MARCH 2011

The weather in March started out great with temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s and even hit 91 a couple of times. The month ended in the high 90’s. Rex has been really busy with the Dolly Steamboat but was able to join our hiking group more this month.

We hiked to Fremont Saddle in the Superstition Wilderness which is one of the harder hikes we do each year as it is a steady climb to the saddle. It is well worth the effort as the scenery beautiful!


We call this the “Elephant Saguaro Cactus”

And it is warming up enough that the lizards are out

We are rewarded for our efforts to reach the saddle by this wonderful view of Weavers Needle.  Weavers Needle is a landmark in the Superstition Mountains and plays an important role in the Lost Dutchman Goldmine legend.

We also hiked in Box Canyon where we have taken Jeep trips in the past.  The narrow canyon is beautiful - a tight fit for Jeeps but easy hiking!

It was a fairly easy hike except for a couple of places where we had to do some scrambling over rocks.

We thought the sun shining on this small pincushion cactus was very pretty and made the needles look red.  It is amazing how the cactus grown right out of the rocks.

Another hike took us on the Arizona Trail at the base of Picket Post Mountain.  The Arizona Trail is a 790 mile trail traversing the entire state of Arizona from Mexico to Utah.

We got many great views of Picket Post Mountain.  During the Indian Wars the US Army had a Picket Post at the base of the mountain and a signal station on the peak.

This abandoned mine was beside the trail.  Some of us ventured a short distance into the mine.   Just inside the entrance was a very deep well with a rickety wooden ladder sticking up out of it.

Our granddaughter, Mariah, and Nancy’s sister, Carol, flew from Colorado to visit us for a week in March. Mariah stayed with us and Carol stayed with Nancy’s parents. Mariah was on Spring Break from school and was looking forward to soaking up some of the warm Arizona sunshine. We kept very busy the entire week. On the way home from the airport we stopped at Organ Stop Pizza for dinner. Organ Stop has entertainment each evening on a huge Wurlitzer organ. The pipes for this organ take up an entire wall in the restaurant. It was great fun listening to the music – some songs from Phantom of the Opera and Star Wars. The entire restaurant shook when the organ played some of the deep bass notes.

We went to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park and hiked among the flora from different parts of the world with similar climates to Arizona. There are cactus gardens, Chihuahua Desert exhibit, Sonoran Desert area, an herb garden and even an Australian Desert area with an Eucalyptus forest.

Mariah was excited to tour Biosphere 2, north of Tucson.  Biosphere 2 was built in 1986 by the University of Arizona to better understand how natural environments create habitable conditions for human sustainability.  It contains recreations of five of Earth’s biomes, plus a human habitat and a large ecological experiment facility. It is 91 ft high at the highest point and has 6,500 windows and 7,200,000 cubic feet of sealed glass.  

We toured the rainforest, the ocean and the desert area as well as the living quarters and water and life experiment area.  From 1991-1994 two different sets of humans were sealed in this environment to see if it could be self sustaining.  They spent all of their time farming and conducting experiments.  The first group survived for 2 years but emerged malnourished.  The second experiment was ended after a little over a year because of technical problems.  Biosphere 2 is now used by the University of Arizona as a research facility and is no longer a sealed facility.  What an amazing place - we really enjoyed the tour and learned a lot.

One day while Rex was working on the Dolly, Nancy, Mariah, Carol and Nancy’s parents went to Tortilla Flats for lunch and then rode the Dolly.  Mariah enjoyed Tortilla Flats and was amazed with all the dollar bills on the walls.  She was a little shy in the restroom but Nancy did get her to pose for a picture.

She really enjoyed the prickly pear ice cream.

Mariah and her grandpa on the Dolly!

One day we took a very scenic drive to Roosevelt Lake and visited the cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument.  These dwellings were built around A.D. 1250 and were occupied until around 1450.

Mariah joined our Friday hiking group on a great hike on another section of the Arizona Trail in Whitmore Canyon.  The scenery along this section was beautiful as we hiked in and out of the canyon.

A real treat was seeing this Gila Monster along the trail.  This is the first Gila Monster we have seen in the wild.

Mariah and grandma taking a break.

We also did a lot of swimming in our pool and soaking in the hot tub. We really enjoyed having Mariah with us for the week. Time went by too fast and suddenly it was time for her to fly back to Colorado. We miss her a lot and are already planning her Arizona trip for next year.

We bought two kayaks the first part of March and enjoyed a couple of trips to Canyon Lake with friends.

We saw a Desert Big Horn ewe and her lamb but they were too far away to get a picture.  But we were lucky enough to see these sheep that were much closer.  They stood looking over the edge watching us for a long time.

We like kayaking a lot better than we did canoeing as they are much easier to paddle and are more stable. We are sure that we will use the kayaks a lot more than we used the canoe.

Nancy enjoyed a park bus trip to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. The garden, named RO HO EN, is a joint project of the City of Phoenix and their sister city of Himeji, Japan. It is a beautiful garden and is very peaceful.

The pond was full of beautiful Koi fish.  A couple of our ladies bought fish food and fed them – what a feeding frenzy!

The gang from Golden Sun Resort

March was a very busy and enjoyable month for us.  We also bought a bigger storage shed that has a washer/dryer in it.  This shed is two spaces down from us so when we come back in the fall we will move from site A10 to site A8.  We are using the washer/dryer now and it is really nice not to have to go to the laundry room and hope to find empty machines!


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