Wow! I love the desert.
For reasons that are related to work, I stayed in Goodyear on Tuesday night. Since the conference I was attending was in "education" mode, I stole away to downtown Phoenix to both work on my talk and a really interesting applications of Statistical Mechanics to a particular data science problem.
I finished writing my talk for the conference at about 6:15. I had staged myself at a bar near 40th St. entrance to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. I probably should have planned for a 6pm departure. I drove in just as a crowd of people took off on to the trails.
Of course, there was no parking in the lot, so I had to put Gershwin on the side of the road. Happily, my pack was already packed and I was already wearing running clothes. I switched to my Akasha, loaded my bladder and blindly took off down the trail.
Having spend the past week and a half at altitude, I didn't even notice how fast I took things out. After a while on the trail I ran into a fellow named Miguel -- the proprietor or the Ultra House -- who gave me the beta on the trail and where to expect folks. I somehow managed to run into two others Aravaipa types, Eric and John, both of who were out on their own rogue version of the group run.
I had run from the trailhead to the "highway" trail 100, and chased it around a few mounds, taking in the saguaro, the sunset and the heat. I didn't enough up seeing any of the main groups, or anyone else really. Night fell quickly, and while the overall landscape was easy to navigate, it was a mild relief to have service and a functioning Gaia app to reassure my trip back to my car.
I had attempted to participate in a group run last year while attending this conference. This year, at least, I managed to find the after party at the San Tan Brewery.
On of the chaps that I ran into on the trail went out of his way to collect me at the bar. The Aravaipa folks apparently were hidden away in one of the back rooms.
Holy cow what a community! People at the bar were extremely friendly, welcoming and almost pushy about moving to the desert. Worse, I appear to have been pushed into running a race this Saturday near Prescott. I'll keep you posted if this actually comes to pass.