Back in the Big Mountains

Trip Start Dec 24, 2010
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Catalina State Park

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

From Coolidge, we continued our journey south to Catalina State Park, near the city of Catalina, AZ.  The park is just next to town and was full. By that, I mean the sites with electricity and water were fully occupado.  We took a "dry" site and are hoping for a vacancy in a developed one.  It's not a pretty place, since the grass looks a lot like it does in Helena in winter.  Tan.  But the area IS beautiful.  The park rests in the shadows or the huge Catalina Mountains.  We took a short walk along the Birding Trail just before supper.  At first I thought the birds had moved even farther south, but as we progressed, more appeared.  They ARE speedy little creatures.  I was able to capture only one in photo.  I missed a garish red bird, not being steady enough with the camera on high-telephoto to get it.  The trail is supposedly only a mile long, but it took us just under an hour to navigate it.  The views are spectacular, as you will see from the photos.The highest peak, Mount Lemmon, rises six thousand feet above the campground.  The area is covered with various species of cactus: saguaro, chollo and huge barrel cactus.  These are about three feet high and over eighteen inches across.  They are called fish hook barrel cacti, due to the shape of the tines, which are over three inches long.  Do NOT back into one or you'll truly know how a fish feels when caught.  There are several trails in the area, some over thirty miles in length.  Horses and bicycles share some of them with hikers.  Washes are common.  A wash is a dry creek bed which is sandy and follows the natural descending terrain.  They are common in the area and flow violently after a cloudburst.  We passed one, named Tom Mix Wash enroute.  Apparently some of his movies were shot in the area.  Our plans are to continue south to Patagonia Lake, just north of the Mexican border, where we'll spend a few days and them continue on to Sierra Vista.
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