Monday, January 18, 2016

A Sunday Drive (On Monday) and So Much More!

What an awesome "Sunday Drive" I had today - enjoyed my day off celebrating Martin Luther King and Civil Rights in this gorgeous desert.  I made a huge loop around the city, wandering around on the west side of the Tucson Mountains where I don't think there's more gorgeous terrain anywhere in the world.  So many cactus!
First, though, I went up to Sentinel Park and visited A Mountain.  It's sort of like going to the top of Cadillac (in Acadia) but with a completely different feel.  Since it's not part of the National Park system, it's not in pristine condition.  There's graffiti.  There's shining glass and ground-in litter in the parking areas.  The views are incredibly expansive - 360 degrees!  Granted, the view does not include ocean and lakes and incredible greenness, but the views of the city, with mountains, and cacti and beautiful blue skies are just as spectacular in their own way.  The cars parked up there - and there are many, many people enjoying the vies, sitting on the rocks and looking out over the expanse - are, for the most part, battered and old.  Mine included.  A free view.  Clean air.  What more could one want?
I found a letterbox up here, too, which was the reason I ascended, but became a plus.  I really enjoyed this trip.  The woman who planted the box let me know that she no longer comes to Tucson (her daughter was a student at the U of A when the mom planted it) and she's glad it's still safe and being found.

From there I hit Silverbell and headed north.  Hadn't been over here in years.  Stopped at Christopher Columbus Park where I found another plant by Desert Flower.  I was sure I was nowhere near where I was supposed to be, but followed the directions and VOILA!  There it was!
From there I headed north even more to go to the Picture Rocks area, meandering across the Tucson Mountains, along Sanderio Road, Kinney Road, and Gates Pass Road.  LOVE IT SO MUCH OVER THERE!

I found my last letterbox of the day along the side of Wade Road, in a desert setting, in the midst of all sorts of cacti.  The letterbox was called "Cactus Village."  Cactus Village to be sure!  Two different kinds of cholla, barrel, prickly pear, and saguaro plus a whole lot of creosote bushes and small palo verdi trees - just gorgeous, just sitting there.  With the letterbox sitting innocently a hundred feet or so from the edge of the road.
As a side note, I checked my altimeter reading at the top of Gates Pass and it was 3150 feet.  I don't usually drive from west to east over Gates Pass and I missed the view going the other way.  It was still pretty darned breathtaking.....

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