We are still here in Tucson enjoying the warm (at times hot) days and cool nights. In between the completion of some basic maintenance items on the motorhome, we have been enjoying some hiking and socializing.
Dinner with Friends
We have followed the blog of Joe and Gay (Good Times Rollin) for some time and finally had the opportunity to meet them when they arrived in our park (KOA Lazydays) for an extended stay. Steve and MonaLiza were still staying in the park so we took the opportunity to visit the Dragoon Brewing Company. Look closely at the middle of the table in the photo below and you will see a cake with white icing. It was MonaLiza’s birthday so a celebration was in order.
Hiking the Hugh Norris Trail
Hans and Lisa wrote about this loop hike (Metamorphosis Road) a few years ago and we decided to follow their route. We parked along Hohokam Road in Saguaro National Park (west) and made our way to the Hugh Norris Trailhead. The trail quickly gained elevation as it headed up into the Tucson Mountains.
The many, many, many, many (you get the idea) steps going up the trail take a toll on the legs.
Of course, as we climbed up, the sharp eyes of the nimble hiker spotted a crested arm on a saguaro near the trail.
We hiked up to a saddle between peaks at a spot where the Norris Trail crosses the Esperanza Trail. We had been to this crossing point before on hikes up to nearby Wasson Peak. On that hike we turned to the south on the Esperanza. This time we turned to the north and made our way down to the Dobe Wash Trail for the return to the trailhead.
Hiking with Joe and Gay
One (late) morning we picked up Joe and Gay and headed to the Robles Pass section in nearby Tucson Mountain Park. We parked on the north side of Ajo Highway, made our way under the road through a tunnel, and hiked a loop utilizing the Jericho, 36o Vista, and Ledge Surfer Trails.
Brown Mountain Trail
Another day we repeated a hike we did a couple of years ago in Tucson Mountain Park. The Brown Mountain Trail is a loop that begins across from the entrance to the Gilbert Ray Campground. We hiked the loop in a counter-clockwise direction taking the trail along the base of Brown Mountain first, then returning on the section of the trail that goes along the top of the mountain (mountain is a bit generous. It is more of a series of hills).
Tumacacori National Historical Park
We then took a day and drove south on I-19 for a visit to a Spanish mission. Tumacácori National Historical Park is located about forty-five miles south of Tucson. Mission San José de Tumacácori was constructed at this site on the west side of the Santa Cruz River in the mid 1700s. By 1848 the mission was abandoned and began falling into severe disrepair. In 1854 it became a part of the U.S. Arizona Territory after the Gadsden Purchase. Restoration and stabilization efforts began in 1908 when the site was declared Tumacácori National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1990 it became part of the new Tumacácori National Historical Park.
Hiking in Madera Canyon
Madera Canyon is in the northwestern face of the Santa Rita Mountains, twenty-five miles southeast of Tucson. As part of the Coronado National Forest, Madera Canyon has campsites, picnic areas, and miles of hiking trails. After Steve and MonaLiza told us about hiking in the canyon, we decided to check it out. They hiked the canyon a few weeks earlier and encountered quite a bit of snow, so we waited a bit before making our visit.
We hiked up the Super Trail and returned on the Old Baldy Trail. The two trails meet at Josephine Saddle, where there is a very moving sign commemorating a tragic event that occurred here in 1958.
The Super Trail is primarily on the sunny side of the mountain so it was bare, but the Old Baldy Trail is in the shade for much of the time so we did encounter a bit of snow, but nothing like the snow encountered by Steve and MonaLiza a few weeks ago.
On the drive back to Tucson from Madera Canyon, we turned on to Sahuarita Road to check out two Crested Saguaros we read were along the road. We found both of those, but as we drove along the road we spotted a huge crested saguaro through the trees. This guy might be the largest we have ever seen!
We have one more week left in Tucson before we begin our slow migration north and east. But there are a few more adventures to complete before we leave.
More on that later . . .