Carpe diem - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

January 27, 2021

Carpe diem

In our three wintertime visits to southern Arizona we’ve been here collectively nearly three months.  We’ve never seen a winter storm here like the one that just passed through, leaving the upper elevations of the Santa Catalinas and other nearby ranges coated with snow.  It’s a beautiful, ephemeral experience, and we want to make the most of it before the snow vanishes.  Seize the day.

The best riding option for getting a good look at the mountains is to head north to the Loop and then bike east and south from there.  From Rillito Wash you get great, unobstructed views of the Santa Catalinas, and as you cycle east the Rincon Mountains gradually grow larger.

Nothing dramatic or novel about the day’s ride then, other than the snowy backdrop - just another spin along the Loop.  A very pleasant ride that begins chilly (about 45 when we leave home) and rises to a very comfortable 65 by the time we return home in early afternoon.  It’s warm and sunny enough that it seems you can almost see the snow line edging up the mountain.

There is a bit of drama though, and a near catastrophe: when we first arrive at the loop I pull out the camera for a mountain shot, my hands somewhat stiff and cold from biking in the early morning chill.  As I lift the camera up, for the first time in years it slips from my hand.  It falls to the ground at my feet, and I watch in horror as it teeters off the edge and drops down the sloped retaining wall into the wash, about 20 feet below.

There’s nothing I can do but hold my breath and hope for the best as I watch the camera bounce and slide its way down the slope before finally coming to rest on the sandy base of the wash.  I don’t hold out much hope as I walk down along a nearby access path to retrieve it, but amazingly enough it fires right up and seems fine.  It’s got a few new nicks and scrapes around the edges but otherwise seems perfectly functional.  It’s lucky that I dropped it immediately, before I opened it up and the lens extended.  If it was open it would have been a goner for sure.

The Santa Catalinas, from the small park in the center of the Lost Barrio.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Gregory GarceauEgads! Look at all that snow up there!
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1 month ago
This is the same spot from which I took the sundown photo yesterday. It looks like already there’s a bit less snow on the slopes. And there are sheep today! I guess this isn’t a park after all.
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On the Rillito Wash, just after retrieving my camera. The devices collaborate to give the GBO a view of this uncommon sight.
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Casting an eye on Mount Lemmon.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Jen GrumbyThe world as seen through the eye of the GBO is a beautiful place, indeed!
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1 month ago
Crossing Rillito Wash. We’ve ridden this stretch many times now, but it’s exciting to be here under such a new look.
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Eastbound along Pantano Wash, with Tanque Verde Peak ahead. Maybe it’s the lighting,but already it looks like there’s significantly less snow on those slopes.
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A closer look at the Santa Catalinas.
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Another Loop shot along Pantano Wash.
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Looking east on Sellarole Street, we get our closest look at the Rincon Range.
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An end of day shot from back in the Lost Barrio, from the same spot the first photo of the day was taken. Compare the two to see how much change in the snow situation occurred today.
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Looking east from the same point in the Lost Barrio. I came out hoping to get a photo of the full moon rising, but I’m a bit late for a good shot. But then, I’m a bit early also - the full moon is actually tomorrow, so I’ll get another chance.
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Ride stats today: 42 miles, 1,100’; for the tour: 2,240 miles, 80,042’; for the year: 22 riding days, 977 miles, 26,042’, and 2 flat tires

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 2,240 miles (3,605 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 4
Suzanne GibsonSo glad your camera survived!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonReally. I didn’t hold out much hope for it. I have a good backup with us, but it doesn’t have a powerful zoom and I’d really miss that.
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1 month ago
Bruce LellmanI'm very happy your camera survived. What would WE do if it hadn't?!!

I dropped a film camera a long time ago in Burma. A large piece of it broke off revealing its electronic guts. But it worked just fine! Sometimes cameras are more resilient than we think.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanThat’s remarkable that it still worked. The last camera I seriously dropped suffered a shattered lens, in Corsica on day 2 of a month-long tour. I still look back in sorrow on that tour because of this mishap. A phone camera, at least as they were made 10 years ago, just isn’t the same somehow.
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1 month ago