Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 8, 2015 The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum & Hiking in Madera Canyon

We started our day at Chaffin's Diner...tasty pancakes and a cute young waitress with a classic 1960's look right down to the beehive hairstyle. Then we stopped at this art gallery that we have passed several times so I could get a picture of this cool Tucson mural.
Then it was off to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This is a great place to learn all about the local desert areas. It is mostly outside in the actual Sonoran Desert. Kennedy & I spent all morning here. We learned a lot about all the things we have seen so far this week.

You would not want to see this staring back at you in the wild.

a local white-tailed deer

a Mexican wolf...probably captured by the border patrol trying to sneak into this country...he was just trying to feed his he is in an American animal jail.

 a goofy prairie dog
When I first walked up to the coyote ramada, I could not see the wire mesh fencing...I actually said what is keeping that coyote in the exhibit. Then I saw the wire mesh when the sun hit it at a different angle. This coyote was stalking back and forth intensely looking for something. 

We were walking along the dirt trail through the desert when a group of ladies told us to stop...there was a western diamondback rattlesnake crossing the trail. There were signs warning that this is a real desert area and wild animals can roam through it...our first snake sighting...and our last as it turned out. 

"I am not a pig" is posted everywhere you might see a javelina. I can see why there might be confusion.

I learned that various birds and wildlife use saguaro cactus as their homes.

a bobcat enjoying some shade

lizards are everywhere

a few shots from our stroll in the Agave Garden

Now a few pictures from our stroll through the Cactus Garden.

this little bighorn sheep lamb was born a week ago.

It was definitely the star attraction here today. 

I am guessing this big guy is the father.

a coati resting in the shade...we were hoping to see one the other day at Chiricahua but did not so this one will have to do.

a few bird photos taken in the walk in aviary and some taken walking the trails

We were heading south of Tucson to Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains in the Coronado National Forest when we stopped for lunch at a Mariscos Chihuahua. It took awhile because I refuse to eat the same crappy fast food I can eat at home. It turns out we were in a real Mexican section of Tucson...our waitress did not speak English...I had to bust out my high school Spanish to order my lunch...lucky for me I got what I hoped I had ordered correctly...Camarones Al Mojo de was very tasty spicy grilled shrimp with garlic...I even understood I owed treinta y siete dólares y 52 centavos before I saw the reciept. Now off to go hiking...I burped up garlic shrimp the rest of the day.

It was late in the day so we decided to do a short hike up to Bogs Spring...
...we came across this just past the trail head...maybe this hike isn't so easy.

A hike with real trees with leaves...I've been trying to mix up the hiking options so we aren't always  walking across sandy desert far, so good.

The National Forest Service seems to have a smaller budget for signs than the National Park department.

a tree with alligator bark...this might be an Alligator Juniper tree.

..."the mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

The view back down Madera Canyon

Having fun in the sun.

The bees were enjoying the fresh water at the spring.

We dropped out backpacks and relaxed in the cool shade of the trees.

I took pictures while Kennedy enjoyed the solace of being in the woods on a mountain.

Something created a den under the roots of this tree.

With daylight fading, we headed back down the canyon.

Natural Camouflage 

cool shadows from the late afternoon sun

We walked down to Madera Creek before driving back to Tucson.

Again we just relaxed for awhile on the rocks along the creek...listening to water flowing downhill over rocks...quite possibly the most soothing sound in the world.

This is the area we just hiked into. 

Kennedy took this shot as a group of turkey vultures circled above us...I think it might be time to go.

On the way back Kennedy looked up the phone number for Brooklyn Pizzeria on Fourth Street in was my job to remember the first 5 digits...I screwed them up so many times that Kennedy memorized the whole phone number and ordered the pizza...unfortunately we were only 5 minutes away by the time we placed our order...the pizza was OK but not worth the wait...we had laundry to off to the laundromat...we got back to the hotel about 10 pm...a long but very productive day.


  1. What a fantastic trip. The pictures are jaw dropping. This time spent with Kennedy is priceless. It was way more educational and fun then any class at TFS. I bet it has deepened his thoughts on the care and beauty of nature and animals forever. He will always remember this trip. Every kid should have an awesome uncle and aunt (cousin/nephew/neice) as you and Christy. Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures and blog about what you guys did. It's like I got to see the sites too without working up a sweat. By the time I got dressed it would be dark out so I'd only see the inside of the motel room and the local coffee shop that serves bad food.

  2. Thanks for the kind words Marilyn. I had a great time with Kennedy. He's a good kid. It is our hope that spending time in amazing places will make the younger generations want to protect them from people that want to destroy them.Someone protected these places in the past so we could enjoy them now. We need to do that for the future generations.