Monday, November 23, 2009

Sabino Canyon

Last Monday morning, we went for a walk in Sabino Canyon, which is located right on the edge of the city of Tucson, AZ. We got there about 9 a.m. and hopped on the tram to take us along the paved road into the canyon before getting off around stop 6 to start walking. At that time of the morning, the sun had not yet risen over the top of the canyon wall so it was initially quite chilly but soon warmed up once the sun crested the ridge.

The canyon itself is quite beautiful, lots of cactus and trees and rocks and blue sky. We'd seen a sign as we came in warning that mountain lion activity in the area was quite high so every time I hung back behind the group to take a photo, I was reminded of those movies showing a cougar perched on top of a rock stalking its prey and I worried if there were any about, they might think I was the weak link because I couldn't keep up with the others, and I'd walk a little faster to catch up. But I was safe, we didn't see any mountain lions. But we did see one rare example of Arizona wild life...

When we got to Stop 8, Kate took us off the road to show us where she and her husband had been married 17 years ago. It's a beautiful spot, with a large rock overlooking a sandy area. Kate told us the terrain has changed a bit since that long ago day, as the result of a major flood that altered quite a bit of the canyon floor back in 2006. They've only just recently reopened the road above stop 4 after repairing the damage caused by that flood.

While we were standing around enjoying this spot and Kate was reminiscing, Allison all of a sudden got really excited and pointed out an animal crossing behind us. It was a coati. It's a member of the raccoon family, although it looks more like an aardvark, if you ask me. You can read a bit more about them here: Apparently, sightings of them are rare, which is why Allison was so excited. He walked past behind us and crawled under a rock. A few minutes later, we saw what we think was a second coati (or coatimundi, as the lone males are called) and were able to get some photos. The photo on the left shows what he looked like. People on the road who had heard Allison's excited shouts had come down to see what all the fuss was about, wondering if we had seen a mountain lion and when we explained we had seen a coati, they wanted to know if they are dangerous and seemed disappointed to learn that they are not.

On the tram ride back down to the parking lot, the tour guide pointed out this rock formation that looks like a winking face.

All in all, it was a lovely walk and a nice way to experience just a little bit of the beauty of the Arizona desert.


d smith kaich jones said...

I am here as a fellow Thought Threads person. I am a Texan, born & bred, but I spent my growing-up, learning-to-drive, teenage years (plus a few) in Tucson and I gotta tell ya - when I got here to your blog & saw Sabino Canyon (omg, the stories I could tell!)I almost cried. Oh man. Where we hung out when I was a teenager - back then you could drive in, all the way up into the upper canyon. Talk about a flood of memories! Wow!

So. Nice to meet you and nice to find you'd just been back to my old stomping grounds. :) I still carry the desert in my heart here in the middle of the Piney Woods of East Texas.

:) Debi

Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Debi, thanks so much for coming by to check out my blog. I loved Sabino Canyon, it really spoke to me. I would love to spend a lot more time there, it was so beautiful.