Saturday, April 26, 2008

Zane Grey Highline Trail 50k Race Report

The Zane Grey 50k race is held near Payson, AZ on the Highline trail, which snakes in and out of drainages below the Mogollon Rim. Very beautiful, although some large sections were burned in the Dude fire in 1990. Total cumulative elevation gain (all the 'up's added up) is supposed to be around 7,500 feet with elevations ranging from 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet. Lots of up and down, the trail is loaded with large grapefruit sized rocks on both the ups and downs. This is my first ultramarathon. An ultramarathon is any distance greater than marathon length, which is 26.2 miles.

I rode up to Payson with Angie and her boyfriend Chris. It was the first time I had met her in person; I had been reading her blog for quite a while. We chatted non-stop about running, running blogs and the Zane Grey race. It was a great way to start the trip.

We arrived at Camp Tontozona (race headquarters), checked in with registration, received our bag 'o goodies, which included a red 'Highline Trail' visor and a vehicle seat cover for keeping the sweat off the seat after I run (nice!). We get our cabin assignment and settle in.
Taryn, a fellow blogger who Angie and I both meet for the first time, arrives from Yuma; she will be volunteering at the race. The pre-race meeting started at 6pm, so all the fit-looking runners gathered around as RD Perry and long-time race veteran Karston gave us last minute tips.

All the crazy ultrarunners listen attentively at the pre-race meeting

Instructions: read all signs you come to, follow the permanent metal diamonds which mark the Highline Trail (#31), and only take trails with yellow ribbons (Y=yes) not blue ribbons (B=bad). This little bit of information will be very helpful as the day progresses.

Part of the Tucson contingent at the pre-race meeting; Angie, Renee and Rachel

After a fitfull night's sleep, we were up at 4am. Let's get on with it, I say! Here I am getting ready at our cabin chatting with Taryn ...

Start to 1st aid station at Geronimo Trailhead (distance: 8 miles):

Angie and Renee (Rachel off to the side) at the race start line

Chris drove Angie and I to the start of the race - we arrived with less than 20 minutes to spare, but it was pretty low-key, with about forty 50k runners getting ready to go (there were almost 150 runners doing the 50 mile race, which started at 5am). We picked up our bibs, used the port-o-potty, took a few pictures and we were off at 6am! It was cold at the start - about 36 degrees! I had my pink Moeben sleeves on, but stayed fairly cold for about a half an hour.

Most of the 50k lead running pack took a wrong turn less than a mile into the race and got off track, but thank God I did not! I was so glad to have caught a sign that said 'Highline Trail .5 miles' and myself and about 5 others behind me (including Angie, thankfully!) took that trail, which was the correct one. We tried yelling at the lead dogs, but they didn't hear us (or they probably thought us back-of-the-packers were just newbies). We were a little nervous for about a half of a mile until we caught a permanent silver metal diamond (nailed to a tree), which we would see more of as the race progressed as this was the Highline Trail signature marker. Yay! We were on the right trail! I really doubted myself (like I have a lot in my life about many things) about that trail, but this is one time I'm glad I didn't follow the pack! Word has it that the little detour those lead runners took cost some up to 3 miles extra. Whew! There are no yellow or blue ribbons anywhere in the first 17 miles of the course; however, there are plenty of signs and metal diamonds, so course-finding wasn't too difficult for me. I heard that quite a few 50 mile runners had difficulty keeping on trail as well.

This section is fairly runnable, with some steep, rocky climbs. The forest was beautiful, and when we would top out on some of the ridges, the views of the surrounding mountains and forests were amazing.

Here I am coming into the 1st aid station at mile 8 after crossing the rocky creek (one of many, although I was always able to rock hop, so my feet never got wet)

I made it to the 1st aid station at Geronimo in about 2:15 and only stayed about 5 minutes. So glad to arrive here! I'm happy and have really enjoyed this first section. Chris and Taryn greeted me with my drop bag. I ditched my Moeben sleeves, downed some Perpetuem, refilled my hydration pack, and was off again by 8:20am.

Happy to be out here running, happy to see Chris and Taryn at the 1st aid station.

Geronimo Trailhead to 2nd aid station at Washington Park Trailhead at mile 17 (distance: 9 miles):

There is quite a climb out of the Geronimo aid station, which started me thinking that maybe I had gotten in over my head! Soon, this section becomes runnable and the runnable sections are mixed in with some steep climbs (which are littered with huge rocks). I am passed off an on by a lot of the lead pack runners that got off trail early on. There was a washed-out gulley that was difficult to navigate, but the other runners were super helpful in lending a hand while I jumped down.

Coming into the second aid station at mile 17

My time from the 1st aid station until I arrive at the 2nd aid station is a little under 3 hours, so I made the 6 hour cutoff! I feel pretty good for running 17 miles, although I have some hotspots on my feet that need to be fixed up. Chris is there again to greet me with my next drop bag, so I get to work pulling my shoes and socks off (I have extra socks and other re-supplies in my drop bag), while the medic gets some blister supplies ready. I have planned my drop bags well, even throwing in some extra lip balm in case I lost mine along the way, which I did!

Here I am getting the royal treatment for my hotspots. I loved the attention!

Jeff is also there waiting to pace Angie and is also super helpful, bringing me water and a piece of a peanut butter and jelly 'sandwich' (on tortilla). Jeff asks how I'm doing and I tell him that I feel alright and expect to finish the race! I get doctored up, take some more Perpetuem, refill my hydration bladder and I'm off again. I took a handheld water bottle with me as well in anticipation of some long, hot, unshaded areas ahead. I leave the mile 17 aid station at 11:30am.

Washington Park Trailhead to 3rd aid station at Hell's Gate Trailhead at mile 24 (distance: 7 miles):

Mostly downed trees and steep climbs (it gets so ridiculous at one point that I start laughing out loud), this 3rd section was pretty much a hike for me, with not much running. There is such chaos with all the downed lumber and steep, rocky climbs and descents that I'm super thankful that miles 17-33 are heavily marked with yellow and blue ribbons. Sometimes I have to stop and look uphill or downhill, but eventually I would spot the direction I needed to head. There are also a lot of brambly bushes through here, so my legs are getting progressively torn up from thorns. Unfortunately, at the 2nd aid station at mile 17, the Hammer Heed (sports drink) was mixed way too rich, and I was fairly nauseated for most of this section (and I probably didn't drink enough liquid because of it, but I don't think I became very dehydrated). I did eat a few ginger chews, which helped the nausea. I was alone for quite a bit of this section, also (a little spooky - I sang out loud in overgrown sections that might have bear spotting potential). I arrive at Hell's Gate around 1:45pm, making the last 7 miles (I think it really is a little shorter than that) in 2:15. The people at this aid station were great! They helped me ditch the Heed and I got plain old ice cold water refilled in my pack and bottle. Wonderful! It was getting hot (I think it got to around 82 degrees, which is hot at elevation when you are running), but I was handling the heat quite well. There were also some nice breezes that I enjoyed immensely! I didn't do any Perpetuem at the 3rd (last) aid station; I think my electrolytes were up, and I just wasn't hungry at all. I did grab one Hammer gel from that aid station which I used several hours later and I did eat a few more Clif Blox, which I was thoroughly sick of by this point. One thing to eat that would have been great (and is typical at ultras) was boiled potatoes and salt, but none of the aid stations had them.

I did see a snake in this section; not a rattler, though, so I just said hello, snapped a pic and moved around it. He was about 4 feet long. I'm thoroughly convinced that if I did see a bear, I would probably take a picture of it first!

Hell's Gate Trailhead to the finish at the Fish Hatchery Trailhead at mile 33 (distance: 9 miles):
This is a super tough and long section as well - lots of downed trees and a lot of grassy area (hiding rocks). I wasn't too willing to run sections of this that I might have if I weren't so fatigued, because I'm afraid of tripping and falling. I do pass quite a few people in this section, which boosts my spirits (I'm not feeling quite as slow!) Some look like they are suffering quite a bit, so I exchange some words with each one, feeling some comraderie and making sure the exhausted looking runners are okay and offering ginger/endurolytes. I was thankful for the plain ice cold water in my pack. I think the toughest part of this section is when I run into a race spotter about 2 miles out - I thought he was the 3oo yard finish line spotter! When he said only 2 miles left, I just about fell out! So, I buckled down and dug inside myself for the reserve to finish the race. Yes, it was there.

Here I am in the last few yards before the finish...

Me, looking fresh moments after my finish (the clock is short 10 hours)

I arrive at the finish line in 11:03:21. What a sight! Bob B. from the Tucson Trail Runners is yelling "That's what I'm talking 'bout! Git 'er done!" Chris and Taryn are there to greet me and offer congratulations. I feel strong and amazing. I can't believe it is 5pm and I've been on the move since 6am!

I got my finisher shirt (I kid you not, another CANARY YELLOW one, same brand, exactly like the one I got from the Catalina State Park trail race I did two weeks ago) and the super cool Zane Grey emblazoned green camp chair. I snuggled under some blankets with other finishers who were waiting for the shuttle. We rehashed the race and munched on chips and m&m's. I felt such a part of this community.

Angie came in about 6:30pm with Jeff, her pacer, looking happy and fresh, too! It was her 3rd ultra.

I am happy and grateful that I never got lost on the trail, even once (neither did Angie!), which I know that only a small handful of people from this 50k can claim. I listened to the advice at the pre-race meeting about signs, ribbons, diamonds; and of course, I prayed before the race that I might have clarity and intuition to guide me the right way, which paid off. I really feel for those who lost their way a lot, especially Rachel from Tucson, who apparently got lost multiple times and came in last (she was still out but almost done when we left at 7pm, 13 hours after the race started). I was so worried that would happen to me. I'm so proud of Rachel for keeping on, though!

Taryn, Angie and I went and ate burgers at Chili's. I had been thinking about a hamburger for the last several miles of the race!

Would I do it again? Well, probably not Zane Grey (been there, done that!), but I'm already planning my next ultra(s)!

It was so unbelievably pretty! What a gift to be able to experience such beauty!

I had a blast. It was definitely the most difficult physical challenge I have ever taken on in my life. I'm proud of myself! I'm also thankful to all of my friends and family (thank you Kenny, my wonderful husband!) who supported me and believed in me.

An apropos quote for what I just did:

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Final details before Zane Grey

One last final run today before the Zane Grey 50k - a big 4.5 miles - I'm taking it easy. I'm battling either a low-grade cold or my usual seasonal bout of allergies, so my run was tiring (it was also 88 degrees!) I wore my hydration pack because I was trying out my new nozzle lock - during my marathon, I had sticky sports drink squirting out on me. It works great, so hopefully, no surprises during the race (well, I'm sure there will be, but at least not this one!). I got a massage on Monday (mmm, nice) and I'm doing Bikram yoga (hot!) on Wednesday, so I'm just trying to be good, stretch and stay well before the race.

My bags are packed for the race and the countdown is on! I have two drop bags, one each for the 8 and 17 mile aid stations. No drop bags allowed at the 24 mile aid station. Only 3 aid stations over 33 miles! I went to the Army surplus store here in Tucson, Miller's Surplus, and got some cute 'digitalized' camo ones just for some small things that I'll need (Perpetuem, snacks, more Clif blox, spare socks, etc.) Hopefully, by splattering my name and race number all over it, there will be no chance of it getting lost by the volunteers in route to the aid station. Also important, putting the correct aid station on it - there are some things I only have in the 17 mile aid station bag, because I'll be carrying extra stuff for the second half of the race.

I am pretty much consumed in thought about this race. I hope it turns out to be one big adventure. That is what my life is and what I want it to be - one big adventure!

Nothing left to do before the race, except rest. Oh, yeah, and I'll also be picking up my visor for the race - I had 'Pinkcorker' embroidered on the front of it in, you guessed it, hot pink thread. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dove Mountain Trail Run - Tortolita Mountains

My friend Andrea and I ran the Dove Mountain Trail today, which runs along Dove Mountain Boulevard (starting at Tangerine Rd.) We ran all the way to the end of the road, just past the Wild Burro trailhead, which goes into the Tortolita Mountains. Got in about 9-10 miles, which was about right. Most marathon and ultra training programs show a 10 mile long run the week before the race, so I don't think I'm overdoing it. The trail did have a slight incline heading in, which I really felt in my lungs more than my legs. I thought that was a good sign that my muscles were ready for the race next week.
I had met Andrea back at the Blue Pants Racing Winter Trail Series in January, and we have just never been able to hook up for a run until now! She is super sweet and so easy and fun to talk with. By the way, BPR is going to be doing a Summer Trail Series in August (3 races). Yeah, I know it will be hot, but we'll just have to get over it - we live in Tucson!

I got in about 22 miles this week. I'll be getting a massage on Monday, I'll run about 4 miles on Tuesday, and probably do Bikram yoga on Wednesday. Then, Thursday and Friday, I'll rest. I'll be driving up to the race with Angie and her boyfriend Chris on Friday, and will be returning on Sunday after the race.

My husband just came down with this nasty cold, which I'm hoping to avoid before the ZG race.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Phoneline Trail Run - Sabino Canyon

Ran (and partly hiked?) 8 miles on Phoneline trail today with my friend Shari, who is lots of fun to run with! We went up on the trail (above tram stop #7), took a very long connector trail down to the road and came back on the road. Supposedly, the road is closed, so we were hoping to avoid getting arrested! There weren't that many people out there, but we did run into a few other lawbreakers. The road and surrounding area is being restored after the 2006 flooding that almost destroyed the canyon.
Yes, it was a little rockier than I should have been doing during my alleged taper for the Zane Grey 50k. I must have selective memory with Phoneline trail - I always remember it being easier to run than it really is! Lots of beautiful wildflowers and the weather was perfect.
Here is Shari leading the way down on the Sabino Canyon connector trail. We were both wiped out from Saturday's race still and so the first mile of climbing on Phoneline trail was excruciating on our shins and calves. I swear, I really am going to taper now! I had also done Tumamoc Hill on Sunday, for a total of 40 miles last week. Tumamoc Hill has a 700 foot elevation gain in the 1.5 miles up. I did the last long switchback 4 times for an extra workout, so I did about 4 miles altogether. That long switchback is rumored to be a 20% grade, so my glutes were still hurting today! Tumamoc Hill is great to train on; I used it to train for the Phoenix Summit Challenge, which was 7 summits in 2 days, for a total of 22.5 miles and 6,000 feet elevation gain. Although it is pavement, the steepness of parts of it allow me to do numerous hill repeats without having to travel far (efficiency for the busy person!)

I came home and did a weight workout (the last one until the race on April 26th) while I watched Eli Stone online (love that show!)

Seriously, I will be taking it easy from here on out. On the Tucson Trail Runners Yahoo! group, there was lots of talk about all of the downed trees on the Highline trail (which is the trail that the Zane Grey race is on) and most likely, they will not be able to remove them before the race. We'll be doing a lot of tree hopping, in addition to running/hiking up and down hill the whole race. Here is what the website says about the race:

"Trails from the Highline to the top of the Rim are generally steep and rugged, with elevations ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 feet. The trail is in and out of canyons, along a "high line" on the Mogollon Rim where the climb to the top of the Rim becomes vertical. Hence the name of the trail. The trail can be very rocky for long stretches. There are several water crossings, and a lot of downed trees to climb over. However, the rewards are magnificent views, cool canyons and fulfillment of your masochistic needs."

Yeah - I paid for it. When, and I'm saying 'when', not 'if', I finish this race, it will be the biggest physical accomplishment in my life (well, if you don't count surviving the kayak accident on the Gila River, but I digress...I'll have to save that story for another day).

One last note; I think Shari and I are considering running the Tucson Marathon in December. I swore I would never do it - it is on pavement - but we are doing the Pemberton 50k in February and thought that it would be a great part of our training. Also, I really would like to see how I do on a screaming fast marathon course (it is all downhill - 2,200 feet drop in elevation over the course).
But, I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual. I'm going to focus on a lot of rest over the next 9 days until the race. Looks like I'm going to need it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Official Catalina State Park Trail Race Report

It took me a few days to do a race report - I've been working on our taxes - spent 9 hours on them Sunday (they are fairly complicated and my husband uses the 'pile 'o receipts' method of accounting for his business, which is always fun at tax time) and got them finished up last night. Yes, we had to pay Federal tax, but it was offset with our refund from the State tax filing. And, we'll be getting that $1,200 'economic stimulus' cash in May sometime, which we'll use to boost the economy somehow, I suppose (more running gear?)
I finished the 11 mile trail race in 1:46:48, which was a 2nd place finish in my age group (40-44). The gal in 1st place in my age group finished in 1:46:35, so I missed 1st place by 13 seconds. There was a bit of a race timing snafu - I guess a lot of people switched on race day, without letting anyone know ahead of time, from the 5.5 to the 11 mile distance and from the 11 to the 5.5 mile distance so it messed up the results. I thought they had it all figured out on race day (I was in 1st, then I was moved down to 2nd) but I noticed that I was listed as 1st in my age group on the results on the race website. They have since corrected it and I'm officially 2nd place in my age group. I was very excited when they called my name for 1st place, but within minutes the real 1st place winner stepped forward and disputed it. I was slightly embarrassed, mostly because she made a scene about it, I thought. She said to me, "Don't you remember me passing you? I was picking off people at the end!" I basically told her don't worry about it, that I'm sure it will get figured out. I guess she gave the race director a lot of hassle for it, and he emailed me and told me he felt bad for me that she made such a public scene. I don't blame her for being upset, but I think she lacked a little sportsmanship. But I'm happy! 2nd place is awesome! Here I am with my 2nd place beer (?) glass, which I'm very proud of! Not too bad for right under 2 weeks after my marathon!

The 11 mile race was 2 loops of the 5.5 mile race:

1. Canyon Loop Trail (with the 92 steps!)
2. A .9 mile out and back on Montrose Pools trail (up on the out and down on the back)
3. Nature Loop Trail (big hill to get up, and then it is flat)
4. Bridle trail out and back (fairly flat, rocky and sandy)

The second 5.5 miles around was easier in some ways (I was warmed up). However, my legs felt a little tired from all the training. I actually felt nauseated off and on throughout the race, but I'm not sure why. It was fun to see people I knew on the out and back parts. I kept waving at my friends Shari and Steve at different times during the race as we passed each other which energized me.
Great race! We did a little rock hopping in the streams, but there really wasn't much water running. The weather was gorgeous and not too hot. They serve a wonderful mexican breakfast afterwards and all finishers get a technical race t-shirt (although it was canary yellow!) I'm getting known for being 'pink' out there on the trail and in races. The race director, Steve Landau, said, "Hey, there's the pink lady! Hi Renee!"

Regarding my friend Steve (there he is on the left resting his eyes)- thank you for the wonderful things you said Steve! Steve said he has been following my blog and at the awards ceremony he told me he was impressed about my accomplishments and proud of what I was doing with my running (I'm paraphrasing - at least that is what I remember him saying!). He made me feel so great! His comments were warm and sincere and it felt so good to be his friend. Steve's comments really made my day. Steve also came in 2nd in his age group (50 - 54). I'm proud of you, too, Steve!

I was never good at sports growing up and always felt awkward and shy around people. I love this life I've been given today, which is so different from then. I have so many wonderful friends and I feel like I really belong in the running commmunity and the world in general. I try to show up and see what I can bring to others rather than worrying about what they think of me. I usually chat with new runners and give them encouragement and applaud their successes. It takes me out of myself and I get to really see what life is about.

"Don't surround yourself with yourself." ~ The band 'Yes', song "Roundabout".

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Catalina State Park trails and hill repeats!

Shari and I ran a little over 6.5 miles on the trails of Catalina State Park (Canyon Loop, Montrose and Nature Loop trails). We did hill repeats on one of the hills on the Canyon loop. Here I go again for my third round of running up the long hill:
We saw an amazing cardinal at the end of our run. He was hanging out in a twiggy tree near the parking lot. This is what trail running is all about - getting out there and connecting with the whole world of nature.

On another note, I was tagged by Sarah first to play a little game called "six word memoir". I was also tagged by Angie later on.

Here are the rules:
1) Write your own six word memoir
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links
5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

After some thought, I decided to use the last phrase on the post I had a couple of days ago:

My Life is Such a Gift.
Not only do I have a fantastic husband who loves me, but I am surrounded by family and friends who love me for who I am, too. I get to experience so much in life that many do not get to. I am blessed with good health, a thankful heart, and more opportunities than I can imagine. I had a difficult childhood and have made it through that and many other obstacles to become a healthy, happy, and strong woman. Thank you God for that gift!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

8 miles on the Rillito

Here I am posing Catra 'Dirt Diva' style on my favorite offshoot trail from the Rillito River path.

I ran 8 miles today - it was hot. I've had some blog readers ask about the heat here in Tucson. Yes, it is hot. Already. I'll be switching to morning running in about 2 weeks, when the sun rises earlier, which will be lovely! Until then, the trick is to bring enough water along and make sure you stay hydrated when you aren't running. I'm a southern gal (born and raised in the New Orleans area, y'all, and moved to Tucson when I was 19), so I don't mind the heat, I guess. You don't have to wear much! In Tucson, it is fairly dry, so it is easy to think you aren't sweating or losing electrolytes, when in fact, the sweat is just drying up as fast as you sweat it out! I use Hammer Endurolytes to keep my electrolytes up on longer runs.

Come visit in the Winter and you'll know why so many people flock to Tucson. Beautiful. I was wearing a skirt to run in for most of the Winter months.

I visited my friends 'the goats' at Green Things plant nursery, which is just off of the Rillito, also. It was a good excuse to get into some shade for a moment.

I feel very spiritually connected this week, knowing that I'm strong and capable of handling my very busy life, completing a marathon, and getting ready for my first ultramarathon!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A trail run, thoughts on Zane Grey and other random stuff

Back out to Tucson Mountain Park today. I get so excited going down Starr Pass Road when the mountains start coming into view. The sky looked cool!

I ran on the Starr Pass trail again today, and took it over to the 36th St. trail. I ran about 6 miles and on the way back, I found this big hill near the trailhead that represented what I envision everyone saying about Zane Grey - rocky! So, I had to hike it up to the top to see what it was like. Whew! So, will Zane Grey look like this? For 33 miles? Well, I'm mildly consoled by the fact that there will be quite a bit of downhill, too, but maybe with the same rockiness??

I was pretty alone out there today, but I try to be pretty safe on the trail these days. I usually take my cell phone (you can get reception in most places in Tucson Mountain Park) and I really work on picking my feet up over the rocky parts so I don't fall!

I ran about 15 miles last week - trying to recover from the Bataan marathon, so I was taking it easy. Also, I had to be in Yuma, Arizona for the weekend for a conference, so I didn't have much time to run there. I did manage to do about 6 miles on Saturday night along their canal/levee system, which runs along a bunch of wheat and lettuce fields. I always seem to find some dirt to run on!

I'll do about 40 miles this week, which will include:
1. A trail run at Catalina State Park on Wednesday with my friend Shari, with some hill repeats thrown in,
2. The 11 mile Catalina State Park trail race on Saturday (I'm not really racing, just going out to have a good time), and
3. A short hike with some steep elevation gain on Sunday with my husband Ken and Dixie Dog.

I'll then taper the last two weeks before Zane Grey (no hills or any crazy hikes or anything like that!) I'm a little nervous about the race, because of the elevation gain, but I figure I'll get through it somehow. I don't care about time - I just want to finish!

On another random note, I have a lot going on right now! I just got a promotion at work, we are closing on an investment house this week (and spending the next 6 weeks on it - it is a 'fixer-upper'), I haven't started our taxes yet (my husband has to file Schedule C since he is self-employed), we're having a lot of company in town recently, and I've been out of town the last 2 weekends. I'm eating well, though, and taking good care of myself, so I plan on staying healthy. I'm excited to have such a full life and still be able to fit in 40 miles this week, all on trails!

My life is such a gift.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Starr Pass Trail Run

Just a little 4 + mile recovery run today on the Starr Pass trail in the Tucson Mountains. I didn't run on Monday and Tuesday to let my muscles recover from the marathon on Sunday. I was itching to get back out there today! My calves were still slightly sore, so I was planning on walking, but I broke out in a run and couldn't stop! I did take it easy, though.

I saw the prettiest flowers out there - even though it is getting hot, the wildflowers are still doing great. This flower to the right was on a very tiny cactus (less than 6 inches tall!) Don't miss the desert in bloom - get out there and enjoy it a little!

I get a lot of people visiting my blog looking for information on trails in the Tucson Mountains - if you want to know a little more about them, email me at:

pinkcorker at yahoo dot com

I'll be glad to share what I know and love so much about them!