The daily life in 'the tropics', the high desert of the southwest and back to 'the tropics' with the hounds and a dog
December 28, 2019
The Only Snow Left Is Up There
The snow from yesterday didn't last long as I described yesterday. By the time the sun had burned off the snow on the ground, the street and the cars, the mountains were covered with clouds. Since I am short on time today and tonight, here are some photos from yesterday afternoon that I took after my post plus what is left today. Some of the mountain roads have reopened, such as the on taking you to the Coronado Monument Visitor Center and up and over Montezuma Pass.
Cold winds continued to blow the rest of Friday afternoon. All of us found that out on our daily hound walk. Heidi set her best time at 19 minutes and trotted most of the way. She felt warm to the touch but it was obvious she preferred her blankets and bed to the cold wind. Stella of course was oblivious to the low temperature and was hopping each time she would turn to trot.
This morning I could finally see what the mountains had collected yesterday. Here are photos from this morning from different camera's and different lenses. Both hounds had no interest in going on the walk nor did they stay outside too long each time they 'thought' they wanted to go outside.
She thought she heard me say something about food ...
I am "this close" to "cutting the cord" as they say. I'll have to pay a fee for breaking my Cox Cable contract but after the recent increase and other mysterious billing they can't explain to me, I am now paying ~$60 per month more than I was quoted when I signed up for their tv/internet service last June. It will only take me 3 months to get my money back in savings for the fee I will pay up front.
I have double checked and find that times have really changed in streaming tv for sports addicts such as myself. I've had Amazon Prime for a long time but never checked out their tv aspect and was amazed of all the free movies available. AppleTV has some great programing of their own and it looks like YouTube TV is going to get my monthly payment for all the channels I get on cable.
I'll keep Cox internet since it is a great service. After a few hours of some serious studying I have figured out how to put all of these ballgames and movies on my tv plus all my devices. A pretty simple process that I should learned months ago.
It's been too cold or wet to ride my bike outside, so I've been riding inside just to keep the lungs and legs in shape. I do have a few local trips planned but will do them next week. Heidi's vet appointment was moved from this afternoon to early Monday morning. It should be nothing more than getting her rabies shot which here is good for three years, not just one.
It's cold and sunny today in the 'Wild West'.
December 27, 2019
Hounds See Their First Arizona Snow
Snow was in our forecast for sometime after midnight. We had a winter advisory warning out until Saturday morning for areas above the 4,500' elevation. By the time we woke up on Friday morning that prediction of 3" of snow had changed to 2-5". It would be our first snow since moving to Arizona. It was expected more than a surprise because of the weather data research I had done before deciding to move the this great area. Believe me this is nothing compared to what we were used to. Although ... the hounds acted like they had been Arizona hounds their whole life.
Stella was nudging my hand sometime around 4:30am wanting me to get up. She didn't need to go outside, she wanted to eat breakfast. Without moving a muscle I told her to go back to sleep in the room filled with darkness. Luckily she obeyed and I was able to get another 35 minutes of sleep before Stella officially called it the start of the day ... she started howling at 5:05am ... in the dark.
That howling was the same one I hear in the afternoons if I am late feeding her lunch so I knew she was wanting to eat. It was the first time I ever heard her howling before we were up for the day. I hope this isn't her new routine ... even if it is only for a few weeks.
This will give you some idea what that howling looks like. This is from Wednesday when I returned from my Miller Canyon hike. Once she starts howling then Heidi will join her by barking until the kibble is in their dishes.
Scanning the fence line this morning once it was daylight, as you can see the mountains we normally see were no where to be found and I did not see any signs of overnight snow. I started thinking the weather forecasters were not any different than the forecasters back in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.
When I first glanced I thought my patio chair that was blown off the patio during the night might be filled with snow in the bottom. Those little white tabs on each chair leg looked like snow. I was wrong. Only white plastic pieces for the chair legs and that was nothing but rain on the chair. You can see a little snow residue on the blue towel. Nowhere near the 3" they talked about after midnight.
While I was back in the computer room I didn't realize the snow 'storm' had stated without me or the hounds. It was only when I got up to get more coffee did I see it was snowing outside. If we had a full day of this type of snowing I could see the 5" by the end of the day. It was going to get too warm to do that though. The scouting report I had about snow in this area, it is always gone by the end of the day.
After two attempts to go outside but immediately turning around on the patio to go back inside, Stella could no longer hold it and had to go out in the light snow fall to pee. Heidi ??? Not a chance. She did the immediate turn on the patio hours ago and was back on her bed in the deep corner of the bedroom sound to sleep. Both hounds had proved to me this morning, they were officially Arizona hounds.
Just for proof to text some out of state friends, I found the one place that had the deepest snow.
Some time during the morning she had moved from her bed to her other favorite sleeping spot in the computer room.
It wasn't 3 hours later I hear the water dripping from the rooftop. I look outside to see sunny blue skies and not a trace of snow in the yard. You can barely see the drops of water coming off the roof to the ground.
It looks like the foothills had some snow but all of this was much less than I expected.
It was a photo of a bird like this on a Facebook Group for The Wonders of Cochise County that I decided to try the Canon Power Shot SX70. I mentioned the other day in the right kind of light I get better results when zooming than I get on my Nikon D3500 70-300mm lens. If you look closely at the bird I think you will see the quality I am talking about.
Although the snow is gone, Heidi, Stella and I are dreaming for a day like this. Taken just a few days ago we all know it's possible to have some bright hot sunshine even when the temps are in the 50's. After all they are officially Arizona hounds and they LOVE sunshine.
If Heidi cannot get a good warm place outside to sleep in the sunshine after breakfast she will always find a warm sunny spot in her bedroom. She has a vet appointment tomorrow for an annual checkup, annual shots and hopefully a nail trim by one of the vet techs.
After getting serious about it, it was not really hard to connect my tv for the first time to my wifi. I could then access Amazon Prime Videos and found more free movies to watch than I had ever found on Cox Cable On Demand. I added a ton of them to my 'watch later list'. With my Best Buy award points that I had built up I only paid $29 for the 6Gb Apple Tv. I have that hooked up and am in the process of connecting it to some sports channels. Once I get that accomplished and see that I can watching the ballgames I want ... Cox TV will be canceled but I will keep their outstanding internet service.
Hard to believe we are just a few days away from 2020 (sounds weird) but that means we are also closer to warmer weather.
First now here in the 'Wild West' this morning.
December 25, 2019
Christmas Day Hike - Miller Canyon
I knew this morning I would be either riding my bike later in the day or taking a hike. It was cold and windy a little after 7am with a forecast showing possible showers later on. When I mentioned I might go hiking at Miller Canyon, a place I had checked out by car a few weeks ago, a friend suggested I hike the lower trailhead on the Perimeter Trail ... I did but I think I might have taken a wrong turn by following the trail marker.
I knew with the amount of wind and 44° it was going to be more challenging than I wanted riding a bike. Hiking was sounding better all the time and I knew it would give me the same workout as a bike ride if I was going by the length of time of the hike and my heart rate. That isn't why I like to hike though ... it's quiet 'out there' and in this area mostly likely I'll be surrounded by beautiful scenery.
While drinking my two cups of coffee it sure did seem that Stella was becoming a little too attached to Heidi's blanket. She isn't like Sadie who use to just take stuff and claim it was hers. In fact most of the time Stella doesn't like sleeping on a blanket. She likes the floor in the bedroom, the walk-in closet or on top of my shoes by the bed.
Heidi was sleeping at the foot of the bed on the floor in the sun. That's her daily routine. She just raised her head as she heard me walk back into the room with the camera.
I took my friend's suggestion that was in the same area I wanted to hike. This small hiking book is just wide enough to fit in the back of my jeans pocket or in a side pocket on my cargo shorts. I would be taking the top hike, starting in the lower right hand corner of the map.
The more I drove south to Miller Canyon Rd, the larger the rain drops got although it was more of a sprinkle than a rain. When I pulled into the trailhead parking lot I wasn't sure what the weather would be ... so I added a light rain jacket to my layered clothing and warm jacket. 44° and a breeze felt slightly cold but I knew the hike would warm me up. Rain was just a drizzle at the time I left.
This is the road leading into the trailhead parking lot. I came from that direction.
After staring at the trail marker below and checking the map, I continued on this trail just like the sign indicated.
About a mile and a half further up the mountain I began thinking I should have taken this trail if I had turn right at the trailer maker. I had taken what my friend had called a "more ambitious" trail and one that would give my hip a work out. You will see in the following photos what he meant. It was rocky in some spots and probably an elevation increase of 600-800 feet from the trailhead parking lot.
Based on this I went straight ahead instead of going to the trail to the right. The right thing to have done was have a better map than what is in that book. With a more detailed map it would have told me exactly which way to go. I'll spend that $6 it will take to get that detailed map at the ranger station next week. (After I get home and can see the map better on my large monitor I see I was headed the right direction and that gate I was going to turn around at was most like just around the next turn from where I turned around based on the distanced walked on my watch.)
It looked like and felt like the rain was being blown over the top of Miller Peak, opposite of where I was.
Pretty easy hiking ... little did I know how much it would change further up.
Yes that is snow on the same peaks I take pictures of from my patio. The snow and I in this photo are about 4,600 difference and I have no plans to get to the top. I am headed to a closed gate which is my turnaround point based on the trail description.
It was at this point I was questioning my decision to go straight like the marker said because if I am thinking correctly that dark mark like a fence going from left to right across the photo is the trail I will be following. The chances of finding a closed gate in that direction are slim and none I have a feeling.
Yes, that dark mark going across the photo was for me ... I'm walking that trail now in this photo.
That is not my car in the photo but that is the parking lot where my car is.
I can see I am climbing. That is looking North.
People with geology degrees would know what this is. Or people that are rock hunters or have hiked a million miles in their life time. Me ... don't have a clue.
By this time I am pretty sure I am headed for Carr Canyon ... the problem is at this elevation at Carr Canyon I would be above the point where the road is closed for the winter. Interesting.
As I made the turn I see where my trail continues ... up around that turn ... yep, I'm headed for Carr Canyon.
I rounded that turn in the photo before this one. I could see it was going to keep going for almost 2.5 miles based on my watch's activity app. I had planned to walk to the closed gate 1.3 miles away from the trailhead and turn around. So I stood there took some photos and enjoyed the beautiful view before turning around.
Yes, that water was ice cold.
Back to the bottom and across from my car. It was a great hike almost 4 miles long. That strong head wind was welcomed since I was too hot under a long sleeve thermal shirt, under a sweat shirt that was under a warm North Face Jacket topped off with my light rain jacket. I could also feel it in my legs ... it was some very good exercise for today.
It is so nice to live so close to hiking trails like this and I don't take that for granted either. I'm very fortunate to hike these trails and ride my bike in this area a little further north from where this photo is.
It was a beautiful day here in the 'Wild West' today ... still time for a short siesta.
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