November 10, 2019

Hiking The Brown Canyon Area

Most of the time I have a plan for what I want to do the next day, especially since I am feeling better physically. I am still "listening to my body" and that dictates if I ride my bike or if I take a hike or take a day off. With the sun showing up later due to the change in seasons, the hounds are sleeping later and I am sleeping later. Stella usually wakes us up a little after sunrise with that whine she has when she wants to be fed. The only plans I had on Saturday were a bike ride and the rest of the day watching college football ... things changed.

I got home from my :58 minutes of riding and my hour visit at the bike shop halfway in the trip I had a gut feeling my day of having outdoor fun wasn't over. I had ridden where I wanted and felt good pushing my leg and hip a little further down the road. As I was having my lunch snack watching a game on tv ... the desire was to be outside was strong because it was such a nice day. I have noticed this change in lifestyle on Sundays now, where I will do something outside rather than watch the NFL. These mountains and the scenery literally drag me outside at times.

I felt good enough to go hiking. I had no place in particular I wanted to go, so I grabbed this book off the coffee table to see if something really interested me. The author of this book has hiked every one of the trails he writes about. He updates the trail information and publishes a new book to reflect those changes. I knew I didn't want anything steep or breath taking like Carr Canyon but I wanted to explore some new trails I had seen on my way to the Brown Canyon Ranch House last summer.

As you can see there are a ton of choices in this area. You will notice the Montezuma Pass trip in the different cars or truck and with or without the hounds is at the bottom of the page starting on the road F and shows how much gravel road we travel to get to Parker Canyon Lake. It looks like I need to get back on top of that mountain and check out some of those forest roads that branch off of the West Montezuma Canyon Road.

Instead I chose to go back to the Brown Canyon trailhead and park the FJ there. Its a little over a mile to the ranch house but plenty of roads going left and right off the main road.

This time I took my small backpack with the 64oz of water bottle, my Nikon and the 70-300mm lens just in case I needed it. It would give me a good chance to compare photos of the same landscape to the iPhone camera. 

I knew that Heidi would not be able to finish a hike like I planned but I thought Stella would find it interesting. It wasn't that hot outside but she had her tongue hanging out and was panting after her sun bathing on the patio ... so I decided to leave her home. I had the crate door open, she was about to walk in on her own when I thought "it's such a nice day outside, I can just shut the living room window and leave the patio door open for her." That had worked the other day when I drove to Patagonia for a 3.5 hour trip. So she had the house to herself along with Heidi.

Just past that sign showing a trail to the right, I could see if I made that right hand turn it would be mostly flat and would circle all the way out to where they park the Aerostat and back behind the ranch house. By the time I had walked this far I wasn't interested in flat land, I wanted to see how high I could get on the hills to the left of me.

The  trail was not an "official" trail. I started by following a one track atv/car path that led into the field where a path was barely visible. As you can see I had climbed some elevation and could barely see a path under those tree limbs. It was quite a workout for the new hip and I was using the two trekking poles I had brought this time. I was going to take this as far as it would take me.

Someone had walked this way before. I wasn't making my own path but at times it was hard to see which way I needed to go. There were a lot of rocks on the way too. Sometimes those rocks were the only surface and too large of a space to step over. I cautiously walked on them on my way upward.

I thought this finding was a little strange. Obvious someone or something is buried there that people loved. Was it their pet? What was it?

You can barely see some sort of path snaking it's way to the left under more tree limbs. By this time my watch was telling my my heart rate was only 120bpm, about the same that an easy bike ride would be before my accident. It was nice and quiet, a cool feel to the air and temps only in the low 70's. I wasn't at the panting stage nor did I feel tired, and I didn't feel any negative responses from my new hip. I continued climbing.

The area I wanted to get to was higher than what this picture shows but this small path was leading me away from the highest point left of me. I would still have a good vantage point for taking photos back towards town.

At this point in time, the path disappeared. Past this slab of rocks I didn't see anyway to go further. I had climbed fairly high but not as high as i thought I could get. I knew when I started going down would be the adventure, not the climbing part. You can see the road I was following before veering left. That road is used by hikers, cars, trucks, ATVs, and mountain bikes. There are plenty of trails behind the ranch house that everyone likes to use.

It was a nice place to take a break, drink some water and just observe. I tried to figure out where I was in relation to my house "down there."

That gives you some idea of the incline I climbed, not as high as I wanted but not bad for a first time, stepping up continuously on the new hip. At no time did I feel any pain or soreness making this hike, even after my 58 minute bike ride earlier.

I looked at this going down and knew I was going to have to be extra careful. The trekking poles I brought were an important factor in getting down these rocky slopes without falling on my ass. "Falling" is no longer in my dictionary for permissible acts as the doctor told me weeks ago. Not in those words of course but "don't fall" was.

From the time I left the FJ in the parking lot out by Ramsey Canyon Road I kept my eye out for rattle snakes and scorpions. Why ?? Well on two different occasions friends had posted photos Facebook of a rattle snake crossing the main road and once in the parking lot of the ranch house the same day I was there in the morning. So I was alert so to speak.

As I walked down the hill I had finally come back to the small one track road I had used to turn off the main road. I could see any of my vehicles making this trip. Some of those rocks were not going to move so it would be a good test for my off-road tires that each use. I took my time walking over the rocky surface.

That rocky ledge in the center of the photo is as high as I went. I stood on those rocks taking the photos you saw of the valley back to the Huachuca Mountains.

It was good to see the ranch house come into view as I walked over the small hill that is steep riding a bike the other direction. I was going to use that bench on the front porch for my break of sitting down and having more water. I might even switch out the Nikon lens to the 70-300mm for the trip back to the FJ.

Like anything else, things change quickly. As I approached the house walking to the left of that porch for the entry way ... I hear a bike rider, taking a break in back under the shade trees, ask me something. I couldn't hear him clearly so I walked back and we ended up talking the time used for my break. All of those cars parked in the parking lot did not mean there were a lot of people taking the ranch house tour ... no one was around ... they were all out hiking the small trails behind the house.

I can't remember if I took a picture of this on my last trip so I made sure I did this time. Looking at the activity app on my watch, which automatically downloads to my phone, I saw I had close to a 1.2 mile walk back to the FJ. I didn't feel that tired at the ranch house but I knew I'd be tired after that 1.2 miles added to the activity of the day. It was a great hike and I'll be back in this area to explore the other trails. There are so many that I have not tried yet.

The next time I go back to Brown Canyon or any canyon for that matter, or the next time I take a ride on my bike ... no questions asked ... Stella will be put in her large indoor crate with the four small padlocks at key locations to prevent her from hurting herself since she has tried to force her way out of that. As I drove in front of the house before making the turn into the driveway, I glanced to the living room window to see if my blinds were to the left like I left them.

I saw instantly "Houston we have a problem" (Apollo 13 movie) ... I saw a bloodhound standing with it's front feet on the window sill and the last of the hanging blinds ALL in her mouth for one final jerk, pulling them down from their holders. I honked my horn with hopes of stopping her final jerk.

Stella is a great dog with some huge mental problems. Yet she is consistent and has been since I drove down to Kentucky on a four hour trip to pick her up in August 2015. Guess why they were giving her away? You guessed it. Same stuff different location. I was her 4th owner in her first 6 years of life.

So for those readers that have emailed me over the years telling me that crating a bloodhound is not right ... here is living proof on why I have to. This is NOT the first time I've taken pictures like this, I just haven't blogged about most of the damage I have witnessed over the 4+ years. Drywall attempted escape anyone ????

Luckily in this case, the blinds installer told me when he was finished installing new blinds on three different windows back in August "these come with a lifetime guarantee AND IF YOUR BLOODHOUND TEARS THEM DOWN AGAIN ... you get free blinds and installation JUST ONE TIME"

Well I will believe that when I see it. I'll find out if that is true when I call first thing Monday morning after they open their business. If not I will be using the old debit card again for a new set of blinds. Last time it took 4-6 weeks before the blinds to come in for installation. I assume for just one window that wait will be the same.

Since I didn't want an open view into my house at night I rehung all the blinds she had pulled out to the floor. Luckily every one of them would connect and if I used my fingers to turn the mechanism because she tore down the long arm to use to rotate, they rotated to closed. They don't look good and straight but good enough not to let the whole wide world see my living room at night.

Over the time I have had her, she does this exact same thing in Indiana and Arizona. I give her a little more leeway as she is showing me she can be trusted with no damages. I start with short trips and gradually extend the time I am away from home. When living in Indians she actually passed a 7 hour period where I was gone from the house. A few days later when I ran to town and was gone only 12 minutes ... total destruction.

Just like the past few weeks I had this same situation set up and was gone for over 3 hour each time with no damage. Then just like the past ... destruction.

I've tried meds, downers whatever the first month I lived here. See those photos? That was the same photos I took after she finished the month and a bottle of doggie downers while I was gone. For those readers that think leaving her in the backyard since the temps are cooler now ... well I have tried that numerous time. I even took a 29 minute video just last month ... let's see ... has tired digging under the gate, has tried digging though the concrete patio floor, tried to grab the door knob of the steel screen door to open it, tried to pull the steel screen out with her paws, howls non stop at times ... need more info?

When I looked at this house before I decided to buy it, I though the fenced yard would be perfect to Stella to stay in 10 months out of the year when I was gone.

So as I have said before ... for her safety and my sanity ... anytime I am going somewhere she will be left in a large indoor crate where she can turn around, plenty of room to sleep and in a cool environment. I have even walked back inside the house when I return to find her sound to sleep in the crate. 95% of the time if I hold the door open she walks in on her own.

I'll wait to see how my hip feels today before deciding if I go for another hike or bike ride. So far this morning it feels normal so I doubt that I can sit inside as we have another beautiful day.

Note:  As I was about to click the publish button I hear Heidi doing something I had not heard in the 8+ years I've had her. She was barking nonstop in the backyard. Did we have our first rattlesnake in the yard or any other kind of snake? As I turned the corner of the patio to see what it was ... there were no snakes but she had smelled my neighbor's brand new black lab puppy!!!

There is never a dull moment in the 'Wild West' especially when you own a bloodhound!!

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