Tucson Summary

Tucson, AZ

It has been a while since our last post, but we have been busy hiking and biking around Tucson and enjoying time with friends.  Hans and Lisa were staying nearby so we took the opportunity to hike with them to Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro National Park East (the park has units on both sides of the city) by way of the Douglas Spring Trail.  We did this hike last year and found a large volume of water pouring over the falls.  With some significant rain in this area recently, we felt confident the falls would be just as interesting this year.

Pam, Lisa, and Hans head out from the trailhead

After a hike of just under three miles we were a bit disappointed with the volume of water going over the falls.  We decided that last year the water came from a heavy snow pack on the mountains above the falls.  The steady melting of the snow created a longer lasting water flow than from the recent rain, which ran off rapidly.  But the falls was still very beautiful.

Pam and Hans at the falls (Lisa is to the left)

While hiking back down on the Three Tank Trail the sharp eyes of the nimble hiker spotted a saguaro with a crested arm off in the desert to our right.  Viewing it from the trail just wouldn’t do, so off we went to bushwhack our way through the friendly cacti to get up close and personal with this beauty.

Apparently the local cacti didn’t appreciate our efforts, as three of us ended up with a leg full of their response to our visit.

Look closely at the back of the leg to see the many tiny barbs

One evening we went out to the west side of the Tucson Mountains to Western Way RV Park where Steve and MonaLiza (Lowe’s RV Adventures) were staying.  They invited a group of us for a great happy hour, complete with Mona Liza’s famous lumpia (Filipino eggrolls).  Along with Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) and Steve and Mona Liza, we were joined by John and Sharon (On the Road of Retirement) who we haven’t seen since our visit to San Diego a couple of years ago.  Great food and conversation were shared by all!

Sharon, John, Steve, Dave, Sue, John, and MonaLiza

One morning Dave and Sue joined us for a hike in the Robles Pass section of Tucson Mountain Park.  We hiked the Camaro Loop, which is apparently named for the shell of a car that sits next to the trail.  It appears to be the remains of a mid-70s Camaro but it is difficult to determine the exact make and model.

One of our favorite hikes in the Tucson area is to the top of Wasson Peak on the north side of the Tucson Mountains just west of the city.  Jim and Barb (Jim and Barb’s RV Adventure) joined us for the long climb up to the summit.

Jim, Barb, and Pam

Great views as we go up the trail

A view of the trail below us

Lunch with a view

The view from the top is impressive

Toward the end of our stay we hosted a happy hour with Steve and Mona Liza and Joe and Gay (good-times-rollin) who are also staying in the same park as us (Lazy Days KOA) here in Tucson.  After snacks and conversation we drove just around the corner from Lazy Days to a food truck parked next to a convenience store.  The truck serves great Mexican food and has an enclosed seating area.

Mona Liza, John, Pam, Joe, and Gay (Steve was the photographer)

For our last hike in Tucson this year we drove back east of the city to Saguaro National Park East to find a couple of Crested Saguaros listed in a park map.  The first is found off the South Cactus Forest Trail near the loop road.  What was to be a two mile hike turned into four miles, as the park map has incorrect directions (a left turn instead of a right into the Javelina Wash).

After we finally found that one we returned to the Jeep and left the park, driving south on Old Spanish Trail for seven miles before turning left on to Camino Loma Alta.  Two miles to the north the road ends at the Camino Loma Alta Trailhead.

Camino Loma Alta Trailhead

We hiked almost a mile up this trail before turning right into Coyote Wash.  After slogging our way up the wash for a mile, we began looking to our left, as the park directions said.  Fortunately, we spotted this beauty through the brush, but on our right!

We pulled out of Tucson last Friday headed for White Tank Regional Park, just west of Phoenix, where we will spend the next five days.  More on that later . . .

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41 Responses to Tucson Summary

  1. Susan Bank says:

    We’re so happy to have been able to share some of your adventures in Tucson. Its a great area to do pretty much anything isn’t it! The social opportunities it provides in February are unlike anywhere else! Love that you show us all your crested buddies….

  2. exploRVistas says:

    Well, it is somewhere between a 1975 and 1981 Camaro or Firebird. The wrap around rear window narrows it down to that. 😃

  3. joannie says:

    Love the photos of the cacti.

  4. Laurel says:

    Wow, that crested saguaro in your last photo is one of the best so far! Looks like you’ve had a wonderful stay in Tucson, with lots of good friends and beautiful hikes. Wasson Peak is one of our favorites, too—we sure enjoyed hiking that with you guys a couple of years ago. We’ll be hiking peaks like that again very soon! :-)) I’m not following you into the cacti, though. Those spines and barbs sticking out of your leg made me cringe!

  5. What a good time with friends.Stay cool now that it is heating up in Phoenix. We will have to check out some of those hikes next week but will have to get out extra early with the warm temps.

  6. Sherry says:

    Love that you got together with so many of the folks whose blogs I read and have yet to meet. Sure wish we could have been there. Ouch to those cactus barbs and the bleeding scrapes on John’s (?) leg. You guys are really devoted to those crested saguaros. You definitely had beautiful ones in this post.

  7. Deb Dominick says:

    That last saguaro looks like it could have been the inspiration for the headdresses you see on Mayan pictoglyphs.

  8. Those are some fabulous crested saguaros!!! Wasn’t it a little warm for all that hiking–but you guys are die hard hikers so it was probably a walk in the park for you all! :)))))

  9. Love seeing me some crested saguaros…

  10. pmbweaver says:

    You two sure do pack in a ton of fun in a short period of time. All the hikes look like great ones with wonderful friends to hike with.
    Glad we were able to squeeze in one happy hour together. It was wonderful meeting Sue and Dave. The dinner with Mona Liza/Steve and Hans/Lisa was super fun. What a wonderful group of friends.
    Hope you are enjoying White Tank Mt. That is on the top of our list for our next trip to AZ. I love seeing the desert floor full of color. Keep posting those photos on FB.
    Miss you two. Hope we can meet up again very soon. Keep enjoying the good life.

    • placestheygo says:

      Sorry we didn’t get to reconnect at White Tank, Marsha, but you had another high priority need that came first. It was nice to see you and Paul again while in Tucson.

  11. Jeff says:

    That crested beauty is worth a few scratches. A contender for the cover of your ‘coffee table’ book 🙂

  12. Jim and Barb says:

    So great to finally meet you, sharing a trail with you had been a goal of ours for years! Thanks for showing us Wasson Peak, hope to meet up with you somewhere down the road!

  13. Gay says:

    Great seeing you. Tucson is definitely a wonderful winter stay! LOVE those crested Saguaro…hikes I look forward to next year!

  14. That last crested is very impressive!! John is a trooper to indulge you in your hobby of finding them;-)

  15. Lots of fun in Tucson this year! You sure saw some beautiful crested saguaros! That last one is awesome. See you down the road my friends!

    • placestheygo says:

      So glad we got hike together after such a long time. And we found a great crested arm even though we did battle to get to it:) See you down the road, hopefully, much sooner this time.

  16. The star of this post is that last magnificent crestate ! It is the best find you had this year.
    So glad we had time to get together before moving on again in different directions.
    Its been over a week since our hike at Wasson Peak, the virus did me in this time. I had been hacking like crazy!

  17. How fun to meet up with your fellow bloggers! Love those Saguaros.

  18. Nancy says:

    Awesome shots! I swear there are more crested saguaros in the Tucson area. Those are gorgeous captures of the crested beauties! Looks like a lot of fun is being had! Enjoy!

  19. Sandra Silva says:

    Wow, those cactus are amazing. Thanks for the pictures.

    Sent from my iPhone

  20. LuAnn says:

    Looks like you had your own little RV rally. I do miss those days!

  21. Jodee Gravel says:

    Looks like grand fun was had by all!! And Pam found a crested arm? Really? That last giant one is incredible. I’m pretty sure you’ve found them all by now :-)))

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