Sunrise/Saguaro Nationa Park East/ Catalina SP

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
Trip End Jun 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday, April 8 -   When I woke up this morning it was beautiful out and the sunrise was stunning so I took some pictures.  There was a little breeze and just waking up and walking around at Gilbert Ray Campground makes one feel lucky to be alive.  This is one of our favorite places that we have camped and all the Saguaro's just makes it fascinating. 

   We have storm warnings for today with high winds coming in from 11 am on through the evening.  Some of these winds are predicted to be in the high 60’s.  It is a good thing we didn’t have far to drive.  Drove over to the east of Tucson and went by the Air Force base with moth balled planes for miles stored here for parts and whatever.  There is a museum but if you don’t have a permit you can’t get near the planes.

   Saguaro National Park East – Rincon Mountain District is so different from the west branch.  We did stop at the visitor center but could go not go on the loop trail (I knew that before we went) and the only camping is tent camping in the mountains.  There is a huge Saguaro Forest at the foot of the mountains and also a desert.  The Cactus Forest Drive is an eight mile scenic drive that winds through the Saguaro Forest and other desert life.  There are over 130 miles of trails that wind through this area.  Back country camping is permitted but one must have a permit and there are a number of picnic areas throughout the park.  Colossal Cave Mountain Park eleven miles to the southeast has cave tours, hiking and camping.

  When we left this park we were going to go to Sabino Canyon in the northeast section of Tucson but the winds were picking up so we headed to our campground instead about 20 miles north of Tucson.  We thought we could do the canyon tomorrow but now we are thinking that we have seen so many canyons do we want to backtrack. Yet, the canyon has trams that take you on a 45 minute ride through the canyon with a ranger.

  On our way through Tucson which is a nice southwestern city with wide roads and less traffic than at home, we decided to drive through the University of Arizona.  This University is huge and right in the middle of Tucson.  Pretty campus and we drove through it for miles seeing the football stadium, basketball stadium and all the sports venues as well as some academic buildings.  It is very different from a typical New England college campus.  They don’t have these huge buildings that look like sky scrapers many buildings are low to the ground..

    Catalina State Park is very nice and north of Tucson and right across from a Wal-Mart.  Our site was great with the mountains in the back.  If the winds calm down we will take some of the hiking trails but right now I think we will stay in the RV because we are rocking and rolling.  It might rain tonight and that will be about the second time on this trip but this area is on High Fire Alert – so they need the rain.  Heading north tomorrow not far up the road!

   Monday, April 8 – Catalina State Park, Tucson, AZ -  This park is north of Tucson set in the Santa Catalina Mts.  Our site B 11 had the mountains to our back and it was stunning.  The campground has two sections A and B, both have electric and water but A also has some primitive sites.   It is home to 5,525 acres of desert plants.  There is an Equestrian Center and bridle trails in the park and a number of hiking trails.  There is a bird watching trail and an interpretive trail that winds around the Romero Ruins, the site of a Hohokam village occupied 500-1450.  It costs $25 and if you reserve a site a $5 fee is added on.   The bath house is one of the nicest we have seen in two months of traveling – new and clean.  Very nice!  There is a Wal-Mart right across the street from the park!
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