But first, lets stir the jello and make a mess of my schedule!! My plan was to go see the Titan Missile site. Good thing I called first, because they have no reservations available until April. Okay, cross that one off the list. Next up, the Horse Soldier Museum ... CLOSED! Well darn!! Two others quickly got crossed off because they were too far away ... and it's too hot to leave the puppies for long.
So Tohono Chul Gardens, Galleries and Bistro it was!! I hit the Bistro first and was reminded why I don't eat out by myself. "How many?" she asked. One I said. "Oh, you're all ALONE??" Well yes, yes I am!! I resisted the urge to clobber her!! The breakfast bowl came with nice crispy potatoes and chorizo, topped with two eggs over easy in a tortilla bowl, surrounded with roasted tomato salsa and black bean puree. YUM YUM!!! It was delicious, as I finished the entire thing out on the patio in the hummingbird garden ... by myself ... alone ... only one .... just me!!!!
By now it's 11:00 and 80 degrees. I was sure wishing I had worn shorts!! Maybe I wouldn't be ALONE!! Just kidding!!
There are concrete walkways as well as dirt trails, some around half a mile long. I wouldn't exactly call this a garden, although there are garden "areas". Mostly, it's trails through the desert with signs on the plants, telling you what they are. I imagine they let nature take it's course, but there was lots of dead cactus and debris everywhere.
Here's an interesting one. I've never in all my years seen a saguaro doing this at the top. It makes you wonder what happened in the environment to cause this crazy pattern.
There are lots of saguaro .... very old ones ... most in some stage of dying. The entrance fee here is $8.00 for seniors, and although it's a nice place to walk around, don't rush to visit this one. For one, the traffic noise from a major artery just yards away pretty much kills the ambience.
Halfway around the park I discovered this sign. With my instilled fear of rattlesnakes, I'm always cautious, but was rather surprised to see it in writing!! For some reason, snakes are out early this year ... probably due to the heat. Definitely keep your eyes pealed or is it peeled?
There are several shelters around where you can cool down in the shade. The butterfly garden apparently has annuals, which were all gone, but I did see two butterflies. The riparian section just had water and the tortoises were still in hibernation.
I'm guessing it's not the best time of year to visit these gardens. Some of the cactus were very happy campers though.
It was much harder to locate birds here, but I finally caught this little fluorescent green hummer. I could hear a few, I just never SAW them!!
This would be my pick of the litter ... a Yamaha Turkey Vulture. I'm guessing these gardens would be great to visit at night. As you can see, there are strings of lights everywhere!!
Here's a beauty!! I followed him through three trees before I finally got a picture. He kind of looks like a Tanager, but I'm really not sure.
This garden fence caught my eye ... and everyone else's too. I'm thinking it was the metal horse sculpture!! What a great way to keep the javelinas at bay!!
This beautiful Brown Towhee was eating from a bag full of something that escapes me!! They sell them in the gift shop. There were three fighting over this bag, so apparently it's something like ice cream!!
Here's another example of Mata Ortiz pottery. These very small three inch wide seed pots fit in your hand perfectly ... just turn upside down and shake it as you walk down your planting row. Not that I would actually do that with this one ... it's for my collection!
All in all, this is one botanical garden I probably wouldn't recommend you visit. The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is much more interesting and well taken care of. If you're in Northwest Tucson and happen to be hungry however, their Bistro is worth a stop, if you're not ALONE!!
Unfortunately for us, I spent a little too much time trying to capture a picture of that bird, and didn't get back to the rig until 2:00. Even though I turned the small bedroom AC on immediately, it was too late to keep us cool. Cooper was smart ... he laid on the tile floor while Jessie and I sweltered on the couch. I spritzed them with water occasionally as the inside temps climbed to 88.
My plan is to leave earlier today, turning the AC on before I go, as this will be the hottest day yet!! The Horse Soldier Museum is open, so that's my destination. If it gets too hot, I'll sequester myself and the puppies in the bedroom with the door closed. Won't THAT be fun!!
What about Jonathan you ask? He's a tropical bird ... the hotter the better, far as he's concerned!!