Picacho Peak - Eloy, AZ

We were looking for a real mountain experience in southern Arizona, and this state park looked like it might fit the bill. I had grandiose dreams about us playing King of the Mountain, and reaching out to touch the clouds. The reality was even better than the dream; although, not near as grandeur. Picacho Peak state park was not a disappointment.

The days were beautiful, the sunsets amazing, and the nights magical.

We couldn't have picked a prettier time to be there as the flowers were just beginning to bloom. The Mexican Gold Poppies flowed down the mountain valleys like liquid sunshine.

The RV campground sat at the base of a smallish red mountain, and by the second day I let the three older girls loose on it. They could go wherever they wanted as long as the could turn around and wave at me. So about every 15 to 20 minutes, we would exchange far away glimpses of arms hailing us down. It was wonderful to give them some much needed freedom within arms reach.

One evening we took a sunset walk; watching the flash sink behind the phoenix mountain range, with the saguaro standing guard in the foreground was surreal.

Another day we hiked the children's cave trail, a supposedly easy .2 mile hike. It was definitely fun, and beautiful, but easy would not be in my description.

On the trail Joclyn fell, and her chin violently met a rugged rock in the middle of the path. I tried to play it off like no big deal but secretly I was think'n it probably needed stitches. Although, now she is fine and has a nice lightning bolt scar as reminder of the grand day.

The three older girls also received their Arizona Junior Rangers Badge after completing a very interesting booklet. One of the facts they learned was Picacho in Spanish means peak, so the parks name in translated to Peak Peak.
We only stayed 5 nights, which left lots to do on a second trip, and I would definitely add this to a must see list.

At the end of the trail, it is always good to know home is just a couple miles away.


Signal Hill - Petroglyphs in Saguaro West - Tucson Az

 One more must mention place in Tucson is
The hill rises out of the Saguaro West National Forest, and isn't widely published but well worth the easy to moderate hike. I only say moderate because you do have to climb up a little hill, which was no trouble for us and has a nice path with timber steps.
If one did not want to climb the hill, the place is still beautiful and the petroglyphs can be seen from the base of the hill. There are several scenic picnic areas at the base of the hill worth exploring.
It was a sunny afternoon when we packed a lunch and headed up past the desert museum, and into the dusty hills. To get to the petroglyphs, at the top of signal hill, I had to take a bumpy dirt road. There are two ways to get to the hill - the long way and the short way, and since I was driving I am sure you can guess which way we took.

We seen petroglyphs in Albuquerque at the Petroglyph National Park, and I must say that these were just as nice if not clearer. I especially love coming back to a subject after some time has lapsed with the kids because I get to find out what really mattered to them. In this case, they remembered a lot more than I did, which also reenforced that the hands on education they are receiving is working.

I am beginning to wonder if Tucson ever has a bad day. Once again this was a sun shiny day with a slight breeze keeping us comfortable down in the wash as the kids stopped to play in the sand.
 I had to drag the kids out kicking and screaming with promises we would come back.