Settling in!

29 Jan


We flew back in to Phoenix airport on Tuesday evening passing through immigration without issue. Our passports were stamped up for a six month stay, we collected our bags and hire car and headed out to our hotel for the night. It should have been a 4 mile drive but when you are very tired, its dark and you are in a strange location four mile somehow becomes eight as you miss turns and take the wrong route!

Eventually we fell into bed for some much needed sleep.

Next morning we were awake far too early to cross town to Buckeye where haRVey was waiting for us. We wanted to pick up some shopping for the day so decided it would be a good idea to do that first then the rush hour traffic would be passed by. Not having had a proper breakfast the bakery close by the supermarket looked inviting. We don’t eat out often but remembering the very enjoyable breakfasts we have had after ballooning we thought we would have a treat! The Wildflower Bakery provided us with frittata and fries for me and a scrambled egg, feta and tomato sandwich for Robert all with lovely bread and endless coffee. Just what we needed!

Getting haRVey out of storage is not as straight forward as turning the key and opening the curtains. Just as leaving him is not about walking out the door and locking up. We like to leave him in storage with empty tanks, this time the water system was filled with ‘anti freeze’, just in case, the batteries have to be disconnected, we cover all external holes like the exhaust pipe to stop vermin from climbing in and lots of other bits and pieces. All this has to be reversed when we come back. The biggest issue is getting the water tanks and lines flushed and waiting for the fridge to be cold enough to use (about 4 or 5 hours). So by Wednesday night we were once more tired and in bed by 8.30 jet lag and a busy day taking over.

Thursday was shopping day, stocking the cupboards and the fridge. Finding all the nice things we like to buy and the everyday essentials. Now its feeling more like we are ‘home’. There is food in the cupboard, the clothes are all put away, haRVey is clean and we can sit down… then jet lag sets in and we fall asleep again!

By Saturday we were feeling much more like ourselves, the weather has been brilliant since we got back lovely sunny days with a gentle breeze, temperatures in the low 70’s (20’s Centigrade) and overnight in the mid 40’s (14 Centigrade). Ideal for a hike.

Phoenix is surrounded by several mountain ranges which are also County Parks. We had not visited  Esterella Mountain Park which has several trails, some longer than others but sections can be joined together to make a nice mid range hike. We felt we could manage around 4 miles and chose a route to suit.


There is a very good reason for this picture being small size. You get a feel for the landscape without seeing me too clearly!

This is desert country and the Esterella Park we felt was much more barren than either Usery or White Tank, far less cactus or trees and the ones which were there were very scrubby. Never the less we had gone for the exercise and after about 2 miles we were feeling good and congratulating ourselves we were not perhaps as out of condition as we had thought. Then Robert noticed where the path was going to take us!

I have to say this photo does not do justice to the steep scramble that lay ahead of us.




The path was rough loose and steep, quite a challenge after a pleasant easy hike up to that point. The view from the top looked out over the west side of the greater Phoenix area where we could  easily see the green irrigated farm fields, the extent of the modern housing developments and the older more traditional properties.




But then looking in the other direction all you can see for miles is desert!


It was a good hike, we felt exercised afterwards, sore feet and weary but a good feeling.

In the next few days we will be visiting two other of the County parks, Cave Creek and Usery, then on to Lost Dutchman State Park, unusually for us we have all this booked but that is because this is busy season in AZ, the Snow birds are here and who can blame them for migrating to this lovely climate?

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