Kartchner Caverns SP
Well we're back in Arizona now. We'll be in various parts of Arizona visiting family and friends until May. This is the last part of our journey circumventing the US. We'll spend May & June back in California visiting our family and a bunch of friends and that will end our first year of fulltime RVing adventures.
After leaving New Mexico, we find ourselves in much, much warmer weather. And thankfully, much less wind. We headed for Kartchner Caverns. Our friends Doug and Dotty brought us here a couple of years ago and we just loved the caverns. What makes this cavern different from most, is that it is a living cave. The temperature inside the cave is usually 70 degrees with 99% humidity. Most caves are very cold and you usually walk down a steep staircase or take an elevator. At Kartchner you take an outdoor tram up to the cave entrance. You are not allowed to bring anything inside. They take great care with the cave and you first walk through double sealed doors where you walk through a very fine mist. This keeps fine bits of lint from falling off our clothes or bodies and harming the cave. Then most of the walking is on a fairly level, wide, well lit walkway.
Also, the fact that between first discovering the cave and developing and opening it up to the public, they were able to keep it secret and unknown to anyone out of a small group of those involved for 14 years! That's pretty amazing. Most caves have been vandalized over the years. This cave was kept pristine as much as possible. It's different than any other you'll see. It is a must do visit!
Since there is no photography allowed inside, these pictures are from the internet.
Since we had done both tours before, we were here to stay in the beautiful campground and do some hiking. This is a wonderful state park with 62 campsites that have water and electricity for $25. Some large pull throughs, bathrooms with showers and a dump station. We also picked up great Verizon 4G. AT&T cell was rather poor though.
We set camp up and headed out to do the 2.5 mile Foothill Loop Trail before it got dark.
Pretty rocks and we're loving the beautiful flowers that are starting to come out.
Heading up and around. Love the Whetstone Mountains in the distance.
Made it back as the sun was setting.
Something we have done for fun when the kids were younger was orienteering. It's like a treasure hunt using a topographical map and a compass. You aren't always on a trail either. Well now with cell phones as popular as they are, there is geocaching. It's pretty much orienteering but using GPS coordinates. I've had an account but haven't been able to use it for years. I got that fixed and we started up again. We found our first cache near the state park. It was actually a very easy one.
Steve with our first cache.
Our other goal was to hike the Guindani Trail. It's 4.2 miles and 5620 ft elevation at its highest point. Once you get through the grazing pasture the trail followed a creek for a while which still had some flowing water. Hurley was happy to plop down in the pools and cool off. Beautiful views from far off in the distance. This was a nice hike with some semi desert grassland and juniper-oak woodlands.
Some of the wild life.
View towards Sierra Vista.
When we were first gathering info about this lifestyle we were fortunate to be able to meet up with two couples who were passing through where we lived at the time. We met Dale and Ruth and Bill and Loretta and picked their brains about the lifestyle and how did Ruth handle working fulltime from the road as Steve was not retiring yet. Sadly, Bill passed away a short time ago and will be missed by many. Cudos to Loretta for deciding to continue fulltiming. She has been workcamping at the park she has been staying at in Benson. Once she returns from a family visit in NJ, she is taking an RV Driving course so she will feel confident moving around in her motorhome. Ruth and Dale are about to finish/or just finished their second year on the road. Dale makes and sells custom jewelry at local festivals. Ruth continues to work from their rig.
(Dale, Ruth & Loretta)
It was great to see them again as fellow RVers now!
Beautiful butterfly and hummingbird garden next to the visitor center.
On our last day, Steve really wanted to find a geocache that we weren't able to locate before it got dark. Down the trail we came with the flashlight dodging the cacti, rocks and bulls that had given me the stinkeye. I think the sight of Hurley didn't make them happy and I didn't want to get charged..
I decided to stay back and get ready to close camp and back up the mountain Steve went alone. He was very happy to find it this time.
Next up, a jail visit.