Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Picacho Peak State Park, Arizona

As we read about today's destination with its glove-and-cable aids for hiking ascents, we wondered if it would be a bit too much after the last two days of climbing and hiking. We almost passed it by for a commercial park in Goodyear where we might be able to watch the Cleveland Indians in training. But we were again rewarded with a most memorable camping experience. The first thing you notice at Picacho are the Saguaro [say saw-WAH-ro if you are adhering to proper Spanish] Cacti -- especially for me, my first time seeing them in their natural setting. As to the hiking, we opted for the half-mile nature walk, at the park entrance, a mile and a half from our site. Even this abbreviated adventure had plenty of hills and steps to keep the heart pumping.

One of the memorable sights between Tucson and Phoenix was an airliner storage facility / graveyard. I couldn't identify any specific planes or carriers because of the distance, but it was sad to see so many once-proud birds sitting in the desert with their colorful tails still tall in the sky. This morning before leaving we were lolling in the sun and watching pairs of A-10 Warthog Tank Killers climbing to altitude heading East right over us -- another pretty amazing sight.

The forecasts for here indicate about an inch of rain tonight and Wednesday, but it really doesn't  look like the sky can cash those checks that the forecasters are writing -- at least that's our hope. The gathering clouds did help provide another spectacular sunset.

The facilities here are a perfect score: great modern plumbing, huge showers, great sites with magnificent views, good roads, great trails, friendly people, since it is all desert there are no water hook-ups. Rates are $15 or $20 for electricity. No TV. Above average cell phone tethering. You can hear the trains running along I-10 and their whistles. Budgeteers will close this park in June -- what a shame!

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