We drove two hours and fifteen minutes from Buckeye East to Catalina State Park. We planned to camp here so that we can visit the nearby National Park, Saguaro National Park. I reserved the campsite at the state park because the national park only offered primitive camping that required a five-mile hike. Yep, not accessible by car. I didn’t think the kids were quite ready for that (much less me).
I really had no idea what I was getting when I made that reservation. The Catalina State Park is gorgeous! The view from our campsite was amazing.
Once we arrived the girls started to help my husband unpack the tent. Yes, we own an RV that we are currently living in full time, but no, my husband does not want to drive it two hours and fifteen minutes away to camp in comfort. Quite honestly, he doesn’t seem to like to drive the RV that much and the gas mileage isn’t all that great. So, we bought a tent. And eventually we hope to work our way up to hiking and primitive camping. We have quite a ways to go.
The girls have been so excited about this trip. They really have been looking forward to tent camping. For Valentine’s Day we let them pick out sleeping bags in preparation for this trip and they could hardly contain themselves while waiting to leave. So, the girls and my husband assembled the tent, we unloaded sleeping pads, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets.
With camp set up we ate lunch and then set out to explore the park. We checked out the camp store, picked up a map and began our hike. We picked the Canyon Loop Trail. It was 2.3 miles and it crossed over a wash several times. I think it’s safe to say that the stream we saw along the trail was a favorite of ours. Along a particular part of the stream there was a sandy beach where we took off and shoes and walked in the water. Brrr, the water was cold. It reminded me of the creeks in NC- even in the middle of the summer the water is so cold. I guess I expected the water to be warmer. It is the desert after all.
The view of the Santa Catalina mountains was beautiful. The park is part of the Coronado National Park and the mountains are different from the area we are staying in Buckeye. The area here is filled with giant boulders and the area is greener. I’m told that this area gets more rain than Buckeye. It is evident in the amount of grass we saw during our stay.
We returned to our campsite and relaxed while watching the scenery and some wildlife. We saw some animals that we identified as round tail ground squirrel. It reminded me of the prairie dogs I’ve seen at the zoo. They pop their little heads out of holes in the ground and when they feel it’s safe it will come completely out of hiding and nibble on the nearby vegetation. When they get frightened they run back to their hole with lightning speed.
Jay and fell asleep in his chair while we relaxed at camp. Our night in the tent? We’ll continue with that.
This picture looks fake/photo shopped, but it’s not. I really wish I had taken more pictures while the weather was nice.