HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRAD/Picacho Peak State Park

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

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

.Tuesday, April 9, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRAD – 32 years ago today he was born.  As my daughters would say my favorite son and my best baby.  We had already celebrated his birthday before we left on this trip and since we are now three hours behind RI time we don't talk to him when he is driving to work anymore.  It’s too bad that our oldest daughter Stephanie had to remind us that it was April 9 and Brads birthday.  When you travel you kind of forget the day and the date.  Sorry Bud – we still love you and hope your golf game today was better than your father’s,  it could not get any worst.

   We had some rain last night (which is needed) and when we woke up this morning the mountains were covered with mist and some fog and only 60 degrees.  The winds had died down so we decided since we only had to drive about 32 miles today to hike the  Romero  Ruin Trail at Catalina State Park.  This was the site of a Hohokam village occupied between 500-1450.  What a nice hike it was!  We hiked up and there were signs that explained everything.  There was also a ranch up there but the Apache often raided the ranch for supplies and cattle.  It is a beautiful place for a settlement – up high, mountains in the background and you can see anyone coming.  Yet, it seems the women had to cart everything up the mountain – food, building supplies and livestock!

    There was a couple that are full-timers staying in the spot next to us.  They are from Canada and come to AZ every year and only have a sailboat when they go back home.  He had a fifth wheel so they travel all around in their truck to visit different areas.  They spend a month in the state park.  They came back late in the afternoon and had taken the drive over the Tucson Mountains to visit the National Park over there and drove into Gilbert Ray Campground where we had spent the night before and left in the morning.  The guy was saying that that the high winds were terrible there and that there were only about twelve campers left.  The sand storm was blowing everywhere and the visibility was almost down to 0.  So that beautiful campground that we left in the morning and which I loved turn out to be not so good during the storm.  Boy, have we been lucky!

   We left the state park and drove right across the street to a beautiful shopping center that went on for miles with a Wal-Mart in it.  This plaza was something else.  Drove to interstate 10 and hopped on heading north.  The winds were not bad today but they were still not good but everyone says this is the worse stretch for winds in the state. 

   At Picacho, we got off the interstate and drove about one mile to Picacho Peak State Park.  Very interesting park with a different landscape.  It was beautiful.  These AZ state parks are all different and very unique.  Snowbirds are gone so not many people camping here and they are starting to shut some of the parks down because in the summer it is just too hot to camp.  We loved it!

   I reviewed the campground below and tomorrow we are heading north to Lost Dutchman State Park.

Tuesday, April 9 – Picacho Peak State Park, Picacho, AZ    This campground is right off interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix.  You can see the 1,500 foot Picacho Peak from miles away.  There are trails to hike that wind up the peak and in the spring you can overlook fields of wildflowers.  Settlers heading west used the peak as a landmark traveling between New Mexico and California and later the road for the forty-niners and the Butterfield Overland Stage.  This park is known for its landscape, and historical importance.  It is the site of AZ westernmost Civil War Battle.  Union soldiers defeated 10 Confederate cavalrymen at this spot.  The park was empty when we stayed overnight only about four or five campers per loop and there are three loops.  We were in the B loop and had great views.  Only one bath house was open but it was clean with hot showers.  This is a very popular park for the snowbirds that come down in the winter and leave April 1.  It is in a windy area and we were warned driving up interstate 10 to be careful about the desert winds.  There is a visitor center with some exhibits and a gift shop.  The area is known for its wildlife viewing and bird watching.  We had electric but no water and the cost was $25 plus a $5 reservation fee.  Very interesting overnight stop!
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