Sights at sunrise

Sun behind the clouds at sunrise
It’s so hot I’m taking my walks at dawn to beat the heat. The clouds are blocking the sunrise.

We’ve had a hot week and I’ve been swimming rather than walking each day. Our pool in the backyard is a nice temperature so I jump in and kick or swim. I swim laps at the Y a couple times a week too.

It’s weird not to walk every morning after not missing a day since I recovered from knee surgery.

The other morning I woke up at 4:45 a.m. and got out the door for a walk at 5:15 a.m. It was beautiful with birds singing, but I felt a little unnerved with coyotes howling nearby. It sounded like a large pack. I almost turned back to the house, but courageously kept moving on. I actually turned back momentarily only to discover the coyotes howling sounded near my home. Onward and forward seemed like the prudent choice.

Here are the photos I took during my early morning walk.

purple mountains and desert plans.
I love the colors of the mountains and desert in the early morning.

bird on saguaro
A saguaro topped by a bird.
Century plant fallen over
I had been watching this century plant waiting for it to bloom. This was a sad sight.
Century plant standing
This was the century plant two weeks ago.
The oldest quail babies hanging out with their mom and dad in our pool bar. We have three families from wee babies to these teenagers.

If I wake up early enough to beat the heat, I go for my walks at sunrise. If I wake up later and it’s too hot — I jump into the water. Thankfully our pool gets a lot of shade during the day, so the water temperature is still cool.

What is your favorite way to start the day? How are you getting exercise?

Is it safe?

Princesa condo resort view from patio
View from our patio where I spent hours reading.

I’m trying to get my head out of Mexico and a relaxing three-day weekend, back into the real world of everyday life.

Several of my friends were worried when they heard we were driving to Mexico. I had been afraid for more than a year. I was too afraid to go. Finally, I talked to people who have gone there and they assured us it was safe.

Sandy Beach condo view of Rocky Point
Sandy Beach (where the condos are located) looks across the bay to downtown.

The drive is very easy — once you get off Interstate 10 and the crazy Phoenix traffic. It’s a straight shot down a two-lane highway to the border. It’s such an easy drive that I take over in Gila Bend to Ajo and Why — all the way to the Visitor’s Center at the Organ Pipes Cactus National Monument. (Ajo and Why are two tiny American towns.)

The beach resort is one hour from the border on a road exactly like on our side of the border. The only difficult part is what I call the gauntlet. Once you cross the border you have about 300 meters of mutilated beggars, squeegee guys and tamale and tortilla hawkers. They surround your car and we nod our head “no thank you” repeatedly. It’s really a depressing view to enter and depart Mexico. It’s a gut wrenching contrast to our life in the states.

beach walk on Sandy Beach.
My husband during one of our many beach walks.

Once through the gauntlet, it’s smooth sailing. They love tourists. The resorts are 50/50 Americans and Mexican families. There are security guards and police at every resort and throughout the town.

We took beach walks, collected shells, and I read tons. Then we worried about where to go for dinner. That was it. I really got into a relaxed frame of mind.

Where is your favorite place to relax? What do you like to do during a weekend getaway?

Benefits of early morning walks

javelina in a neighbor's yard
Javelina

One of the benefits of walking at dawn is the wildlife we get to see. This morning it was this herd of Javelina in front of a neighbor’s house. I texted the photo to the neighbors to show them the shenanigans going on in their driveway while they were sleeping.

What is a javelina you might ask?

Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) also known as collared peccary, are medium-sized animals that look similar to a wild boar. They have mainly short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose. The hair around the neck/shoulder area is lighter in color giving it the look of a collar. Javelina have long, sharp canine teeth which protrude from the jaws about an inch.

One major adaptation for survival is the fact that javelina live in large family groups. The average group size is 10 or less, but a few herds have known to number up to 53 animals. Each group defends a territory which includes their sleeping and feeding areas. They communicate with their own family group and other groups using sounds and smells.

Javelina live in desert washes, saguaro and palo verde forests, oak woodlands, and grasslands with mixed shrubs and cacti.

They can be found in the deserts of southwest Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southward through Mexico and Central America and into northern Argentina.

https://desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Javelina.php

Other creatures we have seen are tiny baby bunnies, quail families, coyotes and mule deer.

mule deer in the street
Mule deer that crossed the street at dawn.

We are going adventuring in the area this weekend and I’ll write about that next week.

Have you seen javelina before? What plans do you have for the weekend?

What, me worry?

saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
Saguaro in front of a neighbor’s yard.

It’s snake season. And I’m not happy about it.

I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.

A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.

Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.

“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.

Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.

I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:

Joe Hymes at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in north Scottsdale said that with temperatures warming up, this is the time of year that they receive the most calls about snakes.

He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”

Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.

Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-04-05-its-snake-season-in-arizona-heres-what-to-do-if-you-see-a-venomous-snake/

You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.

A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.

In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.

Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?

A bit of beauty

Our gate looking out toward the street. It’s so beautiful with the plant in full bloom. Most of the year it doesn’t look like this.

This weekend I was stunned by the beauty in our neighborhood. I stop and take photos every day on my walks. I’ve posted several times about the desert in bloom, but more and more flowers amaze me.

Palo verde in bloom. They are all over the place in our neighborhood.
Ocotillo with red flowers


.
The color on this Hedgehog cactus is brilliant.
The cardinal has been back!
This beavertail cactus is beginning to bloom.
I love this Yucca at the entrance to our neighborhood.

What are your favorite flowering plants and birds in the Spring?

I’m not a cold weather swimmer

swimming pool with clouds
A view of my former city pool in wintertime. I miss my teammates and coach, but at least I’m still swimming.

My husband and I cut our morning walk short yesterday because it was miserable with a cold wind blowing.

When my lap swimming reservation came up I was tempted to cancel. I’m not fond of swimming when it’s cold out. But, having started my YMCA membership four weeks ago, I’m trying to stick to my workout schedule. So I went.

The water was cool. The wind was chilly and fierce. I’m proud of myself for going. Especially after Monday’s barre class that killed me. It was the hardest class I’ve had yet.

The worst part about my swim was getting out of the pool. While swimming, I kept moving to keep somewhat warm. Getting out was freezing! My teeth were chattering. I ran into the locker room to dry off when I normally take my time on the pool deck.

I’ve decided to skip barre class Friday to try Pickleball. A woman in barre class said there’s a beginners class on Fridays. I’ve heard so much about this popular sport and I want to give it a try. It’s at the same time as barre, but frankly my body could take a break and I’m thinking pickleball won’t be as painful!

I’m enjoying my YMCA life. Except for their app. I’m supposed to use it to make lap swimming reservations, but I get an error message. It says I need a valid membership. Yet the app works to check me in. I asked at the front desk for help and so far nobody knows how to correct it. One young guy told me I needed a new phone!

I emailed IT support that I found on the app and explained that I couldn’t make lap swimming reservations and told them the error message I received. I got an email back telling me that I don’t need reservations for taking classes. UGH! Did they bother to read my email? They said if I was continuing to have an issue to email back. I did immediately with a screen shot of the error message. I’ve heard nothing.

So, I am resigning myself to making reservations in person when I go in for the week ahead. Face to face talking to real people. What a concept!

Have you tried pickleball? What are your thoughts about technology that’s supposed to make life easier but doesn’t work?

A bit of sadness

Century plant
I’ve been waiting to see this Century plant in bloom. This photo was taken two weeks ago.
Fast growing Century Plant.
Still waiting for the blossoms….Look how much it grew. This photo was taken a couple days ago. My husband said he thought he could watch it growing taller right before his eyes.

I’m enjoying the blossoms on cactus, but they are very short lived. One day there are furious blooms and the next day, they’ve expired.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the neighbor’s Century plant and wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss the flowers.

blossoms on cactus
Look at the gorgeous blossoms on this hedgehog cactus. Tomorrow they’ll be gone.

You can imagine how sad we felt when we went on our morning walk today and saw this:

Fallen Century Plant before it bloomed
We will never get to enjoy the blooms. We felt like we lost a friend. It also reminded me of our saguaros we lost.