February Fun & Froggies

Another winter season at Imperial Dam LTVA has now come and gone for the Captain, Debbie Dewdrops and new family member Eccentric Ellie. We left the LTVA at bit earlier than normal this year so we could spend some time in Tucson visiting DD’s sister Jeneen and hubby Pat. We are also hoping the weather will cooperate so we can do a bit of touring up towards Monument Valley on our way home but a current cold spell may put a damper on this plan. Only time will tell at this point. Our target date to return to Canada is March 28th.

So without further ado the following is a roundup of some of our last few weeks in the desert.

The Valentines Day Brunch

BBB and LLL hosted a Valentines Day brunch for a group of their and Gypsy’s closest winter compatriots. With the exception of the somewhat overpowering olfactory assault experienced by DD and CC from the smell of frying bacon our hosts more than outdid themselves in winning our hearts with their breakfast bonanza.

On thing for sure is that these two girls are going to miss each others company and play times until November 2018, but then again not sure EE is going to miss having GG push her into the burro poop.

The Dominos Debacles

As reported in my last blog post the girls were ahead in the 2nd half of the Desert Dominos Challenge and had threatened to not partake in any further matches to prevent the boys from making a historic comeback. Alas it was not to be and the girls managed to squeak to a narrow 7 to 3 victory to take the 2nd half title which still left them in a 1 to 1 tie with the boys for the season. Tsk tsk. The boys were however “crowned” as champions

On another domino front CC and Dirty Dog Dave (of Missouri fame) absolutely destroyed the girls, DD and Jezebel Jeannine by routing them 3 to 0. The 3 games didn’t seem to last quite as long as the litany of excuses from the girls we were entreated to after the games ended.

JJ must be commended however as she and DDD did provide us with Doggy Daycare one evening so we could go out to dinner with LLL and BBB.

The Oggorfians Strike Back

Two of DDs sisters Jeneen and Maureen (let’s just call them the “eens”) made a very long one day return trek from Tucson for a visit. Jeneen accompanied DD to her ukulele jam session while CC and EE took Maureen on a 4.5 mile hike through a couple of nearby slot canyons.

The Weekly Hikes

Western Ridge

The Former Feckless Five hiking group added a 6th member (Howard the Duck) and scaled the 1200 vertical foot ridge at the west end of the LTVA. Although not quite the challenge of Castle Dome the boulder strewn surface of the ridge presented plenty of opportunities for twisted ankles and broken hiking poles.

The Turquoise Mine

DD and sidekick EE enjoyed a Steverino led hike out to the old turquoise mine along with 27 other hearty hikers. This annual hike is a pleasant desert trek on mostly level ground which probably explains the large number of hikers.

Natural Bridge

The natural bridge hike is another annual favourite with a few more challenges than the turquoise mine hike including a return through the V slot canyons in Imperial Wash. CC, DD, EE covered the 5 mile hike along with a group of 14 others.

The Back Country Bikes

Steverino and the Captain could only manage one final backcountry ride in February however we got in a good one that covered over 18 miles and took us out Ferguson road to the top of Wolf Canyon, down through the canyon to the reservoir, then on to Kripple Kreek. Past Kripple Kreek we headed west to Coyote Ridge and on to the 727 before making in back to the LTVA. A pretty good 3 hour ride to end the season and for once both of us made the ride relatively unscathed.

Etcetera Etcetera Etc.

Seems like I could go on and on but I won’t. Thanks goodness!, I can hear you say, so here are some pictures of a few of our last month’s activities as reported from the parking lot of the Casino del Sol in Tucson. But before I do I must say that this has to be the busiest RV parking lot we have ever been in. In the past when we have been here there were probably 10 to 12 RVs, but this time there are close to 100 units which dwarfs the 50 plus rigs we encountered at the Walmart in Whitehorse a few years ago.

By stubbs99

Kings of the Castle

Well I am sure everyone is wondering what lame excuse the Captain will come up with this time for being so tardy in getting a new blog posted. Wonder no more cause here it is. Ever since returning from Tucson after Christmas the internet signal here in the LTVA has been dismal at best. Sure its fine between 6 and 7 in the morning and after 10 at night but any other time of the day it is sloth-like to nonexistent. Additionally, CC has been testing out 3 different laptops for the job and has finally decided on a Dell 13.3 inch 2 in 1 model. So no more excuses, here is the latest and greatest from the sunny south.

With the exception of about 10 days around Christmas the weather has been 10 degrees (F) above normal (today 85) with below average winds so no complaints on the weather front given the cold and snow the folks at home have been getting. Finding some shade to relax in is sometimes the toughest part of the day. Ha Ha.

Another unusual happening here is the level of the reservoir. For the past few weeks the water level has been the lowest we can remember ever seeing. It is so low, it is below the outtake pump level. No one seems to know for sure why but it could be related to work being done on the dam power plant.

The second half of the Desert Domino Challenge has surprisingly seen the girls jump out to a 5 – 2 lead. To avoid a collapse and more losses before the end of the 2nd half the girls have suggested they may simply not play any more games to ensure victory. The old “quit while your ahead strategy” while effective, is hardly sportsmanlike and any defaulting would result in the boys being handed the Cup.

Miss EE has had a challenging month with another visit to the groomer for a real close shave. She has also become a full time walker on our Sunday morning lake hikes and has successfully managed the full route 5 weeks in a row.

Happy New Years

Our first event of the New Year was a hike up Telegraph Pass Mountain at 7:30 am on January 1st. We were joined this year for the 2.5 mile hike up the mountain by our friends from Campbell River Pat and Bill Koss. EE beat GGs first attempt record by make the complete assent unaided. Of course GG was only 2 months old at the time and EE was 8 months but hey they were still both in the under 1 Year Old category. Just joking GG.

The Captain started the New Year by extending the distance of his weekly around the lake runs by 1, 2 and then 3 miles and has gasped his way to 3 – 8 milers, 1 – 9 miler and finally a 10 miler. It has been about 40 years since the Captain was crazy enough to attempt this kind of stuff and one never knows if the insanity will last??

Weekly Hikes

DD and CC continue to alternate in partaking of the weekly group hikes with the exception of our last hike (February 1st) when EE was deemed fit enough to join us. On 1 of the hikes, the Captain of course, forgot the camera therefore I can provide no photographic verification of this outing. On all of our hikes in January over 25 stalwarts were somehow convinced to go along despite the unorthodox leadership of Slippery Steve aka Steverino. The hikes were as follows:

Fish Camp

DD represented the Cowells on this hike (5 miles return) which runs across a few ridges to an alleged fish camp on the shores of the Colorado River.

Little Grand Canyon

This 6 mile hike was the one for which the Captain forgot the camera. It probably made no difference however as the group foolishly followed the Captain off in the wrong direction and we never did find the little Grand Canyon.

Painted Desert

CC was on this hike just outside of Martinez Lake, an hour’s drive from the LTVA.  Although CC did remember to bring the camera, remembering to use it is another matter. By the time CC remembered it was his job to take pictures, the 4.5 mile was just about over. I did get some nice pictures of a few rocks though, so there.

Dated Rock

Finally CC, DD and EE set out as a family for the Dated Rock hike. By now the weather was getting notably hotter and by the time the hike ended at noon everyone was glad to see the end of it. Unfortunately for this hike neither of our two esteemed leaders (Steverino and Lost Canuck) were in attendance so leadership was co-opted by the Captain and his sidekick Billy Goat. Despite losing one hiker and getting just a bit off track we jointly declared the hike a success. Even EE managed the trek with only a few lifts across washes.

Backcountry Bikes

Steverino and the Captain continued their Tuesday morning bicycle assaults on the backcountry however this month the backcountry seemed to win. We did have several really good rides but on 3 occasions flat tires cut them short. And of course, the flat tires were on CC’s bike. CC insists on riding on crappy old tires but has finally pried open the wallet and splurged on some new rubber.

One of CC’s flats came at a fairly remote location after we had ridden about 14 miles to a communications tower high above the LTVA. Steverino went ahead for help and CC slogged along for 5 miles with bike in tow until help in the form of DD in the truck arrived to save the day.

Dog Burn

As Slobber Jaws didn’t make it south this winter there is no Official LTVA Dog Burn. Our Missouri friends Dirty Dog Dave and Jezebel Jeannine took it upon themselves to rectify this and put on their own Dog Burn for our “neighborhood”. In all about 40 locals showed up to enjoy their hospitality and enjoy the get together. Despite JJ’s assurances that no real dogs would be sacrificed to the god Canine we felt it best to leave EE at home for this “ceremony”.

Kings of the Castle Dome Climb

Now to the piece de resistance! The now, world renowned, Former Feckless Five (CC, Lucky Lonesome Larry, Billy Goat, Jake the Snake and Steverino) in search of a worthy challenge, got together and plotted to conquer the majestic but imposing Castle Dome. This would be a new adventure for Billy Goat and Jake the Snake, who would undoubtedly rely on the experience and bravery of the former conquerers of the Dome to ensure their safety and success.

The FFF headed out before daylight for the hour plus drive to the trailhead. Forty five minutes later the FFF left the wash and began tackling the 1600 foot ascent. In surely what will be recorded as a herculean effort the FFF in an astonishing short (105 minutes not including rest stops) time perched upon the summit. The total hike one way is 3 miles with a vertical from the trailhead of just over 2000 feet. The more dangerous climb, down because of the loose scree, was accomplished in the same time as the hike in. Fortunately, the winds were light and it wasn’t overly hot which made the trek all that more enjoyable. We all enjoyed the fantastic views from the summit.

All in all the FFF were thrilled with their accomplishment and are now looking for further challenges before things get too hot.

The End is Near

For this year anyway. In less than 3 weeks (February 21st) we will be packing up and heading east to Tucson to visit DDs sister Jeenen and hubby Pat for a week before once again heading north to the GWN.

By stubbs99