Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mountains. Biking. Nectar-thief.

Next Friday is the City of Tucson's Bike-to-Work-day.

So this morning I thought I'd check out how long it would take me to bike from home to where I work: twenty minutes. Not bad. Before the 100-degree days arrive, I should 'go green,' then.
Riding back, I decided to make a loop instead of backtracking...

...which took me by an animal feed-store with this mural on its side wall (cell-phone-cameras are pretty convenient, eh?):
Ahh--a twinge of 'homesickness' for the Pacific Northwest hit--Mt. Shuksan, in the North Cascades National Park, arguably the most photographed mountain in the world. (And now, coming to a SW-feed-store near you...)

Once, staying with friends-of-friends in the south of France, I noticed they had put together one of those thousand-piece-puzzles and framed it on the wall of their guest room. They thought it was a Swiss-scene, but it was Mt. Shuksan, in Washington state...And in Peru, a popular brand of muesli had, on its packaging--you guessed it--Mt. Shuksan. An Andean peak just won't do, I guess...For whatever reason, Mt. Shuksan is a glaciated mountain-super-model...

(This, alas, is not my is courtesy of:
I've been there twice, but have never been able to see it completely cloud-free.

Oh, yes, clouds...part of the reason why we moved to Arizona...

So, continuing on my loop back home, I took the Rillito "river" trail, which gives you views of the majestic Santa Catalinas and the 'river.' It was flowing a few weeks ago. Really. I promise.

No waves lapping at the shore as I pedaled today...

I loved riding my bike as a kid, but I got away from it in middle- and high-school...Then, one summer while in college, I visited a friend up in Québec City, and we went biking one day--From the old city, dominated by the Château Frontenac on Cap Diamant, up the St.-Lawrence for quite a few miles to the Montmorency waterfall.

(Incidentally, this year marks the 400th-anniversary of the founding of Québec, which remains the only walled-city in North America...and in late June and early July, my wife and will be there; it'll be her first true 'immersion' in the French language since she began studying it in earnest...)

So, when I returned home to Georgia from that trip, I got a bike, and riding along the Augusta Canal (built in the 19th-century with Irish and Chinese-immigrant labor) became a favorite way to escape from reading-lists...
No mountains or French-Canadian-colonial-fortifications in East Central Georgia, but plenty of green...and it's also the northern habitat-limit of alligators and Spanish moss...


Yesterday afternoon, we did see some flowing water along some trails in Sabino Canyon:

...and the wildflowers continue:


A couple of days ago, we looked out our living-room window, through the curtain, and saw this:

Decidedly not a hummingbird.
I carefully moved the curtain to the side, trying not to scare the bird away, and got a better look. A Gila Woodpecker was sipping the nectar! I wonder if he's the same guy who was pecking on our roof--which is tile--the other day? Has the nectar fermented?

And that's all the minutiae for tonight.
Signing off from our corner in Tucson...

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