We pulled into the park late afternoon, and after an extended happy hour both Bev and I agreed the only cooking taking place would be at a restaurant. That outing gave us a chance to discuss what we would do over the next couple of days. I'm not sure what some folks think of as a day trip, but to Don and I that can be as far as a 4 hour drive and the scenery on the way is a big factor. We had been to Sedona 2 years ago but since Ron and Bev had never made it up north, we agreed that was an excellent Sunday drive destination. We loaded up bright and early, meaning by 10 am we were on the road. After playing tourist a bit and having lunch in Sedona, no trip in that direction is complete without a drive through of Jerome. Jerome is the most vertical city in North America, and a designated National Historic site. You can read full details of these sites on our April 2012 post.
The next couple of days were spent shopping, visiting, eating and relaxing. With some added laundry, hot tubbing, and walking, our stop was complete.
Bev and I both love the dessert flowers so here are a few favorites.
I also attended aquasizes with Bev 2 mornings and loved it! I will have to try them when the Stony Plain outdoor pool opens.
Our next destination was new territory for us. We wanted to take in the sites around Tuscon, including Tombstone, Benson and Kartchner Caverns. Kartchner Caverns State Park seemed like a great hitching post. State Parks continue to be our choice for camping, as they offer a bit of camping experience with partial services, and as well you can typically count on some good hiking opportunities. Such was the case with this stop. Although the park itself had no phone service, we were a few miles away from a MacDonalds. This allowed us to spend the days exploring and hiking, and evenings rewarded with some internet time and eek, don't say it, but work for me! Oh and usually ice cream. Can't use their internet without a purchase.
We made the drive to Tombstone, and hey, everyone has to say they've visited no matter the outcome. No offense to all the folks out there who actually enjoyed Tombstone, but we found it a bit too staged to even enjoy the history. But it was a lovely day to walk around, and seeing somewhere new is never a waste. Don captured some great photos as well.
The next day we explored the city of Tuscon and area. It is a really nice city, but as all cities go, the shopping and amenities are kind of the same everywhere. We did enjoy the drive through the residential areas as we find this is where we often find the uniqueness of community, especially in a geographic area where the weather is so different from ours at home. The architecture is very different, and almost every house had a pool. And no I did not take pictures!
The most enjoyable part of this stay was the hiking trail at our campground. It followed the foothills for a 3 mile hike around the mountain. It took approximately 1 1/2 hours to complete, and was a perfect cool end to each afternoon, as well as a more challenging component of our 12,000 steps a day program. We saw a bit of wildlife on the hikes - a white tail doe and fawn and some turkey vultures. There were signs indicating skunks and snakes, and I was glad we didn't see those. The weather here was hot during the day, but with sundown, the temperature made it to a reasonable point and it was cool and refreshing for sleep. In fact one evening we had the fireplace on for a while.
Today we are on our way to the El Paso area. Not sure what we will find, but it is a new state for us and the start of the journey through Texas! I know there are some hiking trails, and we will report on those, as well as our other discoveries, later in the week.
Have a great day everyone!!