This weekend, high temperatures have been into the 80s and my goodness, it feels good! We love to have the top down on the convertible and this weather has been perfect for that.
It’s been a more active, outdoor week for us that we’ve seen in quite a while. Tuesday was a beautiful day so we decided to get out of the bus and enjoy it. We are within just a few miles of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, but this is the first time we’ve been there this season. They’ve added an aquarium which we hadn’t seen. Aquarium, you say? In the desert? Opened in December 2012, the Museum contains both fresh- and salt-water animal species from the Sea of Cortez. Picture taking was difficult in the dark environment, so for some we settled for a picture of the descriptive sign.
One tank was particularly interesting. The little animals looked like earthworms coming up out of the ground, bending in about the same direction at the same time. More than a little creepy looking!
I tend to think of minnows as bait, but here’s one that might be used to catch a REALLY big fish!
One of the attractions at the museum is a raptor free flight demonstration and we always try to be there at the right time to see it. Sometimes it has been just Harris hawks but this week a couple of different owls were flying and hunting as well. The hawks, though, always get the most attention since they usually hunt as a family group and I think there were 4 or 5 the afternoon we saw them. We were fortunate enough to get a place right behind one of the handlers so we had a close up view of these beautiful birds.
One lady near us was convinced that the museum just happened to schedule this demonstration when the birds were out, and thought it was so wonderful that they happened to swoop in at just the place where this handler was. The real reason, though, was a little bloody meat transferred from the hand to the glove at the precise time it was needed.
After the show we continued on down the walking path to see the other animals. Along the way, though, we noticed that the ocotillo plants had appreciated last week’s moisture. The plants just look like dead, dry sticks until a good rain or in this case, snow, occurs and then the leaves begin to come out within a matter of hours. Several already had their telltale red blooms at the top of the plants before the leaves began.
The javelinas were all napping when we were there. We call them “not-a-pigs”, since they are really members of the pecary family. No pictures this time, sadly. They were just a pile of black under a tree.
This little ground squirrel was much more cooperative. And yes, we really were that close to him on the other side of the glass, no zoom lens required.
There were several children looking around when we were there but no bus loads as frequently happens. I’m sure many of them took advantage of this miniature adventure while their parents took the normal route.
The “rocks” are made right around the corner in a workshop so we got to see how that was done, too. Somehow it takes something away from the huge boulders, knowing they are man made.
On Thursday while the more strenuous hiking group went on a longer hike, LeRoy and I went by ourselves on the Bowen Trail. Our hike was a loop to the Stone House, less than four miles and mostly flat with no cable climbs to ascend or descend this time. I’m always amazed at the difference in the vegetation from one side of the trail to the other. I know it depends on how much sun, etc. but it still gets me.
The stone house was built by a newspaperman who had moved with his wife from New York for her respiratory health. The shell is all that is left but it was quite a place, about 60′ by 20+’. There are lots of windows and the views would be spectacular, but I’ve become too much of a city girl over the years to want to be that isolated.
Our Friday outing was an ATV ride with folks from the Mountain View RV park, where we spent time the first winter we were on the road. Last year we went with them on a ride along the Mexican border. This year we did a more mountainous ride. Fortunately, the weather was sunny and relatively warm because we rode through valleys with snow beside the road most of the day.
Internet conditions are slow here right now, so I guess the ATV ride and yesterday’s birthday party for a 1-year-old will have to wait. Maybe later this evening.