ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
2016-02-03 06:32 pm
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Tucson micro-vacation

We went down to Tucson late last week, as my husband's company was holding board meetings on Thursday and Friday at the fancy Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The plan was for me to work from the hotel room during his meetings, and then we would have a micro-vacation over the weekend.

On Thursday I got miserably sick (maybe the delicious food at the fancy resort restaurant had issues? It tasted good, anyway!) but by Saturday I was ready to vacation. We drove our rental car (a Ford C-Max hybrid, which we both liked very much!) to Kartchner Caverns State Park and took a tour of the Big Room. These caves were kept secret after their discovery in the 1970s, so when they were finally developed after the land was purchased for a state park, the formations were in nearly pristine condition, unlike most tourist caves (even in National Parks!) where casual use over the years has destroyed a lot of the delicate ecology. Development was undertaken with extreme caution, so that now the caves remain in exceptional condition; we've taken quite a few cave tours over the years and were very impressed! No photos allowed, but the website has a video tour.

Afterward we went to the Pima Air and Space Museum which is the largest privately-funded aerospace museum, with over 300 aircraft of various vintages. We took the (free with admission) "Highlights of Aviation" and "World War II" walking tours, and lucked out with an amazing docent, Don McLean (no kidding!) who told us many more stories than were on the placards in front of the planes.

Sunday (all of it) was spent hiking the Ventana Canyon trail to The Window, 6.4 miles and 4260 feet each way. Britt had gone to school at the University of Arizona here many years ago and had fond memories of this hike - I figured it must be good if he still remembered it after 40 years. It was pretty cool: we started out in Sonoran desert, with saguaros all around, and by the end - a natural arch in the rock - we were hiking through the snow among pines!


We should have got going earlier than our 9 am start, though, as we ended up hiking out the last half hour in the dark. Still, it was a great hike, and I definitely felt it the next day. The best of our crappy cellphone photos are on Flickr: Ventana Canyon.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
2014-01-02 03:05 pm

the drive back from CIM

(Look! A post that's not about running!)

Britt had driven our Sportsmobile camper van out to Bakersfield CA just after Thanksgiving, to do some work on a solar project his company has out there, so our plan after CIM was to road-trip home over the next week and a half. As it happened, both of us came down with bad colds in Death Valley, so we high-tailed it directly home from there after only a half-day of exploring. But we had a lovely micro-vacation up until then!

Lots of photos, some text )

Zabriskie Point view
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
2012-02-04 10:49 am

getting my kicks

As many of you know, my husband Britt was working in Bakersfield, CA for much of this winter. As his project began to wind up, I flew out to stay with him (I worked from his hotel, since I telecommute anyway) and then on Friday, January 27th, we packed up the Sportsmobile (he'd driven it out, originally) and headed home, taking our time and visiting tourist traps and national parks along the way.

Joshua Tree

Our first destination was Joshua Tree National Park. We are both rock climbers - or used to be, anyway - and had heard about the climbing there; we were not prepared to actually climb there, but we wanted to see the rocks, and hike around, and so on. We spent two nights at the entirely gorgeous Jumbo Rocks campground, and two days visiting pretty much every corner of the park accessible from the main road.

More photos and rambling about Joshua Tree NP )

Trailer parks and tourist traps. And a wolf. )

Petrified Forest National Park )

Oops, I almost forgot: more photos (a total of 30) at Flickr.