Liz and I went to our favorite shooting hole in the mountains today. A half hour from our house.

We like this spot because it is in the Superstition wilderness, but not too far from civilization. We can set up a target and shoot in peace.

We have local ranges that we could join and use for practice, but the mountains are free. And, I like to empty a few magazines as quickly as I can, and most ranges do not allow rapid fire. I understand their reason, it is for safety of others. I have been shooting since I was seven years old, so gun safety is always paramount. I like to double tap, and to quickly empty the magazine to see where the shots land. Continue reading »

Wild Horses

Some people go to church on Sundays, Liz and I kayak. I think the river and nature brings me closer to god than any wooden pew ever could.

On our weekly kayaking excursion on the Salt River, we always spot the wild horses. One of the larger harems regularly hangs out on Coon Bluff Road hanging out in the shade of the Tamarisk cedars.

Other herds hang out near Phon D Sutton, the next recreation area along the river.

We are currently putting in at Coon Bluff and kayaking down to Granite Reef, the last stop before the Granite Reef dam, which diverts the water to the canal system. This water is used for water users north and south of the river.

The river bed beyond is dry except during periods of heavy rainfall. Continue reading »

Kayaking Salt River

Four Peaks from the Salt River
Four Peaks from the Salt River

Liz and I bought kayaks a month ago, and have been on the water every weekend.  Best purchase we have made this year.

The kayaks are Sundolphin Excursions. Ten foot, sit inside. Made in the USA! We got ours for less than $250 each – they are great beginners’ models.  Well built, stable, lightweight.

The wild horses
The wild horses

We have taken them to Canyon Lake the past three times. Just off of Canyon Lake is a cove that is reserved for non-motorized watercraft. In some areas the water is so shallow you scrape the bottom. In others, the bottom is 30 or more feet deep. You will see fish swimming below you as you paddle.

Today we decided to check out Saguaro Lake, the fourth and final lake in the series before they feed the Salt River. Note to self – “fuck Saguaro Lake”. Saguaro Lake is accessible from Bush Highway, unlike Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt Lakes which we access along the Apache Trail, Rt 88. Continue reading »

You’ll shoot your eyes out

Today was a beautiful day to go out shooting. Liz and I went to our shooting spot in the mountains so that she could break in her Glock G26 Gen 4 that I bought her for Christmas. I took my Springfield XDs in .45 caliber.

We are still working on her stance. Today I concentrated on helping her with her grip and site picture. She is a natural – all of her shots his the paper.

My XDs shot much easier than I expected for a single stack super lightweight .45. My only experience with a .45 was my dad’s Colt 1911 A1. I suffered slide bite by holding to high on the grips the first time I shot.

Anyway, at 25 years, more or less, Liz got all shots on the paper. Her groups were around 6 inches. That is with no bench rest, with her version of a Weaver stance. That is what you need from a personal defense weapon. I managed to group around 4 – 5 inches, around 2 inches low and 2 to the right. Not too shabby, I think.

In a couple weeks we will go camping and get a little more practice in.

Licensed to Carry

The mail carrier brought me a gift this past Saturday! I finally received my CCW (Concealed Carry Weapons) permit.

Arizona is a Constitutional Carry State. That means you do not need a permit to carry, either open of concealed. I have been carrying for the past five years. Most people, well at least most locals do not look twice when they see someone in the Home Depot or the Fry’s Grocery store with a gun on their hip.

Law enforcement might give you a once over, but there are never any questions asked. So why, you might ask, would I go through the expense of getting a CCW?

First of all is reciprocity – I can now carry concealed in 37 states, providing I abide by their laws. Second, if I have contact with law enforcement, all I need do is provide my drivers license and the CCW to de-escalate any situation. LE now knows that I have passed a federal background check, and hence, am not a felon. They know I expended time and money to obtain the proper training to carry. They also understand that I know the laws regarding firearms.

It also speeds up the process the next time I want to buy a gun, I can bypass the mandatory background check. It will save me 45 minutes at the gun store.

Last year, the Maricopa sheriff recommended that all law abiding citizens acquire a CCW, and carry; and our Pinal County sheriff is also a big fan. Both believe that an armed citizenry assists law enforcement and makes us safer in the long run. I concur.

Snake bit?

Last week we were headed for the San Carlos Reservation to explore the peridot mine of a friend of ours. We stopped by George Johnston’s house to pick him and his daughter up for the trip.

George lives at the foot of the Superstitions. He has wild cats and deer and other wild life wander through his yard. Liz was telling me to watch out for diamondbacks as she stepped over this baby!

Diamondback rattlers are for the most part non-aggressive. I yelled a warning when I saw it, and she jumped three feet more quickly than I usually see her move! The snake began rattling and coiled up.

I had my camera at the ready and got a few good shots in. The snake quickly retreated under the brush and rattled a warning as it provided me with a great photo op.

This was a small one, not even 24 inches. It has been living by George’s porch for a few weeks. Western Diamondbacks are venomous, and you do not want to be bit by one, but for the most part they are reluctant to attack. Half of all bites are dry socket – no venom. And this one only wanted to be left in peace and quickly hid under the deep brush.

Century Plant, or Sentry Plant?

One of the agave in our yard sprouted a shoot last week. It happened overnight. The asparagus like shoot was there one day, but not there the day before.

RIP our agave.

The plant is an Agave Americana – American Agave if you didn’t get the translation. It is also known locally as a Century Plant, or a Sentry Plant.

It is known as a Sentry Plant, because the spear looks like the spear of a Roman Sentry. It is known as a Century Plant because it has a long life, its end portended by this shoot. Of course they do no live 100 years, more like 30 or 40.  But a “Four Decades Plant” is not a catchy name.

At the end of its life, the agave grows this shoot, which can grow up to 35 feet tall. It will flower soon. Then it will die.

The shoot looks like an asparagus shoot on steroids. One of the reasons is that is it of the asparagus family.Fortunately this plant has several off shoots, three more to take its place. The cycle of life.


Liz gazing at the far border of the San Carlos Reservation

Last week, our Apache friend Emery invited us to his peridot mine in, of all place, Peridot, AZ.


Peridot is located near the town of San Carlos, on the San Carlos Reservation. The Apache are fond of calling it “America’s longest continuously operating concentration camp“.

Peridot is pronounced Per-i-dot by the locals. The gemstone, peridot, can be pronounced either per-i-dot, or per-i-dough. Continue reading »

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