Out West Once More

March 22, 2019

Just like last year, Volunteer Dave has graciously welcomed me into his Rancho Mirage abode for an extended stay. Dave won’t be here until the ANA so I have the place to myself.

I departed the Tampa area Monday and arrived midday Wednesday. First stop was Katy Texas just west of Houston. Then on to Deming New Mexico and finished up with an alternate route through Yuma Arizona. I wished to avoid the morass of Phoenix traffic and take a route past the Salton Sea I had never experienced.

As usual, the trip was arduous but uneventful except for one incident. A guy passing almost clipped me, going well over his designated lane. I swerved and blew the horn simultaneously only to notice his head in a downward position. Had to be texting.

I truly missed hiking the scenic trails in the area (Florida is flatter than a short stack at IHOP without the coffee) so it didn’t take long to get back on the horse.

I hit the Araby Trail yesterday and was surprised to find many fellow trekkers. By the lack of preparedness, most were obviously novices. No water, hats or hiking aides although the latter may or not be necessary. I’m referring to proper shoes and trekking poles. Poles definitely aide in climbing but are even more valuable descending. When the legs get rubbery on loose soil, an accidental slip-n-slid may cost you dearly. So, after last year’s experiences, I decided to purchase a pair.

Of course, Amazon was my go-to e-tail store. My first choice arrived damaged so they were returned. I didn’t like the construction either so I opted for a pair of Alpine Summit Hiking Poles. With only one hike under my belt so far,  they get five stars.

My first climb of the season was much easier than last year. My buddy Mark Scott put me through the wringer. Thought my heart was going to burst through my chest like that creature in Alien.

As I said, many neophytes were out for a day walk but with only a couple hundred yards remaining, I noticed a curious group ascending in my direction. It looked like a three-generation family led by grandma, helped by one of her children, and trailed by dad with a puppy on a leash. Don’t know how far up they were planning to go as grandma was hunched over and her breathing was labored. Her physical stamina was surely in question but maybe that was the master plan. I’d like to see a copy of her will. Smile

The Symetra Tour is in Beaumont next week and I’ll be looking for a loop. Mark has given me a couple bites so I got that going for me. The forecast looks dry but cool mornings are in the offing.

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