Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bull. Ruins. Trees, etc...

The other day--went for a hike with a friend...stopped in our tracks by a bull. Yeah--not a bear, not a mountain lion, but a bull. We were in the Rincon mountains, east of Tucson--open cattle-range country...also an area popular with 4-wheelers on weekends...Our destination: Chiva Falls, supposedly flowing strong due to snowmelt...And then we saw him--he was staring us down, and the scrawny mesquites around us weren't tall enough to provide climbable safety...We thought he might trot off, but instead he paced back and forth, never losing eye-contact with us. And BIG horns...So we didn't test him, figuring he's probably antagonized on weekends by beer-drinking four-wheelers, and therefore is not too fond of bipedal hikers...

So, no waterfall that day...

The next day, my wife and I did a day-trip out of Tucson:
up to see the Hohokam ruins at Casa Grande National Monument,
lunch in the Victorian-era town of Florence,
and then the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park--
a collection of desert plants from all over the world
at the base of a red-rock mountain east of Phoenix...
dinner in Globe, a mining town on the edge of the Apache reservation...
before driving back down to Tucson
under a crescent-moon with Venus like a beauty mark next to a smile...

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A few photos:

I visited Casa Grande Nat'l Monument a couple of years ago, but it was Sara's first visit--fun to see it for the first time through her eyes...
This area was settled by the Hohokam for probably a thousand years before being abandoned in the 1400's...intensive agriculture, sophisticated pottery, trade routes stretching all the way to Central America, miles and miles of canals...(cautionary tale?)

...in front of the visitor's center, some desert cassia (senna) was blooming...

...fa├žade of a Sonoran-style house built in 1880 in Florence, Arizona...

Florence is also the county-seat of Pinal county and its Victorian-style courthouse dates to the 1890's...

This year is not turning out to be as spectacular as last spring for wildflowers in Arizona, but still, there are some Mexican goldpoppies here and there...


...and this is a view of Queen creek, which runs through the middle of the
Boyce Thompson Arboretum--totally worth the two-hour drive from Tucson. (less than an hour from Phoenix)
Almost looks Australian, eh?

...a few roses in bloom in the rose-garden...
...some poppies...

...and this Japanese quince was blooming...

of course, there are cacti--this is a maroon-flowered euphorbia...

...and this Mexican crested blue cactus...(remind you of anything?)

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