Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wrapping up in Tucson

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
March 27, 2016
Tucson, AZ

It's time to wrap up our stay here in Tucson and head north on Monday the 28th.  First stop will be Camp Verde, about 25 miles south of Sedona.  But before we go, there are a few things to wrap up.

 Joe worked hard to complete a DIY project for me.  In November of 2014,  we replaced our floor with linoleum tile.  After receiving great news from the oncologist at that time, we did not finish the base bolding in favor of having some fun. I am very proud to say that now we have floor trim to finish the project.
and after


We also had Jeff Fisher, (Fisher's RV Maintenance and Repair), install a Magnum Auto Gen Start.  We did not mind a couple of homeless hours to get this done for the safety of our puppies.  We just set the temp and enable the AGS before we head out and if the electricity goes off, the generator starts to keep them cool.  We have relied on Jeff for 4 years now to take care of all our motor home service and repair needs.  
We did not want to leave Tucson with taxes hanging over our heads so last Sunday, we bit the bullet and got it done.  What a relief and a biggie to check off the list !

And with it being Easter week-end, we couldn't leave this little, big city without a hunt. So today we took a ride out to Baja Loop Drive to hunt...for saguaro blooms and other pretty things.  We did not hit the mother load, but we did find a few things to ooh and aah over.  Baja Loop Drive is a sandy road with some washboarding.  You can do it in a family car, but anything over 10 mph will not be comfortable.   We enjoy the ride and were in no hurry so 10 mph was perfect for us.    

Baja Loop Drive is well marked.  Just make a right turn off Kinney Rd after you pass the Red Hills Visitor Center in Saguaro NP West.

Pam, we did spot a crested just past the VC on Kinney Rd. Have you seen this one?

The cholla offered the most variety in color.  

 And the hedgehog cactus were very showy too. 

The ocotillo were ablaze with rich vibrant color and there were so many blooming.  We sat and watched as this Gila Woodpecker went from flower to flower.   

 The lower saguaro arms didn't have and flowers, just buds that look like they are ready to explode.

But way up at the top of the tallest saguaros (very hard to find and photograph), we did see a few flowers. 

 The flowers are always white and emit a strong smell described as overripe fruit.  Very important because the bloom last less than 24 hours.  They open at night and remain open through the following day.  These beauties are pollinated by bats at night and bees and birds during the day.
 Today we had the drive all to ourselves and time to take in the incredible beauty that surrounded us.  

 We bid farewell to the Tucson Mountain Park today, but we will be back.

 Remember to drink lots of water, in the moment, and 
 ... always have fun !

Until next time, Happy Easter...and

happy trails !

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hike to Josephine Saddle

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
March 23, 2016

Yesterday, Joe and I headed south of Tucson to Madera Canyon for a hike to Josephine Saddle in the Santa Rita Mountains.  Two trails take you to the saddle, the steeper 2.2 mile route up the Old Baldy Trail or the longer, less steep 4 mile route up the Super Trail.  Either way, it is a cool mountain hike and well worth the effort.

Madera Canyon Road.  

Both trailheads are located at the end of Madera Canyon Trail.  

After climbing the hill from the parking lot, Old Baldy tucks into the hilly forest.

Joe and I find it is much easier on our knees going up steep climbs than down them so we started on Old Baldy.  Yes, it is steep, rocky and strenuous...a 2080 gain in elevation.

Most of Old Baldy is well maintained, but there are areas " just a few hard rocks away from mountain climbing".  
Sometimes the trail looked like this...
sometimes it looked like this...

and sometimes we climbed rocks like this.

As we climbed, scrub bushes changed to ponderosas, oaks and sycamore trees.  Beautiful giant trees protecting the forest floor...

On occasion, these giants opened up to share views as far as the eyes could see.  

Looking out...

and up.

At the top of Josephine Saddle is a memorial that marks the place where three young Boy Scouts died during a sudden snowstorm in 1958. 

Here, we connected to the Super Trail for our route back to Madera Canyon.

Even though Super Trail is longer, it is much easier with wonderful vistas and a few surprises.  

I think this is a yellow lupine.

Our trail...

This manzanita has already flowered making these red berries.

The first of two spiny lizards we saw.  

We saw lots of Indian Paint Brush blooming.

A few spots of snow left...

The second spiny lizard...what a beauty.

A tiny waterfall...we followed this creek the last 2 miles.

Either direction, Joe and I would recommend this 6.7 mile hike if you are near Tucson.  It's a great way to spend the day !  Until next time...
happy trails!