Monday, January 23, 2017

Collossal Cave Park

    In light of a lot of things--I have been taking to much of a pause from this very page.  A page that I love.  A page that the pictures and blog posts provide a lot of stress relievers for myself.  I am trying to catch up on my post and updates and promoting of this page now.  And there a lot of each -to post, I am excited to say!   Thank you for staying with this Exploring blog page---and sharing it with your friends!   I will update much more this year, and take our Exploring across this amazing and beautiful state.  Although I strive to keep the posts as new and fresh as possible, many of the updates I have in the works are from months ago---thus last year, sadly enough.  Today's post and my next one are very recent though.  ;)  Again  a HUGE thank you to all of my present and future readers!!   As you wait for me to stop slacking on this very page, please check out old posts--there are quite a few great ones if I do say so myself.  With my own personal pictures and our Exploring.  My longest running blog page seems to get updated most often    so check it out also if you wish-----you know you want to.
                                                                                         Yesterday just happened to be our youngest 13th birthday!  His party with class mates is next weeksend, but we still needed to celebrate.  And at first I thought I could empty the house of kiddos for a few hours for mommy, while we Explored.  This did not happen, but after cake and ice cream, of course, we got in some good Exploring just up the highway at Colossal Cave's Park.  When we left St David, early in the afternoon, we had second thoughts as the rain began to dump down.  We hit several good storm systems on the way up I-10, but once we neared Tucson we hit full on sunshine.   It was an illusion of sorts--since the wind was strong and chilly.   Especially to a kiddo that always enjoys wearing shorts.  Up on the hill by the caves entrance offered amazing views for sure, but also allowed for some intense wind.   We had to exit the vehicle one at a time, to not get blown away.
In the parking lot. 
 It was very nice to have free admission on this day--especially since it was a Saturday.
In the main parking lot -by the visitors center and over looking the area.
This area offers many trails, for when it is less windy.
And connects to the amazing Arizona Trail.
Looking way down at a little  pond.
I always try to picture water we find in Arizona while Exploring. 
Shot I had to get on the way to the park.
The park is a ways out in the middle of no where.  Like I like our Exploring.  Although we passed a large Wal-Greens on the way, and a construction sight for a new Chase Bank.  We also passed several sheriff's, waiting for speeders on the way.  Watch the speed limit signs for sure, even when you feel you are in the middle of no where.  

Above the church--the clouds were still moving out.
Just down from the port a potty's in the parking lot.   As I said many trails are in the area. 
Please also note--there are several areas near by with real bathrooms.  The nearby visitors center also offers beverages if you forgot to bring any, and some warmth from the blustery wind. 
Not sure whom this shirtless man is, but he has an amazing view.   
Found just in front of the visitors center.  
I don't know if we hit off season, or it was just to windy on this day, but not much at all was going on in this whole area of the park.     The outer shops were closed and many of the side trails here seemed to be also. 
I was also quickly annoyed at the multitude of signs in the area  mostly telling me I could not do things.  

We drove through the wind, back to our vehicle looking for the ranch.
Down in this area was a picnic area, running water, BBQ pits, and supposedly a playground  but we never found a play ground.  Best yet   the grey clouds had moved on, and we were mostly sheltered from the high winds.  
Another parking lot is offered here. 
With trails nearby.
A road leads of to the nearby ranch, but we were not sure how deep the standing water was in the road. 

Overly brown water but from a distance was still kind of pretty.
Workers living area.   Looked deserted to me.  But what do I know.

After a few trails or cow trails we were nearing the ranch.

So many trails   So little time.

I am always a sucker for an elegant wind mill

The older the better.

Around a corner on the dusty trail we got this view of a dusting of snow.
Originally we wanted to venture back up Mt Lemmon and get some snow pictures and fun in, but they got to much snow, for Arizona and the roads are still closed.   
Into the ranch.    
Actually very kool.  
Although like many times I might have been more impressed than the birthday boy.
You can get trail rides and such -for a price.
Many other tourist traps were also in this area, although most were closed on this day.

I even caught them all when they were not peeing.

Not sure why these are here
But I LOVE this picture.

Another windmill shot, sorry y'all.

We even found this old tortoise    who also lives on the ranch.  

Another short trail view

Area before the creek to Explore    full of buildings and a cafe, when open.
Butterfly  garden, and ghost town. 

Good times!

Even this storage building is evil....

Quick loop back down by the water.
Although the trails keep going.

On the way out---
I really enjoy this picture.  

Hope you do too!

My newest hike partner  
Maybe in a few more months.

As always  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Still Tough Enough For Tombstone

        Hello faithful readers!    After a very busy and eventful year we have finally got back to having some time for Exploring and new adventures both near and far.  I got my good camerae fixed and working again, and do not have to rely solely on cell phone pictures with no zoom or resolution.  We also broke down and bought  a road worthy car from an actual dealership, well are in the long process of buying it.  With the new year I vowed to take more time off work, for family and to Explore.  So far that is not working to well, with a reduced work crew and just getting off working ten days in a row.  But through it all I have gotten many great pictures and some amazing Exploring in to share with y'all!   Thank you for staying with me during my non posting months.   I will turn that around very soon!   As always please look through the old posts and share them like crazy, if you enjoy what you see here!     
    Also you can view many of my pictures first on my longest running blog page   full of random rambling, coffee love, deep quotes and thoughts, and of course Exploring         I am going to keep this posting short and sweet---more to get me back in the grove of posting, but also because this was a quick trip.    And because I now have several postings from the amazing city of Tombstone!   We love going to Tombstone, and it is really just minutes away from our home.   Please check out my other ---more picture filled posts from this amazingly tough town.
        A few weeks ago our youngest and I had some down time and took off just down the road to Tombstone.  It was a very cloudy day, but no rain wanted to fall.  The town seems to kind of be less fun when the smell of rain is in the air.  Many places and attractions were shut down on this day.  Few tourists were roaming around, and even fewer people/workers were in costume.  Maybe more because it was a day in the middle of the week-more than the threat of rain?   We went as a family one day several years ago in the summer, and a big almost monsoon rain storm came through.  We almost owned the dirt main street as everyone ran for cover.  We went to the middle of the almost deserted streets to play in the refreshingly cool rain---in our defense we lived in Washington state for years before coming here---so know for sure we will not melt in the rain.    The less tourists on this recent trip, just gave us more room to roam the streets and Explore some of the shops we had never been in.   Although as it neared lunch time I was very disappointed that the OK eatery was closed, AND  the Chuck Wagon- the later for remodeling.  Both have great food, and offer very reasonable prices.  They also allow you to dine with younger kiddos without the "fun" of eating in one of the many fine bars Tombstone has to offer.   Yet another reason the trip was a short one, we ended up going back to Benson to find lunch.  

My hike partner was not aware I was snapping his picture until it was way to late to get out of the shot.  

Just inside Tombstone were I found some much needed coffee!
Just across the street. 

I lived  in Oregon and Washington long enough to become kind of a coffee snob.  Good coffee joints are few and far in between in southern Arizona.  But Tombstone has several great coffee houses.  
You can just see our youngest to the left in the window shop window

Turns out this trip was more than a few weeks ago, because the Christmas gear was still up.
A great time to visit the town for sure.

                                                                       Always such a festive town. 

We were going to try our hands at a round of miniature golf  but even that was closed down for the day. 

This shop across from the old school on the paved main drag   had a little bit of everything.  Really   And was way cool to Explore.  
They even had a pre historic licence plate from Wyoming, were I was born, 
from the year I was born--1978
but I didn't wish to pay $15 for it on this day.  Maybe next trip. 
Mmmmmm coffee!
One last attempt to find reasonably priced lunch across the street.   But even hot dogs were to much dough.   So sadly we cut out trip short and ventured to Benson to find grub.  Well not quite to Benson   we stopped at The Junction and got deep fried goodies for the whole family.