Second run of the season, again mostly a walk, took me five hundred feet and five miles up and down the foothills behind our house in Tonto Hills. Miners pulled gold out of these hills in the late nineteenth century. Once the mines were spent, cattle ranchers moved in. Now much of the land is part of Tonto National Forest.
In 2005, the Cave Creek Complex Fire scorched most of these hills. On one particular day, if the wind had been blowing south, the fire would have taken out our neighborhood. Instead it turned north burning 45 thousand acres on the east side of I-17. Lightening started the fire and Buffalo grass planted by the ranchers fueled its spread.
Last Saturday, I rode the Tour de Scottsdale, the last cycling event in my plan for the year. Now comes time to start running again. Kathleen and I have set our eyes on a 10K in December, and probably a couple 5K’s to warm up and add to the tshirt collection.
Even though my overall condition is pretty good from eight months of cycling, it’s important to ease into a running routine that avoids injuries. Because running taxes different muscles than cycling, it’s easy for someone my age who is aerobically fit to overwork and strain those muscles. It’s like putting crappy tires on a Ford Mustang.
This morning’s run was mostly a walk around one of my favorite routes through Cave Creek, an old mining town nine miles southwest of where we live in Arizona. After the gold was mined out of the nearby hills, the town floundered in the first half of the twentieth century. In the 70’s, the hippies arrived, drawn by the wild west character that allowed them to live anywhere without the bother of laws or enforcement. Twenty years later, restaurants and shops selling trinkets to tourists began to appear.