Thursday, November 19, 2015

West Fork Sedona

It's been a while since we had a good family hike. So I decided a couple weeks ago it was time to take a hike up in Sedona. I found a trail we hadn't been on before and allegedly they get good fall colors so we took off next week for West Fork. 

When we got there the color was pretty much gone. A lot of yellows but the reds were gone. I did see one big read leafed tree and a couple small ones but apparently this year they skipped fall and went right into winter. It was very cold when we got there and there was actually still snow on the ground. We were not expecting that and it was a nice surprise. We hike for a couple hours around the West Fork trail. We had to cross a couple times so we didn't get to do the full 6 miles to the end. It would have been about a dozen crossing and it's too much with the kids. When I say creek crossings I don't mean on a bridge. I'm talking carrying the kids while we walk over slippery wet rocks in the creek. Natalie didn't even want to do the first crossing but wasn't going to stop after just a half mile.

Getting ready to go to Sedona. Here is Zach sporting his wolf hat.

Ok so there was one bridge crossing. After this though it was all walking across rocks.

The remains of an old lodge from the mid 1800's. According to the sign there they had grizzly bears in this area at that time.

Adri wanted to eat the snow. I wouldn't let her since it's not fresh powder so instead she kept throwing it at my butt. It was all fun and games until she hit Zach.

Fall 2015

Well it's finally fall and I never thought I'd say this but I'm really looking forward to the next four months of cold weather. The last couple days have only been upper 50's to low 60's and I have actually been enjoying it. The summer is just too long and miserable here and it's really hard to hike in the heat.

Lately I have been occupied at least a day or two a week with my new hobby, coyote hunting. Still no coyotes but I'm getting closer. Hiking with my rifle in it's case and was killing my shoulder so I bought a new backpack with a rifle holder on the side. It was a great investment. I had a follow up with the doctor on my lumbar fusion and he said I am good for backpacking so I've been loading up. I've added gear and I'm doing really good with this backpack. No more sore shoulders, neck, and back. On top of all the backpacking I bought an inversion table, advise of the doctor. Another great investment. The first time I used it I had a lot of blood rushing to my head and my ears felt like they were going to explode. But now I've become used to it. Since using the table what's left of the neck pain that has been nagging me since February 2014 has finally gone away. 

Lately I have been working my own schedule. I have had a project I'm working on so my boss is letting me work when I want to get things done. So last week I worked a half day and after work I went to a new trail head for the 80+ mile long and expanding Black Canyon trail. The new trialhead is in New River. I did a 6 mile hike around that area looking for coyotes. Unfortunately the first part of my hunt was ruined by some idiots illegally shooting really loud rifles by New River Road. So I had to pack up and move further down the canyon. After four hours on the trail I decided it was time to head back to the car. About 20 minutes after sunset I pulled out my howler call and was able to get a group of coyotes a mile or two away to call back. However it was already getting too dark and there was a snowballs chance in hell of me getting them. 

Two days later I went up north about 30 minutes to Badger Springs. It was a cold morning, about 35 degrees, and my remote decided it wasn't going to work on my electric call. So I hike about 4 miles around that place looking for coyotes. I found a lot of scat full of cactus pears but no coyotes. I think they are full from all the fruit and not interested in bunnies right now. When I got home I looked up their eating habits and it looks like from now until the end of the year they'll be eating lots of fruit. In January they change over to bunnies and rodents. So I decided to order some cottontail and coyote urine. From what I'm reading they'll circle you without you even knowing so you have to get rid of your scent. All the videos I've watched of coyote hunting are in clearings. Unfortunately here it's hard to find a clearing. The brush is pretty thick and it's hard to get a clearing of more than 30 yards. I will get a coyote though, and it will be soon. They can't keep beating me at this game forever. 

The box from my new backpack. For the last month this has been the kids new fort. Normally they flip it on the other side and Adri wrote Adri's house on it. 
Crazy sock day at school.
Zach was too small for the bounce houses so I took him for a walk at the park.

Halloween. The best part is the way Zach actually was running like Yoda.

One night I pulled out my rifle to get ready for the next day's hunt. Zach figured out how to open the bolt.
 We finally got rain in the Valley of The Sun.

Lately I've been taking the kids for a lot of walks. The weather is good, I'm sick of being fat, and it shuts Zach up. Once he's in the stroller he just sits there quietly looking around. Here we are walking towards Daisy Mountain.
 Zach really wanted a rock so I gave him one of the ground. The crazy kid was sitting there petting his rock until he fell asleep.

Don't let this picture fool you. Zach loves his walks. But the minute I stop to take a picture he gets all pissed off. The minute the stroller started moving again he was calm.

At Anthem park they have a memorial for Veterans. It's been going around on Facebook lately that at 11:11 on 11/11 the sun goes right through the four columns and lights up The Great Seal Of The United States. So Natalie was going to take the kids to see it but it was too crowded. From what I heard there were 5,000 people there. I went the next day with Zach and they had a drone flying over and still a good crowd for being the day after.
After checking out the memorial I took Zach for a walk. He was tired though and didn't want to be put down. He did find a small seed of some sort in a crack and was very interested in that. He was on the ground trying to pull it out and when he realized it wasn't coming out he grabbed my hand for me to get it. I had to pry it out with my keys. Zach held onto it for a good half hour before he finally dropped it.

I took Zach on the train ride but as you can see he wasn't too thrilled. 
Afterwards I took Zach to Fry's where he crashed out in the cart. I was trying to get cans off the bottom shelf while holding this kid's head.

My new backpack.

At Black Canyon with my new backpack.
A cool rock I found on the trail.

Gavilan Peak. Eventually I am going to hike to the top of this one.

To the right is Daisy Mountain Pak and to the left is Gavilan Peak.

All the electrically lines crossed here and it looked like a giant spider web.

Looking at Gavilan Peak through my rifle scope from about 3-4 miles away.

Sitting under a tree at Badger Springs. I really like this spot. It's not quite desert but not quite mountain.