Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Won A Photo Prize!

Wow! I normally don’t win at anything. But I did enter the park’s photo contest just for fun.  After the Saturday rodeo, the awards were given out that evening at the strawberry shortcake event.  I had entered 4 categories.  All 175 photos for all categories were on display for the park to see and enjoy.  Well, to my pleasant surprise, I won third place in the outdoor scenery category!  I was very happy!  Here is my wining photo.  I am already looking at photos to enter next year if we return! The photo that I won with was taken up in the Snowy Range, which is about an hour’s drive west of Cheyenne, WY.  It is beautiful country up there with several natural glacial lakes. It sure made for some nice mountain photos. 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tucson Rodeo-Here We Come!

Sat., Feb 22, was the 89th Tucson Rodeo.  I put on my hat, boots, boot cut jeans, western shirt, and my cowgirl jewelry and I was ready to go to the rodeo and pretend I used to be a rodeo queen!  Doug knows how much I enjoy getting into a western character when I am out west.  I think I love rodeos more than most people.  In our travels, we find that most areas of the real west, like Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Montana, remind us of a more wholesome way of life.  Cowboys/girls strongly believe in God and country.  There is a cowboy church before the rodeo and signs of the cross are a dominant symbol in cowgirl jewelry and on purses plus on cowboy belt buckles.  The American flag is flying strong as it is carried around the rodeo arena by a young lady or man on horseback.  The national anthem is always sung.  Makes us proud.  This was another really professional rodeo as these cowboys/girls work on their scores for the national finals in Las Vegas, NV, in December.

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It was a beautiful day for a rodeo! A bit hot, but lots of sun and the rodeo was in the open which made for nice good picture taking.  We were seated right across from the bull and horse pens so we got good shots as the gates opened.  Before the pro-rodeo, there was a short junior rodeo.  Teenage guys rode some bulls and broncos, but the cutest event was the junior barrel racing.  One little girl was only 5 years old!  She handled that horse like it was nothing.  She didn’t make any time but gave it her all and she will be a real rodeo contender one of these days.  The little girl in the picture below is only 9  years old! Amazing! So much fun to watch these sweet little girls and their horses, dressed like little cowgirls with their pigtails flying in the breeze.  

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Then the pro-rodeo began.  It started off with bronco busting.  Then there was team roping and steer wrestling.   

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Then came my favorite event. Barrel Racing!  I love to watch the horses in action as they speed around the 3 barrels.  They seem to know what to do and the whole event is based on their speed.  There is true beauty in  a horse in action.  I could watch barrel racing all day!

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The final event was the bull riding. This is my second favorite event.  There are some MEAN bulls out there and it sure takes some tough cowboys to ride them!! 

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Another fun rodeo to add to our adventures! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Rodeo Parade Through the Streets of Tucson, AZ

Rodeo week in Tucson is a huge event for its residents and includes a parade.  This year’s 89th parade was Feb. 20th. Even the schools are closed Thurs. and Friday for the parade and rodeo.  It was a pretty day for a parade.  We got up early and headed out for a quick breakfast to go.  We wanted to get a good spot early for good viewing.  The parade was to start at 9:00 AM. We thought we were going to park in the rodeo grounds parking lot. Wrong!  We headed in that direction but every street we tried to turn down was closed! The internet info on the parade said the streets would not close until 8:00 AM.  Wrong again! A couple of policemen directing traffic said the roads closed at 6:30 AM!   What a fiasco! We wound up turning and driving down part of the parade route.  Then the gate we wanted to enter was closed. We tried to go around but that street was closed as well!  Finally we saw a few empty spots at the city park across the street from the rodeo grounds but the road had cones across it.  So we just decided to move one of them to get to the park. By that time another police woman came over and asked what we wanted.  So after explaining, she kindly moved the cone for us and we FINALLY got to park!   We then walked over to the street and got a front row seating area around 7:30 AM and ate our fast food breakfast.  There was a continuous stream of people filling up every empty spot available.  It is said that 150,000 people line the streets for this parade! It is the longest non-motorized parade in the country.  

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This cute little cowgirl above looked excited as she waited for the parade to start.  The woman rider above is a female bull rider! We have been to parades in several parts of the country and I am sad to say this was a terrible parade.  First of all, there were long gaps between the participants and they were walking and riding so slow.  Second, there were times when the whole  street part of our block was totally empty waiting for many long minutes for another group to catch up and come up the street.  It was so boring!  Plus, folding chairs get very uncomfortable after those long hours. There seemed to be more people just riding horses and horses pulling wagons with advertising local vendors than there were exciting colorful participants.  There were just a few of the old stage coaches and riders in period clothing of different groups, like soldiers, rangers, etc.  We didn’t even stay for the whole parade, after 3 hours we had had enough.  So we left disappointed and tired after making the effort to see, what we thought, was going to be an exciting parade.  


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So….onto the rodeo on Saturday. Can hardly wait!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Off Again Into the Desert

Wednesday, Feb. 5, the hiking club was off again to hit the desert trails.  It was a bit overcast, so it was a bit cooler than we expected after having such warm sunny mornings the past week.  But once we headed out at a good pace, by 9:00 AM we were taking off jackets as we warmed up and the sun broke through now and then.  This was the Bowman Ranch, Yetman, Camaro Trail.  It was about a 4 mile hike this time.  It is always so peaceful and quiet on the trail early in the morning and we get to watch sunup slowly creep up over the horizon and the mountains. 

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We hiked to the remains of an old stone house on the old Bowman ranch and took a nice break.  Amazing how somebody could make a living way up in the mountains so far from everything.  There was even an old man made fish pond.   Thirst is the biggest issue out in the dry desert.  Especially, since Tucson is having a severe drought which makes the air even dryer, so we do take frequent water breaks. 

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We then hiked about a half mile further to a nice overlook of the surrounding area.  Almost to the end of the loop trail is an old rusted out shell of a Camaro car.  It is all crumpled surrounded by the desert brush.  How in the world it got up there is anyone’s guess.  Hence, the name Camaro Trail. The trail being an old ranch, someone probably just drove it up an old dirt road path many years ago to discard it.   Now if it was removed, they would have to change the name of the trail! We all had a good laugh as we speculated the story of the old car.  You know, it is a guy thing to look at it and start talking about what it would look like restored!!!  It was a pleasant hike. 

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We were then able to get back to the park early for the free lunch sponsored by the RV park owners.  Lunch was pulled pork, potato salad, beans, roll, cookies and drink.  Anytime there is FREE food, they will come!  There must have been at least 5 lines waiting to be served!  It was a good crowd and there was even a live band.  Naturally, I worked up a good appetite after the hike!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gorgeous Day to Hike to the Top of a Mountain!

Scenic views are always beyond what the camera captures.  Feb. 12, we hiked the Robles Pass, Camaro Loop, and 360 scenic view trail just a couple of miles west of our park.  It was a cool early morning again with a cloudless sky that quickly warmed up to almost 80 degrees!  We meet at 7:15 AM now that the weather is warmer and we leave at 7:30 AM.  Yep, that’s early!  But it is just something I really look forward to doing.  This trail was only 4.1 miles but so pretty because we were in lush foliage of the Saguaro and Prickly Pear cacti.   This trail took us up a small mountain to a 360 degree view of Tucson and surrounding mountains.  We had a big group this time and it is so interesting to talk with different people each week and listen to their stories.  Seems like I wind up riding in a different car each week!  Some of the people are in some of the same other classes that I am so we are developing friendships.   I didn’t get too many pictures because some of the views faced into the sun.  These are the Catalina Mountains across the valley to the north in the 3rd picture.

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I am standing at the top of the Vista Trail and I am in front of the mountain in the distance in the first picture below that we see in the distance every time we leave the park.  We took a nice break at the top to enjoy the views before heading back to the rest of our loop.  Gosh, but it was pretty up there!

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So waiting until next week…and the park is having a picnic at the time we get back!  Oh, boy! Free lunch! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Geronimo Exhibit at the AZ Historical Society Museum

I have been studying the history of the west for several years now from the early American Indians, mountain men, fur trappers, pioneers, the forts out west, the Indian wars, etc.  So when I was researching things to see and do in Tucson, an exhibit about Geronimo came up.  I marked my calendar as something not to miss.  So yesterday, Doug and I went to the museum to see this exhibit.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a very big exhibit but I did learn much more about Geronimo.  The museum had the actual rifle Geronimo turned over to the American troops when he surrendered.  I guess because of his bravery in leading his small gang that it is why we yell “Geronimo!” when doing something exciting. 
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Here is a brief biography of Geronimo:  
Geronimo was born to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache, near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River in the modern-day state of New Mexico, then part of Mexico. He had three brothers and four sisters. Geronimo's parents raised him according to Apache traditions; after the death of his father, his mother took him to live with the Chihenne and he grew up with them. Geronimo married when he was 17, and eventually had 9 wives. On March 6, 1851, a company of 400 Mexican soldiers from Sonora led by Colonel José María Carrasco attacked Goyahkla's camp outside Janos while the men were in town trading. After a Mexican attack on his tribe, where soldiers killed his mother, wife, and his three children in 1851, Geronimo joined a number of revenge attacks against the Mexicans. During his career as a war chief, he was notorious for consistently leading raids upon Mexican provinces and towns, and later against Anglo settlements across Arizona, New Mexico and Western Texas. The loss of his family led Geronimo to hate all Mexicans for the rest of his life; he and his followers would frequently attack and kill any group of Mexicans that they encountered. In 1886, Geronimo surrendered to US authorities after a lengthy pursuit as a prisoner of war. He was told he could return to his tribe on the reservation after 2 years but was held in Florida for 27 years. At an old age, he became a celebrity; appearing in fairs but was never allowed to return to the land of his birth. He later regretted his surrender and claimed that the US government had broken promises it made to secure his surrender. Geronimo died in 1909 from complications of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. When Geronimo was elderly, he even led Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade and it is said that he stole the show!    American Native Indian Chief Mascot Head Graphic Stock Image

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Douglas Spring Trail Hike–7 Miles!

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch! Wed., Feb, 5th, the hiking club met to carpool to a trail that we were told was 3.5 miles long.  The majority of the group said there was another trail in the same area only a little longer at 5 miles long.  I decided to take the longer trail instead of the shorter one with only about 4 people. Well, somebody sure didn’t know how to read THAT map!  The trail I took was 7 miles long!  It was 43 degrees and overcast that morning.  The trail was up the side of the mountain and back down the other side in the Rincon mountain range on the far east side of Tucson.  It was steep in places as we used the stone steps, of which some were rather individually tall that required holding on to some of the rock walls to help get up them.  Good thing I use a hiking stick.  We all thought coming down would be easy. Wrong!  The trail heading down was almost as steep with some more individually tall steps.  Ouch!  That was pretty tough on the old knees.  Don’t think I will take that trail again!  Pictures are not all that great because of the weather, but the second picture shows The Tanque Verde Dude Ranch and Spa Resort that is very famous here in Tucson.  Up we go!

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Even though the weather wasn’t all that great, we still had some great views of the Tucson Valley.  There was even a bit of snow on the very top left over from a slight rain shower earlier in the week.  Guess the elevation was high enough that some of the mountains got snow instead of rain.  But Tucson is still in a major drought.  It is so dry that the ski slopes on the back side of Mt. Lemmon may not even open this year. 

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We were all tired when the this hike was over!  That includes the 80 year old man that was with us who could out hike any of us!  Amazing!