About a year ago, I was buying a present for my nephew at Yikes! toy store in Tucson. It is filled with all sorts of eclectic toys and a small jar filled with tiny rubber chickens caught my eye. The perfect backpacker’s toy, smaller than my pinky finger and weighing nothing at all. I tucked him into my camera case and he went on all sorts of adventures with me this year. So instead of the usual year-end retrospective, I give you the travels of Micro Chicken!
Micro Chicken (or Mic if you’re into that whole brevity thing) started his year out right with a 3-day backpacking trip on the Arizona Trail # 16 & 17 from Picketpost to Kelvin
In January, I got my first taste of technical canyoneering, and Micro Chicken was along for every rappel and swim:
Later in January, Bill Bens met Micro Chicken on a hike to Elephant Head in the Santa Ritas. Bill had seen pictures of him, but didn’t realize Micro Chicken’s incredibly small stature:
In February, I went for a hike on the Bellota and Milagrosa Ridge Trails for my birthday. Wendy and I found a magical place called Tequila Spring on the trail and Micro Chicken dove right in.
In March, I went on my first backpacking trip in Sedona on the Secret Canyon Trail.
In April, Micro Chicken and I were in Sierra Vista doing Arizona Trail work and decided to take a hike down to the southern terminus of the AZT.
I also had the second annual Birds, Blues, and Bellydance benefit for Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson and Micro Chicken’s feathered friends. Everyone had a great time, we raised about $1000, and I can’t wait until the next one. A million thanks to everyone who donated via the website as well- over $700 this year!
May was an especially exciting month for me and Micro Chicken. I started a summer job working in the Grand Canyon with Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater. What a dream to be able to teach people about the Canyon while having the ride of your life! Micro Chicken was a big hit with all the passengers and one even wrote a limerick about me and Mic.
She came from the windy Midwest
Micro Chicken secured for the quest
Archaeology not fashion
Canyoneering her passion
With fine weather and foul friends she’s been blessed!
My work on the river was exhilarating and exhausting and I can’t wait to go back next season. At the end of my commercial river season, I was invited along last-minute on a private river trip just for fun! I of course said yes and Micro Chicken and I joined my friend Chelsea on an 8-day lower-half trip. It was fantastic, and one of the hikes we did was to Thunder River:
In September, I transitioned back into a terrestrial lifestyle and was excited to go exploring closer to home. Micro Chicken and I started doing some peakbagging, usually with an off-trail component. Here’s Mic at Josephine Peak in the Santa Ritas and on top of The Biscuit in the Mustang Mountains near Sonoita.
In October I was up at the Mormon Lake Lodge for the Arizona Trail Rendezvous and Micro Chicken was along on a hike on the Arizona Trail to see some fall colors.
I backpacked the Samaniego Ridge Trail and Micro Chicken stood upon the tiny summit of Samaniego Peak after quite the scratchy bushwhack. Someday we’ll do this West Ridge route.
In November I went to see Fall colors in Ash Creek in the Galiuros. Micro Chicken was so excited he wouldn’t sit still so I only have this fuzzy one.
December was spent doing off-trail hikes to peaks in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness- Buster Mountain, The Cleaver, Table Mountain. So close to home but so very fun! The best was spending the night atop Table Mountain at the fireplace campsite. Micro Chicken by this time has become quite a dirty bird, but what do you expect when he goes on so many adventures?
Time will only tell what kinds of adventures Micro Chicken and I will get into next year. I can assure you that we plan on starting the new year out right!
Happy New Year and Micro Chicken and I will see you in 2013!
To donate to Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson, click the button below.