One Friday morning my husband texted me from work and asked if I wanted to go to Arizona for the weekend. Always down for an adventure, I replied yes! We decided on Saguaro National Park and hit the road Saturday morning around 2AM. We always leave for road trips in the middle of the night so that the kids mostly sleep. As parents, we are use to running on little sleep anyways, right?
First stop, breakfast! There are quite a few good options in the Tucson area for vegetarians and we picked out Blue Willow Restaurant. After some huevos rancheros and tofu breakfast stir fry we headed to the visitors center for some trail advice and Junior Ranger booklets.
Scout who is now 5, can hike about 2 miles before she starts complaining so that is usually our trail distance these days. The signal hill trail had dozens of petroglyphs as well as a dry creek that you can pick up flecks of iron from the sand if you bring a magnet with you. It also connects to another flat trail so you can hike for as long as you like. We even found mortars and a watering hole!
The Desert Museum is also a must for the area. It is pretty much a zoo and gardens of what lives in the area. Time your visit to see the birds off prey show, its well worth it. There is also a rock slot area for kids to climb through.
Dinner both nights was the Tuscon Tamale Company take out (delicious vegetarian options!) so that we could relax and crash in the hotel after a fun filled day.
The next day we went on to the Fort Huachuca military base to look for some special plants. I would suggest 4 wheel drive or at least a car with good clearance to do any hiking around here. It was really unique to be amongst an oak grove in Arizona- not usually what people think of when they think of Tucson.
The East side of the park has good flat hikes as well as some good boulders to climb around on.
Contrary to popular belief, the desert is full of wild life. On this trip alone we spotted a great horned owl, hawk, jack rabbit, fox, (heard) coyotes, wild turkeys, lots of smaller birds, a kangaroo rat and some kind of large prairie dog that got away from us before we could identify it.
On the 7 hour drive home we stopped at Pinal County West Park for a pic Nic. A small county park right off the freeway that was perfect for a quick pit stop and run about. We also stopped at the sand dunes in Imperial County CA that was right off the freeway. Not once did the kids ask to watch the iPad, but that is another post for another time…