Friday, December 30, 2016

Phoneline Trail...Sabino Canyon

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
December 28, 2016

The Phoneline Trail is perfect for a birds-eye view of Sabino Canyon.  It basically follows the commercial tram road, but its etched into the canyon wall high above the canyon.  It was actually established in the early 1900s and I read that if you look hard enough you can see a few remaining rusty poles that once supported the phone line for which the trail was named.

 There are several different ways to enjoy this trail.  The VC offers maps and the Rangers are very helpful.  Joe and I chose to walk a few miles going up the trail and return the same way.  It's a good workout as the trail ascends.   

Along with the wide open views, which I didn't get pictures of because the lighting on this very overcast day didn't cooperate, there were lots of little things that caught my eye.

An uprooted Century Plant (Agave).  It takes up to 20 years to bloom and once it does, it dies.

 A Fishhook Cactus that only grows to about 6 inches.  They love desert slopes and often hide under bushes.

 I think these are called glochids...they occur in tufts around a main spine.  Their job is to keep the plant from loosing too much moisture in the form of evaporation.  So amazing !
 The canyon wall was covered in tiny plants,  moss, and lichens.  Beautiful rock gardens.

 The tip of a saguaro arm.  I think they are fascinating.   
And bubbles in Sabino Creek.

On the trail back to the parking lot, I spotted a female roadrunner in a nearby grassy spot.  She was very cooperative as I snapped quite a few photos following her on the trail.

Until next time, 


Oh, if you like tamales, Joe and I discovered Tucson Tamale Company.  There are three locations on their here for information.  

We had never had tamales before so we can't compare these to any others, but we cleaned our plates !

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sabino Dam: A Desert Oasis

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
December 23, 2016

There is alot of history in Sabino Canyon.  Flat grindstones, stone points, and other tools found in the Sabino Canyon date back to the Cochise culture which hunted small game and food about 8000 years ago.  But even before them, the Clovis culture visited the area some 13500 years ago to hunt large game.  

Its no wonder visitors since, including the Hohokam people, made this oasis their home.  The peak of their culture occurred around 1100 AD.  The Hohokam were farmers and built villages along the rivers.  There is evidence of early dams to store water and collect soil as well as farming tools left behind from them.

Jump forward to the 1930s when plans were made to build a dam to provide a lake for swimming and boating.  The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) along with ERA crews built bridges, campgrounds, picnic tables, outhouses, and retaining walls which are still used.  Today the dam is a popular attraction although the lake has long since been filled in with silt and plant life. 
Our second hike in Sabino Canyon on  12/22 took us close enough to the dam to take a picture from an overlook.  Not much water flowing over the dam that day.

Our third hike (12/23) was on the Sabino Lake Trail, Creek Trail, and Sabino Dam Trail.  A nice easy loop !  What a difference a day of heavy rains made.

We had planned to connect to the Phoneline Trail, but Sabino Creek stopped us.  We weren't prepared to get wet.

This is the section of creek after the dam.  We have never seen it this was even flowing over the bridge !
Looking left... 
 ...straight ahead...
...and to the right. 
It couldn't have been a prettier day.  The birds were singing...umm...some were fussing !  

We could hear the distinct loud sound of this Cactus Wren.  It's the largest wren in North America.
Cloudy gray skies quickly gave way to clear blue skies.

The cacti were showy with fruit.
And the best part,  I was with my honey !
 We will be busy our last week here.  I have a hair cut, Joe gets stitches out, Sally gets a hair cut and a bath,  and we hope to get in another hike.  

Until next time, 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ahhh...The Desert

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
December 20, 2016

Tucson wasn't our first choice to spend the month of December, but it has turned out to a good spot for us.  The second cooling unit Jeff Fisher (Fisher's RV Repair) installed did the job and we have a fully stocked refrigerator once again.  Since we were here, Joe made a visit to the dermatologist.  Two biopsies were taken and both turned out to be positive. He now has a nice incision on his cheek...the 7th one his face and neck...and another one on the top of his left shoulder.  Stitches will come out on the 27th just in time for us to pull out and get to San Diego for the month of January.  Thats the plan today ! 

The weather has been perfect.  I have been longing to visit the desert and yesterday turned out to be the day.  Our choice for the morning was Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.  It's my favorite place to go in Tucson !  We meandered so I can't say we hiked, but man oh man did it feel good.  With camera in hand,  we oohed and ahhed for a few hours just soaking it all in.  I was so excited, I had to remind myself to breath.  

 Black-throated Sparrows are beautiful little birds that forge the desert floor in groups.

 The deep blue and rusty color of the Western Bluebird makes for a nice contrast against all the greens and browns in the desert.  

And it's always fun to spot a Greater Roadrunner and be quick enough to snap a picture.  I will never forget the first Roadrunner I had the pleasure of photographing.  It was also at Sabino Canyon back in March 2014.  See the Featured Post (top right hand side of our blog page) to enjoy one of the most special photo shoots I have ever had. 

Of course it wasn't all about the birds.  The cacti were full of fruit,

the deer were playing hide and seek,
 and the backdrop was spectacular.

 Well, Joe just finished grilling salmon and I'm off to make a salad so that is all for now.  Until next time, let the good times roll !

 Happy Trails !

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Settled in Tucson

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
December 4, 2016

Traveling from Moab to Tucson is always a pretty drive.  This trip was especially so.  

Monticello had just gotten a dusting of snow the night before.  

And I don't care how many times we have driven through Monument Valley, it is always a jaw-dropper.  

Then there are the striated rocks when we make the left turn onto Hwy 89 (about 10 miles past Tuba City).

After checking the weather, we left Moab a day early to avoid a winter storm in Flagstaff.  Dee's recommendation to get past the high elevation surrounding Flagstaff was right on.  The day we left, 4 to 6 inches of snow fell in Flagstaff with more forecasted during the night and a low of 11 degrees.  It was a beautiful drive over the mountains, but we were happy to pull into Distant Drums in Camp Verde for an over night stay.  

As we approached Flagstaff, the clouds were thick and low.

We shared the highway with lots of snowplows.
Things got really pretty as we skirted Flagstaff on I-17 towards Sedona. Quite exciting for a Georgia girl who hasn't seen much snow !

 And finally clear skies ahead.

We arrived in Tucson with a plan.  Our refrigerator died a week before we left Moab.  Parts were ordered and we arrived in Tucson with a day to spare before heading to Borrego Springs for the month of December...reservations I have tried to get the past three years.  It's no surprise that this life style gives you lemons sometimes.  The cooling unit we had replaced upon arriving here didn't do the trick.  And, while dodging traffic through Phoenix, a lug nut or very big rock hit the MH windshield right in front of Joe.  So here we sit at Tucson/Lazydays KOA until ?!?!  Things could be so much worse.  The weather is beautiful, the pups are happy, and we are healthy. Now plans are to get our hiking legs back and enjoy life while getting repairs done. 

 I love sitting on the patio here.  I hung a feeder of orange halves for my favorite little acrobats.  The verdins have already been enjoying their treat.

 I also hung a hummingbird feeder.  While Joe was grilling late yesterday afternoon, he called me out to see this beauty hiding in the branches.  He didn't drink any nectar,  maybe he will be back today.

So, when life gives you lemons...grab tequila and salt ! 
Until next time, let the good times roll.