Thursday, February 27, 2014

Take A Little Trip.

       I am still in California taking lots of pictures for a post or two from outside of amazing Arizona.  Yesterday and today a rare treat-- no really, we saw cloudy skies and rain.  After months in the desert both are a very welcome sight!  In today's post Butch, the boys, and I Explore just past the caves in Benson, on the highway that leads to Sierra Vista.  We had originally intended to hike to the top of the below pictured mountain, but after a lot of traveling and even more heat, we did not appear to be any closer to the great hill.   Another challenge for another day.   After the caves look for the above turn.  This is all state trust land so a pass is needed to use the area.  We did not pull our truck into the area, so we did not need a pass.  At least for the day, this logic worked for us.  Border Patrol units patrol the area all of the time, so this luck may not hold true for you.  Butch definitely did not like the cattle guard and we had to convince him to cross through the fence.  

 This mountain and the view that must present itself from the top is beyond inviting.  But for the time being, it is still another spot on my ever growing check list of places to Explore.  

                             As in much of Arizona -mountains circle the whole area. 

These jet streams mark the spot for a great hike.  

Several dirt roads go through the area.  
On the way back down, I decided it was easier to jog back to the truck. 
If not tiring. 

Since our oldest could not get out of this picture
he embraced the moment. 
Although he learned  that even with his eyes closed tight  we could still see him.

Mr Butch points out the way!

Some off trail action. 

Because of the early very warm weather
I warn all readers to keep an extra eye out for snakes already.
Many have been spotted in the Tucson area with the snakes and hikers thinking it is already spring.  The one thing that scares me the most is snakes of any kind, 
so this is not welcome news to me. 

Even from a distance  this mountain makes for a good picture.

After we ran into a few fences we decided it was time to journey into the river run off. 
The travailing was easier and much of it was shaded. 

We used to find such rock sightings all of the time in Bellingham, Washington
and it is nice to see them here in Arizona also. 

If nothing else it is a small reminder that others have also been were you are standing. 
Many a place we Explore, we never actually see other hikers.  

Although temperatures only reached about 80 on this day, by the time we were
returning to the truck -we were rather warm.
Above is my last shot for the day 
and for this post.  

For more Exploring and random randomness please check out my first blog series

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Exploring with Wyoming Jack/Bobble Head

      As Always

                    **HAPPY TRAILS!!**

Some Tucson Exploring

      Welcome back readers!   This post comes from Northern California were I am busy Exploring and getting new pictures for future posts to this very page.   MANY new posts, Exploring, and pictures in the works.   Please check out MY first page for lots more Exploring and mayhem at :

      The California posts will appear soon--under a little further down the road headings, today we again roam around beautiful Arizona.  Last week I enjoyed some of the sights in Tucson and of course the full on sunshine.   On Tuesday my wife and I dropped the kids of at school, and than snuck off for Tucson for some shopping and casino time.  We ended up at the Desert Diamond Casino.   If you get a member card there, Tuesday is the day to do so.  Not only do they give you free money to gamble on, but you can enjoy the large buffet for free.   And it only takes one coupon on Tuesdays, because it is "buy" one get one free day.   So on Friday I returned to Tucson to take a hike and use my free food coupon at the casino. 

 My first stop was at the large Flying J truck stop right across from the even larger Triple T truck stop, both on the outskirts of Tucson.  Both offer lots of food and shopping choices including great coffee and more importantly they offer a restroom.   I was trying out a new camera on this trip, and needed to stretch my legs, so ventured around the area to snap a few shots. 

This was still in the parking lot
and it is much harder than it looks to capture a bee in mid flight.

It amazes me how these magnificent plants are so varied.
These are rare in Tucson, simply because they are not spray painted by vandals and taggers.

Before finding a large lunch I decided it was time to Explore.

A local park was my stopping place. 
Just across this great bridge was a paved wonderland of trails to Explore.  

But trails are boring
Mostly because someone has already been were they go
and because they can easily become very crowded. 
So I soon was roaming around the open desert. 
I came across a set of rail road tracks. 
And have found that many of the best sights involve walking on tracks. 
Plus there is not much better than walking on rail road tracks
accented by a bright and sunny day.
The only thing that can make it better, is to do all this with a buddy.

I soon found I was behind the air museum.
Very close to the huge plane bone yard, but slightly less secure.

Many a time I have jumped a fence or three, even on this trip to California.
But not on this day in Tucson.
The warnings backed by the air force and the army keep me on the correct side of the fence. 
So does the massive razor wire.
Some day I wish to Explore the museum more, but thought it would be  a much better trip when I had the kiddos with me. 

I was soon much closer to the fence line.

So much history in one small space. 

Butch asks "Were are you Exploring today ??"

Next post Explores this area just past the caves on the way to Sierra Vista.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Local Mini Hikes & Search For Water Part I

           Good morning to everyone!  As always I hope that you enjoy this Exploring page even half as much as I enjoy posting and taking the pictures for this page.  This is my third such page, and I would like to hope that with my newest page things are getting close to perfect.  For the most part this blog is about amazing Arizona and will soon take us across the entire state and back.  I hope that you share the link with anyone that lives in the sun filled state, has a special place in there heart for Arizona, or to your family and friends that are not seeing as much sunshine!  Although I try to keep this page very local -sometimes I venture further down the road.  Next week I will be in Palm Springs, so of course several picture filled posts will follow.  Our new home is Benson, Arizona so many of the adventures focus around this part of Arizona at the moment.  For tons of more adventures  and maybe some random rambling please check out my first blog page  at:

I just read an amazing article about how important it is to take your kids on hikes.
From teaching them new skills, to just getting them away from it all.
And most of the time I take one or all of our kids along with me.
On this day though it was just Butch and I.
Sometimes we just need to be alone with our thoughts
sweating out the negatives and enjoying the quiet the desert has to offer.

Like these plants I have been searching for areas of water in the last week of Exploring.
Not an easy task when in the desert in February.
But the next few posts will show I have found some areas in and around Benson!

Most of the places we seem to roam will be filled with gushing water during the mighty monsoon season.

Down by the runoff I found this small rock stack.
I used to find them all of the time while roaming around the bay in Bellingham, Washington.
An area so pretty I also have a picture filled blog page just from the area!

Maybe after coming from an area with so much water--to living here
is the main reason I am looking for an desert oasis.
Maybe I am just bored.

Rock stacking-Expert level.

Clouds kept rolling in and than on by on this day.

This downed barbed wire fence is not protecting much anymore.

 Although we saw many signs that water was lurking just below the sandy surface, we found no standing water once again.  These pictures are once again from the area in Benson just down from the motels, Jack In The Box, and on the way to the city dump.  I have reported on this area several times before and had found no water so we moved on. 

What path will you choose?
In your hikes and in every day life. 
The easy path that is well traveled
or the path that few have ventured. 

Before we venture to the next Exploring location--I must vent a little bit. 
Every time I take a hike through the desert, I find piles of garbage every time I venture out.  Many times when still basically in city limits.  
I realize the above picture is of abandoned palm trees and not really garbage, but it was dumped in the middle of the desert.  
This is the desert NOT your personal/free dump sight.  
My kids are instantly drawn to the garbage to look for something neat or to break. 
And of course our dogs are equally as drawn. 
This takes away from any great adventure -every time. 
If you pack it in--pack it out. 

Please stop!

 OK  I will jump off of my soap box now and continue on with the Exploring.

We jumped in the pickup and headed further down the road.
Still searching for water. 
This time we headed towards St David.
Parking just before the rail road tracks and quickly headed across the highway- down beside the bridge. 

Butch and I had found water. 
Nor much and not the cleanest
but Butch was instantly running back and forth threw the liquid. 

Since we were again greeted by a very sunny day, we ventured on.

This mostly hidden tree fort looks strong still, but also appears to not have been used for a very long time.  

Soon we found a solar powered electric fence.  After stopping Butch from marking the fence- we decided it was time to head back.  
But first I must share this quick story about my buddy I am going to visit next week.
Years ago he and some friends decided to tube a mighty river in the heart of Washington state. 
My buddy got separated from his group and at some point decided to leave the cooling water and walk.  He came to this huge field and noticed many cows just standing in the middle of the field with what appeared to be a string supported by fence posts all around the cows. 
The pasture was in the way of getting to his truck -so he proceeded forward. 
As he again started walking, he pondered why the stupid cows would stay in an area only protected by a thin string. 
He was still processing this, as he approached the string and grabbed it with both hands.
This completed the circuit and shocked the crap out of my buddy.
It seems he really is a city slicker, and was not simply grabbing a cow restraing string, but the wire for an electric fence!

This was just on the other side of the electric fence.   
I am not sure what it is, but it really seemed to need to be protected. 
And I was not about to get shocked to attempt to learn what this was for.  

One last shot of the actual flowing water, before heading back to the truck.

This was Butch as soon as we returned home.