NOTE TO OUR FOLLOWERS: We sort of slipped off the radar screen for awhile, didn’t we? When last we posted, we were headed out of Bisbee toward the Tucson area. That was about 3 weeks ago. There’s a simple explanation for our silence—namely, the area is just chock-full of extremely interesting attractions and great potentials for outdoor recreation (hiking topping the list). The short story . . . our days have been filled from dawn to dusk, then we plop into bed, dead tired, but content. I’ll see if I can fill you in on the highlights of these many days.
We dropped anchor in one pretty awesome state park. Having 5,500 acres of land, Catalina State Park is nestled at the base of the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, a serrated ridge of peaks that rise just north of Tucson, topped by Mount Lemmon at over 9,000 feet high. Needless to say, we had some pretty impressive views, beginning right at the entrance to the park.
We had been told that the campground here was pretty nice, so our expectations were rather elevated. From the moment we turned into Loop B, saw the views just about every site afforded, and noted the generous spacing between those sites, we were quite pleased. Once we located our particular place, reserved for the coming two weeks, we were beyond pleased. Our site had that fabulous mountain backdrop, no close neighbors, as much shade as those mesquite “trees” could offer, with water and electricity to spoil us. It sure didn’t hurt that the sun was just setting, and those mountains were catching the late afternoon light. Yes, we were going to like it here a lot.
And it wasn’t just the sunset that provided an up close show for us . . . for our first morning here the sky put on another great performance. Just outside our door—it doesn’t get any more convenient than that.
Moreover, we didn’t have the exclusive rights to this outstanding scene—just about every site here was situated to make the most out of mountain views. That was the beauty of this campground layout.
We wasted little time in camp . . . this park has great hiking potential. To do it right and learn the ropes, we were joined by good friends who happened to live 5 minutes down the road. Mike (a college friend) and Barbie Tupper moved here from Oregon about 3 years ago. Well-familiar with the area and sharing a common love of hiking trails, they were our guides and good companions for our tenure here.
Short, scenic warm-up trails to hikes up into the elevations for a full day or more, that’s the diversity you’ll find here. Whether short or long, they all provide excellent scenery and even a chance to ford some streams.
Chris took some initiatives on his own. Fortunately, he learned early on that there were several guided hikes offered here at Catalina on certain days. He wasted no time participating in both Geology and Bird-Watching groups. Early morning walks along park trails gave him some better insight into what makes this place so special.
In the coming days we would travel out to other hiking destinations. Many spectacular locations are waiting to be explored. But for convenience of location and paths leading literally from our backdoor, Catalina can’t be beat. It’s no wonder that this campground is filled every night in the winter season . . . and reservations made a year in advance are highly recommended!
All of our forays outside of Catalina weren’t just for hiking. Other attractions waited to be seen, but first we had some small repairs to work out. Another good point in Tucson’s favor is having an authorized Airstream dealer nearby! As things are prone to do when you pull your home-on-wheels across the country, things sometimes tend to need repairing or replacing. Our thermostat issue seemed to work itself out after the appointment was made, but losing a drain valve off our fresh water tank was something that needed a replacement. How that valve came off is quite the mystery. Fortunately, Lazy Days RV was able to fix us right up. Albeit, taking most all of one day. (All for one little valve???)
We celebrated by giving our girl a very good shampoo. The last of that winter ice storm was finally washed away!
And time to take down our Colts’ flag for another year. At least, while it flew, it flew proud!
More stories to come . . . more locations to describe. Our time here in Catalina isn’t over. This is just a taste of all we saw and did. Stay tuned!
From the rugged trails of Catalina,
Chris and Melinda