Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Kitt Peak, Buenos Aires NWR & Grant & Kathy!

Today again dawned bright and sunny. I had a lovely desert walk. I even found a trail that I don't think I've been on before.

We hung around the RV until just before lunch Gordon said he was going to Kitt Peak National Observatory and did I want to come? Alright then, I got ready and away we went. I'm not much interested in the observatory itself but I thought the drive and the views from the top of Kitt Peak would be great. As soon as I got out of the truck I saw some large beautiful birds that were hanging around the picnic area but on we went to the Visitor Center. I took some photos of the telescopes then while Gordon was walking around I told him I would go back to the truck area and try to take some photos of the birds. I did get pretty close to them and got some good shots even with my little camera. Kitt Peak is at 7000 ft. Here in Tucson, I think, we're at about 2400 ft. There was a 20 degree difference between the desert floor and the top of the mountain. It's about 10 miles up the mountain at about an 8% grade. Quite the views! Sure glad I wasn't driving though! We can see Kitt Peak and Baboquivari Peak from our RV Park.

The road up the mountain.

Mexican Jay

Two Mexican Jays

Leftovers from our recent rainstorm. Obviously at that height it was snow!

Views from the mountain.

From there I thought we were on our way home - NOT!

As we were coming up to S.R. 286, Gordon asked if I minded if he drove south on 286 for a bit. I said no so away we went ending up about 40 miles later at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge which is about 9 miles from the Mexican border.

Baboquivari Peak
from our campground looks like (sorry, Laura) a nipple however when you get close to it it looks more like the top of the Matterhorn (from one view) and apparently is the only mountain in Arizona that requires 'technical climbing' to get to the top. It is also considered a 'sacred place' to the Tohono O'odham nation.

As we were traveling on 286 we got lots of photos of this mountain. When we reached the Visitor Center for the Buenos Aires NWR, we got more photos. We stopped at the Visitor Center and were told of a lake that had some birds about a mile away so we went there and took more photos of it, this time with Grebe Pond in the foreground. There was a hiking trail there but as we were getting out of the truck a couple from the NWR was just coming back and said that rattlesnakes had been spotted in various places along the trail. This dampened our enthusiasm for trail walking so we took a few photos and fled to safety in the truck.

From there we started back home arriving just before 6:00 p.m. Just as we got in the RV I heard someone calling 'Hello' so I went to the door and there was Grant and Kathy from Birding RVers, another blog that I read. We chatted for only a few minutes as we had just gotten home and were hungry! Grant and Kathy are right across from us but they've been sick so have been keeping a low profile. They were to have attended the dinner Ellie & Jim put on a couple of weeks ago but declined due to being sick so I'm glad we finally got to meet them.

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