Friday, December 15, 2017

Another week flies by

I'm not very good at taking pictures of people, posed pictures of people.   As a result, I have no photographic record of the Happy Hour we shared at Laurel and Eric's sweet Arctic Fox trailer on Tuesday night.    They were just a few sites north of us here at Catalina for a couple days and we enjoyed spending time and getting to know them better.    Lewis attended this Happy Hour he wants you to know that he really likes Laurel and Eric, Laurel even shared a brie topped cracker with him. 

Wednesday night we met them at the yummy Vivace for dinner.   Each of us had something different and everything we ate was exceptional, even our shared creme brulee.     When we finally decided to call it a night we discovered that we were the only ones left in the entire large restaurant!    Guess we had a good time!    Again, no picture proof.

They decided to stay over one more day so yesterday morning we met them at the birding trail.    I have pictures!

Laurel focusing

We all share a love of birds so we enjoyed our walk through three of the park's different habitats.   Catalina is home to at least 150 species of birds and I was excited to add four new birds to my life list before we ended our morning.

Dave and Eric zoom in

We'll have to go back before we leave next Tuesday because Laurel and Eric told us they saw a group of Coatimundi on the same trail later!

In between our socializing we resolved some minor but annoying problems, worked on a prototype for a possible problem when we're off roading and did a bit of exploring the area.

Dave gets help with an idea he has been brewing

We, also, received a wonderful treat in the mail.   Our dear friend Judi sent her traditional box of Christmas cookies to us despite losing her dear mother just days before.   She's a special friend, a special person.

he wouldn't pose, he had to get the box open!

Hi Judi!

We take daily walks on the bridle trail behind our site.   Lewis looks forward to these walks and he especially enjoys sending many p-mails along the way.

one of several p mails Lewis sends to future canine passersby

After we figured out how to get a State Land Trust Permit, we explored a few jeep roads north of the park.   We've never run into the need for such a permit but evidently they are necessary for a number of areas we were interested in.

We had a great time on both excursions but were not, technically, successful on either.   The first, Wild Burro Canyon, was attempted with no map to guide us.  We had just gotten the Permit and were near the beginning point of the short trail so we just went for it.    Beautiful and interesting scenery to be sure, but we made a wrong turn right at the end so we never got where we were heading!   We knew we were off, and tried numerous side washes but ended up calling it and heading home.

a fire hydrant?  a gingerbread man?

Today we decided to follow the Tucson Wash from Mammoth south to Oracle.  This time we had the "book" with us so we were confident we'd complete the ride.    We started out very well.

Down into the wash and under the old wooden train trestle.

Through some beautifully colored rock formations studded with cactus. 

We decided to stop for lunch at the beginning of a short, narrow side canyon.   Before we ate Lewis asked if we could take a short hike to stretch his legs.

this way guys!  follow me!

Are you coming?   What's taking you so long!

I wish I had enlarged this -
One rarely sees a flying poodle these days.

Instead of sitting on the lovely warm rocks (Dave noticed ants) we dug out our beach chairs and set up lunch in the sun.

We always share our trail lunch with Lewis and today he decided that the tiny piece of Pringle I offered wasn't interesting so he dropped it in the sand.  In the blink of an eye a couple of those ants seized it and began to drag it away.   We were fascinated and watched them for a long time.   We gave them another crumb and they dropped the first one to drag the second away.   After hiding it in the shadow of a nearby rock they returned for the first piece.    Aren't we an exciting couple?

After our stimulating lunch entertainment we packed up and set off in search of the narrow box canyon ahead.   As I said, we had the book with what we thought sounded like simple instructions, complete with mileage and way points.

Not to be.   Nothing was where it was supposed to be.  We turned around to check, and then recheck.   Nope.   So we just decided to continue along the wash in the direction of home.   It had to lead somewhere, right?

It did, it took us right to the spot where the trail was supposed to end, near route 77 in Oracle. 

 Except we missed the entire middle, the drive through the narrow box canyon and the high saddle viewpoint.   Neither of us know where we went wrong.....but we did.    I suppose the look of washes change with the seasons, the storms, the floods.   We'll try again next time. 

 It's the journey not the destination, right?

So, another week is behind us.   The temperatures are forecast to drop again tonight so our plants are safe and warm inside on Beluga's dashboard.

And sweet Lewis, exhausted from his running and climbing today, is snoring quietly on the couch.





  1. Wow! A lovely long post!!! Every night I check for it. Suddenly, it appears like Magic. Sort of like your "flying poodle." Congrats on the new 3 birds for your list. I was excited to see Dave get those wonderful annual Xmas cookies but so sad to hear of Judi's loss. Hugs sent to her from ky. Night to all of you in the West! Cindy

  2. What a wonderful post Sue. Such a treat to go birding with Laurel & Eric. We haven’t met yet, but I read about them all the time. We will definitely have to check out Vivace when we return to Tucson in Feb. The picture of “flying” Lew makes my heart happy! It’s so special to see our canine dependents enjoying life and sharing it with them. And yes, you are exciting !

  3. We've only stayed at Catalina in Feb. and the mesquite trees have always been neat to see them covered with their tiny leaves!

    I would so love to see Coatimundi in the wild! We've only seen them at the feeding area in Madera Canyon.

    You've got me all excited for our stay there in Feb...especially since I am currently in the middle of a looong spell in the city!

  4. Laurel and Eric are such great birders. When we have a trail with lots of birds, I always comment that I wish they were here to identify what we are hearing. Glad you now have four new friends on your list:) Sounds like a wonderful time getting to know each other. Four of my favorite people:)

    We will have to drive back up there in Feb and give those roads another try and take my furry buddy along. How sweet that Lew got to hike around. Love, love that flying poodle photo! You are rather slow in Lew's book when hiking! He always looks so cute sleeping on his pillow:) Not too long now!! I better get the ball warmed up!

  5. We did Burro Canyon a couple years ago, seemed to be mostly motorcycles at the time and not all that extensive. The Tucson Wash looks a lot more interesting. We'll be there for some Cactus League ball in March, thanks for the ideas of other things to do.

  6. You had a very full week! Always fun times with L&E - glad you got the opportunity in such a pretty spot. Those Jeep trips look wonderful even if without the expected outcome. Always a next time. Love that pic of Lewis on the side of the rock!! I totally get the entertainment factor of ants moving things five times their size - fascinating stuff :-)))

  7. Beautiful photos of the wildlife.
    How sweet of Judi to keep you supplied with her delicious cookies.
    Keep enjoying that sunshine. We have 6" of snow on the ground...yuck!

  8. I always find a new bird when hiking with Laurel and Eric, and yes we found one at the top of Iron Mountain Trail, they had the pictures :) Steve was upset when he saw your Cardinal picture, for we did not see a single one while there. That red bird happens to be his favorite!
    We need friends who have jeep who should us their adventures in the wilderness, so thanks for taking us to your exploration, and yes the journey mattered most and I enjoyed it.

  9. Finally back to the world of internet after a few days in the Chiricahuas, and look what I missed! I'm happy we were there in real life to share such fun times with you three. Loved our happy hour, our fabulous dinner at Vivace, and our morning birding. Looks like you had a great time on your Jeeping adventures. Haha, we were just watching ants on the trail a couple of days ago, and marveling at two of them working together to move a piece of cracker! It's all about the journey for us, too. :-))