film has a running time of about 2 hrs 45 minutes and the theatre showed ads plus 6 or so previews.   The scene at the very beginning which had Frodo and Bilbo together was unnecessary, and explaining the reason for the dwarf quest might have been better accomplished if told by the actual dwarves rather than via voiceover The extended scene with all the dwarves arriving unannounced for dinner at Bilbo's hobbit-hole also dragged on.  All this occurred within the first 45 minutes, I'd estimate.

Once they left the Shire and began traipsing through the woods, mountains and dales, I felt like the movie finally got started.  The best scenes reminded me of my favorite PJ film, "King Kong," with dizzying movement and falling and fighting and fleeing which seems to occur on many levels and is so visually and emotionally convincing.  Filming mobs of Orcs scurrying across a flimsy bridge that spans giant rocks inside an intricate cavern, and making it all look completely real, is a mind-bending achievement. Because of all the build-up at the beginning I even cared a little bit about each individual dwarf's fate by the time they were all imperiled beneath the ground in the Orc kingdom.  Like King Kong, this movie picks up steam as it progresses, and the climactic scene when the heroes find themselves up the trees fighting off a pack of wolves-on-steroids & the scarfaced Orc King, while the forest around them burns, is absolutely thrilling.   I liked this movie more than I expected, because even though I've seen a lot of the same with the LTR trilogy, including these amazing visual effects, what makes this film brilliant comes from the credible characters and terrific storytelling and, of course, having a great story to tell.

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) hobbit jackson peter https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2013/1/the-hobbit Wed, 02 Jan 2013 01:16:42 GMT
Rocky Point / Puerto Penasco https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2012/12/rocky-point-/-puerto-penasco We just returned from our first independent trip to Mexico, unencumbered by anyone who speaks the language or knows where they are going.  As a friend pointed out, we were headed to the land of ganja, playas and beheadings.  Having traveled to San Carlos & Guaymas twice, and also through Chihuahua down into Copper Canyon (to Batopilas) via Mata Ortiz - but always in groups - we decided we could handle Rocky Point by ourselves.

So we set out, hauling agua purificado, bread, apples, hot chocolate, half n half, coffee, and cheese (though I forgot this last item, which turned out require a lot of shopping in MX).  We had planned to eat one large meal midday and supplement with what we'd brought, but it turned out bread and apples without butter,  cheese, jam, or peanut butter is not very tasty.  Iron Chef could have whipped up a delicacy with hot chocolate, coffee grounds and half n half . . .we chose to forage for more food, however.

We rented condo online that met our meager requirements, which included direct beach access and a cost of $100 per night or less.  We set off Saturday morning, and stopped in Why, AZ to top off the tank.

When we got to the border - around noon - it was virtually empty and the crossing was a breeze.  As soon as we got to the other side, I felt  once again a stab of surprise at Mexican poverty...which seemed to be even more pronounced in the form of two beggars, the first of whom was female & standing alongside the road about 50 feet after we entered town.  To her, I gave some change.  Then another 100 feet down the road, another poor soul was standing in the middle of the road with his jar, this guy minus part of his arm, so I gave him the rest of my change. As we continued, the next group of people were raising money for the mentally ill, but by then I could see we would never reach Rocky Point if I kept reaching into my car's ashtray for nickels and pennies.  Also Tim was nervous about stopping AT ALL for ANYTHING on the road to RP (to avoid beheadings), with which I had agreed beforehand.  He reiterated this by asking, "are you sure you want to be drinking that diet coke?" several times, since there would be ABSOLUTELY NO PEE BREAKS.  Geez.  

Anyway, after driving through Sonoyta and getting acclimated to the dust and homeless dogs and lack of building codes, we had no problems since the road is well marked, has wide shoulders, and also had plenty of arenas de descances...in MX apparently the rest areas are a flat pullover and a trash can - definitely no vending machines.   We reached RP in about an hour and followed the directions to get the key for the condo, which required driving all the way through town.  It took me awhile to get used to the tiny "alto" signs which were often hard to see or just missing, so I got in the habit of coming to a stop at every intersection. We continued south into Las Conchas, an upscale, gated community of beach homes.  No high-rises to be be seen, but plenty of winding dirt/sand roads through the neighborhood.  We followed the directions "past the whale skeleton" and turned right to come to a line of 11 condos, each with a small garage door, and pulled in.  Nice two-car garage and tiled entryway which led into the condo: two bedrooms, three baths, a decent sized front room that looked onto the patio which gave way about 100 feet beyond that to the sparkling blue water of the gulf.  

We realized right away that the condo would have been perfect for two couples, since the bedrooms were well spaced apart, and it was a little big for  just us two. In the whole 4 days, we saw one other small family staying 3 doors down and another (who arrived Christmas eve) staying 5 doors down.  At the most crowded time on the beach - sunset - there might be half a dozen people as far as the eye could see.  I have never been on a beach so empty, except for brief spells in Oregon in the fall, or once when hiking via dunes to a totally desolate beach.  When the tide receded, there was another football-field length of sand between us and the water.  The low tide uncovered a long line of rocks and tidal pools.

We spent the best part of that day in old town, taking photos and admiring the various monuments to the mighty shrimp (one park had as its centerpiece a statue with a giant pink shrimp at the top), and generally wandered about among the vendors but bought nothing.

The next day, we went to a time share presentation at Maya Palace which had began when we met Cesar the day before, in Old Town, who gave us a map of RP and explained where the grocery stores were (and the bookstore, which I never found), and then told us we could have a free delicious buffet if we listened to a "90 minute presentation," which proved to be slightly true.  Nonetheless, driving the 20 minutes out to Maya Palace (even further south) on the normal Mexican roads, that is, shoulderless, was an adventure.  We successfully fought off at least 14 sales managers but also got a lot of useful information from our American tour guide, Becky, about where to eat in town & where to shop . . .and emerged relatively unscathed 3 hours later.  That day, our other mission was to find a nice meal and get something besides dry toast to eat at the condo, so we drove through town and ate at Mare Blu, and Italian restaurant in the Sandy Beach area.  I had crab-stuffed ravioli and Tim had linguine with pesto & shrimp and they were both amazing.  The place is right on the water and relatively pricey, but for $45 we had some of the best Italian food I've eaten anywhere, along with a great view. 

We took a long walk on the beach that day, hung out at Wrecked on the Reef, where we were the only two adults not drinking liquor, and located the Super Ley where we exchanged dollars for cheese, what looked like butter, peanut butter and marmalade, instant decaf coffee, and a handful of pesos.  Then had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, having still not really planned well for our meals but it was a big step up from dry toast. (Oddly, I had to look very hard for peanut butter and found only one brand in a small jar - same for the jelly...I guess these are not foods Mexicans eat much).  

Monday, Christmas eve, we had planned to eat our big meal in town but had to admit that we still didn't have the right food supplies.  After taking a long walk on the beach shortly after sunrise, and spotting dolphins, we decided to spend the day procuring food and chillin' at the condo. We drove into town looking for a tortilleria, which we eventually found, and got both corn and flour tortillas, then headed back to Old Town for a meal.  We went into the first tourist joint we saw, and had the most wonderful shrimp (mine in butter and garlic & Tim's wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese) as well as very good rice and salsa.  We ate on a large deck overlooking the harbor, which was crowded with gulls and crows that occasionally landing on the railing. The couple next to us paid one of the roving musicians to play "Feliz Navidad" so we got a little of the Christmas spirit.  We spent some of the afternoon negotiating Tourist Gauntlet, and I bought a much needed sweatshirt while Tim got a Bob Marley T-shirt a small, framed Don Quixote print.  We still needed more cheese since the american cheese-food we had purchased the day before was sufficient neither in quantity or taste, so we drove all the way through town to Aurrera (I think that was its name) which was a Mexican version of CostCo, only much more disorganized, and bought a nice slab of the mild Mexican cheese.   Finally, we had achieved food independence!

The weather was great and the food was terrific and most of all, the beach was truly beautiful. To sum up, we made it back safe and sound and did not buy a timeshare. 

 

 

 

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) mexico travel puerto penasco rocky point https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2012/12/rocky-point-/-puerto-penasco Tue, 25 Dec 2012 23:52:21 GMT
Quilter's Trail https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2012/12/quilters-trail We took this hike on a Sunday in mid-December, leaving our car a little after 10:30, on a day where the temps topped out at 56 degrees...and it was a bit breezy, to boot.  But the clouds here and there and the cool temps were fine since we kept a good pace.  This is very exposed hike in the Rincons, south of Saguaro National Park-East, which meanders down an old cattle ranch trail, for the first 2.3 miles.  That is Hope Camp trail, which continues on but if you take a sharp left onto Quilter's you begin a lazy ascent into the foothills of the Rincons, eventually leading to intersection with Manning Camp Trail, 4.8 miles farther on.  We made it to within about a mile of the Manning Camp trail.  Quilter's a is a narrow little footpath that undulates and takes a few turns here and there, but is generally fairly flat.  You are hiking within a large stand of very healthy, towering saguaro cactus and quite of bit of rock, probably limestone, with a smattering of the usual dessert plants such as cholla, prickly pear and barrel cactus.  After about a mile and half, you come to a drainage in which there is usually water, framed by a lot of flat rock.  At that point the trail begins to climb, by switchback, fairly steeply.  In this section the saguaros thin out and the ocotillo become quite thick.  Just before reaching the drainage we encountered the trail steward, who was there to do a bit of trail work and had his shovel and hard hat.  He said he had come in on Ranch X road and gave us a lot of information about the trail further on, most of which I couldn't readily remember, not being very familiar with the area or the Rincons.  We passed him by and went up the switchbacks and just at the top (we had now hiked close to 6 miles) the trail flattened out and came to very pretty canyon, then dipped down into another rocky drainage.  Lovely views from up there, and we could see Rincon peak in the distance with its snow-covered top.  We stopped at that point but on the way back down chatted with the Steward again, who said where we stopped was about a mile from Manning Camp trail, and that we had, at the section where we turned around, reached another long stretch of flat trail.  I wish we could have gone all the way . . . but we had gotten a late start and wanted to head back.  The hike back was uneventful, aside from my sore feet.  We made it back to the car just before 2:30.  We estimated we hiked somewhere between 11 and 12 miles. This hike is highly rated for the solitude, saguaro, and great views.  Running into someone who knew the trail well was also a plus.

 

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) east hikes rincons saguaro tucson https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2012/12/quilters-trail Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:46:35 GMT
Review: Wildflower https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2012/12/jeans-blog For years I've resisted the trend to self-expression, operating under the principle that what I have to say isn't very interesting or original.  Recently I've observed that this principle has not stopped thousands (tens of thousands) of people from publishing their opinions!  So what's one more person?!

I've also resisted gun ownership, even though by accident we own a gun (a gift from my husband's brother from decades before) and keep it, unloaded, in the house.  I am certain I could use it to hit someone over the head, if necessary.  Or possibly, as it's a rather long rifle, to get something down off a high shelf.

I was going to use this blog as a means of writing restaurant, book, movie and other (hikes? trips to the mall? dog walks?) reviews, and maybe that's for the best.  Start small, keep things relatively simple and concrete. Yet my urge to be original and deep abides . . .

So here are two reviews of recent activities:

Wildflower

I've eaten here half a dozen times, maybe more.  Have always loved it and had great experiences.  Last night was not one of them.  

The restaurant is located in a strip mall on the corner of Ina and Oracle, among a collection of posh establishments such as what used to be Wild Oats (I've given up remembering the names that have resulted from all the organic grocery mergers, but I think it's now a Whole Foods), several clothing stores, an upscale gelato place, and at least one shop selling pricey southwestern artwork.  The restaurant isn't spacious but well designed, with a cozy seating arrangement of booth/tables lining the periphery.  It's plush and comfortable with a steady buzz of conversation and movement...but we were seated on the patio.  When I made the reservation, four days in advance, I was told that the only inside seating would be at 5 pm or 8:30.  But even as I voiced a tentative "OK" to outside seating (being assured that it was closed-in and filled with heaters) I had my doubts.  

When we arrived, and walked through the patio, we were greeted not by one or two but by four young women in miniskirts whose salient features were decorative: very long, bare legs, sliky flowing locks, unblemished skin, etc.  It was odd and somewhat unsettling (why were there so many of them?) but the hostess and her assistant led us to a table.  In fact, the assistant hostess led us to the Worst Table Ever.  Perched in a hallway, like a nervous pigeon stranded on a busy sidewalk, it called out to me, "leave now!  ask for another table!!  quickly!!!" yet I did not heed it's desperate call.  Perhaps I was simply overwhelmed by the four models guarding the restaurant's threshold; I knew that I was, in comparison, far too homely to request a decent, respectable table.  

My husband took the best seat, his back against the brick wall with a view onto the rest of the patio.  I ducked for cover, mumbling "this table sucks" then realizing that perhaps I should rethink my attitude.  Instead, I looked at Tim and said, "this table sucks."  He was nonplussed, as he is generally less eager to fully embrace impending doom.  The trouble with this table was it sat between two doors, all by itself: one door led into the restaurant proper, the other was used for waitstaff to enter and exit the patio (although they also used the main door at times).  But this is not where the trouble ended, as the table was right next to the main door, where all the somewhat grumpy, hungry and misplaced potential customers stood, waiting for seating.  For the first 15 minutes of our meal, an entire family stood 3 feet from us, taking pictures of each other.  There was another couple that stared directly at us, looking glum - not that I blame them, since they were essentially huddled in a nook trying to stay out of the way of all the young & beautiful (or is it the bold and beautiful and the young and restless?) staff who were racing about them. I kept waiting for someone to stumble over me or drop something onto my bread place while in transit.  

The waiter was indifferent and in a hurry.  Here is a tidbit of our dialogue.

"Would you like to start off with some cocktails or wine? 

Me: I don't think so.

Him: "You don't think so, or you don't KNOW so?"

Me: Uh, no thanks.

Tim: "I'm fine with water."

Later in the evening, I think he actually TOSSED someone onto our table as he galloped by, eager to get to the next better-tipping customer.

The cheeseburger was a simple dish, so I ordered that, thinking it would be like a regular cheeseburger only much better since this is a nice restaurant and I'm paying a lot of money.  It was obviously high quality beef, and was large, but the meat was rare when I asked for medium, it wasn't at all juicy and the "wild mushrooms" and "carmelized onions" that accompanied it were difficult to locate and even more difficult to taste. The fries were average in every way.  I longed for In and Out Burger.  

I eventually ordered a glass of pinot noir, acknowledging that alcohol would be necessary to make it through dinner without breaking down into sobs and thus making our lonely and obscure little table the center of far too much attention.

The waiter corrected my pronunciation of "Willamette" to "Wil-AM-ette."  No, I'm not making this up.  I was not overly generous with the tip.

Sigh, what's a homely country girl to do?  I searched for the right fork to use with my entree but was distracted with fantasies of plunging its shiny tines into the waiter's foot.

Meanwhile, the outside door blew open regularly and different customers sprinted over to close it.   The two teenagers in mini-skirts could have theoretically stood outside the door and made sure it was closed, but their bare legs were better used as greeting devices than actual work.

OK, now I'm just being petty and bitter.  I'm just glad it's over.  I think I'll retreat now, perhaps to some place or town that I can name successfully, like Tuc-son.  

NEXT:

A review of our hike today on quilters trail...I go without expectations, but definitely armed with a fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tim_connolly@mac.com (Tim Connolly) Tucson desert hikes restaurants https://www.timandjean.com/blog/2012/12/jeans-blog Sun, 16 Dec 2012 15:50:09 GMT