November 12, 2009

Blacktail, Again...

Today Anneke was forced to do one of her marathon grocery trips, and perform other minor, but neccessary chores in Tucson. So Emma and I decided to do a conditioning hike up Blacktail Hill again. Blacktail is conveniently located, so we just walk out the back of the property and straight up into the National Forest.

This time, I wanted to try a different approach route that I had been looking at on our horseback rides. From the valley below, it looked very inviting. As I got closer, it became obvious that it wouldn't work. Near the top, the incline became almost vertical. So we chose the next ridge over, thinking it would be easier. Ha!

It soon became apparent that Emma and I were going to get our step-aerobics in for the day. Halfway up, we realized how tough it was going to be, but we were committed. Also, we heard a vehicle on the forest access road. Looking down, we could see a Border Patrol truck and agent looking back up at us. It was obvious that we were locals, since illegals don't normally bring their yellow labs with them. However, it was just as obvious that I couldn't chicken out and had to complete the climb or be totally embarassed in front of a government agent.

The climb was still worth the effort. We spooked a couple of deer (always good to see after hunting season is over), but they were too quick for me to get a picture. However, I did find this ocotillo growing straight out of a rock.

Eventually, we got to the top and took a brief water break. For variety, we chose to descend the backside (west side) of Blacktail which I had climbed about a year ago. I must be losing my memory, or I would never have done it. I should have remembered about the treacherous footing on the way down. It is very steep, about a 30-45 degree angle, and covered with baseball size rocks that are a slippery as ball bearings. Emma got fed up with my lack of trail blazing skills, and with great disgust, showed me the proper route to take.

Eventually, we made it home. Now we are both taking inventory of various aches and pains, thinking how bad they will be tomorrow, and thinking how lucky we are to be able to do this whenever we desire.

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