Trail Dust Town is an old west themed tourist center located in northeastern Tucson since the 1960s.
The town started out as a movie set for a 1950s western that was never completed, but a local businessman bought it, and made it into the tourist attraction that remains to this day.
This day however was for the dogs. An event known as Woofstock was occurring, with most of the rescue organizations in town having their available dogs, as well as a number of local businesses that cater to dog people.
A unique setting and friendly dogs – what more can you ask for?
For a medium sized city Tucson has a lot of very talented artistic people. Every once in a while they have a ‘Made in Tucson’ market. Like many of the other markets it is located near Fourth Avenue, this time a few blocks along 7th Street.
This market was restricted to 300 vendors, with over 500 applying to participate.
There were all sorts of wares offered for sale.
Rightfully so, the artists are proud of their work and more than happy to explain their craft.
The food court included a number of trucks and one ‘food horse trailer’!
Peridot Mesa is part of a volcanic field in the San Carlos Apache Tribe Reservation. While it is noted for it’s unique geology as a result of the volcanic activity, each spring it becomes a wildflower oasis.
The weather community seems to have found new terms for old occurrences and then over use them, one being ‘superbloom’. I am not sure if this qualifies as a superbloom, but it was fantastic.
When you look closely you can see the poppies mixed in next to the volcanic rocks.
As you make your way up to the top of the mesa, there are spectacular views for 360 degrees.
Once you crest the top you get a view to the east showing the transition from poppies to desert chicory.
It should be noted that the entire mesa is on Apache land so you must pay a $10 per person permit fee before entering. Once you do you are welcome to roam throughout though.
Well worth the $10.
The roads, while dirt, are passable by cars.
It is also open range grazing for the animals.
Peridot Mesa is an amazing place to see wildflowers. It’s remoteness means it is far less crowded than Picacho Peak, and the others.
Nature’s reward for a cool, rainy winter in the desert.
The Tucson Garden Railway Club had their annual open houses at 8 different locations around the city. I was able to visit 5 of them.
The first stop was at the Rincon Country West RV Resort. This location has over 1000 mobile homes and RV spaces, primarily for snowbirds. They also seem to have the most palm trees per square mile of anywhere in Arizona.
With all the retirees in the neighborhood they have clubs for everything, including their garden railway club. Their railway set up is permanent.
Many of the buildings were custom built.
The next stop was the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, located on the grounds of the historic railway station.
Their small garden railway has without a doubt the most impressive railroad artifact next to it, a 157,000 pound Southern Pacific Railway locomotive dating from 1900.
Next stop was a private home in the hills west of downtown. Their backyard setup was nice, as were the views.
Their pet Schnauzer kept watch over the happenings.
The 4th railway setup was in a backyard of a home in Marana. This setup showed you don’t need a lot of space to have a nice setup.
The Grand Finale was a home in Catalina Foothills. The owner, an artist, custom built nearly everything.
In addition he is an avid cacti gardener, with the railway highlighting the vegetation, and vice versa.
The building construction was impressively intricate.
All of the presentations were nice, but this one was the most impressive.
The highlight of the helicopter tour was headed up over Mica Mountain above Saguaro National Park.
Tyler’s astute piloting lead us up into the canyon, then just enough altitude to get up over to the next one. You knew you were going to clear the next one, but it was still a thrill to see it coming towards us.
Next stop on the tour was going over Reddington Pass. The darker rust color in the wash is the water running off from the recent rain and snow.
We continued to climb, headed for the ridge ahead and on to Bear Canyon.
The highlight of the entire trip was going up into Sabino Canyon.
We went as far as we could up the canyon where, again thanks to the recent rain and snow, was a series of waterfalls.
Tyler hovered us just above the falls and rotated the helicopter so we had a true 360 view before heading back down the canyon.
As we made our way back down the city came back into view.
Once we reached the foothills we began to see the houses directly below us again. For those who want to be remote, yet close to the city, this is the place.