Monday, December 26, 2022

Hannie Caulder

Image of Raquel Welch at top, Hannie Caulder movie title on slant in middle, 3 male actors underneath movie banner title

Perhaps even more relevant now than when it came out fifty-one years ago, in 1971, Hannie Caulder tells the story of one woman’s revenge against three men who killed her husband and then raped her.  Although I haven’t read other reviews of this film, since I don’t read any before posting my own review, after watching this movie through the filters of the #MeToo movement and the feminine gaze, I can’t help but think its reception was probably rather different back then than it would be today.
Raquel Welch is the eponymously-named heroine and embodies strength, perseverance, vulnerability and above all, agency, in the aftermath of the devastating attack that occurs at the beginning of Hannie Caulder.  Known for being a sex symbol, I was pleasantly surprised by Welch’s acting.  She has good chemistry with Robert Culp, a bounty hunter named Thomas Luther Price who helps her achieve her objective.  Christopher Lee makes an appearance as a gunsmith in Mexico who helps Caulder and Price.  Set in Mexico and Texas, this 85-minute long movie was actually filmed in Spain.
The plot of Hannie Caulder is simple: Caulder seeks vengeance against her attackers.  Supporting actors Ernest Borgnine, Strother Martin, and Jack Elam (Boot Coby in Bad Night in Big Butte in Alias Smith and Jones) give good performances as the inept but brutal outlaws, the Clemens brothers.  Although their bickering becomes a bit tedious as the movie goes on, they do provide a good contrast to the ruthlessly efficient Price. 
When she meets Price, Caulder is vulnerable but gradually he decides to help her and slowly they develop an attraction to each other.  A few scenes make this obvious and could have been shorter but overall their relationship is understated and works well.  There are no love scenes in Hannie Caulder but after what happened to her, that makes sense. 
The movie does, however, periodically give a glimpse of Welch’s naked thighs and torso when she brushes aside the poncho she’s wearing.  It’s almost as if Burt Kennedy, the director of Hannie Caulder, felt required to include some shots of a woman’s body in order to keep the male audience engaged.  That and the fact that some characters in the movie utter various swear words probably account for the “R” rating it received.
Hannie Caulder builds up to its climax with a series of showdowns that become more and more dangerous.  I was surprised at the outcome of one of them, but I think it actually makes the movie stronger.  I would have preferred the movie to conclude at the end of the final showdown.  Instead, there is a very anticlimactic scene that, in my opinion, weakens the power of this film that allows a woman to reclaim her self, if not her soul.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

4 Hiking Trails to Try In Tucson

I had no idea when I moved to Tucson, a city in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, that hiking was a popular activity.  But although it’s too hot in the summer months, which nowadays generally means April through September, it’s cool enough the rest of the year to enjoy walking the numerous scenic trails in and around Tucson.  I’ve hiked four trails on the northern edge of the city that offer a variety of experiences and will describe them below.

Photos of 4 hiking trails with title text overlaid on top

Big Wash Trail

Located in Oro Valley, this trail is 2.4 miles long.  It’s a very flat trail, with wide open vistas at the beginning that soon turn into typical desert scrub landscape.  Some sections are paved for cyclists, so you need to stay to the side when walking in those areas.  There is nothing particularly unique about this trail but it’s a nice, easy walk if you’re in the area and looking to get outdoors for some quick exercise.

Photo of beginning of Big Wash Trail
At the start of the Big Wash Trail, February 2021

Photo of cycling path section of Big Wash Trail
One section of the cycling path of the Big Wash Trail, February 2021

Honeybee Trail

Located in Oro Valley, this trail is 2.3 miles long.  You’re walking mostly in or next to a wash and some areas quite sandy.  There is a north trail and a loop trail.  The north trail leads to a couple of boulders with petroglyphs on them and is a popular place to take photos.  The other trail goes through an area filled with cholla cactus, which makes for interesting photographs if you’re so inclined.  This is an easy hike along mostly flat ground.

Photo of petroglyphs on Honeybee Canyon Trail
Petroglphys on Honeybee Canyon Trail, February 2020

Photos of cholla cacti on Honeybee Trail
Cholla on Honeybee Canyon Trail, February 2020

Linda Vista Trail

Located in Oro Valley, this is a 2.2 mile long loop trail.  The first half, ascending in elevation, is somewhat steep and rocky in places until you reach the top.  Going down, the trail isn’t as rocky.  There are nice views of sprawling Tucson at the outset.  This trail may be closed in winter and spring because it’s a habitat for bighorn sheep and they give birth during those months.  There’s another trail you can also hike but I haven’t done that one yet.  This trail is a little closer to Tucson proper and there will be lots of other people out hiking as well.

Photo of Tucson from Linda Vista Loop Trail
View of Tucson from Linda Vista Loop Trail, March 2022

Photo of view near the top of the Linda Vista Loop Trail
Near the top of the Linda Vista Loop Trail, March 2022

Pima Canyon Trail

Located on the edge of Oro Valley, this trail is inside the Coronado National Forest.  The total length is 10.10 miles but I only hiked a few miles of it.  Some parts are fairly steep and rocky but then it descends into an area with a spring and gurgling stream.  I saw minnows when there in March.  Lots of large cottonwood trees provide shade cover.  Hiking out of that section brings you to the more typical Sonoran Desert landscape. This is a popular trail so you’ll encounter many other hikers.  It’s also an area where bighorn sheep live so it may be off-limits during the lambing season.  (For more info about bighorn sheep in Arizona, please click HERE.)

Photo of hikers on the Pima Canyon Trail
Hikers on the Pima Canyon Trail, March 2021

View of spring at Pima Canyon Trail
Trees and spring at Pima Canyon Trail, March 2021

Things to Keep in Mind When Hiking

Here are a few recommendations that will help you stay safe during your hiking adventure in Tucson:
* Even though it might not be summer, it still gets very warm by midday so dress in layers, wear sunscreen and a hat, and bring plenty of water.
* Go early, because although there are parking lots at the trailheads, they are not large and fill up quickly.  I recommend arriving before 9:00am to ensure you get a parking space.
* Don’t wander off the trail!  Not only do you risk getting lost, you might also damage the land.  For the most part, it’s easy to see where the trails are and if you’re not sure, turn around and go back or wait until someone comes along and can point you in the right direction.


According to AllTrails, which is where I got the info about the length of the trails, there are 248 hiking trails in the Tucson area.  I have lots more exploring to do!