Monday, November 28, 2016

Mesa, AZ - Hiking the Superstitions

Otherworldly beauty, mysterious legends, lots of interconnected trails. Sounds like a hiker’s dream and one of our favorite places to hike. The Superstitions are a mountain group on the eastern edge of the Phoenix metro area. Beautiful, jagged cliffs just towering out of the desert. Steeped in history with sagas of Native Americans, Mexican miners, American settlers and gold miners, cattle ranchers and the US Military. Over it all hangs tales of the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine.
Who found the mine? Where is it now?

The tales begin with two men, Jacob Waltz (the Dutchman) and his partner Jacob Wiser. Did they come upon two Mexicans mining gold, shoot them and began to mine the gold themselves? Or, as another legend tells it, did they get the map to a gold mine from a wealthy Mexican whom they rescued from a card game fight?

How did Wiser die? Did the Apaches shoot him as Waltz told others. Did Waltz himself shoot his partner? Did other miners shoot Wiser?

Or, was there really a gold mine at all? Did Waltz just find a buried cache of gold? Did he steal it from another valley mine?

Well, who knows? Stories abound and there are those today who still search for the Lost Dutchman mine. Gary and I are not searching, we are just out for a good hike in the wilderness - and today it’s in the Superstition Mts. taking the Black Mesa Trail. It was a grey day, mostly overcast and a bit cool. Just the right kind of day to venture into the mysterious Superstitions. I’ve breaking in a new pair of hiking boots having finally admitted that the thin soles of my old ones are ready for the trash.
Here’s our map. We started in the upper left, took the right trail at the junction and looped around.

Layers and layers of mountains in the distance. Small hills covered with saguaro, mesquite, palo verde and other desert plants. Rocky tors, sandy washes and boulders cover the land. My favorite sight is the Weaver’s Needle lording it over all.
Named for Pauline Weaver who was born in TN in 1797. His parents named him Powell Weaver, he called himself Paulin (Spanish) Weaver, the Anglos called him Pauline Weaver. A scout, trapper, mountain man and miner, he was considered a friend to all and was known for his fair judgment. No wonder he has such an awesome peak named after him.

Yellowed cliffs guard our trail.
Right about here, I’m realizing that my new boots are cutting into my ankle bones. Hmmm, 7 miles to go. On the map above, I’m right about where that yellow circle is.
We saw the sun break through to shine on a nearby peak.
Now, we’re turning back towards the trail head and my feet are beginning to wish they were soaking in a pan of hot water.
Fun territory to hike. We’ve done this trail both clockwise and counter-clockwise every year we’ve come down here. It changes every time yet remains the timeless. It never disappoints.

Gotta do something about those boots.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Mesa, AZ - Refrigerator Saga Part 4

Yep, the refrigerator saga continues. If you want the beginnings, check our previous blogs. Refrigerator Sagas 1, 2 & 3 are in September and October. We’ve had a strange smell in our refrigerator for a while. Most of it has dissipated but every now and then I catch a lingering whiff. But the refrigerator worked, the smell was less and we know we’d have trouble getting a tech in to look at it. 

Now we’ve noticed that our food is not as cold as it should be. The temp in the refrigerator is higher than it should be and the refrigerator runs lots more than it should. Finally, Gary emptied our freezer and we noticed that the back wall was covered in ice. In a self-defrosting refrigerator. He then took off the back panel and we couldn’t see the motor and fins in back. They were encased in ice. This is not looking good. 

He called the two service shops in town that I had called last month when the smell began and left messages for them to call back. Finally he called Justin from A Better Appliance Repair, LLC. He said he’d come Thursday, Nov 17. 
I hope our food can hold out. (His business card says: ‘Practice Honesty and Integrity.’ Hmmm, I hope he gets better at his Honesty and Integrity than I ever got when I practiced the piano.)

It’s Thursday and here is what the fins look like now. 

A close up.

He got here right at the time he said he would. Good sign. He went right to work, found the problem, called for parts, told us the cost and, when we ok’d the cost, he went to get them. First he had to ‘defrost’ the fins - with the handy dandy hair dryer which is one of his trusty tools. Every appliance repairman needs a hair dryer. 

Here’s what the fins look like when he gets done 

The he checked the control board. Look closely, at the bottom, under the FSP, can you see the those two burned things? Let’s see - how old is this refrigerator?  

He installed the new parts and our refrigerator began to get cold. Whew. 

He guarantees his work and parts for a year. Good man. He looks all of 23 years old. But he is a one man shop, is very business like, has deals with this before and went right to work. I’d recommend. him.