Arizona – February 2024

We made a stop on route 66 to celebrate a 66th birthday…
Beautiful day to drive to Arizona
We did it for the Fries! The Zinburger in Tucson where we previously celebrated my 60th birthday.
We have Mom with us to share some of our sites, like hanging out at the Loews Ventana Canyon, very close to the condo we rented.
In Sabino Canyon, we showed her the Smokey Bear sign we renovated 6-years ago.
Mom really enjoyed her walks and the scenery here in Sabino Canyon.
The picnic area near Bear Creek on a beautiful day.
Enjoying bear creek in Sabino canyon as it spills over the road.
Seeing some of the wildlife too with this friendly roadrunner.
Sabino Canyon – we took the electric tram to the end of the road. We planted the barrel cactus here on Jan 18, 2018 from another location.
We also went to U of A campus to see some wildcats. Went to Tree Ring lab and AZ State museum.
We saw these futuristic wildcat robots delivering food.
We met up with my aunt and uncle at the Biltmore in Phoenix for a great lunch.
And a celebration! Mom will have another fun week with her brother.

Smokey Bear Sign Restoration – Sabino Canyon, AZ

This redwood sign was near the Cactus Picnic area in Sabino Canyon in the Coronado National Forest. This area is used to host school groups. Smokey is looking like he could use a little sprucing up.
Here is a detail of the deterioration. The paint kept the carved out letters from aging so they protruded from the background.
We used Bondo on the edges to give a strong weather protection. There is also some wood filler. We had to reattach the boards with new screws.
We patched the old bolt holes to keep the water from penetrating as well as patching some of the larger deterioration spots.
In the field, we cleaned up the vegetation and repainted the sign metal supports.
We painted the entire back ground Forest Service ‘Brown’ before painting the details with ‘Adobe’.
Using a very fine brush and lots of patience!
After extra indoor drying time, Smokey is ready to return to the forest.
Well here we are flanking the restored sign!
This project maintains the legacy of those before us that carved this sign for their care and love of the forest. We are proud to give this sign many more extra years of life to reach more of the visitors to this picnic area.

Water in Sabino Creek

Morning fog in Sabino Canyon after a night of heavy rain.
This fog bank is soon to overtake us as we watched it move from the creek up the side of the canyon.
We read that Sabino Creek was dry for 154 days – very unusual for the winter months. I am very happy to see it full of water this morning. This is the only photo in this posting taken with the phone.
Eight of the Nine dam/bridges had water on them. We have spent many hours clearing these bridges of vegetation and debris.
These stonework wonders are interesting engineering as they are designed for the high waters to flow over, but to act as dams by creating recreation pools during lower water levels.
The up stream side of a bridge has a quiet reflecting pond, even while the water is pouring over on the other side of the road.
The water had bubbles and was dark with tannins like an exquisite root-beer.
We checked out Anderson Dam area for trash…we did find some floating debris but mainly just enjoyed the beauty of the waterfall.
We also pulled some of the grasses and weeds from the 3.7 island we had planted earlier in the season. So much easier to pull from wet soil!
It seemed like a good day to improve this little corner of the park. We shoveled out the base of the sign, moved some cobblestones and placed on the slope, backfilled with dirt and will wait for the rain to push the dirt between the rocks and clean things up. We will check on it next weekend…

January 2018 at Sabino Canyon, AZ

Ready to Celebrate Happy New Year 2018!
What a beautiful New Year Eve Sunset
A view of our picnic area. Ready for some errands in Tucson.
Along East Bear Creek Trail – an easy 3 mile loop we walk from our camp.
Looking down on the island at 3.7 miles on the road from Phoneline Trail.
This is 3.7 island and the end of the road for the trams. This a little garden area we have adopted by adding an occatillo last year, and this year a staghorn cholla, a barrel cactus, as well as an agave (at my feet). We pruned the beautiful hop bush and left a few other interesting plants. Many people touch the rock as an achievement for running or walking to this point so we made it a bit more accessible. We make weekly trips to water and keep the weedy grass from regrowing.
Another beautiful sunset in the canyon from our camp!
A hike to 7 Falls — no water at all in any of the stream crossing. And no water falls but a beautiful reflection pond is still retaining some water.
One of the many art shots we took while appreciating how the reflection was more scenic because of heightened contrast.
A really nice spot to hang out and contemplate before our 4-mile walk back to camp.
The Canyon during the three day government shutdown: the parking lots and visitor center were closed, creating work for law enforcement.
We spent a day at Catalina State Park with Joan and Jim – we hiked some of the trail to Romero Pools, enjoyed a picnic lunch together, wine o’clock at their camp followed by Joan’s delicious beef stew. Nice day.
Back on the job, we refinished 4 teak benches at the visitor center. Lots of sanding, bending over, and 2 coats of linseed oil.
Two of the larger benches that get more sun damage.
Oh but they feel sooooo nice. Such a good job~!
Couldn’t resist a detail shot!
Storm clouds but still no rain. It is extremely dry — very different from last January!  But enjoying another beautiful sunset.
And the full super blue blood moon rise.
We enjoyed one night from our camp site and the other at Saguaro National Park West with the native flute music.
A wonderful way to end this January 2018.

Heading to Sabino Canyon, Arizona

Retracing our steps, we picked up the MINI in Denver, the Travato in Kansas, and returned to Lake Meredith to catch up on sleep.
We revisited White Sands NM for a beautiful hike on the dunes.
We camped near by on this picturesque pond.
Near Las Cruces, we enjoyed this spot in the Organ Mountains NM for a few nights – meeting up with an architecture friend for a Rotary event. First time here in the Travato
Back at our site #2 in Sabino Canyon, enjoying happy hour with Site #1 friends, co-volunteers. Last time we saw them:
The sunsets are memorable looking east with the saguaros in the foreground. Pictures from a year ago
A coworker made this awesome flan for the holiday party! We had to try three servings just to make sure it was as good as it looked!
A Merry Christmas to You Saguaro Nativity.
Sabino Creek is very low with no water flowing, just a few little reflection pools.
This coati was hanging around one of the little pools with 4 other family members – we sure enjoyed watching them forage!
Some incredibly nice fall color as we started our work routine up the canyon.
Hiking on another day we found this pop up art installation of balanced rocks.
This must take a lot of patience but it was very fun to come across it. A peaceful way to start 2018.

April in Sabino Canyon, AZ

The Brittle Bush blooms were amazing – we missed the height when we were in Florida.
One of my favorite locations with the Palo Verde in bloom. The canyon is so green!
Ocatillos in bloom as well.
The Gila Monsters are out of hibernation. How cool is this!
We got a hike in to Hutches Pools – a very hot day but still nice water in the creek.
Looking the other direction into a little canyon.
Gorgeous cactus blooms!
And a nice spot for a picnic lunch.
The hike is 8 mile roundtrip from Shuttle Stop #9.
The Cholla in bloom – there was quite a variety of colors.
This is “our” saguaro, taken from the Winnebago Travato in early morning.
A close up of a cactus wren and the flowers of the saguaro.
This one was even more prolific! What a sight to see.
We feel really lucky to have spent the winter here and to be able to appreciate all these lovely views. We trimmed some branches at this site.
An end of season pizza party – make your own and bake on the grille.
Group shot of the winter maintenance team – employees and volunteers.
We are “hot stuff” with our matching socks!
The parting shot as the neighboring 5th wheel has headed towards home a day before us…

Sabino Canyon, AZ — Work Camping

Our picnic table with the moody sky before a storm.
Our favorite work lunch picnic spot overlooking the Bear Creek and the start of 7 Falls Hike.
Another great spot is the Dam in Lower Sabino – it is beautiful this winter with all the rain and snow melt from Mt Lemmon.
Another favorite Nice (Gneiss) rock outcropping.
The first Spring flowers are this pink fairy duster.
Part of an old road to the Dam, that we have dubbed the Roman Road. We cleared the edges from growth to expose the beautiful cobblestone work.
The Roman Road before the brush was removed – barely a path through the prickly bushes.
And we finished clearing the shrubs next to this beautiful stairway as an alternate to using the Roman Road to visit the Dam.
Helping out on some brush cutting along the Phoneline Trail.
Emptying the bucket loads of prickly pear that we cleared from the Bear Creek Roadside – safety measure for the pedestrians, especially children.
The result is a much safer road to walk on.
We also cleared growth above and below this wall in a large parking area in Upper Sabino Canyon. Little did we know that the Youth Corp was going to camp here the following weekend while doing some trail rebuilding.
This crested Saguaro cactus is much visited by the visitor center, but really interesting.
Walking back to the Winnebago Travato after work before a rain storm. this is such a beautiful place to be!
More snow in the mountains was visible at sunrise.
We found an oasis in the desert (south of Sabino) at Agua Caliente Park.

Sabino Canyon, AZ — Days and Forays

Beautiful Sabino Canyon watching the clouds build in mid-January.
Reflections of the saguaros.
Looks like more rain as we are watching from the Travato.
Wow – another amazing rainbow.
So much rain (and it is cold), we are working in the warehouse – prepping new boards to revitalize some picnic tables.
Pre- drilling: three coats of paint to follow. The legs got spray-painted.
There were large signs to paint in “Federal Brown” – these will go up Mt Lemmon.
You can check out, but you can never leave!
We met J & J at Starr Pass for a hike before dinner out and an astronomy lecture at UA. The day ended by seeing a 4 star cluster in Orion’s sword at the Steward Observatory. Their blog with more pictures of the hike.
We took a group hike from Molino Basin on Mt Lemmon to this trailhead on Reddington Pass.
It took us all day but we had some great scenery and camaraderie.
We took a break to Kartchner Caverns State Park and shared a camp site with J & J – leveling was a challenge. But we now have a new leveling app from Truma that should be helpful on other sites.
We hiked a couple miles to this overlook. Then back for some of Joan’s home made pizza – yum! It was great to have so many times together this month, building memories and sharing our travel stories. Joan and Jim’s Blog on Kartchner Caverns
The waters really reached a high point and even the trams could not go up Sabino Canyon.
We have shoveled, then swept all the sand and debris off this bridge as part of our job to keep it safe for bikes and peds.
The mile markers were looking a bit less than fresh as this one at the top of the canyon.
This one was buried behind debris but we have it cleaned up and looking good.
Having friends over for a BBQ and sunset. Lights under the Travato to keep away the pack rats.
Hanging out under the awning – well deserved after washing the house inside and out.
Our neighbors also enjoying the view at Cocktail Hour.
Another full moon in the canyon.