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Wednesday, April 14, 1999

Hiked - 3.6 miles

Lisa, Joel and I went to see my mother today. She was half asleep so it was just a short visit. Lisa was glad to see her though. My mother pulled her wheelchair over the other day. She's quite strong even though she isn't steady enough to walk, and tries to pull things. The thing that gave was the chair. She got a bump on the back of her head but is ok otherwise.

After we drove up Mt. Lemmon. It was a beautiful day and we could see across the valley. Joel was quite impressed. It is a beautiful drive and a beautiful mountain. You go from desert, through oak forest, up to pine forests and alpine. There was quite a bit of snow left at the upper altitudes.

We made the obligatory stop at Windy Point so Joel could oh and ah. There were a couple rock climbers there. There usually are. The rocks are fantastically piled up here. They look like a stiff breeze would send them tumbling, but if you look at them closely, there usually is a connection between the sections.

We drove on up to the top and looked at the ski runs which had a snow but there were a few too many brown spots to ski. The poor lift operator looked so lonely. No one was even riding the lift to sightsee which is what it is used for more than to ski.

We backtracked to Summerhaven and stopped at the cafe for lunch. The cafe was the only eating establishment that looked open. They didn't have a ski season worth anything and it's still too cold for most sightseers and hikers this high up. We sat on the deck and the sun kept us warm enough even with the chilly breeze that ruffled our hair.

The waiter was out of it. Totally wacko. When we finished he said we had to pay the other guy as he was not allowed to touch money. That figures! He took orders by pulling up a chair and sitting down and then told everyone he was doing the best he could. The food was good though and it was great sitting in that high clear sunshine.

We drove back to the Palisades Ranger Station but the snow was still too heavy to hike with the light boots we had. Even with heavier boots it would have been very, very tiring. We drove back down the the General Hitchcock campground and hiked up the Green Mountain trail for 1.8 miles to where it meets the Guthrie Mountain trail. It was quite a hike up especially since I haven't hiked that steep a hill in quite a while and certainly not at that altitude.

I was huffing and puffing and we had to stop a few times on the way up but it was a great hike. It starts at the end of the General Hitchcock campground and follows a creek, which was babbling today due to snow melt, and then starts going up very steeply. It crosses several huge sold rock areas which are always so interesting. We ended up at a saddle in a oak/pine forest. Everything smelled so good and the sun was warm. A delightful walk.

Coming down was much easier on the lungs but harder on the knees and shins. It's also faster. We were sorry the hike was over but in was 4:30 and Lisa and Joel to drive me back home and head out. I enjoyed them being here and will miss them, but I'm so glad that I could spend a few days with them.

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Rachel Aschmann 1999.
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