An Overdue Thank You: Catalina Mountains, AZ

Back in May (May!), Coralee, June & I flew to Mesa, Arizona to visit my parents (snowbirds) and attend the wedding of my cousin. We had never visited their new home near Tucson.  {Merritt stayed in Iowa with Brian (dad/hubby) due to his severe motion sickness & Brian’s need to work.}  The girls had never been on an airplane before & they fared perfectly!  There was quite a bit of turbulence on both our departure and return flights due to massive thunderstorms over Iowa.  At one point during our flight from Iowa to Mesa, as the plane was rocking & tossing, June (age 3) started HOLLERING, “I don’t want to die!”  Yikes!  She wasn’t really scared, just loudly making a point.  The passengers around us were fairly amused, thankfully.  The first set of photos is from our time waiting at the airport in Cedar Rapids, IA.  June was beyond giddy at the prospect of flying.  She is a relatively fearless child. {Click on any photo to view it full-size–looks much better that way, too!}

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Landing in Mesa near midnight! It is such a neat experience to both depart and board a plane outside in the night air. June was looking out the window for my parents, her Nana & Papa Hammond. She couldn’t quite understand why they weren’t sitting right there on the tarmac.

Arizona May 2014

 

The next day we set out with my parents early in the morning to see all the wonderful natural areas that surround their community. The (Santa) Catalina Mountains rise up just beyond their neighborhood. Stunning. The birding was excellent. Coralee added many birds to her Life List. As my father (an avid birder), Coralee, & I looked for birds, my mother & June hiked behind us playing in the sand & just generally enjoying one another. We saw many Saguaros (the tree-like cactus species that is found throughout the area). Those stately beings are truly impressive.  Massive trunks of water.  We also hiked a trail that showcased some of the area’s archaeological treasures.

Arizona May 2014

Arizona May 2014_Saguaro

Arizona May 2014

Arizona May 2014_Dad

Arizona May 2014_Nana_June

Arizona May 2014

 

Who’s that hiding on the desert floor? 😉
Arizona May 2014

 

My parents’ front door with a family of Gambel’s Quail trailing across the bottom. We saw Gambel’s Quail EVERYWHERE around their community. The chicks with their tiny topknots are so captivating.

Arizona May 2014_front door

 

One of our favorite activities was relaxing in my parents’ backyard “spool”–a hybrid pool and spa.  I could have stayed in it forever!  June wore a life-jacket and decided she is now a fish. It was difficult to coax her out.  She just kept swimming back and forth across the tiny length.

Arizona May 2014

 

Coralee took this photo of a female Black-chinned Hummingbird approaching the feeder. She spent close to two hours on Thursday, perched just beyond the hummingbird feeder, watching silently as the many different individual birds paid a visit. She took dozens of amazing photos with her iPod & identified five different species of hummingbirds.

Arizona May 2014

 

Friday morning birding along a trail that runs the edge of my parents’ community (at the base of the Catalina foothills).

Arizona May 2014_birding

Arizona May 2014_birding

 

Yes, this is me. I was here, too!
Arizona May 2014_selfie

On Friday (we landed in Mesa late Wednesday night), we headed toward Phoenix to a golf resort for my cousin’s wedding. Coralee, my father, & I went hiking early Saturday morning in the foothills behind the resort. The bugs were awful. We scampered back down once we reached the top of the trail very quickly.

Arizona May 2014_wedding hike

 

A Cactus Wren & my new favorite bird.  I’m not exactly sure why, but I just fell in birder-love with this species.  The biggest wren in North America & Arizona’s state bird.
Arizona May 2014_Cactus Wren

 

June & Coralee ready for the wedding Saturday night. Coralee still LOVES to match June’s outfits & June, of course, loves to match her big sister.
Arizona May 2014_wedding hike

 

I must admit that I threw quite the adult pathetic hissy fit when my parents started living in the Southwest during the coldest winter months. I fought visiting them (in Arizona) for several years. I am so glad they gave my girls & I the opportunity to fly down & experience the breathtaking beauty that is the Santa Catalina Mountains. I cannot wait to return! Thank you immensely, Mom & Dad!
Arizona May 2014_birding

Arizona May 2014

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7 thoughts on “An Overdue Thank You: Catalina Mountains, AZ

  1. You are welcome! We so enjoyed having you and the girls in Tucson. And I’m so happy you like our ‘new’ place! Please come again! Great pics, Ruby…..thanks for the lovely thank you blog! Hugs, Mom

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    • Hi Bernice! I did not make their dresses, no…my mother certainly could (hint, hint!)…knitting & drawing are all about the extent of my creative talent. I *think* the dresses are from Mini Boden. Coralee is at the end of the size range for the Boden line, so after this summer they won’t be able to match anymore. 😥

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  2. I LOVE wrens. All wrens. Definitely one of my favorite kinds of birds! What an awesome trip! I’m super jealous of your being able to bird in the SW as I’ve never made it further SW than Colorado – what an amazing treat for you & your girls! Also, the matching dresses are ADORABLE!

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    • I am guessing you would have gotten so much more out of the birding trips than I did–we were really not prepared for it. We hope to go again in April 2015–I am going to study study study ahead of time. 🙂

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