|Our hiking area for the month, right out of the park, the Tucson Mountian Park|
We have been in Tucson since the beginning of the month and are parked at Justin's Diamond J. We love this place. It's a little quirky but the sites are nice size and the view from our site is wonderful. The first week was cool and rainy but we still managed to get out and do some hiking. This park borders the Tucson Mountain Park which then meets the Saguaro National Park so from here there are lots of trails. I have some mountains I use as landmarks so I don't get too lost. The trails are not marked that well and if I take a wrong turn I can eventually get back to the Diamond J. I have also been using these trails for my running and have taken a few wrong turns which has made my cool down walks a lot longer.
|Beautiful evening at the Diamond J|
While I have been running these trails John has been taking his fat tire bike out on the same trails. He has had a couple of run-ins with some of the cactus. He now wears shin guards and takes it a little easier in the washes. There are an abundance of all kinds of cactus here as well as creosote bushes and the Palo Verde trees. I love the desert here. I did some hiking in Yuma and it is so barren compared to this area.
This is a place I could see returning too and staying longer. Usually I get hitch itch after about a month but for the first time in a long time a month may not be long enough. I think our next trip this direction will see us stay here for several months. When we arrived it just felt a little like coming home and I seldom get that feeling. We still have places to see before settling on a winter spot so who knows; we may find somewhere we like even better but maybe not. I love having options.
|Hiking the Phone Line trail with Mike and Trudy|
On the 14th our friends Trudy and Mike from Cedar Rapids joined us for a few days. They stayed here in a rental room that is in the same little house the office is in. It was interesting but functional. It was so nice having them right here at the park. For the days they were here, the weather was great. On Friday we went hiking in Sabino Canyon. We hiked the Phone-line trail. We took the tram to the top of its route then had to hike up a bunch of switchbacks and then about 7 miles along a trail overlooking the canyon. It was a beautiful day but we were all tired after that.
Saturday we visited Kitt Peak National Observatory. In our three visits to Tucson we still had not visited here. This is the place dark matter was first discovered. It is about 40 miles from here and up a winding mountain road. Something we didn't think about before leaving was that the elevation was going to make it much colder. Though we all brought coats and sweatshirts we also were in shorts and I wore sandals. Not too bright were we!!! It was definitely cold and there was still snow on the ground from the storm the week before. We just made sure to walk fast enough to try to keep warm. We did get to tour the big 4m telescope with a guide and looked at a few others that were open. This is a fascinating place and well worth the visit.
|Kitt Peak Observatory. Oh nooo....snow!|
|The view from Kitt Peak is amazing|
|This one is a solar telescope|
Another popular local attraction is the Sonoran Desert Museum. John and I had seen it before but were more than willing to go back. It's sort of a combination of a desert zoo and museum that showcases the local plants and animals along with some local history. A featured exhibit is the raptor free-flight program that includes hawks and owls that are coaxed into flying close to a viewing area. So the spectators are confined, but the birds are free. Very interesting to see these birds up close. Glad we weren't their prey.
|The barn owl|
|A little animated photo series...lunch is here!|
|The Harris Hawk is spectacular to see fly|
We did a little eating out too. Like us, they are always up for little dive restaurants with good food so a visit to Tiny's was a must. We also checked out a Mexican restaurant, Los Nopales, that the bartender at Tiny's told us about. Not much for atmosphere but very good food. Just our kind of place. Seems like those few days sped by and soon it was time for them to go. Trudy has been my friend for over 35 years and we have so much fun together and the guys do also. So lots of laughs and hugs and back to CR they went. It won't be long and we'll be back in CR too because it seems the months just fly by.
We are still enjoying ourselves and getting more hiking and biking in. There is a paved bike trail called the loop that when finished will be a 52 mile loop around Tucson. Yesterday we took the bikes across town to ride the Rialto River section. The bike I bought after mine was stolen isn't great so we didn't go too far, maybe 12-15 miles but it was a beautiful day. Our big excitement on the ride was when a bobcat crossed the trail in front of us. It crossed over and into the wash. John tried to get a photo but by the time he got the camera ready the cat had disappeared in the brush. We have seen the coyotes but never expected to see a bobcat...pretty cool!
So from Tucson...