There’s a new superhero in town …
… a superhero for modern times …
He’s TBM! (Temporary Bachelor Man)
Superpowers include the ability to make manly fires, type 100 words per minute, and hike tall mountains slowly. Note the details of his costume: A torch symbolizing his ever-readiness to do “guy stuff”; Wrist protectors look cool and guard against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; Yin-yang symbol indicates his constant quest to balance work and play; Sunglasses protect against desert sun (shade hat not shown); Khaki jeans hide dust and sand; Hiking boots protect feet on long trails; Belt with the symbol “T”.
Yes, this is what a superhero looks like at age 46. (Actually, his musculature and hairstyle are just slightly exaggerated.) If I don’t look like this in photos from Alumapalooza, because I normally hide in my secret identity as a mild-mannered magazine publisher.
Although I am separated from Eleanor and Emma, there is plenty of sunshine and heat to keep me energized, and lots of stuff to do. In fact, my “to do” list is so long I wonder if I’ll work through it before Eleanor arrives in 19 days (noooooo, I’m not counting). I have house stuff to do, light yard work, and tons of magazine work. I also have a new bike that is just begging to be ridden in the cool early mornings, so I’ll try to stay on Eastern Time and get up at 5 a.m. with the dawn. It’s reliably 69 or 70 degrees every morning, and stays cool until about 8 a.m., so the cycling is primo for early risers.
Tucson is just loaded with interesting things for a TBM to do. One great perk of being here is that we have Saguaro National Park just 15 minutes away. When we are traveling we always gravitate to the National Parks, so why not visit them when they are right in our front yard? Last night a volunteer was leading a night hike through the park, which is a relatively rare offering. A small group met in the Visitor Center and then walked down one of the popular loop trails as the sun set.
If you’ve never done a sunset hike in the Sonoran Desert, this might seem sort of crazy. After all, it was still 100 degrees at 7 p.m. last night, and all the critters come out at night (scorpions, snakes, gila monsters, bats, etc.) But that’s exactly what we were hoping for. Our group was equipped with water bottles and flashlights — even a few blacklights to spot scorpions, since they fluoresce under black light. Also, the views from Saguaro National Park at sunset are absolutely stunning. The Rincon Mountains turn pink, then purple as the sun goes down. The saguaros make fantastic silhouettes against the twilight glow. A sunset walk in the desert is one of the “must do” activities when you’re out here.
We heard fledgling elf owls calling to each other from their nests inside tall saguaro cactus. We saw numerous bats flitting over our heads. We saw a pair of Lesser Nighthawks chasing each other. We talked about the traces of ground squirrel activity, and packrat houses along the trail. The two-hour adventure went very quickly. It was a shame we didn’t spot any snakes and found only one scorpion, but it’s still early in the season. As the monsoon gears up in July and August, the tarantulas will start to get active, too. There are a lot of interesting creatures that live here, and believe it or not, it is rather rare to see them (except scorpions, which get into people’s houses in rural areas).
According the the weather service, it is going to get hot by Wednesday. Since our back porch thermometer indicated 104.7 yesterday, I am not sure how only Wednesday gets the designation of Hot, but perhaps the delineation is at 105 degrees. Those three-tenths of a degree might make all the difference. But the difference I’ll feel is probably in the overnight lows, rising to mid-70s. That means no more cool mornings to open the windows and chill the house.
In cases like this, TBM seeks higher ground. I’ve got a hike planned for Friday or Saturday, starting at about 5,400 feet and ending just below 10,000 feet. The “Sky Islands” of southern Arizona always provide a cool getaway when you need it.
But in the meantime, I’ve got to don my costume and grab my torch. It’s time for TBM to do manly errands around town. Adventure awaits!