Saturday, February 28, 2015

Linda Vista Hike

Feb. 25. Wed.  What a pleasant hike we had on the Linda Vista trail Wednesday.  The trail was at the southwest end and base of the Catalina Mountains.  The morning started off rather chilly and most of us wore heavier clothes wondering where that cold front came from!  It took just a little longer to warm up until the sun came up over the mountain and erased the cool shadows of our trail.  Sure enough, we were soon coming out of our jackets under the sunlight.  The whole area appeared a bit unique compared to the other hikes.  The foliage  grew low and lush and looked like a Prickly Pear farm!  We had not seen such a concentration of so many! 

Linda Vista hike 0083 panLinda Vista hike 031

This narrow single-file trail was also a little more strenuous because of several ups and down with high rock steps in some places.  But it was well worth it because every turn offered up fantastic views of the west valley and distant mountain ranges. 

 Linda Vista hike 024 Linda Vista hike 0442 pan

At the top of our trail there were several HUGE cacti.  Many of us remarked that we had never seen any that big!

Linda Vista hike 045Linda Vista hike 036Linda Vista hike 047

We stopped for our usual break and just really enjoyed taking in the great views before heading up the trail a bit further before winding our way back down to the trailhead.  

Linda Vista hike 041Linda Vista hike 051Linda Vista hike 057

On the way down we passed by this even larger cactus.  So tall and majestic!  You can compare its height next to me at 5’7”.  Makes me look tiny.  What a treat to see this guy and know that the older cacti of the desert are being preserved from urban development.  The hike was also pleasant because we had a nice view of this  mountain always over our right shoulders. 

Linda Vista hike 062Linda Vista hike 065

Hiking beneath the mountain through different terrain was fun and so scenic.  I would gladly hike this trail again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Feb. 21. Sat.  I rushed home from the rodeo to fix my ‘hat hair’ and rushed up to the clubhouse for Award Night for the photo contest because I signed up to help set up the auditorium.  After entering 6 pictures in  different categories, I really did want to win just a little something.  We had 2 members of the local camera club in Tucson judge the photos.  To my surprise, I won 4 prizes!  I won 1st place and $25 in the Critter category with my two lizards.  I took a picture of them about 4 years ago in Arches National park.  I was in the right place at the right time. 

Arches Nat Pk redo for size use this resize

I won 2nd place in the People category with my little cowboy.  He also won me 3rd place in the Peoples’ Choice category, where the park residents vote on their overall favorite pictures.  I am glad they liked this little guy.  I took this picture about 4 years ago while waiting for the real cattle drive before the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, WY. 

Cheyenne cattle drive 005 for photo contest resize

I won 2nd place in the Open category where you can do anything to any picture.  I just took the color our of the picture for a more interesting and striking contrast.  Who would have guessed that something that simple, with all the photo editing programs out there, that the picture really caught the judges attention.  I got the idea from a blog I follow and the picture was taken this year in Zion National Park. 

Return to Zion 090 black and white resized

So I had quite an exciting Saturday!  I rarely win anything so that made it even more exciting!

The 2015 Tucson, AZ, Annual Rodeo

Feb. 21. Sat. Nothing like a good old fashioned western rodeo!  What a blast!  Everyone who knows me, knows any day at a rodeo is a great day for me!  I love the anticipation of the coming action, the sight and sounds of horses,  getting dressed up like “wanna-be” cowgirl, and watching it all under big open skies in the west.  Rodeos are all American as it represents life as it was in the west and many of the events are still really used in ranching today.  Every rodeo starts off with saluting the flag and singing our national anthem.  It tugs at the heart as we are reminded of our country’s freedom. 


This year I took advantage of a special workshop at the rodeo sponsored by Cannon cameras and a local camera shop.   Two guys from the camera club went with me.  It started at 11:30 AM under a big tent at the end of the rodeo grounds and included help setting up our cameras for nice shots.  Plus, Cannon equipment was available for those that wanted to try some of the big lenses.  Some of them were so big you would need a crane to hold it on your shoulder!  The equipment was up there in the thousands of dollars.  My ticket also included a very nice lunch and free drinks.  When the rodeo started, everyone was jockeying for a fence position!

 035 with fixed badge 012040Rodeo Cowboy horse horseshoe Royalty Free Stock Image

The rodeo started off with the Junior Rodeo.  The little kids in the mutton busting event were so funny.  There was also the junior bull riding and barrel racing.  The little girl on the white horse is only 8 years old!  So cute!

016 for blog019027 for blogABL_WesternRodeo_Horse-Side

The badge I am wearing entitled me to go anywhere in the stand I wanted to!  That was so nice because I could get closer to the action when I wanted to.  Made me feel important like the press or something!!  Of course, you know I loved the fact that I was able to get right down into the front row of the stands for the barrel racing!  It is my favorite event and then 2nd is the bull riding. 

119 - Copy125128 b

The bronco busting is almost as intense and dangerous as the bull riding!  But these cowboys seem to know what they are doing.  Or do they?! 

093101 B095

I enjoy the steer roping and team roping because I love to watch the  horses work.  They are well trained and know exactly how to keep their eye on the steer and then hold the rope taught while the cowboy does his thing.  

069 cropped085109111

Naturally, the best is saved for last-the bull riding!  Now that gives bravery a whole new meaning!  At 8 seconds for the perfect ride, it is ranked the most dangerous sport in America.  There is always loads of anticipation as you wait for the cowboys to come flying out of the gate on up to a ton of mean lean beef!!!  Crazy!  But the cowboy is the one that needs the sympathy, not the bull! 


I had such a good time, if I had some extra time on my hands, I would have gone back again with the RV park group! 

A Visit to the Old Tucson Movie Studio

WOW!  To walk in the footsteps of John Wayne and other famous cowboy actors was awesome!  I grew up on the old Saturday morning westerns.  Old Tucson Studios is a movie studio and theme park adjacent to the Tucson Mountains and close to the western portion of Saguaro National Park.  Built in 1939 for the movie ‘Arizona’, it has been used for the filming of several movies and television westerns since then, such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. It was opened to the public in 1960, and historical tours are offered about the movies filmed there, along with live cast entertainment featuring stunt shows and shootouts.  Old Tucson Studios was originally built on a Pima County-owned site as a replica of 1860s Tucson.  Workers built more than 50 buildings in 40 days.  Many of those structures are still standing.  Many colorful characters wear period dress and roam the streets.

Old Tucson Studio Set 001Old Tucson Studio Set 002Old Tucson Studio Set 004Old Tucson Studio Set 033Old western town Stock Photography

In 1959, entrepreneur Robert Shelton leased the property from Pima County and began to restore the aging facility. Old Tucson Studios re-opened in 1960, as both a film studio and a theme park. The park grew building by building with each movie filmed on its dusty streets.  John Wayne starred in four movies at Old Tucson Studios.  In 1968, a 13,000 square foot soundstage was built to give Old Tucson Studios greater movie-making versatility. The park also began adding tours, rides and shows for the entertainment of visitors, most notably gunfights staged in the "streets" by stunt performers.

The town is really pretty with the mountains and views as the backdrop.  One of the rides is a 2 foot narrow gauge railroad which encircles most of the property.  The first thing we did was to take a stagecoach ride on a replica of those used in the old west and movies.  Of course, I had to pet the horses!  And what is a western town without Rosa’s Cantina!?

Old Tucson Studio Set 111Old Tucson Studio Set 079Old Tucson Studio Set 026Old Tucson Studio Set 056Old Tucson Studio Set 018

A popular attraction are the girls that sing and dance in the saloon.  They also serve food and drinks, but like most theme parks, the prices are very high.  The show was very entertaining and lively.  Not on the scale of Las Vegas but the audience had a good time.

Old Tucson Studio Set 036Old Tucson Studio Set 047

A visit to the stable as we walked around town was in order. Plus, it was time for this old cowboy to wander through town.  He fit the character of the Old West perfectly, even down to the handle bar mustache.  Doug was getting rowdy so I asked the Sheriff to lock him up awhile while I visited some of the shops! 

Old Tucson Studio Set 080Old Tucson Studio Set 084Old Tucson Studio Set 072

Oh, boy!  Time for a good old stunt show and shootout!  These ‘cowboys’ were hilarious with their comedic comments to the audience before the show.  I love the setting of the old mission against the blue sky. 

Old Tucson Studio Set 089 redoOld Tucson Studio Set 091 (2)

Then the show took off and it was entertaining with various stunts and funny story line.  It looked like these guys were having way too much fun.  But then in the end came the shootout with guns and smoke blazing.  Ugh….got me!  One by one each guy was shot.  But by some miracle he was able to rise again, only to be shot again later!  There were a couple of good stunts and even 2 cowboys were supposedly blown up as they tried to escape the mission.  Funny antics all during the show made it interesting and funny for everyone. 

Old Tucson Studio Set 097 for blogOld Tucson Studio Set 101 for blogOld Tucson Studio Set 102Old Tucson Studio Set 092 3 for blogOld Tucson Studio Set 106Old Tucson Studio Set 107

But somehow I got tangled up with the bank robbers and wound up with a sack of gold!  Uh..Oh.., here comes the Sheriff! 

Old Tucson Studio Set 066Old Tucson Studio Set 069Old Tucson Studio Set 070

It was a nice day’s entertainment and the thing to do when in Tucson.