When I last left you, before the critter fest, TBG and I were both under the weather, the holidays hadn’t happened yet, and it was still 2019. Now we are both in the pink, the holidays have been celebrated by those who celebrate them, and we reached the year of seeing more clearly: 2020! We also reached Tucson, but that’s for the next blog, and for now, I need to rewind to the end of 2019.
The first outing we had was to meet up with another pair of old friends, Andrea and Shawn, of 40foothouse who we had met almost exactly a year ago. They introduced us to another duo of full-time RVers, Emily and Tim of OwnLessDoMore. Despite the fact that there were six of us, not one of us took any pictures of our fun Chinese buffet feast. And we call ourselves bloggers 😐
Even though I was in the beginning stages of the cold TBG gave me for Christmas, I still managed to get in a hike while he had to make a run down to Tucson. A hike to the shower. Think I’m kidding?
Lost Dutchman is a beautiful state park, but the RV loop we were in was added sometime after the original park was laid out, and it is very oddly apportioned and has no restrooms/showers nor full hookups. We knew about this inconvenience prior to arrival and even prior to reservations, which wouldn’t have made a difference due to availability. What I really needed while I was battling a cold, though, was a half-mile walk with a wet head.
Circadian rhythms and the human immune system being what they are, we felt well enough most early afternoons to at least get in several couple-mile walks within the park when the sun was out.
We didn’t find any gold, but we did see a bobcat scouting around in one of the washes. It wasn’t in the mood for a photoshoot, unfortunately.
There was a mixed bag of meteorological events during our stay.
Each made the surrounding mountains differently eye-catching.
Both our colds and the weather had cleared considerably midway through our two-week stay, and we were able to increase our trekking a bit. We started with an in-park hike up to see the rock formation known as The Praying Hands.
On another day, we met up with our friend, Jerry, for a hike at Saguaro Lake along the Butcher Jones Trail.
There were no burros, but the lake was home to lots of duckies.
Canvasback, Ring-billed, and (I think) Blue-winged Teal.
We knew from friends’ reviews that tackling the park’s signature trail, Siphon Draw, was a pain in the ass, so I chose one just down the road instead. My choice was validated when we saw a fire engine run through the park and a helicopter hovering over Flatiron peak, both obviously coordinating a rescue. Apparently, that happens a lot on that particular hike, once, as we learned, for 44 people at one time.
The trail was muddy in a few places, and we took a “wrong” turn once we were up in the flats.
We weren’t lost by any means, but the trail we took soon became very rocky and aggravating, so we turned back before reaching what we could see would have been an impressive canyon view. It’s not like the views we did get were poor or anything.
On our way back, TBG spotted another bobcat in another wash. Based on its trajectory, we thought it would come out on the trail just above and behind us, which would have made for a perfect photo.
That evening and the next morning, we were entertained by some of the local winged critters.
Once again, without planning to, we saved the best for last with another hike not far up the road from camp in Bulldog Canyon. It began from an OHV lot, but soon split onto a non-motorized trail.
Luckily, we couldn’t hear any OHVs from our trail, which opened up to offer captivating views of the hills painted by multi-colored lichen.
As we neared the end of the hike, we saw two large birds flying high overhead making a strange squawking noise. At first we thought they were hawks, but hawks definitely don’t sound like that. We watched them come in for a landing about a half-mile in front of us. I noticed that when they tipped in the sun, they appeared to be quite green, and TBG saw them land on or at the feet of a man who was standing atop a hill. Say what?! We guessed that perhaps it was falconers flying their birds even though the noises they made were also not at all falcon-like. I encouraged TBG to go on ahead as fast as he could in hopes of catching up to the bird people. He did, and you’ll never guess what they were.
These folks had their four macaws out for some air time. The birds looked to be having a blast soaring out over the hills, squawking away, and returning obediently each time to their humans. I’m not a huge fan of pet birds, particularly exotic species, but at least these people said they fly their birds every day. What an interesting and unexpected way to conclude a hike!
Speaking of concluding hikes, TBG uses the Strava app to track our walkabouts, and he sends me the screenshots of them when we’re done so I can record our mileage. He thought I should start including those on the blog for readers who might like to use the info to help plan their hiking. You’ll all have to let me know if he’s right.
See you in Tucson!