This week has mostly been about riding bikes! It started off with my taking Rebecca out for a tour of some local mountain bike trails . . . first to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, where we rode from the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, over to the Gateway Loop and Windgate and Bell Passes. The next day we went and rode a section of the Arizona Trail at Picket Post Mountain, near Superior Arizona. Both rides have just an awesome selection of single-track, with a plenty of up, and fast twisting descents, perfect final preparation for our weekend trip up to Prescott, to race in the Whiskey Mountain Bike Race.
Besides the great riding, I was pleasantly surprised at how may plants were still in bloom, especially around Picket Post Mountain. Not only has it been a bit warmer than normal, it was a fairly dry spring, so not the usual explosion of wild flowers. But Picket Post being at a higher elevation than the valley, making it a cooler and slightly wetter environment, was still bursting in color. Desert Thistle, Emory Globe Mallow, Engelmann Prickly Pear Cactus, California Poppies, and Ocotillo were all in bloom . . . as an added bonus, I found a Gila Monster meandering across the trail just in front of me! By the time I got off my bike and retrieved my camera from my pack, he’d gotten up into the trail high-side vegetation, so not the best photograph, but these guys are really good at staying hidden, so a treat to see one out in the open.