Madera Canyon, Arizona
Madera Canyon is in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.
We stop at Safeway to meet Tim and Jan and pick up a picnic lunch. They live in a town called Green Valley. It's full of modern faux-adobe dwellings. There are a lot of residential developments way out in the desert in Arizona. Apparently a lot of boomers retire to the desert.
Driving down into the valley you see miles of flattop hills capped with a flat layer of green minerals from copper strip mining.
The canyon is considered a premier hike for birding. We walk the canyon for awhile and then have our picnic lunch. The five mile hikes I was doing back in Sarasota don't help much here. The elevation and shallow climb make me realize that I REALLY need to shed some weight.
Not sure what's on the agenda for today. I'm making vegetarian chili in the crock pot and reading some books from the book exchange up at the activity center.
Purple and green prickly pears are actually different species. To get to the canyon we drive though a zone that has much better saguaro cactus than the National Park. Saguaro can't live just anywhere. They need the right elevation, temperature and two seasons of rainfall.