November 06, 2019

Morning Exploring & Hiking San Pedro

We started Tuesday behind schedule but still had time to do the things I wanted plus one project I didn't expect. I had a cup of coffee thinking Stella would be begging and whining to go on her morning walk since we were over an hour late. That puts us in a busy time of morning with people coming to work in the two buildings we walk behind and around. Some use the back road we walk on for their way to parking in the back. It was warmer Tuesday morning and that was a nice change.

When Stella didn't show back up in the computer room I was curious where she was hiding. Did she go back to one of her sleeping spots in the living room? The bedroom? No, I found her sunbathing on the patio and it was almost 8:30am. I guess she decided we didn't need the walk. That meant we could get an early start on my plans to explore all the dirt roads east of Sierra Vista.

She never moved a muscle while I made changes to her seat in the back of the truck, loaded water, the Nikon D3500 and a blanket on the passenger seat for Heidi. I had looked at the map for all the roads down by Hereford and up by the San Pedro House, and north of Hwy 90. I would find out later that some of those roads were not accessible to public traffic and had a locked gate crossing them.

With the cooler temps Heidi spends a lot more time checking out her back yard. She has adjusted well from a grass yard to a rock yard. Guess what has happened? Where she use to like to lay in the grass, roll around in the grass under the sunshine ... she had skin allergies. A constant battle from a lot of raw skin to hardly any at all. Well out here in the 'Wild West' and a rock yard with sunshine to lay under, all of that raw skin and those allergies have disappeared. She has had hair grow back where a vet told me once it wasn't possible.

On our previous trip to Montezuma Pass a few weeks ago I had folded down the back seat for Stella's area. That put it pretty high for her to get into with my help by lifting her hips while she climbed in. This way it's a good 6"-8" shorter by leaving the 'back' of the seat up, maybe not as comfortable but she didn't seem to mind. I have a fix for that lack of comfort, a small project.

We were on the road a little after 9am with the windows rolled down, only halfway for Stella. Both hounds enjoy smelling the millions of scents in the air. I cannot remember now how we got in this area. I know we started on Hwy 90, further north of these photos ... ah yes ... I turned off on Moson Rd heading south. While driving I was trying to remember the names of the roads that I had seen on the map that would continue for many miles instead of just dead end roads that led to someone's house.

There are so many roads like this in a 20 square mile area near Sierra Vista the local drives are unlimited. The truck that is just a few weeks old is getting broken in from a 'mall crawler' to 'a truck'. I can assure you from seeing the wheel wells the first time, that this truck has never been this dirty nor has it ever seen a dirt road in it's short two year lifespan.

The inside has basset hound and mostly bloodhound hair in it. The leather and plastic dash seem to be magnets for hound hair. With the daily brushing and Fromm's Gold dog food, the shedding has really decreased but for some reason it all settles inside the truck.

This is looking at the Mule Mountains and if you look closely at the end of the dirt road there is a fence so we were at a turn around point. For those readers east of the Rocky Mountains, some of you might not know that people live in these areas, school buses stop on these roads to pick up kids going to school. Many times the brush is tall enough to block out a view of their homes, some ranches. Barbed wire fencing usually marks their property line. We aren't talking one acre lots either. LOL

There is just something about the mountains in SE Arizona that are like magnets to me. I can't stop looking at them, driving towards them and taking photos. Stella must be enjoying her ride this morning ... she stayed in the back as I got out of the truck to walk for a better photo. Most of the time when I leave she hops up in the drivers seat. Have you ever had to move a 90 pound bloodhound over the console and back into her backseat before? They are a stubborn breed if that gives you a hint.

This is from me standing just on the right side of the truck, which is parked in the same position as the above photos. Those are the same mountains I see from my patio just a few miles closer. Each time that I travel this type of country or on the backside of Montezuma Pass, I do not see how it is even possible for anyone of any age, to cross the border and walk through this many miles to their point of being picked up by a car. It is not possible for anyone to care the amount of water they would need.

I would have liked to have taken that road to the right but didn't want to travel onto someone's private property. The map in my dash computer showed that road only went as far as that owner's driveway.

Heidi seemed to have enjoyed this trip much more than the first over the mountains. Once she realize that lower window in the corner was the the same height to her as she experienced in the Mini Cooper last year, she stood up with her nose out the window for most of the trip.

While I continued to head south on the dirt road I came to a point that I was crossing E. Ramsey Canyon Road so I turned right and decided I would check out my bicycle riding area. Once we crossed Hwy 92, this is the road I ride on almost every bike ride I took before my surgery. They have been busy while I was gone from riding ... they sealed the road and painted new lines. You can tell the rough texture of the highway makes it pretty vibrating on a 'road' bike. My new gravel bike will make riding a lot more comfortable and easier on the hips and shoulders.

I decided I would dive to the top of Ramsey Canyon. It's not nearly as high as the other passes and with the incline not so steep, it's a favorite for all bicyclists to ride to the end where the road dead ends as you pass campgrounds, cabins to rent and a B&B.

This is heading back towards town just past the turn off to the Brown Canyon Ranch House that I blogged about this past summer. I always take the highway when turning for home, riding on the right side of that white line or on the white line because I am riding between 27-35mph at this point. Going the opposite direction I will take that bike path you see over on the right side since I am going between 7-9mph ... it doesn't look like it but it's a long gradual climb, and gets the heart pumping to get you up there.

It was back home for lunch. I was going to leave the hounds home for the afternoon. They were already in the sleep mode by the time I finished a sandwich. I had thought the past few days of taking the bed cover off of my truck and for some reason it hit me to "do it now." I grabbed my tool box and some wrenches, slide the cover to the end of the bed and took a look. How hard or easy was this going to be? It turned out to be pretty simple and I had the cover off and stored in the garage in 15 minutes.

On the first one I took those nuts off the two screws facing me. then realized that wasn't needed since the screw facing the bottom of the truck is the one that needed to be taken off. Once I did that and loosened the other two, that piece slid right out of the end of the rail. There were four of them and that was all I need to take out to slide the cover off of the truck.

Yes, trucks do look nice with flat bed covers. They are convenient when hauling flat boxes to recycling, or tubs of plastic as long as it is shorter than the bottom of the cover. On three different occasions since I bought the truck just a couple of weeks ago, I have loaded and hauled things where the cover made the job much harder and one impossible. I decided you cannot haul stuff in a truck even with a bed cover that rolls back.

You never know when you might find some used furniture you would like to bring home, or a load of small landscaping rock for the yard or landscaping material if I can ever come up with a plan. Yes, the short 4' bed is a problem sometimes but it's not like I'll be loading 8' pieces of drywall or plywood. I was happy with my decision and so is my friend up in Phoenix who has been wanting a bed cover for her Tacoma TRD Off Road pickup.

She wants a cover because she hauls snowboards and camping gear along with a couple of friends that sit in her backseats. So the bed cover would be perfect for her use. In the meantime I'll store it out of the way in the garage until she can came down to pick it up. I'll install it for her before he heads back north.

Due to all but one of my bicycles being moved inside the house taking up the third bedroom that never turned into a guest room, I have plenty of space to store the bed cover until she has time in her busy schedule to make the 200 mile trip south.

It looks more like a truck now and I may not haul a lot of things but when I need to it's there. Plus they have something that folds over the tailgate that protects its as you sit a bike up in the bed with it's front tire hanging over the edge with this wheel folded against the truck. That will come in handier than buying some sort of bike rack. Why would I need to load a mountain bike or that new 'used' gravel bike when I can ride most places from home?

Because out at the San Pedro House there are many hiking trails that are wide and multi-purpose trails. While I was hiking one of those trails for an hour and a half yesterday afternoon, I had one bicyclists pass me, a jogger, I saw dog prints on the trail as well as horse hoof prints. I am not in good enough shape to hike the 4 miles one way to the Miller Backcountry Camp but I could walk for as long as I wanted. I'd find out what my turn around point would be as I walked.

I didn't bring my small backpack with me but I will next time. I had one trekking pole in my right hand (surgical side) and a 64oz water bottle in my left hand. My Nikon with the strap installed was slung over my shoulder riding on my back and my phone was in my left rear pocket for easy access for taking those photos. It was a beautiful day, 83° with a cool breeze ... 1:36pm.

As I walked along the path I would stop not only to take photos but also to listen to all the quietness. No sounds of traffic or barking dogs. No one talking on the sidewalk, no jets at least in that picture, and no sounds of construction ... just complete silence.

Soon after I started I see this sign knowing that as much as I would like to hike all the way to the Miller Backcountry Camp I wasn't going to be able to. My hip is not in that good of shape yet and I later found out at the end of my walk, neither were my calf muscles. Yet I could still walk for as far as I wanted, plus I wanted to get back to the car by 3:30pm. I had enough time to walk an hour and a half.

I kept track of the road so I would not stumble over a rock or run into a snake. I still spent enough time looking at the beautiful skies as I walked once I saw the type of terrain in front of me. Another thing I really kept a look out for was goathead thorns. A few weeks ago I had one come completely through the sole of my Merrell hiking shoes that I wear as my every day shoe. I didn't want that to happen again and would step over more than a few thorns laying on the path.

The park employees had recently cut back the brush from the side of the trail. There you can see the different kinds of traffic. This will be a great path to ride my mountain bike and I plan to do that very soon. I can also ride the gravel bike on a trail like this. Riding to the Hereford Bridge and back would be about 16 miles. I am not sure how long it will be before I can do that length of ride. The doctor told me to 'listen to your body' when I asked him "how far can I ride" on the 22nd of October.

As I continued a nice pace it was like I had the whole place to myself.

To think I am living just a few miles from the San Pedro River and can come out there to ride or hike as much as I want is just hard for me to believe sometimes. There are so many trails just in this area. When I was talking to the Park Ranger last week heading over Montezuma Pass, he told me I could hike the railroad track all the way from this San Pedro House to the border. That would be quite a hike and not sure I could do all of that but I'll put that on my list of hikes to do.

By the time I finished the hike I could feel some muscles that had not been used in 59 days. It was a good feeling knowing some muscles had gotten used and thus will get stronger the more walking I do. Needless to say the hounds had to check out my shoes before I took them off outside. These shoes are washable but with a brush I was able to clean  them enough for today's hike ... I am thinking Brown Canyon as I drink coffee this morning.

I am listening to my body as my doctor said and man is it screaming to ride, to hike, to walk, to do this or that. It will let me know when to take a day off, just like the Saturday morning I ignored what it was saying and went riding anyway only to wreck 20 minutes into the ride on the 7th of September and as they say "the rest is history."

Yesterday seemed like a turning point to where the day felt like a normal day.

Life is good here in the 'Wild West'

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