Posts Tagged With: smoothie

Scorching Saguaro

We kept driving across the desert, watching the heat roll off the road and the mountains change as we crossed into Arizona. Most of the billboards advertised Tombstone. It was only 45minutes out of the way so why not? The temperatures kept climbing into the triple digits so I wasn’t too keen on walking around much. We found a free parking spot and wandered back into the Old West. We wanted to watch a shootout but didn’t want to pay a lot of money. We made our way past western style shops to the OK Corral shop. The tickets were too expensive but I spotted grow-your-own saguaro kits. It included 2 or 3 baby cacti, dry soil, a small planter and a wooden marker saying OK Corral. I’ll take it! From there we continued by saloons until we heard a guy yelling that there’d be a shootout in 5 minutes down by the railroad depot. We hurried down there and purchased our affordable tickets to a comedic shootout. We sat on partly shaded bleachers in front of an old western street style stage. The town drunk announce told us, the audience, had to boo and clap for the bad and good guys as they came out. The show went on, with a plot of a guy stole a miner’s mule. It was hilarious, complete with a drunk sheriff, dumb sidekick and backstabbing, or shooting. But the good guys always win, right? We posed for pictures with the actors and tipped them, glad to have seen a great shootout worth the cost. We explored all the gift shops, buying postcards and sarsaparilla, a yummy root beer like drink. We enjoyed our sodas at the gazebo in the town park. Our bottles each had a bit about the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. After we’d seen enough of the wild west, we continued to Tucson, heading up Mt. Lemmon to our campsite. We drove up, and up, and up! The saguaros appeared all over the mountain then gave way to conifers. Our campsite gps coordinates were at 8500ft elevation so I was excited, hoping it’d be at least 15degrees cooler than it was now at 85degrees at 7pm. Our coordinates were a little off but we eventually found the correct road. The trees were conifers and the perfect site was just a couple minutes in. We set up our tents and Travis cooked dinner in the dark. We went to sleep at about 60 degrees.

I awoke with a loud, “Travis, hep me!” My nose was pouring blood. I tried not to get any drops on my sleeping bag, pillow, or anything in my tent as I scrambled to get out. I failed. I stuffed toilet paper up my nose while shuffling to a comfortable standing place. Travis made sure I was ok before attempting to scrub out the blood on basically everything in my tent. I couldn’t get it to stop bleeding for a good while which was super frustrating because I was fully awake, hungry, and had to pee. We suppose it happened because the dry air, wind, dust, and possibly altitude. Finally it stopped after I filled a whole bag with bloody tissues. I got to pack up, eat, and we were on our way down to the western portion of Saguaro National Park.

We drove to the visitor center and wanted to fill up our water bottles but the Africanized killer bees were buzzing around the faucet and ground. The rangers normally keep a dish out for them but it had run dry. We collected a map and ventured out into the desert. Our first path was a paved interpretive trail 1/2 mile long. I had on my long sleeved sun shirt, capris, hat, and a cooling towel on my neck. I was prepared to hike through the desert. Every other informative sign had a shaded bench that I’d race toward and let Travis read the sign out loud. I had fun posing by each cactus, especially the giant saguaro, although Travis got bit by the teddy bear cholla. It sure was fuzzy alright. That trail was only 1/2 mile long and it was supremely uncomfortable for me so we decided to skip the other trail I’d picked out that was .7miles and go straight to the driving loop. We passed many more saguaros with lots of arms. There were several cacti that were blooming and of course I wanted to get pictures of every one. there were reds and pinks, in varying shades, and sometimes orange as well. We did set out on another 1/2mile trail to see the petroglyphs. This trail was a bit up so I just took my time, trying not to die. Petroglyphs are carved into rock and pictograms are painted or drawn on. These markings were from the Hohokam people from AD 900-1200. The view from the top of the hill was neat, saguaros dotting the landscape as far as the eye could see. I was hot and felt close to dying, so we headed back to a smoothie cafe I’d seen a sign for on the way in. The ice cold blended fruit was incredibly refreshing but didn’t fill me up much. Travis wanted Taco Bell but I wasn’t sure I could eat there and not get sick so I got Burger King nuggets.

Now that we were out of danger of heat illnesses, we went to a place where we could spend some money: REI. I needed new shoes and hoped they’d have an ample selection in my size. This REI wasn’t too different than our home store but did have a bit more climbing gear. I wanted to try on the Altra Lonepeak 3.0 but all they had was the Superior. I trounced around the store, trying to see if these aggravated my achilles and had enough tread for rocks and were sufficient support for my ankles. I bought them and there was a bit of a mix-up. The shoes were labeled wrong on the rack; the Lonepeak and Superior were switched. So I was buying the shoes I had researched and wanted. We headed back up the mountain in plenty of daylight and again watched the temperature drop into a comfortable range. We picked out a different site (because our previous one was occupied) with view over the hill past the car. I got another nosebleed as I tried the saline nose squirt bottle, which Google had said to try. That and neosporin were supposed to re-moisten the inside of my nose. Travis made chicken alfredo for dinner and we went to bed as the sun set. I got up to no nosebleed (yay!) but enormous bloody boogers (yuck!). We decided not to try to hike in the desert today but just to take the 8 mile route in and around the eastern part of the National Park. It mostly looked the same, but more hilly and the cacti had more blooms. We’d get out with me decked out in my sun-protective clothing and read the blurb written on the informational signs. It was already scorching by 11AM when we finished the Saguaro loop so we set our gps straight north to the Grand Canyon!

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Monday July 20I woke up but dozed in bed until almost 9. The bed was soft and I didn’t have to checkout and pack up. The boys had already left for school and they’d left for work. I ate jam and bread for breakfast, showered, put some stuff in the wash, and tried to journal. David had picked up a few flyers about some hikes around Chesham but I knew I needed to just rest. So mostly I just laid there doing nothing which felt absolutely glorious! By 11 I was bored so I started to try to make plans. I knew I needed to send my boots and a few gifts home so I’d have to find the post office. I also needed a few groceries before leaving stores I could actually read what I was buying. I still hadn’t moved from my room by lunchtime so I fixed myself a peanut butter Nutella banana sandwich. Nom nom! Finally I was ready to go to town. 

It was a pleasant 15minute walk down to the town center. I noticed plenty of funeral homes lining the street which I thought was odd for a fairly small town. I made it to the city center and just wandered around. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular to buy but would’ve liked to find more mementos to send home. I walked into an outdoor store and made a beeline for their shoes. They had a nice pair of Solomons on sale but they only had a half size too small. I tried it on but knew it’d cause blisters especially if my feet swelled a little bit while hiking. I found a bakery that had a gigantic double chocolate cookie and those chocolate caramel shortbread desserts for super cheap. I bought one of each, wishing I could send treats home but it’s the thought that counts right? I know I’ve mentioned it before but these chocolate caramel shortbread squares are superb! Each one is unique, baked by various shops using slightly different recipes, resulting in an extraordinary culinary combination. I happily munched away as I explored a health and body store, looking at their protein powder supplements. They required milk but I didn’t think I’d be able to find powdered milk anywhere. 

I shipped my boots, various magnets, the glass from the scotch whisky experience, and a few other trinkets back to the USA for only 22pounds. I previously worked for the UPS store so I knew how to pack glass so it wouldn’t break but all I had was a tiny piece of bubble wrap and tissues. I wasn’t sure what customs would do if it got there with loose glass shards. I went to grocery store, picking up pasta, granola bars, yogurt bars, and a few oats to go cups. 

I’d passed a crepe place on the way in but it was now closed so I settled for a strawberry banana smoothie. I walked back to the Wilson’s, happy that I’d done all my chores. I tried to catch up on my journal some more but it seems the more time I have to write, the more I write. They all didn’t get home until maybe almost 8 and the boys read and went to bed. David, Annalisa and I chatted a bit before all heading to bed. It was the boys last day of school the next day and there was some kind of field day with games and sports so they’d be back a little earlier. I hadn’t made any headway on planning so I’d be there Tuesday night as well. I went to sleep, happy to lay in the same bed for more than one night. 

Tuesday July 21

I had the same thing for breakfast and this time used the Bluetooth keyboard to type up some blog entires. I journaled outside in the bouts of sunshine. It’d be sunny and warm for a moment then clouds would pass over, making me want to put my shirt back on. I eventually got out my mat and laid out on the grass. I’m not sure if I fell asleep or not but I think I did at some point. I booked a bus to Bruge Belgium for Wednesday morning and then a hostel. 

Woo! I had clean laundry, was well rested and was all set to head towards the mainland! The Wilson’s got home and the boys played in the yard while Annalisa prepared dinner. It was such a nice evening so we sat outside to eat. It was so refreshing to be with a family. I tried not to miss my own as I listened to the boys interact with their parents. We finished off a delicious meal with Rice Krispie treats. I packed up some of my stuff before going to sleep, ready for an early start to my traveling day. 

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