The family recently went off to explore the closest state park to our new house in Aurora Colorado. Cherry Creek State Park is a surprisingly open park in the middle of the busy area of east Denver.
There are a ridiculous amount of activities to do here and we can’t wait to explore the park even more. After driving around and checking out the place a bit and figuring out the photography permit process we headed over to Pho 75. This was our first restaurant to try to find the best Chicken Bun in town. It was really good but it was lacking the mint and according to my wife, there was a bit too much of the fishy taste in the fish sauce. 🙂
This afternoon we took advantage of the weird weather we are having in Tucson and the family headed up to the General Hitchcock picnic area on Mount Lemmon. It’s the stop right before Windy Vista. It was a beautiful day and the pines provided just the right amount of shade. After a bite to eat we went up the Upper Green Mountain Trail. We just went up to the first vista and turned around, it ended up being about 1.5 miles round trip. One thing the area did have is a lot of trash. Water bottle caps and glass everywhere. Even down the first bit of the trail there were plastic wrappers and food bits that the birds were running off with. I wish people would keep these areas clean, we all go out to areas like this so we can experience nature and it’s sad when you see two beautiful blue birds fighting over a Cheeto. I picked up a bit of it but there was just so much everywhere, everyone needs to do their part and leave no trace.
Recently we went down south of Tucson to visit a couple of missions. The first destination was the San Xavier Del Bac Mission on the Tohono O’odham Nation. It was founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino. The current building was finished by 1797 and is the oldest European structure in Arizona. (http://www.sanxaviermission.org/History.html) The first thing you notice when you pull up to the massive building is the fact that one of the towers is unfinished. This is due to the fact that buildings that were ‘under construction’ did not have to pay taxes… The building is incredibly white and almost too bright to look at in the mid-day sun. When you step inside you begin to appreciate the blazing white outside and it reflects the heat and keeps the inside is very cool. Most of the restorations have been completed and what you see on the inside is as original as it’s going to get. The colors are vibrant and the statues are amazingly detailed. After walking around inside for a bit we ventured into the museum. It is currently under construction and some of it has been closed off. There wasn’t much in the way of exhibits or light for that matter. Further to the east of the building is the gift shop, it is very clean and very affordable. On the way out we stopped by one of the stands that had Indian fry bread…oh man that was good, both as a bean version and as a cinnamon honey one.
Next we went a bit further south to Tumacácori National Historical Park in Tubac. This is not a functioning church and is run as a national park. The site is well maintained and the museum is astounding. I wasn’t expecting the quality that we saw way out in the middle of nowhere. There was even a statue of Padre Kino, who also founded this mission in 1691 as the Spanish territories expanded north. There are plenty of exhibits on how the building was made and even an example of an O’odham house that was built in 1997. There was even a sweet couple making fresh tortillas for a small donation to the grounds. This is a great day trip for families but try to hit it up before the cool weather disappears; there is a lot of walking outside to visit these sites.
Ocotillo – Makes a great living fence
Above Sabino Dam
Sabino Dam – According to Sabino Canyon Tours the dam, along with the road, were built during the depression era.
Creosote Bush – Best smelling plant in the desert!
Nipple Cactus, Fishhook Cactus or pincushion,
what ever you call it the little red fruit is delicious.
Rock formations around Tucson come mostly from the late Cretaceous period.
Here is an interesting read about how it was all formed.
The Century Plant – Of all the cactus in the desert this one has cut me up the most,
it is very sturdy and usually just stabs into me as I’m trying to get around in on the trail.
Short warm walk in sun
Looked at an old tree ring
Short walk back to truck
Kids at mall – parents
Old eatery with bomb ice-cream
Too warm January!
scored cowboy hat and boots
Long nap back to town
For the last three days the only paved road going up to Mount Lemmon has been so crowded that they have had to shut it down and only let cars go in as cars left. To avoid all of that mess and still enjoy the cool weather we headed over to Catalina State Park off of SR77. While we where there we toured the Hohokam Ruins and then hiked up the road to the creek that comes out of Montrose Canyon.
Up on top of the hill where the ruins were.
Romero Ranch ruins