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Catalina State Park

March 1, 2017 Wednesday – Catalina State Park, Tucson, AZ, USA

2017 Southern Arizona & Astronomy

After breakfast at the hotel, I decide to explore the Catalina State Park, which is on North Oracle Road, just a few miles north of where I’m staying. The entrance fee is $7 for a day pass. I park the car in the lot at the trail head and then start walking. There is a small stream flowing through a wash which has to be crossed, but I manage to step and balance on rocks, not getting wet in the process. The first trail I try is the Canyon Loop Trail, but it proves to be too much for me given that the sun is shining and I have no sunscreen on.

So after 20 minutes, I turn back and choose the Birding Trail. It is flat, has some shade, and is a whole lot more interesting. There are indeed lots of birds on this trail, including a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls. I also come across a huge number of bees swarming on a blooming tree. They are all up at the top of the tree, but I can hear them buzzing. Even this trail is a mile loop, which is too much for me on such a warm day, so I return to the car, leaving the park by 10AM. There are lots of local people at this park, and there is a campground.

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Sabino Canyon

February 28, 2017 Tuesday – Sabino Canyon Recreational Area, Tucson, AZ, USA

2017 Southern Arizona & Astronomy

Once I’ve had my breakfast at the hotel, I decide to go to a local park, the Sabino Canyon Recreational Area since it is so close to where I’m staying in the Oro Valley. It is only $5 to enter the park, and another $10 to take the tram up the canyon. There are some people walking, but it is a long uphill trek, and it is threatening to rain. There is narration on the way up, and there are nine stops along the way, so people are picked up or dropped off at many of the tram stops.

It gives me an interesting peek into the Catalina Mountains that are north of Tucson, and the Riparian areas in the canyon. The Bajada Loop is a very short trail right next to the Visitor Center, and it has a wonderful variety of cactus and bushes of the desert. The half hour drive there and back allows me to see how people live in the suburbs of Tucson. I’m back at the hotel at noon.