Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stretching our legs in Tucson

One of the many things we love about Tucson, and Catalina State Park
is the variety of hiking which abounds in the area.

There are hikes for all ages, skill levels, and physical conditions.
Many great hikes leave right from our campground.

My job continues to be a real bear lately and  I have been locked up 
working 12+ hr days, 7 days a week - for the last 3 weeks and
as Jack Nicholson said in "The Shining":
"All work and no play makes Greg a Dull boy"

To break the monotony and provide some needed head clearing - having these
great hikes at hand provided a welcome respite for a couple of hours each day.

The Bridle Trail connects the Campground with the Trailheads
One of our favorites was the Canyon Loop Trail.
An nice 2.5 mile hike, it crosses a wash several times (stream was running).
It loops up the sides of the wash climbing and descending a few hundred feet a few times.

At times you are in a lush river bottom, and at other times on a dry plateau
with long range vistas.

Kate & Maxine crossed the wash
After climbing up to the plateau we stopped for this photo. 

The desert scenery and mountain vistas are one of our many rewards.

We did this hike several times - taking the loop in different directions.

Meanwhile back in the campground, this "Land Yacht" pulled in and stayed for a few days.
They had 2 large dogs onboard...   it had to be tight quarters.

On our hikes it has been enjoyable spotting all the different flora.
While the spring bloom has been declining, there is still plenty to see.

One of the neat desert plants is the Ocotillo.
The first time I saw one in the winter - they all looked like dead plants.

An Ocotillo without leaves
To conserve water, many desert plants will shed their leaves during dry spells.
Below is another Ocotillo.
It must be in a spot which held just a tad more water than the above plant.
The photos were taken the same day a few hundred yards apart. 

The Ocotillo will grow and shed leaves several times a year as needed, and
will also grow and shed its bright red flowers.

Below - some blooming Prickly Pear Cactus.

A blooming Thistle.
(look close and you will see a butterfly on it)

A variety of Desert Poppies

These small purple flowers were just about past their prime but were hiding
in a shady spot behind a rock.

A Barrel Cactus is getting ready to flower.
The Barrel Cactus always leans toward the south.
Its a reliable Desert Compass.

One of the most interesting trees is the Palo Verde.
The State Tree of Arizona, the Palo Verde, like many desert plants - grows tiny leaves
that it will shed during periods of low moisture.   An interesting feature however is
that it also has a green bark that can perform photosynthesis and feed the tree with minimal
moisture loss while the leaves are gone.

A flowering Palo Verde Tree

Meanwhile this Roadrunner crossed our path.
Beep Beep!

Sabino Canyon

One of the must-do's in Tucson is Sabino Canyon.
I've wanted to take this hike all the times that we've been here but something always
got in the way.    This time we made it.

Part of Coronado National Forest - Sabino Canyon is a desert oasis!
While the creek is not always running, there are usually pools year-round.
The stream was running quite well during our visit due to the abundant
rainfall this past winter.

From the visitor center, we rode the Tram 3.5 miles up to the head of the canyon
and walked back down.
Some people take the tram round-trip up and down, and others take it part way
to enjoy a lazy day at one of the many swimming holes.

Like many of the National Treasures that we have enjoyed over the years, the
road and 9 bridges in the canyon were built during the depression by
the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Below - the stream is running across the bridge.

One of the many cool clear pools in the canyon.

There was a line to get into the parking lot and a hundred people or more waiting to take
the tram up the canyon, but once we began our hike it seemed that the crowds thinned out
and we really had our own little piece of desert oasis to ourselves.

While in Tucson, no visit is complete IMO without making a trip to
Old Tucson Studios.
I know...  a lot of people call this stuff touristy...  but we like Touristy...
We are tourists after all!

Old Tucson has operated since 1939 and at one point was called
the Hollywood of the Desert.
Dozens of Westerns were filmed here and all the great western stars have spent
time shooting here.

At the end of the street is the church from "The Three Amigos"
The town has grown as a particular movie wanted a certain type of building.

At the end of the street (above with archway) is Rosas Cantina 
which was built for Rio Lobo with John Wayne

Walking about there are employees who are dressed the part, and thru out the day
are gunfights and other activities.

I finally figured out how to curtail Kates Gift Shop Excursions.

Ron & Maxine took a tub.

Finally - Kate convinced us to take the train ride that travels around the perimeter.

Tomorrow is Monday and we are up against the 14 day stay limit at Catalina SP 
so its time to move on.

We will be heading back up to Lake Pleasant with R&M for the week, after which 
we will head our separate ways it's off to
Las Vegas for us and the beautiful Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort for a week.

See you down the road.


  1. Happy Easter...looks like you have had a great time there! Love reading of your adventures...thanks for taking the time to share.

  2. Happy Easter...looks like you have had a great time there! Love reading of your adventures...thanks for taking the time to share.

    1. Thanks Lisa, I hope you guys had a nice Easter too! Keep riding along.

  3. It's so nice that they rebuilt Old Tucson studios after the fire. It's not the same, but it's better than nothing. I still remember the original buildings.

    1. Yep. It seemed like a piece of the Old Pueblo was lost. But they are back in the movie making business, albeit at a slower pace.

  4. Happy Easter! I hope work eases up, but glad you got to spend time with friends. Love you guys and be safe!

    1. Did you hide any Easter Eggs for Kemp? Hope that Van is taking good care of you guys! 😘

  5. Loved all your desert botanical photos, but even better are the scenery shots, which remind me of the 3 years of my childhood when I lived near the corner of Alvernon and Grant at 3842 E Edison Pl. BEST part is seeing your happy faces! Thanks for finding time to blog....hope your work demands lighten up soon!

    1. If they don't lighten up soon I might have to retire! 🤠 I think about you a lot when we travel out here. Your spirit inhabits the Southwest 🌵 Glad that team IS is where you want to be and all safe and secure.

  6. Beautiful photos as always and I especially like the Prickly Pear Cactus. How interesting. Thanks for taking us along for the ride, we really enjoy the diversity between our cruising and your land yachting. How fun. Take care, hug the Kids and Kiss Momma Kate...
    Hayden at BEYC


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