Mike Breiding's Epic Road Trips: Christmas 2022

Christmas with Mike and Betsy

1982 to 2022

Christmas Day 2022
A Lofty Holiday

We have now spent the Christmas season in Tucson 7 out of the 11 years we have been wintering here. At some point we started offering Christmas Day hikes for a local MeetUp group. This year was no exception. A number of the hikes have been to Wasson Peak (4688') which is highest point in the Tucson Mountains.

We have led this hike before utilizing three of the routes to the summit. As you can see from the map below "all trails lead to Wasson".

The route we hiked today I call "the Mellow Route". It starts at the northern terminus of the Sendero Esperanza trail which leads up to the ridge line where it intersects the Hugh Norris trail. From there it joins the Hugh which leads to Wasson.
All told the hike is a total of 7.5 miles with 1800' feet of elevation gain.

Route to Wasson Peak - Christmas 2022
Today we took "The Red Route".

This Christmas was number 40 for Betsy and me. And being a soft headed/hearted nostalgic I could not help but include a few photos from Christmases Past.



Our very first Christmas together as Newlyweds.

On the left is our Christmas tree - a dwarf Alberta spruce which Betsy would later decorate with miniature ornaments.
On the right is the empty bottle of Taittinger champagne which we took on our Honeymoon. It was given to us by my best man at our wedding, Mike Taymor.
Next to the bottle are the beautiful hand made "glass candles" which Billie and Don Altemus gave us as a wedding gift. All these items are on the chestnut mantle of the first place we set up house keeping in - 540 Elmina Street.



$10.00!!! Such extravagance!
In those days I was working part time at Stilwell Book Shop, a place I dearly loved and the owner Margo as well. By 1985 Betsy had become well aware of my bibliophiliac tendencies so what better gift for me at Christmas time.



Betsy and I both had jobs which allowed us time off over the Christmas Holiday. In 1996 we flew to Tucson and stayed with my cousin Paula and Aunt Ginny. As you can see they had a nice tree framed by the bay window which was placed in a handmade adobe wall.

On one visit to Paula's I made goo-goo eyes at her boyfriend's cute, mini skirt wearing daughter and Paula decided she no long wanted anything to do me. Oh, well...



Many of our Christmas celebrations were with Betsy's family. Here are Betsy, sister Charlotte, mother Jeanne and daddy Art in Charlotte's nicely decorated family room.



Our house at 1251 Hornbeck had plenty of room for a nice sized Christmas tree. Betsy always picked out a delightfully fragrant Fraser fir and then did a beautiful job of trimming it out.



We seldom had a White Christmas at Hornbeck Road but when we did it was always quite scenic.



Once we became real Snow Birds many of our Christmases were spent in Tucson. Here is the tail end of a hike Betsy and I led in Sabino Canyon on Christmas Day.



I had heard from several other hikers about an unusual Saguaro they referred to as the Christmas Tree Saguaro. Fortunately I was able to see it before it fell.



Here is Betsy all decked out in her Choir attire. The group she sang with always put on Christmas concerts which we both enjoyed.



And here is where we were just a few hours ago on the summit of Wasson Peak. We had a gloriously sunny day with temperatures in the high 60s. How very different from Cabin № 18 in Morgantown where it is currently 18 degrees

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Until next time...
Mike and Betsy


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