Volunteering and Hiking

It’s been a bit quiet here on the blogging front as we’ve been busy with our camphosting duties and life in general.  One of the downsides of hosting is it soaks up some of the time we have for exploring and discovering - it’s been weeks since I picked up my good camera and that’s not a good thing.

Today’s post is mixed-grab-bag (mostly because I don’t feel like doing two separate posts). Let’s start with hiking.

Hiking
The most popular trail in our park is the Wind Cave Trail. It’s a 1.5 miles hike up to an almost-cave with 850 feet elevation gain on the way. I almost feel silly that we’ve been in the park since November and haven’t hiked it, but I’ve been nursing a slight knee injury so have been choosing to bike more than hike while that recovers. It was time to see how my knee would do though, and this past Friday offered the magic combination of great weather and a quiet inbox. Miranda wanted to join in - a bit of a surprise since in the past she hasn’t been so excited about hiking. We hit the trail together and took just over 2.5 hours with stops for inspecting plants and rocks on the way, water stops, and a bit of a rest at the top. I picked up enough bits of trash on the trail to justify counting the hours towards our park commitment (not that we needed it this week). From the top of the trail you can see the buildings of downtown Phoenix, the entire layout of the gun range next door, and the entire layout of our park.

My knee did fine - but I’m sure feeling it in my legs and calves yet!

Volunteering
We’ve wanted to do more volunteering while traveling and it’s just tough to do when you are moving often. In our current case we got here just when the holidays were firing up so the places I called to inquire about volunteering were booked up. The Phoenix Food Bank put us on the schedule for January so after a rain-out last week we were able to fit it in this week. Their program here connects homeowners unable to harvest their fruit trees with volunteers willing to pick it, then the fruit goes to the Food Bank. We showed up with another family and cleaned the fruit off of 3 orange trees and one grapefruit tree.  These trees were quite dense - even with our long arms, kids willing to burrow underneath and picking tools we still didn’t get 100% of the fruit off.  We did allow ourselves one sample of each (including a huge grapefruit) and the fruit was quite tasty - hope the Food Bank can make good use of it!

Storybird on the Wind Cave Trail

Storybird on the Wind Cave Trail

At the top of Wind Cave

At the top of Wind Cave

Yours truly at Wind Cave

Yours truly at Wind Cave

National Forest Sign by Wind Cave

National Forest Sign by Wind Cave

Picking oranges

Picking oranges

Picking oranges

Picking oranges

The fruits of our labor

The fruits of our labor

Storybird burrows for fruit

Storybird burrows for fruit

Using the supplied tools

Using the supplied tools

Almost feels like a sport

Almost feels like a sport

Lots of oranges!

Lots of oranges!

MsBoyink gets a rare off day

MsBoyink gets a rare off day

Storybird shows off her huge grapefruit

Storybird shows off her huge grapefruit

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