Friday, February 5, 2010

Working Out & Saguaro National Park

We were energetic yesterday and took advantage of the gym facilities on base.  The gym is really more like an upscale recreation center facility.  It is the most modern and up to date facility we have ever seen in the military.  It was built in 2004 and serves the active duty and retired community here at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson.
The information desk is near the coffee bar and not far from the 'lap only' swimming pool.

After our workout we went back to the Roadrunner and grabbed some lunch.
Before we left, we were serenaded by a bird in the tree next to the Roadrunner.  He was just singing away having a great old time.  It was nice!

And then-- we departed for the Saguaro National Park for a hike.  It has 165 miles of hiking trails and is divided into an east and a west district. We went to Saguaro East - Rincon Mountain District on the east side of Tucson.

It has an informative Visitors Center and a 53 minute film on desert wildlife in the area.  
We asked a volunteer for some recommendations and decided on a hike along the Loma Verde Loop.

We started out driving on the eight mile Cactus Forest Drive loop which goes through the desert has a number of trailheads.  
We found the Loma Verde Loop and were off on a three-mile trek.  It began on the Loma Verde Trail, connected toward Pink Hill Trail, then followed  Squeeze Pen back to our car.
We noticed right away the hugeness of these 'Sentinels of the Desert' --the Saguaro.  Some can grow to be 50 feet or more.  They also can live for up to 75 years.  

The hike through the desert looked a lot like the desert.
But we had some great views of different aspects of the desert.  Our hike through the trails were very well marked.  It was surprising to see some water flowing through the creek beds.

We saw a barrel cactus laying across the trail.  And more huge saguaros. 
 We saw beautiful clouds and scenic valleys along our hike.   
As we came to the end of our hike, we saw one of the birds of the desert, a cactus wren, high up in a cactus, checking things out.  It was  a good hike that took us almost two hours and ended back where we started on the Loma Verde Loop.

We had a fun day of exercise at the base gym and a great time hiking.  We are looking forward to more days of the same here in Arizona.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

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