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Kartchner Caverns SP and Sabino Canyon

We are starting to see that Tucson has a tremendous amount to offer. No wonder so many snowbirds have landed here. We're never going to see all the things we want before we have to head east.

Yesterday we drove about 48 miles over to visit Kartchner Caverns State Park, which was (as predicted) very good. We've seen a lot of caves over the years and this one is unique -- well decorated, diverse, and comfortable inside at 68 degrees. They've installed a really good visitor's center and the volunteer guide we had was first-rate. I would post pictures but they do not allow cameras on the tour at all. If you plan to go, be sure to visit the Arizona state parks website to get information first.

While were there, Emma and I went over their national map of famous caves in the US. We've visited several just on this trip (Lehmann Cave in Great Basin NP, the talus caves in Pinnacles Nat'l Monument, Kartchner) and soon we may drop in on Carlsbad if we have time. Last summer in our Argosy we visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, too. All great visits.

There's a campground at Kartchner so you could stay overnight if you wanted to, but no much else to do in the immediate area. Tombstone and Bisbee are down the road a bit, but there are more convenient locations closer to those towns.

If you get hungry at Kartchner, you're out of luck unless you have your RV with you. Benson is the nearest town with restaurants, about nine miles away. We can recommend Reb's Cafe -- a "real" place with reasonably good food. And they put plenty of the malt in the malted shakes, which makes Eleanor happy.

Our next stop was Sabino Canyon, which is part of the Coronado National Forest, northeast of Tucson. This is a great spot, also recommended. There's a parking/admission fee but our National Parks pass (with Eagle hologram on the back) got us in for free. (If you visit a lot of US Forest Service spots, the pass and hologram are well worth the $65 annual fee.)

Sabino Canyon is a terrific place for easy hiking. You can choose paved roads suitable for cycling or strollers, or dirt trails that parallel the hills. There are horse trails, too.

Sabino roadrunner.jpg
Emma spots a roadrunner!

The scenery is great everywhere. For a really easy view, you can hop a tram up into the canyon and get off anywhere you want. The trams run all day, so you can design a hike that works for you, even one-way hikes that only go downhll. We got there late so we skipped the tram and just took a casual two mile walk so we could take our time and talk about what we spotted.

Sabino saguaro touch.jpg
Emma gets a peek at the Saguaro fruit.

By the way, we are now in the Chihuahuan desert, rather than the Sonoran desert. It's a not a lot different, but there are some variations in plants and animals. One animal that remains the same from the Mojave to here is the mountain lion, but of course we didn't see any.

I spot so many unusual signs as we travel that I have started collecting them (photgraphically). Here's my "Sign of the Week".

Sabino sign.jpg

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