Sabino Canyon and Pima Air and Space Museum

This would be our last full day in Tucson.  I had mentioned Sabino Canyon several times while we had been in town.  In fact, it was one of the three things I had hoped to do.  As our trip progressed I was less committal just because we had already done so much!  This morning Bill suggested we give it a visit.  There’s a 3.7 mile paved path up and into the canyon.  If the visitor arrives there early enough, it’s possible to snag a shuttle to the top and walk back down.

As fate would have it, we never arrive early.  There was a 2.5 hour wait for the next shuttle so Bill and I started walking.  We had consolidated everything into one small backpack and within minutes I had stripped down to my hiking pants and a tank top.  

The paved path up Sabino Canyon

It was a beautiful, sunny day!  It tickled us to see folks hiking in turtleneck sweaters, jackets, and skull caps.  There were nine bridges on the trail and several had water covering them – thankfully not very deep.  There were many Tucsonians using this trail for a good morning workout and plentiful volunteers along the way.  We strolled.  We did not power walk.  Bill and I are comfortable looking more like the tortoise than the hare. 

Shortly after stop #8 of the shuttle (there were 9) we started feeling pretty pooped.  I was remembering stories about my mother and her tenacity when hiking.  She was almost finished with a hike to a waterfall when a root caught her toe. She feel and broke a bone in her face and her elbow.  She was hiking alone and several kind people stopped to assist her.  Somehow a ranger made it to the trail to drive her back down.  But… my mom had to finish the hike first.  And she did.  I thought of her as we were tempted to quit.  No way.  We encountered a man on his way back down and he assured us, “You are sooo close!” We both made it to the end of the hike.  We were looking forward to taking the shuttle back down, but I wanted to explore the pools back at stop #8.  

We headed back down towards the pools. The previous tram driver had informed us that the trams only ran once an hour. I hadn’t been long at the pools so we decided to continue hiking down to the next stop. Sure enough, we met another tram heading up far before an hour had passed. We relaxed at stop 7 and waited for our opportunity. When the tram returned there were only 4 seats available. Lucky for us, two were together. For $7 each we enjoyed the ride back to the parking lot. Driving along the trail we had hiked it seemed like a long ways that we had traveled. I was thankful for the ride. Besides, we had one more adventure to close out our trip.

The Pima Air and Space Museum had been on Bill’s agenda from the beginning of our discussion of Tucson.  We arrived there in the heat of the afternoon and set about investigating the multiple hangers.  I know just about zilch about airplanes.  I trudged around the hangers and found lots of interesting planes to look at.  

My enthusiasm diminished some when we set about exploring the planes outside.  Dang, my feet hurt!  The last plane we visited was a B-17 WWII bomber.  As I walked around the 80 acre site it occurred to me that the vast majority of planes were military.  In my state of delirium I pondered how the majority of technological advancements in aeronautics were prompted by the desire to create the most lethal or best reconnaissance machines.  Considering all the airplanes in that field, that thought was sobering.

On the path to the pergola

We were both truly exhausted when we left the museum.  We stopped for our first (and last) “In and Out” burger before we returned to Raven Ridge Ranch for one last sunset from the pergola.  We were serenaded by a pack of coyotes as they passed through Patano wash.  We so enjoyed our time here.  It was such a pleasant surprise.

Leaving Tucson

I sat outside in the morning and was finally able to get a decent picture of a Gambel quail.  One morning there had been six in the large bowl bird feeder on our patio.  Unfortunately, I was on the other side of a heavy screen door.  I noticed that female cardinals were more colorful here than at home.  I could sit and watch birds for hours – if there hadn’t been so many other adventures calling.  I don’t regret a minute!

Our trip had truly exceeded our expectations, which admittedly – were few.  We covered so much of southern Arizona!  We had a pleasant last visit with Cal and Celine before we left Tucson and returned to Michigan.  

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