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…

Working days on Mt Lemmon

We are doing maintenance in the parking areas and pullouts on the Catalina Highway. With all the cigarette butts, we are amazed there is not a fire every day. Smokey Bear must be watching over us.
Lots of cyclists working hard for 23 mile climb to enjoy the tuck back down to Tucson. A Sky Island is an isolated Eco system: this is the equivalent of going from Mexico to Canada with the change in plants as the elevation increases.
Gorgeous scenery along the way. Photos from a non-working day
Picnic lunch at Rose Canyon Reservoir to appreciate the scenery.
Complete with ducks begging for scraps.
Taking in the view south from Windy Vista with the road winding its way back to the valley.
Sabino Creek starts on Mt Lemmon. Sabino Canyon National Rec Area is at the base of the mountain – contiguous with the Santa Catalina National Forest for hiking but you have to drive through part of Tucson to get to it by car.
It is great to see other people out enjoying this beautiful day!

We deserve a bit of a break after raking the picnic areas and cleaning out the grilles. Great placement of this table!

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.

A Tucson Birthday Celebration

A special three dimensional card made by my friend Wendy in Spain – can’t believe it has been 10 years since we met them and been together. Very nice we still communicate! This card is more beautiful in person with the amethysts and pearls. I am loving the squirrels.
Happy hour party with our friends! We met all 4 years ago: fun to get everyone together.
Burgers and beer on Zinburger’s patio in front of the fireplace.
And of course some wine…a Mischief Red. Appropriate!
M & R surprised me with a gorgeous and yummy cake. We divided into 8 pieces and devoured the entire delight!
J & J brought some gifts for the aging – a diaper, um, swim suit bag – and assistance for those difficult jars.
The next night, we indulged with a nice quiet meal out. And more wine.
And more desert!
And the next night, we celebrated with champagne, flan, and strawberries…
with some more cards and gifts….
…and friends bearing consumable gifts. Good we will be able to keep the party going for a while!

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.