Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What to do, what to do!

The weather is really quite nice right now here in Arizona.  It's easy to fall into the misconception that it must be nice at home too.  But it's not.  

This time of year dad and I are about a month away from returning to Indiana for the summer.  I start counting the days and looking forward to getting back to 'the farm'.  It's also time to buy grocery items in smaller quantities so I don't have a bunch of stuff to throw out or give away, make a to do list of things that have to be done to close up the house, and so forth.  

 I really start to get excited to go home to the country and my flowers, screen porch and cats.  I haven't seen my two grown kids in nearly 8 months and since they didn't come out to visit this year, I'm anxious to see them, I miss them!

Unfortunately, this year things are much more 'up in the air'.  I don't know where dad and I are going to go.  'Home' is a bit crowded right now.  Mr. Fix-it's daughter, baby and Rottweiler are still living there and it sounds like the daughter's fiance will be moving in about May as well.  Also, since dad and I left last October, Mr. Fix-it's grown son has moved home too.  

Dad will be 83 in June.  I don't talk about him much but he is diabetic, has Parkinson's, Heart disease and his short-term memory is not good.  He can't live alone.  He sleeps a lot too.  

Mr. Fix-it's granddaughter is 18 months old and much more active than when dad and I left last fall.  Suffice it to say that to go home will put a BIG strain on everyone.  Not to mention the fact that I have a really hard time finding an aide to come in and help with dad because we live in such a rural area. 

There seems to be no easy solution.  Dad doesn't want to spend the summer here in the heat and I don't want to either.  At home, there are no houses to rent on a month to month basis.  I might be able to rent an apartment but dad is not an apartment kind of guy and I think it will be confusing for him.  He's had some trouble this winter remembering where we are.  He enjoys sitting on my screen porch, watching the cats and the farmer working the fields around us.  

So....I sit here in a quandary trying to figure out what to do.  I do know we won't be going anywhere until the first of June.  Hopefully something will work out by then.   

It's not easy.  My mom, who has been gone 5 years now, would always say,  "Life isn't fair and it isn't easy".  I sure wish she was here to help me with this one! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Art and Craft Show

Yesterday was the second annual Art and Craft Show here at Montesa.  It is an opportunity for the artists in our community to show off their talents.

There were so many beautiful items displayed and a wonderful variety of talent.



Silversmith's and Jewelry Designers



And more Quilters!

And me....the one and only Rug Hooker!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dottie on Making Friends

It's me Dottie!  Stealing the keyboard from mom.  She has been hogging it for days with a silly story about climbing in the Mountain.  Woof.....who would want to do that!!!

Anyway, I thought I would show you a couple of the other dogs I've met at the dog park.

The white one is Frosty and he's my best friend.  The little puppy is Hank and the bigger Golden is Meadow.  They're ok I guess but Hank has too much energy for me!!

 Everybody likes Frosty and he likes to run and play too.  

See me there by the gate?  I'm ready to go home.  Too many dogs here for me!  I like to visit for a little bit, but I really don't like to run and sweat!

Woof woof.....have a great fur day everybody!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going Hiking! The Final Chapter

Are we there yet?
Part IV
By this point I'm sure you've figured out that our 'pride' kept us going.....and going......and going.  Just around the next bend.  I'm not really sure where on the trail we actually passed the point of no return but it was somewhere behind us.  We'd come too far to turn back now.  

Finally someone coming down told us we were almost there.  Up ahead past that rock on the left.  

I really thought I was going to die at about this point.  I could only walk 50 or so steps without stopping to rest because I thought my heart was going to come slamming out of my chest at any moment.  At first I tried to disguise it to Mr. Fix-it by pointing out some rock formation or that I wanted to take another picture.  I did notice that he was only more than happy to stop for the photo op as well!  In fact, he told me much later that it was about here he thought he was going to throw up (sorry for the graphic!).  If you know anything about dehydration, that is one of the first signs.

We had pushed our bodies way beyond what they wanted to handle!  But, we were so close now.  And then....just like that.....we were there.  The top.  The light at the end of the tunnel.  The prize in the Cracker Jack box.

Weaver's Needle in all it's majesty! 

Weaver's Needle is said to have been used as a marker by the Dutchman to lead him to his lost gold mine.  Treasure hunters believe that within the 1220 foot shadow of this rock spire landmark is where the hidden mine lies.  

Somewhere at home in Indiana I have a picture of me sitting on this very rock twenty-one years ago, MUCH leaner and fitter!  I hate to have my picture taken anymore as I am not thrilled to be reminded how the years have changed me.  This time though, I made sure Mr. Fix-It took one!  

It may have been pride that kept us going, but this was one time I'm glad common sense did not prevail or we would never have made it.  I might never have reached my goal of climbing to the top to see this spectacular and breathtaking view again.  So this one time....I wasn't going to be too proud to have my picture taken.  

We sat in the shade for at least a half hour taking in all the beauty and letting our bodies rest.  After all....we still had the trek back.  And, there was only one bottle of water left between us and we each had two coming up the trail.  

The trip down was somewhat easier and definitely faster.  The whole 6.2 mile round trip took us three hours going up and two hours coming down. Thank goodness for declining elevation and gravity!

As we started our descent down the mountain, I couldn't help but feel a bit of pride that I had accomplished a personal goal.  

We made it to the truck very hungry, tired, a bit sunburned, our muscles screaming out in protest and only a few swallows of water left...but safe.    SO many things could have gone wrong, even deadly wrong because we didn't follow a few common sense rules.  

So if you ever get out this way and decide to hike the Peralta or search for the Dutchman's lost gold......don't do as I did.  Do as I say!  

Start early on a hot day
Make sure you are in good physical shape
Pack carbohydrate rich foods for energy
Take more water than you think you need

and last but not least,

Let common sense, not pride, be your guide!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Going Hiking! Part III

Part lll
What HAVE We Done?

I don't know if it was our pride that got the best of us or what.  You know.....those school kids did it so we should be able to as well, kind of thinking.  Or it could have been Mr. Fix-it's desire to help me achieve my goal of making to the top once more in my lifetime.  Possibly I might have even been thinking that if Mr. Fix-it wasn't going to bite the bullet and turn around, I sure as heck wasn't going to!

No matter the reason, and certainly not one based on common sense, pride had control and we forged ahead.  

It seemed that as soon as we left the shaded copse of trees, the terrain changed.  The rocks got rockier, the heat got hotter and the elevation really elevated!  It's not hard to tell in this picture, that we are much higher up than when we started.   

As we continued on, our pace slowed.  We had to stop and rest much more than when we were in the lower altitude of the canyon.  I should mention here that the elevation at the peak of this mountain is around 3800 feet and we were half way there.   My heart was pumping much faster than it had been.  Several times I asked Mr. Fix-it if he was ok.  "Fine,  he replied.  You?"   "Oh yeah, I'm good"  I stated!   Uhhhh huh......pride was alive and well. 

A few well toned and younger hikers who had obviously done this before, passed us on their way up, but mostly more people went by us going down.  They were the smarter ones, they had started their climb early so they could be off the mountain by the heat of the day!  And it was also bugging me to see that quite a few of them were much older than Mr. Fix-it and me.  Well for goodness sakes, if they can do it so can I.  Did I mention that both of us are a good fifty pounds overweight and have bad knees?

Good idea #1 - If taking most trails in the Supes, especially on a day the expected high is 87.....DON'T start late!

We quickly learned from those descending, that the estimate of 45 minutes to the top we had received a half hour ago from the chaperon accompanying the school kids was WRONG.  We had at least an hour or more to go.  "Oh but it is worth it"  some said.  "Incredible views up there, shade and a wonderful refreshing mountain breeze,"  said someone else.   One man even joked they had been serving ice cream up there.....NOT!  In everyone's defense, I must say that time seems to stand still up there.  Don't know if it's from the quiet solitude in the mountains or what but you really do loose track of time.

And so....we trudged ahead.  

The mountain top had to be just around the next corner behind that saguaro cactus up there.  We were sure of it!  And I couldn't remember for sure as it had been 21 years ago since I had been up this far!!  This is probably a good time to mention that this particular trail is 6.2 miles round trip.  Uphill. And back down.  In the desert. 

Good idea #2 -  before hiking the Peralta Trail, you might want to physically work up to it!

Finally we came across this huge boulder on the side of the path and decided to take advantage of it's shade and coolness for a bit.  Mr. Fix-it pulled out his one and only power bar to share.  Unfortunately, it was quite squashed and melted.  We were getting pretty hungry at this point because our breakfast was long gone and now it was past lunch time.  Consequently, the smooshed power bar was pretty delicious.

Good idea #3 - Pack plenty of carbohydrate rich snacks for energy. 

The other problem I was starting to get concerned about is running out of water.  NEVER a good idea in the desert!   It is so incredibly easy to get dehydrated out here. 

Good idea #4 - take MORE water than you think you need!

 We did run across this small pool of water and survivalists say that if bugs are alive and moving about in the water, it is safe to drink.  We still had some water left so did not have to try it!!

Stay tuned for the final (I promise!) chapter of our Mountain hike!  We truly are very near the top and the reward that goes with getting there. 

And.....it IS worth it!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Going Hiking! Part II

First, let me say my intent was not to leave everyone hanging about the rest of my hike.  It was mostly that I ran out of time to finish it!  So not to worry, thankfully nothing bad happened,  we weren't attacked by an ancient tribe of lost Apache Indians, nor did we fall off the side of the mountain and we didn't find the lost gold either.  We did, however, learn a few things about hiking in the Superstitions!

Part II
What WERE we thinking?

 The day of our hike was a typical sunny and beautiful Arizona day.  It was to be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures climbing to 87 degrees.  No matter, we started around 10:30 in the morning and it was quite comfortable.  

About fifteen minutes into the hike you come across this sheet of rock to climb that hardly looks like a trail.  

This photo is looking back down the canyon where we came from.  Our truck is parked somewhere behind the ridge jutting out on the right side of this picture.  

 The trail ahead.  Rocky and climbing.

Lichen growing on the rocks.

At this point of the trail, there are small, shady spots of pinyon and mesquite trees that provide a welcome place to rest.  It was here that we ran into a large group of young school kids and adults in the middle of a field trip, coming back down off the mountain.  Our inquiry to one of the adults indicated that the 'top' of the trail was only about 45 minutes farther.  

This was about as far as we had made it seven years ago with Mr. Fix-it's teenagers in tow.  I remember being disappointed with them because we were so close to the top and I really wanted to make it.  That was also, pre-knee replacement and yet I was determined to go on if they hadn't protested so much.  But....I turned around with them and left the mountain making the kids happy and leaving my goal behind. 

 On this hike, we hadn't planned on going to the top.  Mr. Fix-it just wanted to get into the interior of the mountain, be in the middle of the desert and take in the beauty, enormity and solitude of it all.  True, we bantered back and forth coming up the trail that maybe we should just go on to the top while we were here. 

But here we were, in this nice shady spot and supposedly only 45 minutes away from the top and a most rewarding vista.  Do we go on?  Well, those Junior High school kids had done it.....no doubt we could too!   

Hmmm...lets see, we have one bottle of water each left and one power bar to share.  Should we.....or shouldn't we?   Oh yeah, and we are both about 50 lbs overweight and not old, but not young.  We both have knees that aren't the best either.  And it's getting warmer out too.  

So taking all that into account....did we or didn't we?  

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going Hiking! Part I

It started out innocently enough.  My baby brother and Mr. Fix-it flew out together for a week.  Unexpected....and thankfully, due to a cheap air fair not normally seen at this time of year.  

Baby brother was going to stay with dad so Mr. Fix-it and I could take some day trips and spend much needed time together.  (As long as dad's insulin needles were pre-filled...baby brother faints at needles!)

Mr. Fix-it couldn't wait to get back here.  "I want to go hiking into the Superstitions"  he said.   "Fine by me",  I said.

 The Superstition Mountains, or 'Supes' as called by locals, are a massive mountain wilderness area in the Tonto National Forest, comprised of 160,200 acres.  It is an area steeped in mystery and stories of lost gold.  Legend has it that Jacob Waltz, a German immigrant, relocated to Arizona in the 1860's and is purported to have found an extremely rich vein of gold somewhere in the Superstitions.  He is said to have told only one person where the mine was located, Julia Thomas.  Ms. Thomas, from Phoenix, is said to have cared for Waltz in his last days.  She mounted a a search after the Dutchman's death to locate the mine but was never successful.  

Nor have those that have followed!

Many deaths have occurred in the area over the years due to the vast, rugged and inhospitable, though beautiful, terrain.  As recently as last summer, three gold hunters from Utah lost their lives searching for the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.  Though extensive air and ground searches were made, their bodies were not found until a month ago, when a well seasoned Superstition hiker got off the beaten path into an area even he had never discovered before.  There, he stumbled upon the unfortunate gold hunters.  

I've been enamored with the beauty of the Superstition Mountains for twenty-one years when I first laid eyes on them.  In particular, the Flat Iron mountain area.  Old timers thought the mountain had the shape of an iron.  Today, more modern pioneers have dubbed it the Battleship or Ship Rock.  It is this end of the mountain that many of the legends were born.  

My cousin first introduced me to the Mountain twenty one years ago when she took me there to hike the Peralta Trail.  We hiked to the peak to a most gorgeous vista and I vowed I would hike it again one day.   Seven years ago, Mr. Fix-it and his kids and I tried to hike it again but the kids, teenagers at the time, gave out and we never made it to the top.

So....when the morning came last week for Mr. Fix-it and I to have a whole day to ourselves, it was kind of a no-brainer to go to the trail we were both familiar with.  
Mr. Fix-it grabbed our walking sticks, a couple of waters, backpack, a power bar, camera.  Off we went, happy as clams to be together and free for a day.

Such a stunning view to be greeted by as we headed up the trail.  Little did we know (but should have!) how the rest of the hike would unfold!

Stay tuned for Part II

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remind Me?

This is why I love Arizona

And this....


And even this.....

I am not fond of the rather large scorpion found on my living room wall.

Nor do I care for the rattlesnakes that are coming out of dormancy right now.

I guess that is the trade off I make for not having to live in the snow covered and frigid midwest during the winter.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dottie and Mr. Fix-it

Hi everyone, Dottie here!  Thought I'd sneak in a minute and get on mom's blog.

I have company!!   Mom's 'friend', (she calls him Mr. Fix-it) came back in town to see me.  Mom said he came to see her but I know he missed me and wanted to come back just for me!

 See....you can tell by the way he hugs me how much he loves me!!  And mom said it is really unusual for him to come to visit twice in the winter so I know it was for me!  Mom tried to tell me it was because he found a really cheap flight and that he misses mom but I really don't think so! 

It's me.....all about me!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dottie on Rug Hooking

Dottie at the keyboard.  Mom says she is trying to get something called a Migraine so she said it was ok if I got on her blog!

Mom's been awfully busy lately with lots of dogs coming and going.  Some for grooming, some for day board and some for long-term boarding like my friend George.

George is adopted like I hope to be one day.  His forever parents went on a two-week cruise to Hawaii.  George misses them and is anxious for them to come home.  I heard mom say they will be back in six days so I told George and he was happy!

I am feeling so much better since my bad teeth got pulled.  Mom says I still need to work a little bit harder on my house training issues so I can have full run of the house.   

This is my favorite place...mom's bed.  She wanted me to get up so she could make it but I asked if I could stay in bed just a little longer and she let me!

Now that I have settled in a bit more, mom has been working on her rug hooking again.  

 She finished this one last night and I heard her say all she has to do is bind the edges.

 I think it looks like a nice comfy thing to cuddle up on don't you!   

But mom said no!

She hardly ever says no to me!!

What's up with that!?

I'm going to snuggle with mom in bed.
Dottie out! 


Friday, March 4, 2011

An Old West Saloon Visit

You can't come to the West without visiting an old time Saloon.  This replica inside the Apacheland barn at the Superstition Mountain Museum fits the bill!

 Saloons were a fixture in every old west town.  They provided food, drink, and entertainment for many a weary cowpuncher or drifter as well as the locals.

Entertainment meant anything from various gambling games to brightly dressed and over rouged women of the night shamelessly displaying shoulders and ankles!

Many weary cowpokes simply wanted to belly up to the bar and whet their whistles after a long and dusty cattle drive.  

Saloons were more often than not the scene of angry arguments that usually did not end well.  And of course, there were always the church going ladies of the town that frowned on the very existence of a Saloon!

If I'd lived back then, I don't think I'd have been one of those do-gooder prohibitionist type females but I also wouldn't have been a lady of the night!  I would probably have fallen somewhere in the middle, curious and peering over those swinging saloon doors trying to get a look at what was going on in there.  What about you??


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Horse Wear!

Thought I would post a couple of pictures of horse gear from 'back in the day' on display at the Superstition Mountain Museum.  Enjoy!

 Military saddle used in the War of 1812

Mexican saddle, age unknown

 Pack saddle, not for riding (thank goodness!).   This type of saddle was used on a second horse or mule that was pulled along behind the horse being ridden.  Supplies and sundries would be loaded and tied onto it.  

  Though not riding bridles, these particular headstalls, yokes and reins were used on horses and mules that pulled wagons and buggies. 

Like this one for instance.  Ranchers would drive the wagon to town to fill up on goods from the local mercantile. 

Can you imagine having to drive a horse and wagon to town to do your shopping?!?!?  What a job just to get ready to go....not like jumping in a car and turning the key!  I certainly wouldn't go to town every day like I do now if I had to hook up a wagon and team of horses!

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