Tucson Tale #2

Here in the desert, a “hard freeze” warning is predicted for Saturday. Anxious Tucsonians are covering their cacti with sheets, towels, and upside-down flower pots. Tonight, at the grocery store, I saw a lady who had already wrapped her dog in a blanket.

What is a hard freeze? According to Wictionary, the meteorological term means that a freeze is “sufficiently long and severe to destroy seasonal vegetation and lead to ice formation in standing water and hard ground.”

It may sound bad (and be hard on cacti), but those of you who are fellow-Canadians will be amazed to learn that a hard freeze consists of lots of sunshine, daytime temps of 7 to 10 C., nighttime temps of -7 to 0 C., and light winds.

In Canada, I believe we would call this the start of spring, eh?

So what are we doing besides watching the temperature? Hiking and weightlifting. Two days ago, we hiked for two hours on a rocky, steepish trail in Pima Canyon. I know you will be happy to hear that I’m gaining a modicum of control over my poles and learning to trust my boots. Still, I performed a pretty lousy mountain-goat imitation. The spouse..a former geologist..is of course, is a much better goat. He’s also faster, but patient.

As regards the weightlifting, we joined the YMCA for two months. This means we can alternate activities between hiking or weight-lifting. Or, we can do both in a day: hike in the am, weight-lift in the pm. Extreme sporting for seniors? Well, I’m now best friends with my bottle of ibuprophen.

Below, I commune with cacti in the Catalina Mountains: a barrel cactus sits to my right, a saguaro soars on the left, and a prickly pear cactus skulks behind me.


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