Thursday, December 27, 2018

Fall in Tucson

Tucson Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
Oct. - Dec. 2018

Joe and I made what we thought was going to be a quick trip to Tucson back in early October turned into a three month stay.  Joe needed to see the dermatologist for a spot he had on his left temple.  We spent weeks trying to get him in to see a dermatologist in Grand Junction, but it was just not meant to be.  

As it turned out, Joe had 5 MOHs surgeries (one requiring a skin graft) during the month of Oct.

In addition, he had 2 cataract mid November and the other mid December.  In-between, we found a few fun things to do.

Tucson Village Farm...Harvest Festival
TVF is a working urban farm built by and for youth in the community.  It is a program of the Pima County Cooperative Extension and the University of Arizona.  The goal is to connect and teach youth how to grow and prepare fresh food.  
A 4-H member helps a child plant wheat.
Local 4-H members were on hand to answer questions and help with the events during the festival.    

Volunteers picked corn and shucked it. Lots and lots of corn for popping !

Madera Canyon 
Translated "Lumber Gorge" the canyon is located about 25 miles south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains.  We have hiked here several times over the past 6 years years.  

We chose the trail that begins just past the entrance station and followed Madera Creek to the Whitehouse Picnic Area...a little over 3 miles in and out. 

We were surprised to find water at the waterfall.
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area 
Sabino Canyon, located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, offers some of our favorite hiking trails.  On our first visit this trip we hiked to the dam via Bear Canyon and Sabino Lake Trails.  
Fairy Dusters were very showy !
Sabino Creek Dam,bridges,and picnic tables all built in the 1930s.

It was lunch time for the Roadrunner !

Sabino Creek
 Our second visit this trip to Sabino was on Christmas Eve.  We meandered the Esperero and Rattlesnake Trails enjoying the gorgeous weather.    

 Wreaths Across America
Each December The Wreaths Across America program is carried out at various cemeteries at over 1500 locations across our nation to honor our deceased military veterans.   A short ceremony is followed by volunteers placing wreaths by each headstone in the cemetery.  Joe and I attended and volunteered to lay wreaths here in Tucson.  It was a moving ceremony which included all branches of our military being represented...including two WWII veterans.

We helped many other volunteers lay about 2000 wreaths.  

Catalina State Park
Catalina State Park sits at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. There are 8 trails in the park varying in length and difficulty.  Joe and I have enjoyed them all.  This visit we chose the Canyon Loop Trail.  The trail is pretty flat but close  to midway you reach about 90 steps.  This time we chose to  go counterclockwise so as to go down the steps rather than climb them.  The rim offers amazing views of the mountains. 

And the canyon follows a creek... 

with lots of green...

 a sleepy tree...
and a crested saguaro.

 Tucson Botanical Gardens
The Gardens is an urban oasis not to be missed when visiting Tucson.  This beautiful gem is located on the site of the historic Porter property on Alvernon Way.  We have strolled the walkways during the day several times so we decided on a night visit to see the Christmas luminaries...     

 and over 30 illuminated silk sculptures.   

 Tucson Mountain Park
The Brown Mountain Loop Trailhead can be accessed from Brown Mountain Picnic Area or from McCain Loop Road.  We lucked out and parked at McCain Loop Road.  Lucky because the climb up the mountain had lots of switchbacks and some pretty big rock steps...we'ed rather go up steps like this and not down them.  This was a new trail for us and what a beauty it was !  What we thought was a 3.5 miler turned out to be  5.5 miles (oops !). We both had very tired feet when we finished, but it was so worth it !  

 We only have a few more days in Tucson.  Next up, San Diego for the month of January.  I'm really looking forward to some ocean time and seafood !

Until then, take care and ...





Wednesday, October 17, 2018

LaPush and a Hike on Rialto Beach

Elwha Dam RV park
Port Angeles, WA
July 2018

No, we are not back in Washington, but I do have pictures that I haven't posted from our wonderful time on the Olympic Peninsula.   

My very favorite day during our stay was the visit we made to LaPush and Rialto Beach.  LaPush is the largest community within the Quileute Indian Reservation.  It is situated on the south side of the mouth of the Quillayute River on the west coast.  In fact, it has the westernmost zip code in the contiguous U.S. 

The climate in LaPush is wet, wet and more wet with an average of over 100 inches of rain a year.  Even though July has the lowest amount of recorded rainfall, it was foggy and damp when we were there. 

Tsunami evacuation-route signs were a constant reminder of how vulnerable these small communities are. 

Rialto Beach offers one of the three distinct ecosystems visitors are able to explore as part of Olympic National Park...a rugged Pacific shore.  

It is located on the northern side of the Quillayute River.


This was our first visit to the Northern Olympic Peninsula coastline.  I was immediately captivated by the rocky beaches...

enormous drift logs...
pounding waves...

the ocean forest... 

and views of rock islands called sea stacks.    

There is nothing quite like hiking on the scenic Olympic Coast.  We chose to take the 4 mile (round trip) hike to Hole-in-the-Wall.  The trail is the beach itself...walking over sand, rock, driftwood and even a creek.  When we reached Hole-in-the-Wall, the tide was coming in so we couldn't walk through the rocky arch.  Instead we climbed an overland trail above the arch and enjoyed sweeping views.

The trail back to the parking lot from Hole-in-the-Wall...

I'll close with a few more of my favorite pictures from the day.

One of nature's planters at the marina in LaPush'

Tent camping is a big thing at Rialto Beach...


Misty droplets on the flowers at the Lonesome Creek Store in LaPush

The ocean forest at the kiosk where we began our hike on Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach

Sea stacks as we hiked along Rialto Beach

The first view of Hole-in-the-Wall

 Until next time...