This blog is about our hiking and biking and happenings around our place here in Picture Rocks, just outside of Tucson, AZ. Part two will be all about our birding adventures.

Our first hike of the month was a short one to some petroglyphs up King Canyon. The petroglyphs were created by the Hohokam people who lived in the deserts of southern Arizona and Northern Mexico from about 200 AD to 1500 AD. The petroglyphs cover both sides of the canyon, so the photo below show only a portion of them.

We revisited a peak that we can see from our place. Its official name is Safford, but is referred to as “Sombrero” because of its resemblance from the east to that type of hat. The photo below is of Sombrero from close to the trailhead.

The trail winds around the mountain and up a weakness to the summit. Here Wendy is starting up the final gully. The prominent mountain behind her is Panther Peak, with its saguaro studded ramp.

Here’s Doug at the summit. We could locate our fifth-wheel with our binoculars.

Another February hike was Blackett’s Ridge in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The out-and-back trail climbs with several well-graded switch-backs to the ridge and then continues gradually over false summits to the high point. The photo below is looking west over Tucson to the Tucson Mountains. By the time we were back to the truck, we had hiked 10 kilometres.

Another day we discovered a shorter (5 km) hike on the Lower Javelina loop in the Tortolita Mountains.

We continued to do lots of mountain biking in February. Mostly we rode the 15 kilometre loop at the Tortolita Preserve. Here are more photos of the trail.

Here, Wendy is making her way up out of a wash, with a healthy-looking Palo Verde behind her.

This section is the trickiest. It doesn’t look very steep from the photo, but when a rider is approaching from the wash below, the edge appears as a wall. Wendy’s strategy is to get as much speed as possible so that she only has to stand on her pedals for about two rotations, and then make the quick turn at the top.

We also rode our mountain bike in Honeybee Canyon and we have included some photos of the area in previous posts. One time in February, we met a this cow that had had a close encounter with a cholla cactus. She was lying down when we passed by on the way back, but got up quickly when Doug approached with a plan to flick it off.

We visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum several times. It was amazing to see flowers blooming in February. Clockwise from top left: Tufted Evening Primrose, unknown, Blanketflower (gaillardia), Desert Beard-tongue (penstemon), Creeping Lantana.

Almost everyday before dinner we do a loop walk around the neighbourhood. Often the sky is cloudless, but sometimes the clouds form in interesting ways.

Wendy had time to design and piece this small quilt top. She made it using “sand-scape” fabric that she bought in the south-west a few years ago.

We have beautiful sunsets, not every night, but this one in the middle of February was outstanding.

Doug replaced the top and seats of an old picnic table that our landlord had and we are enjoying using it. This photo was from the afternoon of Valentine’s Day when we decided to go “out” for guacamole, chips and beer.

On calm mornings, we often see a hot-air balloon hovering over the mountains. On this occasion, the balloon came quite close. We were leaving to go birding, so Doug had his camera handy.

Check out February in Arizona: Part 2 to see our newly discovered birding locations and many bird photos.

2 thoughts on “February in Arizona – Part 1

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