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Sunday, March 31, 2013

SAGUARO COUNTRY


Cactus wren  Photo taken by Dick Mallery



In my last blog I said we were headed for the big cities of Tucson and Phoenix. Along the way we  went to Green Valley to visit Traverse City friends, Nina and Jerry Mann, who now have a beautiful adobe winter home there. It was great fun to sit outside on their back patio under a full moon, watching for the rare comet Pan-STARRS, which we never did see.

We headed north and stayed in the Tucson Mountain Park at Gilbert Ray Campground. It is located next to Saguaro National Park. I love the saguaro cactus and all the creatures that depend on it and we arrived in time to experience the desert in bloom. One day we spent 6 hours touring the Sonoran Desert Museum.  I'm not a fan of museums and zoos, but this place impressed me when I visited it in 1979 and again this time.   SONORAN DESERT MUSEUM


Mountain Lion at Desert Museum Photo taken by Dick Mallery

We then moved to the NE side of Tucson to Catalina State Park and visited Sabino Canyon.  Maybe it was the time of year but it felt like an amusement park with all it's crowds. As we hiked through the canyon we could hear the sound of the tour guides on the shuttle buses over their speakers. It is a good thing that they don't allow cars on the drive to the top of the mountain anymore - too many people. Again I say, the Boomers are coming, the Boomers are coming!!  Over 10,000 Boomers retire each day and they say for the next twenty years. We are finding some places less attractive because of all the people. When it gets too difficult to get into parks we may change our way of traveling.

We then traveled up to Apache Jct. to Lost Dutchman State Park. This is a beautiful place next to the Superstition Mountains on the outskirts of Phoenix and a convenient place to camp for a week while we visited my parents and do some repairs. Dick is not in his element when we're in cities. He is not patient so that adds to his frustration with people and traffic. He did hike to the top of the mountain to get away from it all but there were a ton of people on the trails. He was happy to move on.

My parents
We moved north to Camp Verde to a National Forest campground situated along Clear Creek under Sycamore and Cottonwood trees. It was very quiet with lots of birds - nesting Kestrels, ravens, woodpeckers, cardinals, yellow-rumped warblers and at night listening to the calls of the great horned and screech owls.  My parents drove up to visit for a day, Laurie and Bill Bassett, friends from home, drove down from Oak Creek, where they rent a condo for a month, and we visited around a campfire under the full moon. We hadn't seen them since the Everglades and it was fun catching up.  We had a quiet few days until the weekend when the park filled up with loud, inconsiderate, partying people. We get spoiled with quiet secluded places. We'll be leaving soon to find that place.

Lost Dutchman State Park and the Superstition Mtns.
Mission San Xavier del Bac near Tucson
Funny Face loves laying in the sun on the motorhome dashboard



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