Day 142 – Friday, November 15, 2013
Julie and I were invited to go on a hike with Harvey, Dale, and their daughter Leah. Harvey and family picked us up about 9:30 AM and we headed out to Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest. It was about a 45 minute drive north of Phoenix. The hike is rated as easy to moderate and is about 4.6 miles round trip. It follows Saguaro Lake for the most part, on a good trail with some slight elevation changes. The trail winds through the desert with many species of cactus and desert plants on display. We really enjoyed the hike and the company. The Syrota’s had prepared a snack for us to enjoy once we returned to the car. Julie notes “We did the whole hike with very little whining and were rewarded with yummy snacks. These guys know how to hike.”
On our way back to Queens Creek we stopped for lunch at the In-N-Out Burger. This has become a Syrota family tradition after a hike and is one of our new favourites. They only have a few freshly made items (burgers, fries, and shakes) on the menu but it is excellent. Julie notes “Again, they’ve got this hiking thing figured out.”
Julie and I got dropped off at our storage facility to unload the camper from the truck. We had to pack up everything we didn’t want to leave behind and move it to the truck. Julie cleaned the inside of the camper while I unloaded the back of the truck and emptied the storage compartments so we could get everything organized and re-packed. It was a big job and took us a few hours. Julie notes “The fridge had a whole new layer of stuff to identify and scrub off. We have been slowly saying goodbye to our Spanish labelled groceries as we used up the margarina, mantequilla, queso crema, (2 of 3 containers), etc. and finally tossed the pink chalky stuff called Gastric-Bismol. That little bit of our life fading to fondish memories. We packed up non perishables to donate and pawned off some things on Maureen and Dan. Resulting in empty nest syndrome. Actually we’re really hoping for no nests at all.”
Dan and Maureen were hosting “rib night”. It is a not-to-be-missed rib fest. Glenn and Judy Keddie, another GP couple with a property in Encanterra, joined us for dinner. We had a great dinner with some great folks.
Two old coots in front of a lake full of coots.
Our hiking partners, Dale, Leah, and Harvey on the trail above Saguaro Lake.
The trail and the scenery.
At the high point on the trail at one of the nicest overlooks.
Unique cactus variety yet to be identified.
The view from the final overlook at about 2.3 miles. Now we just have to turn around and hike out.
The trail out.
Harvey picked up a jumping cholla cactus and was picking out a few spines all the way back to the car. OUCH! Julie notes “These are Mother Nature’s strong reminders to stay on the trail!”
A big feed at In-N-Out Burger.
In-N-Out burgers ready for devouring.
The camper unloaded and in its winter home. Julie notes “Stay safe! You served us well. Sorry about all the sweat and the occasional swear word. We’ll be back but while we’re gone maybe work on expanding the size of your bathroom.”
Dan’s margaritas ready for rib night.
Some of the guests at Dan and Maureen’s after feasting on delicious ribs. Julie notes “We had thought of leaving today for our trip home but who can say no to ribs? They were scrumptious.”
…another great day, over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick
Julie notes “We were tired and stiff from our hike today so needed an easier way to get from Bill and Mary Ann’s to the ‘spool’. So just for future reference, jumping off the roof onto a box spring and four mattresses will just about clear the iron fence. You need to add the couch and chair cushions to achieve the correct loft. Be sure to holler ‘In coming!’ as a courtesy to the other spoolers.”
Julie notes “Kelly’s vacation is winding down – Kelly, you and your lovely wife went shopping again today. The main destination for you was the Outlet Mall for some bargains. But first you loosened up some of those shopping muscles with another massage. Remember how naughty, or was it knotty, you were earlier this week. While you were loosening those calves and shoulders, your wife was loosening her purse strings and pulled ahead of Maureen in the shopping contest! You were very happy for her. Dan’s ‘One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor’ margaritas took the edge off the shopping stress. Ribs with all the fixings and a glass of wine rounded out the day, topped off with some curling coverage and a spool. Life is good.”