Monday, March 27, 2017

Tohono Chul

Last night we met Rick and JoAnne for dinner at Vero Amore and we talked, talked, talked.  In between we ate and enjoyed some happy hour wine,  but the thought of taking a picture never occurred to me.     We don't seem to have a lack of things to talk about and last night was no exception.    They leave for Mexico in a few days and we will start our eastern journey soon so who knows when our paths will cross again.

Today Dave and I had a great lunch at the Garden Bistro at Tohono Chul (desert corner), complete with prickly pear lemonade, and then strolled the beautiful grounds.  

It was a warm, windy day with incredible cloud formations.    We sat outside on the Bistro's patio and the temperature was just delightful, as was our meal.   Some staffing problems caused a longer than usual wait,  but the manager was very generous and we left with a good taste in our mouths....

The grounds of Tohono Chul are beautiful.  They invite you to discover the Sonoran Desert's Nature, Art and Culture.  We walked the Saguaro Discovery loop stopping along the way to read placards about how important these giants are to the Tohono O'odham people.  The yearly calendar revolves around the Saguaro cycles, their seeds, fruit and structure are important for food, religious rituals, as teaching examples, for shelter and more.

One huge unusually crested guy standing on the top of a hill caught our eye immediately.   It will be interesting to watch as it continues to grow, new arms appear to be growing out of the crest, I wonder where they'll go?

My only complaint was that the provided map is pure bears little resemblance to the actual layout and we had to ask for directions several times.    The unintended consequence of that, however, is that we wandered around more than we would have, had we known where we were actually going.
That was a good thing, we noticed lots of things we may not have otherwise.

the lacy skeleton of a prickly pear cactus

the top of a small saguaro was sliced off, allowing us to see its structure

nature is always interesting, but not always beautiful.....

always fascinating

Lord Bank sniffs Lady Banks Rose......
spicy he pronounces

We spent quite a bit of time bird watching.    We spied a pair of beautiful hawks in a tree in the riparian garden.   I managed to get a few bad pictures of them. Enough, I hoped, to at least identify them.   Nope!

 Our best guess is that they may have been Grey Hawks....any thoughts?

Hummingbirds zoomed in and out of trees and into brilliantly colored flower beds in the hummingbird garden.    Tiny gnatcatchers with very large voices flitted from branch to branch as we walked along.  They were entirely too busy to hold still for a photograph.

A pair of cactus wrens were busy picking bugs out of a stand of cactus and then working hard to dismantle another bird's nest.     They'd hang upside down on it and pull the nesting material out and toss it on the ground.    We're easily amused.

We enjoyed our visit immensely.    Tohono Chul afforded us a quiet and low key way to spend the day.

We were too full from lunch to eat dinner when we got home but we sat outside and had a bit of happy hour with Lewis.     He so enjoys happy hour.

every night, without fail, the mat tries to hide Lewis' fish


  1. I've yet to visit Tohono time! It sure looks lovely.

    That Lewis...!

  2. This spot is definitely on the list for next year! You certainly chose a good time of year to visit with some blossoming going on. So nice that you got to fit in one more visit with Rick and JoAnn:) Love the action photos of Lew! What a cute boy!

  3. We love Tohono Chul—it's one of our favorite little gems in Tucson. How very cool that you spotted a pair of Grey Hawks!

  4. Cactus have such a great sense of style and humor - and their skeletons are always fascinating! I would love the history and culture here as well, we must make this stop next time. Will the mat never learn????

  5. Yep, Tohono Chul is on our list too! It's so awesome to see your pictures of the cacti and all the blooms. We left way to early this year to enjoy them. Lewis is so full of energy and fun!

  6. I beat myself for choosing the mall instead of Tohono Chul when I was nearby there. I will make this place one of my yet to go while still here. Would love to see those fascinating cacti that by now could be blooming.
    Laurel seemed to concur that it is a Gray Hawk, so your id was spot on.

  7. Fun! Never knew about that place and it looks great. So much to see and oh how I adore those poodle ears!