When we got up in the morning, the Saguaro cactuses had opened their blooms. This photo is of the very top of the very tall cactus. The blooms seem to be out only for a short while, probably because of the heat.
We went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum which is just a few miles from our campground, Gilbert Ray. This was an excellent experience. The Museum is mostly outdoors, which is why we went first thing. The forecast was for 100 degrees, and it was already hot at 9 am.
There are docents every time you turn around, so there is lots of information available about everything from the saguaro cactus to the gems of Arizona. There are animals like the mountain lion and screech owl, and a great agave garden and cactus garden. At that point, we were getting hot so we cut the loop short and went through the hummingbird aviary and back to the visitor center. I am sure we could have spent half the day there if the temperature were a little cooler. I highly recommend this museum if you are in the Tucson area.
We went to the National Park visitor center which was open now. Note that we are in the Tucson Mountain District, on the west side of Tucson. We took the Bajada Loop Drive, and stopped at Signal Hill for lunch. Since we had now seen almost all of the loop, we decided to go east through the Golden Gate Road to Picture Rocks Road toward the East side of the National Park. On the way, we drove near Sabino Canyon, and I recalled that there was a tram ride up the canyon, so we stopped there and took the tram ride. It is a nice 7 mile trip up the canyon. It is set up so you can stop at many places along the canyon road and get picked up by the next tram. But remember, it was still hot, so we chose to stay on the tram up to the end of the ride and back. At the visitor center for the National Forest, we learned that there was a wild fire north of the Sabino Canyon, so we couldn't drive farther up into the Sky Island Scenic Byway.
At this point, we were near the Rincon Mountain District, or east side of the national park. It also has a scenic loop, so we drive around this loop. Many of the cactus were still in bloom, which was good for us. It was nice but rather similar to what we had already seen, so we decided we had seen enough and headed back to our campground. We had planned to spend another day here but we felt we had seen about all we could given the heat, so we decided to head toward our next stop, Guadalupe Mountain National Park and Carlsbad Cavern National Park. Since it would have been a long day drive anyway, we had the opportunity to break it into two days, which seemed much nicer to us. After looking at the map, we decided to head toward Las Cruces, NM, for our overnight stop after spending the night at Gilbert Ray campground.
Another nice sunset here, right from the camp site. No more photos, as I couldn't see improving over the photo from last night.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.