March 2012 – Apache Junction, AZ

March was nice and warm - in the 80’s most of the month and even hit the low 90’s toward the end of the month.  On the 18th it was cool and rainy all day and we even had snow on the Superstition Mountains.

We helped with the March pancake breakfast in the park. This was the last breakfast for this year and we served around 160 people.  Nancy’s parents and her sister, Susan, who was visiting for a few days, joined us for the breakfast.  We have enjoyed helping with the pancake breakfast this year (even though we have to be there at 6 am!) and look forward to helping again next year.

Nancy’s sister, Susan, from Colorado visited for a few days.  She stayed at our parent’s house but Nancy got to visit with her a couple of times.  We hadn’t seen Susan for a couple of year so it was nice to see her again.




Our granddaughter, Mariah, and Nancy’s sister, Carol, flew in from Colorado for a week visit.  Mariah stayed with us while Carol stayed at Nancy’s parent’s house.  Mariah and Nancy got to spend a lot of time in our pool.  Mariah really enjoyed swimming and soaking up the warm Arizona sun.








Carol and Mariah attended our Tai Chi class at 7 am on Friday morning – we were surprised our 15 year old granddaughter got up that early on spring break!   They also joined us on our Friday hike.  We hiked on a section of the Arizona Trail (the Arizona Trail is a 790 mile trail through Arizona from Mexico to Utah). 








It was a great hike and we saw a lot of wildflowers - Mexican Poppies, Lupine, Desert Marigolds and many more.

  






Friday evening we had Nancy’s nephew, Jeremy, and his wife, Shanda. and daughter, Joelle, over for dinner along with Nancy’s parents, Mariah and Carol.  













We had a great visit and cute little Joelle kept us entertained – it was fun having a one year old in the house.

 






 
We took Mariah and our friend, June, for a cruise on the Dolly Steamboat one day when Rex was working.  We had a great day but did not see any Bighorn Sheep on this cruise.  After Rex got off work we all went kayaking on Canyon Lake. This was Mariah’s first time kayaking and she really liked it.  Mariah used Nancy’s kayak, Nancy used Rex’s and Rex borrowed our neighbor’s kayak.

 


Mariah quickly got the hang on kayaking and easily paddled under this rock overhang.

 



















We think we tired her out today!!








On the last day of their visit we all went to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.  We rode the park bus with other park residents to spend the day at the Gardens.  We had a great time despite the hot weather today.  Mariah had our camera and took over 150 pictures - she is an excellent photographer and now we have some wonderful pictures from the gardens.  

 



The Butterfly Pavilion was open and we got to see hundreds of beautiful butterflies.

 








The cacti are starting to bloom.

 









The wildflower garden was beautiful.

 









And the Hummingbirds were having a feast.

 





We even got to see a Quail running around by the gift shop.

 
We really enjoyed having Mariah and Carol visit us again this year and are looking forward to them visiting again next year.




Our last Friday hike was to Box Canyon = one of our favorite hikes.  We hiked a loop through a couple of very scenic canyons where we saw some wildflowers and the cactus are starting to bloom.   A great surprise was getting to see a Gila Monster.  This is  the second Gila Monster we have seen here in Arizona and this one was much larger than the one we saw last year.  




Coming toward us


  







and running away from us

 
We have enjoyed all our hikes and Rex had a great time leading the hikes and looking for new trails to explore.  We look forward to starting our hikes again in November.



We took the kayaks out on the Salt River for the first time in March.  During the winter there is not enough water in the river to kayak, but when they let water out of Saguaro, Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt lakes above us, there is enough water for kayaking.  We went out on 4 trips in March with friends from our park and really like running the river.   We are quickly learning how to read the river and avoid hazardous spots; although on our third trip we both rolled our kayaks while trying to help our friend, June, who had gotten caught by a low hanging tree branch and turned over.  We all came out wet but unhurt and others in our group who were ahead of us were able to retrieve the two kayaks that got away from us.

 

One of the great things about this section of the Salt River is the wild horses that frequent the shore.  On two of our trips we saw many groups of 10-12 horses, but on the last two trips we only saw 3 or 4 horses.  There were some young colts in many of the groups.

 






Rex caught this Kingfisher resting on a branch.


 






We saw lots of Blue Herons on all of our trips – and more horses.


 





We were a little nervous when these two Turkey Buzzards were flying above us, but got really concerned when they landed on the shore – looks like they are trying to decide if they should stick around and see if any of us die so they can have lunch!


 


On our first two trips on the river we saw a lot of Egrets, but on our last two trips we didn’t see any so we think they must have started migrating north.  There are three ducks flying in the background.


 





We also saw a number of Bald Eagles on all of our trips – we never get tired of watching these magnificent birds.


 




Rex and our neighbor, Willem, are hauling a kayak out of the river with Red Mountain in the background.  We really enjoyed the river and plan to do more trips in April.  

 
We kept busy in March but activities in our park are starting to end as people start leaving for home for the summer.  We are looking forward to a slower pace in April as we prepare to leave for the summer.




 





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