January 14, 2010

Good Times at Usery Mountain Recreation Area

We haven't had much of an opportunity to do much hiking yet, because I have been busy with end of semester work and Linda has been busily cleaning and organizing the trailer and restocking supplies.

But, we've had the chance to take some nice evening walks on the nature trails with Hilina. She is really becoming a cactus expert and can tell you the difference between saguaros, barrel cacti, hedgehog cactus, teddy cholla and pencil cholla, among others.

I was also tired of her always grabbing my hiking poles while hiking, so she now has her own. Hilina's been having fun looking at the scorpions and toys and posters at the Nature Center. They do some really nice childrens programs like a "story time" and a "bird watching" activity. We are going to stay here one more week and then head into more remote country on the 22nd.

The Sonoran desert has been unusually dry this winter and you can tell it by looking at the plants. Many of the cactus have shriveled up and the shrubs are brown.  But, last night we had a big thunderstorm and some rain. It's been cool at night, but creeps up near 70 in the afternoon. They are expecting some El Nino rains all of next week, so maybe that will help the wildflowers.

Anyways, on Friday, we'll be doing the 7.5 mile Usery Mountain loop, which we did 7 years ago. This loop goes all the way around the mountain and ventures into the Tonto National Forest. I'll write it up at http://www.hikemasters.com/ once we get back.

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