Mar 242011
 
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Arizona Trip – THE END

Desert

Sage brush! Mile after mile,
Quiet in the sun, and shimmering;
Ever in the sun, ever shimmering!
The long low mountains
Seem to crouch beneath the heat,
And the earth, dried to a powder,
Is strewn with choked brown grass.
Ants burrow in the ground
And live on things that perish here.
Stream beds are dry, beaten paths
Of rabbits and sage coyotes
That for keen thirst run the full length
Of each ravine, and fall at last
As did one here whose bones lie scattered,
White as snow beneath the sun.
God, the waste! the quivering waste!
Where things grow up to die!

__P. Roy Brammell

Sunday morning I awoke early to get in one last run before the plane ride. My dad and I ran a different way this time…mostly the same path but jutting off through a different neighborhood before we reached the hill.


The weather was much changed Sunday morning. Instead of a lovely, balmy 60+ degrees in the morning it was about 45 degrees and crisp. I put on my only running shirt with sleeves (my Hood to Coast shirt) and we set out.


My fingers were cold as we warmed up. My legs were a little sore still from Thursday’s run and Saturday’s hike. I managed to do the whole 3 or so miles without walking though. I remained in my target heart rate range this time too–not spiking too much.


I felt a sadness in my stomach as the run came to an end. It marked the end of the sunshine, the end of the vacation, the return to the gloomy Northwest. I was slightly homesick, I missed my kitties, but I also didn’t want to leave Tucson. It was such a paradise. I wanted more time to read and write beside the pool. I wanted more time to hike the places we didn’t get to. I wanted to try trail running.


Alas, vacations must end. I stretched, ate, showered and packed.

Run Stats:

Time: 32 minutes

Calories Burned: 336


My parents drove us the 1.5 hours to Phoenix on an old highway instead of the freeway. It was miles and miles of nothing but desert. I tried not to be sad.


We arrived and Michael and I had a horrible lunch in the airport and then we flew home.


The flight was quick, uneventful and I finished Julie & Julia and started a third book. :) I’d say that was a pretty good vacation!


We arrived in Portland to see green trees, gray clouds, cold weather and rain. Michael’s old roommate Shoe picked us up and we were home!


Some things I noticed about my time in Arizona…

Maybe because I was on vacation in an area popular with retired people, but I noticed just how slow the pace was in Tucson. So peaceful. My friend Christine said something similar too. She said that she’s so much happier here than she was in Seattle. The sunshine plays a huge part in it, but she said that the pace down here is much more relaxing.


Another thing: my skin was so dry. I used to go to the desert in Eastern Washington as a kid and I remembered what the desert was like but really…it’s hard to adjust. I felt like my body was sucked dry. My eyes were always dry, my contacts were uncomfortable, my sinuses were dry and yucky. My hair was so gross the entire time I was in Tucson–dry, limp, lifeless. Maybe it was the water? Who knows.


I also craved SALT. Like mad. I never ever crave salt. Ever. Michael craves things like tortilla chips and I crave chocolate. But once I was in Tucson I wanted to lick the salt off of everything. I craved it. My body wanted nothing but salty foods: Fritos and tortilla chips with lunch, crackers, anything! My guess was that since I was sweating out so much fluid it craved the sodium.


I don’t think I could ever live in Arizona. Which is funny because there was a time in my life where I almost moved to Tucson. How hilarious is that? And after a week here, I know I could not live here. The weather would be nice but everything looks the same. I missed the trees, the green, the water, the rivers, the snow-peaked mountains….It would be a hard adjustment to the brown-everything!

I think Michael and I both learned a good lesson in Arizona: test your body. Push it. Don’t get stuck in the “I’m Injured” cycle. I am SO glad that I ran in Tucson and saw how my body worked. All these months I’ve been afraid to push it, afraid to run outside for fear of immediate injury. Guess what? Nothing happened: I realized I was healed and I could run and hike and do anything I wanted. Same with Michael. He’s been suffering from back pain since December and he realized on this trip that golfing made his back feel better. It’s easy to get stuck in “whoa-is-me” mentality.

One thing I WILL miss for sure:


SWIMMING OUTSIDE!

I have been ruined forever by swimming in that amazing pool. ;)

QUESTION: How do you get over the post-vacation blues?

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Mar 232011
 
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Arizona Trip – Day Four

After nine days I let the horse run free
‘Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

Saturday we all got up, ate breakfast and then headed out for a day of hiking. This time: Sabino Canyon.


We got a later start than we planned and since it was the weekend it was PACKED. There were so many people there they were parking down the block and up the street at a school. Apparently it’s a popular place.


We had tons of water bottles and lots of sunscreen. We set out on the trail. It was pretty flat at first, through just sandy trails through cacti and sagebrush. There were shuttles that took people up to the top of the mountain but we are all hikers and shunned that idea!

Michael, Me, Dad

We trekked up the trail and it started to get more inclined. Lots of slate rock. No covering. No trees. It wasn’t very hot–about 83 degrees I think? Which seems like a lot compared to the 40 degree Portland weather–but since the sun was beating down on us it felt hotter.


There was a really nice breeze through the canyon. We followed the trail up the side of the mountain. It was pretty narrow in places but I didn’t feel too nervous. Maybe because my parents were there–the whole protective feeling you get from your folks? Who knows. Usually heights make me really anxious.

Critter!

I had a great time hiking up the mountain. While it was a nice incline up the side of the mountain, I never felt like I was straining. My quads were a tad sore from my run the other day but I wasn’t crippled. It felt good to hike! It had been soooo long! My body has finally recovered! I felt like I was back to my pre-injury old self!


I had been diligent about sunscreen the entire trip–this last day in Arizona I forgot one spot: The back of my legs. UGH! I always forget that! I got a serious sunburn there. Ouch. :(


We got to the top and went back down the other side, crossed a small creek (the water was refreshing compared to the desert), ate an apple as a snack and then eventually made our back to the parking lot.


We probably did about 4 or 5 miles in a loop. It was quite the scenery. Since we didn’t see many of the other hikers on the trail it was quiet and peaceful. I did see a few trail runners. That was pretty cool. I imagine there’s lots of good running in this town.

 

Hike Stats:

Time: 2:38

Distance: 4-5 miles?

Calories Burned: 643


We once again missed lunch so after our hike we drove a few miles into downtown Tucson for a late lunch at In-n-Out Burger! Oh my god! The last time I was at an In-n-Out Burger was when I was 17 I think? I went on a camping road trip with my aunt and her whole family down in the Redwoods. In-n-Out is a California thing I think, so we got burgers there. I don’t remember being impressed by them but dang that burger was super awesome after a day of hiking. 500 calories that were TOTALLY worth it.


I devoured that burger in record time.


After lunch we went back to Oro Valley, everyone took showers and I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging by the pool in the shade. I started reading my second book: Julie & Julia. Why has it taken me so long to read this book? I’ve had it over a year and finally read it. So good. Loved the movie, loved the book, she’s a funny writer and I enjoyed every word I read.


Lounging by the pool in the shade, listening to the waterfall in the garden and the birds in the trees….it really doesn’t get any better than this. This vacation was SO needed on so many different levels.

Guess what? I did not think about anything back at home. No work, no drama, no stress, no issues, just sunshine, desert, vacation and crisp air.

After a few hours of downtime, we all went to the local BBQ joint for dinner: Bubb’s Grubb. It was our last night in town plus it was my mom’s birthday.


“Bubb’s Grubb” was the week-long joke that wouldn’t die. Guess what? It was freakin’ awesome!


I ate Hushpuppies for the very first time. I loved them! I ordered a beer and the Bisket sandwich for dinner. It came with mac n’ cheese (not as good as the Old Pueblo Grille Mac n’ Cheese) and coleslaw.


The meat was all smoked and grilled outside in a huge grill. It was the size of like four refrigerators. The meal was excellent. It was one of the highlights of the trip, and we all shared a piece of ice cream Turtle Cake for dessert.


It was delicious. When we got back Michael and I sat in the hot tub out back. The night was dark with the Super Moon bright above us. The air was still and it was just us enjoying the night air. It was a lovely end to the vacation.


Perhaps the hot tub was not the wisest move with a sunburn. It hurt a bit afterward. I slathered on the aloe goop, whined a bit, and then fell into a restless sleep. Every time I moved I awoke from the sunburn. But it was a nice souvenir to take back to Oregon.

QUESTION: Have you ever hiked in Arizona? What was your favorite hike?

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