Larry, Sandy and Kathleen prepared an excellent Thanksgiving meal including the normal items such as a smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cranberries, monkey bread, salad and several kinds of pies.
days of sitting around eating was making us antsy, so eventually
the urge to "do something" took over. We decided to drive
to the Oracle State Park to see what was there.
The photos below are what we saw.
A home made cherry pie with tart cherry filling. Sandy did
a great job with both the crust and the filling.
a "small" dinner with only 7 bodies present. Sandy's son
Eddie, his wife Julie and child Ellie were the other attendees.
hour of dishwashing, the kitchen was sufficiently cleared to be
able to see the counters again. Above, Kathleen packages
post-turkey food coma enforced by near continuous commercials on
days later, the group decided to head to Oracle State Park north
of Tucson to see what is there. Oracle sits on the north
slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains and "back in the day" was
the source of significant mineral wealth from the Magma Copper
Company. Magma was closed a number of year back and the
smelter in the San Pedro River Valley was sold and moved to
another mine in South America. The mine site is hidden
below the crest of the hills in the photo above. In the
distance the Galiuros Mountains are visible.
to the visitor center at the park we saw these two hawks resting
on a power pole.
plants in the park are native species. Above is a
so-called Century Plant (a type of agave) that blooms once and
then the plant dies. The seed pods are on the top of the
finest in hillbilly technology.
brush I spotted a small hummingbird. Only it's silhouette
was visible against the clear western sky.
visitor's center is this one room administration building that
doubles as a gift shop.
Oracle State Park is a 4000 acre wildlife refuge that has 15
miles of hiking trails. The property was once the Kannally
Ranch back in 1902. In 1976, the last remaining Kannally
donated the land to the State Parks Board with the stipulation
that it become a wildlife refuge. Oracle State Park was
the result. Above, there were plenty of other visitors
here to enjoy the trails.
hills were rather lush due to a combination of altitude and
rolling hills of the northern flanks of the Santa Catalina
Mountains are pretty good grazing land.
kinds of cactus put out tall flowering stalks.
addition to cactus there were scrub oak trees.
cholla hosted a substantial bird's nest. The thorns of the
cholla prevent the nest from predators.
long-dead cholla was slowly being taken over by the grasses.
were many nice seed stalks on the cactus.
harsh desert climate supports both life and death as vibrant
plants live alongside dead ones.
Pedro River is in the valley beyond the hills in the foreground
of the photo above.
Peak on Oracle Ridge looms large on the distant horizon.
The farthest ridges are in the main Santa Catalina range.
hillbilly transformation is in progress. Only 2 front
tooth extractions remain to be completed.
dead mesquite tree still serves the local ecosystem by providing
roosting areas for local birds. And great firewood to
grill your steaks.
nest spotted in the low brush near the trail.
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