Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wildlife at the Ranch

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Well, at Canyon Ranch it is more like Bobcats, and Javelina, and Deer, Oh My! Since last August when Nicole and I moved back to Tucson from Los Angeles, we have been re-introduced to one of the best facets of the desert, the native wildlife. As Canyon Ranch is right next to a National Forest and wide swaths of desert, you’re almost certain to run into some of the more mundane desert creatures as well as some of the more interesting desert inhabitants.

So far, some of the more interesting animals we have seen on property:

Javelina: Also known as peccaries, they look like a hairy pig with a bristly coat. You’ll also know if they’re near because they tend to smell like skunk. These guys love coming through the Ranch right around dusk to chomp on the acorns and other seeds on the ground. Last time I saw them, the herd consisted of about 8 adults and 3 babies.

Mule Deer: If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’ll remember that the first time I ran the two-mile loop, I was startled by two mule deer about 15 feet from the trail. Since then, I have seen what I think to be those same two deer another one about five more times. Usually they’re munching on a well-manicured bush or tree as they make their rounds along the game trails throughout the Ranch and surrounding hills.

Bobcat: Although Nicole was the witness of this desert animal, due to the nature of this blog entry she gave me license to tell you about it. We live very close to the Ranch (also the location of some of our mule deer sightings) and one day Nicole let our Siamese cat, Peri, out to explore our yard. On that particular day, Peri decided to make friends with a bobcat who happened to be wandering by. Bobcats are the same as “wildcats” and usually weigh about 35 pounds. Much to Nicole’s horror, as bobcats tend not to turn down a meal of tasty Siamese cat, Nicole noticed a much bigger “cat” walk across our wall with Peri following close behind. Luckily, it seems the bobcat was full for the day and left our poor defenseless Peri alone.

Although bobcat sightings are rare anywhere in Tucson, there was one that had cubs on the second floor patio of Mel and Enid’s house on the Ranch.

Coyotes: The desert also has a thriving population of coyotes. They tend to stay away from humans and guests alike but occasionally they’ll remind you of their presence at night when they break into howls.

The list goes on and on of roadrunners, quail, cardinals, raccoons, great-horned owls, lizards and the like, but I think you get the idea. When you’re here at the Ranch, keep your eyes open and you’ll at least get a glimpse of the Sonoran wildlife, and possibly a rare treat!

Live healthy!

Ken Morris

Raising the Bar

One of the most helpful take-away points Kenny and I came home with after our week in the Life Enhancement Program was a simple one: most of us know what we need to do to live a healthier lifestyle, but oftentimes we don’t follow through.

I think I’ve lived a pretty healthy lifestyle, overall. I take my vitamins and use sunscreen daily, try to stay active and eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.

But my “healthy history” has had its peaks and valleys. Not surprisingly, I was incredibly motivated to eat right and work out almost daily the months before my wedding. My hard work and discipline paid off – I felt absolutely fabulous, inside and out, on my wedding day.

Moving back to Tucson to work at the Ranch, I thought I’d be healthier than ever! But I found it easy to ignore the treadmills and weights for one reason or another: I injured my toe, we were moving into a new house and I didn’t have time, the holidays were just around the corner, we had out of town guests, and, OMG, I have to study for the Arizona Bar!

I must admit, the weeks I spent holed up at home studying should not win an award for “Healthy Living.” I only went to the gym a few times and often ended up reaching for any snack that was available in my somewhat stark pantry. I didn’t want to spare the hour it would take to change into my workout clothes, hop on the treadmill, and get my heart rate up.

When I was studying for the California Bar a few years ago it seemed easy to take a break and jump on my elliptical trainer. What had changed? Back then, I hadn’t started my job yet, I was unmarried, all my friends were studying for the bar too, and I didn’t have a house, a pool and a yard to take care of. I didn’t have excuses!

So, feeling guilty the Saturday before the Arizona Bar, I dragged myself to the Ranch for the Stride and Strength class at the encouragement (actually, insistence) of a friend who happened to be enjoying a Spa Day that day. I was huffing and puffing on the 10 percent treadmill incline. And besides facing how out of shape I had become over the past few “excuse” months, I realized how much better I felt after just 45 minutes in the class!

I’ve just finished the two-day Bar exam, and I’ve promised myself, no more excuses! I have scheduled personal training sessions twice a week – for me, it’s a really effective way to stay motivated and accountable to my workout plan – and plan to do cardio on my own. I know this is what I need to do, and it’s just a matter of sticking with it. It’s time to raise the bar.

To Your Good Health!

Nicole Zuckerman