Better late than never

Thanks to the day job and evening music gigs, I haven’t had as much time for updating this blog. But I do now! Thank you, long weekend. 🙂

In early December, my SAT (self-appointed trainer), our friend Julia, and I successfully climbed Siphon Draw in the Superstition mountain range, about an hour’s drive east of Phoenix. The hike is located in Lost Dutchman State Park and is a popular one with hikers who want a good cardio workout and some rock scrambling, i.e. using hands and feet to climb up rocks. At the most strenuous part of the hike, you gain about 1800 feet in one mile. That is definitely a challenge! The trail is fairly easy to follow and the views from the top are stunning. There is a small detour near the top to what is locally called the “Flatiron,” which refers to the cliff face you can see when you start the hike.

One event that cramped my style during this hike was, er, a pretty bad leg cramp. I guess I didn’t have enough electrolytes or something…again. All I know is that after climbing that one mile with 1800 feet of elevation and reaching the saddle, my right leg suddenly seized up and cramped up to the point I actually uttered a small scream of pain. Sigh. I’m glad Julia had some extra magical electrolyte juice with her as I didn’t have any such thing with me. Lesson learned. After hobbling up the rest of the way to the summit, my leg seemed to calm down and *I* seemed to calm down!

(Photo 1: the flat rock formation in the top left is the Flatiron; Photo 2: rock towers along the hike; Photo 3: at the top!; Photo 4: otherworldly scenery.)

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New Year’s weekend was a really fun one because we had friends from Vegas come and visit us. Carl and Lifan are avid mountain bikers and co-own a shop in Las Vegas called Irwin Cycles. [N.B. They are awesome people and make sick bikes better. I call Carl the “Bike Whisperer.” They also love dogs and their shop is very dog-friendly!] Anyway, while we lived in Vegas, both of them tried really hard to convert me to mountain biking, but due to lack of time, lack of funds, and lack of a desire to hurl myself onto rocks (haha), that desire did not become reality.

However, I rented a mountain bike (Giant Bikes’ Liv Lust) in anticipation of our weekend together and rode with them on some local trails and had a really fun time. In fact, I had such a good time that my SAT (i.e., self-appointed trainer) and I are presently looking for a mountain bike for little ol’ me. Let me say two things right here: 1) my SAT is beyond stoked (that means “really happy” for those parental types who may be reading this blog) that I am actually interested in mountain biking and 2) I can’t believe that I’m actually interested in mountain biking. After all, I am the “reluctant roadie” and didn’t give mountain biking a passing thought while suffering on my many road bike rides in preparation for my double century. After all, mountain biking meant I had to buy another bike, carve out time to ride said bike, and potentially get sucked into enduring conversations with my SAT about mountain bike parts, mountain bike races, mountain bike trails….I wanted to help my SAT expand his interests, not focus on one activity.

Turns out I’m the one whose horizons are expanding….!

(Photo 1: pretty Sonoran desert; Photo 2: I’m riding a mountain bike!;  Photo 3: Carl, my SAT, and Lifan riding down to meet me. )

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Teaser post

Happy New Year, dear readers! I hope that all of you enjoyed a restful and joyful holiday season. My holiday was shorter than normal, due to a new full-time day job (i.e., no vacation days) and rehearsals and concerts every evening for 2 straight months. I was very happy when Christmas Day rolled around!

I plan on updating this blog on the weekend, as I want to chronicle a fantastic local day hike, an awesome New Year’s weekend, and a new chapter in my outdoor adventuring. Check back next week for some new stories!  🙂