On two of the last four days in Sierra Vista we enjoyed some hiking. The two hikes represent the great diversity of the area. I believe it was Saturday we hiked in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
In a lot of places outside of the desert this area would be no big deal . But this rich river valley is quite the oasis where water is such a premium. There's virtually no elevation change and no spectacular scenery other than the mountains in the far distance.
But as we logged our miles we couldn't help but appreciate how valuable this resource is to the animals and was equally important to the early settlers of the southwest. The Conservation Area is home to a zillion birds, many have departed for the Winter, but Debbie caught a few on "film",
plus a few of their friends.
The other hike returned us to the mountains. On Monday before we left Sierra Vista we spent time hiking in The Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve. We began our day with a one mile nature hike. This carried us along a pleasant mountain stream that coincidentally feeds the San Pedro River Valley we hiked previously. Lots of pretty sites plus two old home sites built by the same family. The first in 1902,
and then the upgrade in 1911.
Imagine the tranquillity! From there we tackled a portion of the Hamburg Trail. It was a steep bugger. Debbie wasn't feeling it (she's allowed a down day) so we only hiked a mile or so each way. There were some very nice views overlooking the city of Sierra Vista,
but our destination was a cute little waterfall.
It was charming, cute, quaint.......what I'm saying is probably not worth the effort but it was cute! One wildlife spotting and a glimpse of fall color rounded out the day.
As we wrapped up our time in Sierra Vista we concluded we could easily return to the area and spend several weeks just enjoying all the natural beauty. Hopefully we will!
OK, lets move on to Tucson. Just a mindless footnote. I was stationed at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson during the late 70's. Of course when I was here I was young and way stupid and couldn't be bothered to enjoy the area. I'll do better! Actually we're not in Tucson. We're about 40 miles south in Amado, AZ. Primarily we're in this area because our friends Bill and Rena have a home in Green Valley which is between us and Tucson. Their descriptions of the area while we were volunteering together in Spearfish really peaked out interest. We are not disappointed! Our plan is to stay here at least November and December. Who knows, we may stay longer. More seriously then other areas of the country, we now place this area at the top of the list of places to ultimately settle.
Our campground was the site of a greyhound race track from many years ago.
The result is that it's a very large area with lots of buildings,
that house things like a heated indoor pool with whirlpool and indoor shuffle board courts (not our thing yet but it's a nice feature),
air hockey table,
and a small gym.
There's even a small dog park for the boys! The sites are nothing special but they're well designed, practical and we have a mountain view. The only drawback is some road noise from interstate 19. We'll quickly get used to that. We're not buying the place.
Tuesday we got settled and Wednesday we went to Bill and Rena's (B/R) for dinner. We had the opportunity to meet another couple there, Trisha and Alex, who Bill and Rena have known for decades. B/R are great hosts and we had a very nice evening that included a beautiful sunset from their backyard.
Thursday Debbie and I hung out at the camper and Friday we hooked up again with B/R for a hike with their community (Quail Creek) hiking group. There were about 20 people in the group and we did about 9.5 miles on the Douglas Spring Trail in the Saguaro National Park. I know I sound like a broken record but the scenery was unique and beautiful. One of the local gems is the Saguaro cactus which is very unique to this area of the southwest.
After our hike we had lunch at the golf course grill in Quail Creek. We returned there again on Saturday to enjoy their Community's annual craft fair, had lunch at B/R's house and then spent a couple hours touring the housing models of Quail Creek. Things could get serious.
This Saturday we leave for a week's stay in Cozumel, Mexico. Our poor "puppies" will be staying in a kennel. We really hate to leave them, it almost puts a damper on the trip. They'll be fine though, but we will truly miss them.