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Did You Labor on Labor Day?

We absolutely did not!  On Saturday, we packed up the car and headed to West Clear Creek — my favorite camping/swim site.  We discovered this hidden jewel back in 2010.  It was a perfect day and we have been trying ever since to recreate it.  The key — wait till the end of the summer when the water has had a chance to warm up.  For the past two years, we have gone on Memorial Day and the snow melt is still feeding the creek.  Yipes!  Talk about cold.  Brrrrrr!  Labor Day Weekend is really the best time.

Now I would like to think that I have good karma when it comes to traveling — with friends, family and of course Chucklebutt.  However, starting the Wednesday before Labor Day, we had some car issues.  The alternator had gone kaput and we needed to purchase a new one.  (To be exact it was the little doo-hickey on top of the alternator, but as manufacturers would have it, you have to replace the whole thing.)  Anyway, Chuck found one Advanced Auto with an alternator in stock so we were in business.  But wait!  It couldn’t be that simple.  When he went to pick it up, the fellow at the store opened the box and discovered that the casing had been smashed in transit.  DOH!  Chucklebutt, being the ever resourceful Boy Scout, asked if he could put our old casing on the new one and all it a day.  The merchant agreed and off we went.  Alas, once he began working on it, he discovered it was more damaged than he originally thought.  So now, he had to order a new one but it wasn’t guaranteed to come in by the time we needed it.  Mama Puff and my Fairy Godmother (Aunt Jeannie) proceeded to tell us that it was definitely a sign — they are superstitious Italians.  :D

To make a long ordeal short, the part came in, I had to assist with the serpentine belt and we were on our merry way Saturday afternoon.

That white car next to us is a rental we thought we may have needed to use.  That is another crazy story but I shan’t bore you with the details.  Let’s just say we were quoted 74 bucks for the week, they then tried to charge us $250 and as it stands now, we got it completely for free.  Weird!

We didn’t get to the trail until dusk and then we did a very foolish thing — yeah, we hiked down in the dark.  Not the oh-check-out-stars-I-can-see shadows dark.  No.  I am talking about holy-crap-I-can’t-see-my-hand-in-front-of-my-face dark.  DARK!  Did I mention that it had just rained and the trail was slicker than snot?  Oh, and if the pitch was any steeper on this trail, we would have needed ropes.  What’s that expression?  God looks out for fools and Jiggle Puffs!  We made it to our campsite without any incident.  Truly a miracle.  We set up camp, and as we began to make dinner, the Blue Moon came out.  It was so bright we were casting shadows.  Too bad it wasn’t with us an hour earlier.  :D

We were up early on Sunday and enjoyed swimming the whole day.

We hiked/swam about a mile up stream and discovered some gorgeous deep pools and beautiful canyon scenery.  Alas, we didn’t bring the camera, so just take my word for it.  We did discover a super new cool place to camp, but we’ll have to plan better when hiking in.

Is that a Chucklebutt lurking in the woods?

Luckily we had off Monday so we could nurse our weary bones and various bruises we acquired while swimming.  A great time was had by all!

Summer Adventures

I can’t believe August is almost over!  Where did the time go?  Chucklebutt and I have been having quite a few adventures this summer.  I’ll have to work my way back chronologically so as not to confuse myself.

This past Saturday, we headed to Aravaipa Canyon just off of highway 77 for the second time this season.  If you have never been there, I highly recommend it.  It is a riparian ecosystem and a fabulous oasis nestled in the desert.  Be sure to get a permit, however, they only allow so many people per day into the area.

We got a late start — per usual — and went in search of some swimming holes written about in Arizona Highways Magazine.

It was a great hike full of gorgeous scenery.  One minute we had desert landscape and the next, lush green vegetation.  The constant throughout, was the refreshing Aravaipa Creek which ran the whole length of the canyon.

See the big green trees on the right side of the picture?  Typically you don’t see those in the Sonoran Desert.

We spent a lot of time hiking in and out of the water.  Since it’s monsoon season, quite a bit of shore line had been eroded.  There was also a lot of mud.  By the time it was all over, my white pants were a yucky brown.  Yes, it looked like I pooped my pants.  :D

Each turn of the canyon held even more breath-taking scenery than before.  Eventually, we found a deep spot to take a swim.  By this time it was full on dusk and we had the company of hundreds of bats.  It was so cool floating on our backs watching them whip in and out of the canyon.  Ah the life.  We never did reach our final destination, but figured since it was getting dark, we should head back.

Why yes, we hiked a good 2 miles home in the dark.  No full moon.  Full cloud cover.  Dark!  Luckily, all we had to do was follow the creek.  There were a few scratches and bruises, but otherwise we survived unscathed.

The above is a map my nerdy Chucklebutt created showing where we traveled on Saturday (the August point), where we had been earlier (the July point) and where we were actually wanted to go.  We have a bit more work to do — it’s a total 10 mile hike.  We’ve decided to camp it and start a lot earlier than 3:30 in the afternoon.  Sheesh!  Never a dull moment.

Where to next?  Stay tuned!