Last year, I spent Christmas in the Grand Canyon. It was awesome. This year, I needed to stay closer to home because my husband is visiting his family and I’m home with our old dog Bailey. I never hear of anyone backpacking in the Tortolitas north of Tucson, but I thought it might be a fun spot to wake up Christmas morning. I could also choose a campsite that would get early sun.
I wanted to make the trip a little special, so I got out a red sparkly skirt my dad had brought me from India and a Santa hat to wear on the trail. (I can see this becoming an annual tradition- see this picture for last year’s sparkly skirt). I didn’t see anyone after I left the parking lot and once I got past the Ritz-Carlton I couldn’t hear any sounds coming from the hotel. I hiked a little ways past the Cochie Canyon junction and found a great spot right off the trail with wonderful views for the sunset. I could see all the way from the top of the Catalinas down to the base of Pusch Ridge, south to the Santa Ritas and Huachucas and Babo, Kitt Peak and Ragged Top to the west. Good stuff so close to town.
Both my family and Brian’s celebrate on Christmas Eve, so I called and people passed the phone around. My family, being Italian, told me all the different foods that were served. My Christmas Eve dinner was cheese fondue with apples, bread, broccoli, cauliflower, and figs for dipping. And for dessert I had blackberries with balsamic and some Panettone (an Italian sweet bread). I listened to some music and then I went to bed. My camp had a great view of the city lights without being too noisy.
The morning was gorgeous and the night had been warmer than expected. I wrote a bit in my journal and then got packed up. The best part of the hike down was meeting a family from New Jersey that was coming up the Wild Mustang Trail. They asked me how far I’d gone that morning and I told them I’d spent the night out. They didn’t quite know what to make of it- “By yourself? Did you see any wild animals? But you’re so clean! You had the cheapest room in the place!” Pretty funny. I took the hotel spur back to save myself walking the wash and was back at my house by 10:00 am.
I had plenty of time to relax and then visit my friend Leigh Anne and her family before going over to Wendy’s for dinner. Wendy made me the coolest present for Christmas- she framed one of my Arizona Trail Trek bandannas and put pictures from my hike on it. She’s so thoughtful! This Christmas was a great mix of indoors and outdoors, solo and with friends.
For today’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson picture, I’m digging into the archives for this little Javelina that came to us several years ago. We don’t take care of many larger mammals, so seeing this little guy was pretty fun!