Monday, March 8, 2010

Winter Hiking

Living in Tucson, we have the beautiful Sonoran Desert. It is the desert straddling the US-Mexico border. It is the only North American ecology that hosts Jaguars! With all the hiking we've done; and the adventures we have encountered -- Ryan and I have come across snakes, gila monsters, many lizards, a black bear, deer, wild turkeys.....but not yet a jaguar. Let's hope that never happens....

So we get a lonnng drought during the spring-fall that makes our desert go from this:.....

To this:

We get a monsoon season in the late summer that gives heavy rains daily. And then our second rain season comes in late January into February-March. This year we have gotten record-rainfall; which is amazing for our ecosystem here in AZ! This is obviously a different view (it's the mountains by where Ry & I live)....but as you can see the mountains are snow-topped from all the moisture!

I absolutely adore hiking in weather like this. Yesterday morning it was a foggy day; with the promise of rainfall and storm. Ryan & I headed up to the mountain to do some hiking. It was about 48 degrees; perfect for a brisk hike! :) And this is what we encountered!

Upon entering the area where we started our hike, we saw deer. Deer in AZ are much different than the ones in ND where I grew up. They appear to be anorexic. The desert is a harsh place! THey are also more "people-friendly" since they don't get hunted in national parks. So Ryan was able to get very close to snap some photos!

We then started heading up the mountain. There was an odd collection of blue-jays and woodpeckers. It was the only place we saw this the whole morning!

(I never thought I'd be so entranced with bird watching...but it was so neat to see!)

This time of year is, in my opinion, the best time for good hikes -- because all the waterfalls and streams fill up with fresh water from all the rain and mountain snow.
(Notice the white trees! They remind me of birch trees? But I'm not sure....I love how they stand out)

Since we don't see water often here in the desert, we were enticed. So decided to go "off trail" and just hike up the mountain along the stream.

Although a sure-way to not get lost, and relaxing to hear the water. This hike calls to be challenging. Since we were hiking up a little "canyon" we had to cross the stream several times.

Now, my husband Ryan is agile, graceful, and athletic. I am not. So when we were crossing, he would say "Just hope from this stone to that boulder, get your balance and take a large leap for the other side".

He made it looks so easy.

This is how I did it.....(Ryan was entertained...)

There have been many rain and wind storms this year. So we had to climb over a lot of broken-down trees. Here is a photo of one tree's after-effects!

After we hiked up an hour, wind started picking up and rain started slightly drizzling down. My wifely instinct told Ryan we better head down  to be safe.

This hike was wonderful! It's been a few months since we've been able to get up to the mountains, for it's been pretty busy! We can't wait for the day when we live a little more on our own schedule and can do this frequently! Included with numerous camping trips!


B and B said...

You two are cut out of the same mold as Paul and I! Great pictures!!! We also are hooked are bird identification. You are lucky to have beauty close to where you live.

Mama Nastase said...

Great pictures, looks like a great hike! So glad you didn't fall!

Marlys said...

Great pictures! Great hiking report! Oh, how I would love to go out hiking or even walking! It is getting warmer and snow is melting but we still can't see any black earth or just in very rare instances. The roads are soft and mushy so it will only get worse. I am going to stop complaining as there are worse things to endure!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am jealous. We MUST go hiking when I come to visit! Looks like so much fun!!

Hope your first week back in classes goes smoothly!