Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You can never have too many... of cactus! And my portfolio is filling up!!!! We've been in Arizona for a week now and are enjoying the area very much. The blue skies are incredible - even when the temperatures are not really warm. We are staying in a very southwest style townhouse on the north east side of the city, which put us within 5 or 6 miles of an absolutely gorgeous area called the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Catalina Mountains, part of the Coronado National Forest. It takes a little while each morning for the sun to reach our patio - but by 8:15 or 8:30 we can sit in the warm sun for at least a little while.
We've been walking/hiking in Sabino Canyon 3 or 4 times already. This whole area is known for its Saguaro cactus - they are exclusive to the Sonora desert area here and are incredible, both the size and number. They live about 150 to 200 years and are 30 to 50 feet tall. They cover the hillsides. On our first visit to the canyon, we took a tram about 4 miles into the canyon, rode a mile or so back down and then walked the rest of the way down to the Visitor Center. Now we are much braver and walk the trails through the desert and up and down the hills. We walked into the Sabino Canyon Dam and across the creek. The snakes are hibernating - we haven't seen any in the wild! We've also hiked and driven through Saguaro National Park - East and West. Again, beautiful scenery in this mountain desert.
We visited the Old Tucson Studios one day. This is a working movie studio - although we didn't see anything being filmed. Lots of old westerns were filmed here (Rio Lobo, McClintock, Outlaw Josie Wales, Hombre, Tombstone, Young Guns II & Three Amigos) in addition to some television shows (Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, High Chaparral) and some movies that you wouldn't expect (Revenge of the Nerds!!) were filmed in the sound studio there. That studio burned town several years ago. We spent the afternoon wandering around, watching their skits - Miss Kitty & and Girls, The Gunfight with Billy the Kidd, the Medicine Show & the Stunt Show.
On Monday Lowell and Larry tried geocaching for the first time. If you haven't heard about this GPS game, it's pretty cool. You go to a geocaching website and get the coordinates for a "cache" - then drive/walk to the area and try to find a box. The boxes have a bunch of little items that people have left and a log book. When you find the box you sign the log and if you take an item, you leave something else. The guys found the first one they looked for about a mile from our townhouse! Then we hiked in the canyon in the afternoon and found another. It really was kind of fun - they are 2 for 4 in searches so far and I think that we'll do it again. We also had a great visit with my high school friend Pete, who drove over from Yuma, AZ. It was so nice to see her again.
Yesterday afternoon we went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It's a great place to learn about the flora and fauna of the area! We actually got to see some of the critters we've been reading about. I don't know about anyone else, but the absolute highlight of the afternoon for me was the Hummingbird House - I not only got to photograph a hummingbird nest - but got several images of mama hummer on her nest!

There's so much more to talk about, but we're traveling down to the Tombstone/Bisbee area right now and this connection is a little bit iffy going through the mountains. I think I'll try to get this posted and then I'll post more pictures in the next day or two. Oh yeah, none of these pictures are labeled either - maybe tonight!

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