|Karen and David's home|
We did plenty of chatting and catching up, but also sight-seeing in the area. Our first stop was to the Titan Missile Museum. Tom's uncle has his own missile story from his days in the service - this was a must see for us.
"This preserved Titan II missile site, officially known as complex 571-7, is all that remains of the 54 Titan II missile sites that were on alert across the United States from 1963 to 1987. This one-of-a kind museum gives visitors a rare look at the technology used by the United States to deter nuclear war. What was once one of America's most top secret places is now a National Historic Landmark, fulfilling its new mission of bringing Cold War history to life for millions of visitors from around the world."
|if you're over 6 feet tall, you get to wear a very cool hard hat!|
|volunteer docent knew what all those controls were for!|
|taken from outside|
|security police are no longer needed on site|
Similar to California, Arizona has its share of missions - where Spanish missionaries came and tried to convert the local people to Christianity.
|Mission San Xavierr del Bac dates from the late 1700s|
We arrived in time to see some of the raptors that have been trained up close and personal. They flew right over our heads several times. I was glad I was wearing a hat!
|raven in flight - will come back|
|great horned owl|
|name unknown - toupeed hawk?|
We were very lucky with other animal sightings - nearly all came out of hiding for us. Only the prairie dogs (which are usually so playful) stayed out of sight.
|javelina or collared peccary (definitely part of the wild boar family)|
|Mexican gray wolf|
|black bear - duh!|
|otter posing for his close up|
Hummingbirds are tiny, but in the aviary we were able to spot many varieties.
|here I am with our personal guides, David and Karen|
|top looks like asparagus to me|
We also saw plenty of interesting local plants.
We took a hike in Saguaro National Park. I knew the saguaro cactus is a protected species, but what I didn't expect was to see so many of them and not only in the park.
|Park's namesake, Saguaro Cactus|
We followed one of the trails in search of petroglyphs near its end.
|inside of dead saguaro|
Before we left Karen and David, we had time for one more outing. We visited Sabino Canyon which is very close to them and their favorite hiking spot.
Where else should the trails start?
|Karen explains about the plants|
|plenty of saguaro here!|
Our luck with wildlife continued with a sighting of the elusive coati.
Besides hiking trails, there is also an educational tram ride in the canyon - a leisurely way to learn about the area.
|many arms on that saguaro! very unusual|