I’ve never visited Tucson at the peak of Spring. Our timing was fortuitous – everything was in bloom and the color was glorious! We both had allergies with headache and sniffles, but it was worth it.
We stayed at La Paloma, a golf resort on the northeastern side of Tucson, hugging the Santa Catalina mountains. It’s a beautiful place, with incredible landscaping.
The second day we were there, I came upon this! It was more spectacular than the photo coveys. The common name for this is the Flying Saucer cactus.
These guys were about 6″ across and as deep. The gardener was snipping off a recently spent one and it must have weighed a pound.
And the very next day it looked like this! I feel honored that I saw it in full bloom.
We had some adventure at the hotel. The third night into our stay, I went to draw a bath and there was no hot water. I called the front desk and they said something about the water level of the city pump was not high enough to fire their boilers. Huh? Thought nothing more of it other than a minor inconvenience.
I went hiking the next morning, as Hubby was golfing. I returned to our room, very tired, sweaty and dusty. The phone instantly rang in the room which was weird. When I answered it was the Manager. He wanted us to vacate the room virtually immediately, as they needed to get into the walls of our room to somehow fix the water problem. This was a lovely 2-room suite that we carefully picked out for its western view and location on the golf course. I was not going to move!
Long story short, I HAD to move, I was evicted! There was no discussion, I had to move. They were helpful and polite, but there was no getting around that I was evicted. Hubby was golfing so I had to pack up everything (with assistance from a courteous hotel employee) by myself. So here I was, woman alone, with a man in my room helping me. I felt inexplicably vulnerable. I was still in my hiking gear, crying as I packed, in front of a man I did not know. It was jarring. I guess I could have handled it better, but once I got that phone call, there were all sorts of people invading my room, my privacy and sense of security.
The hotel really did handle it well and I think it was just one of those unfortunate things that happen. We got evicted on our last night. We had planned to get something from Whole Foods and eat on our patio with its western-facing view. They did upgrade us to the Presidential Suite, sent us a very nice bottle of wine (I do not drink), comped our meal and our night’s lodging. The Presidential Suite was enormous – I guessed 1500 sf, larger than many homes! It was too big and felt overwhelming.
We also had an enormous balcony that faced both south and west so we had a nice view of Tucson. I really don’t throw the hotel under the bus, but being evicted is something I hope I never experience again, especially alone.
Onward! Back to that hike…
I opted to hike the Catalina State Park, a really good choice. It was spectacularly beautiful. This art piece greets you at the entrance to the trails.
Apparently people purchased the right to put a message within the art, most of which were dedications to someone who had passed. I enjoyed its whimsical nature.
The snow melt was in full force and I discovered I am pretty good at hopping rocks to cross a stream.
So pretty, and I hadn’t even hit the flowers yet.
Verdant meadows like this will not last long in Tucson.
My path had many “roadblocks”!
None of my photos adequately show how gorgeous the “super bloom” was. It was a riot of color.
This guy was reeeeeeally old! It is rare to see that many branches on a single Saguaro.
I also visited Tohono Chul, Tucson’s botanical gardens, where I know I will find beautiful plants and art:
I’ve never seen the horse decorated! You could do an “I Spy” of all the little things that herald spring.
Love the shadows as you enter the gift shop area.
As you entered the art gallery there was a display of work by Errin Kennedy. Love the attitude of this piece.
Okay, I just did not get the work of this artist, Tim Mosman. He sets parameters and works spontaneously and intuitively through a series. His focus is on the process, not the outcome. Maybe I’m missing something. Isn’t the outcome important? I’m now participating in SAQA’s “Exploring Contemporary Art” forum so maybe I will soon be enlightened.
Colonia Sublime by Monica Zavala-Durazo was a collection of 625 paper tubes made of recycled sewing patterns. It was inspired by the artist’s deeply imbeded memory of bees.
Bougainvillea Debris by Nora McGinnis was inspired by the artist’s fascination with pattern. It was very ethereal.
The shadows were an important part of the installation. I have to wonder how she/they got all those pins in straight to the wall.
Hubby and I also visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum which is touted as being one of the top museums in the world. I love visiting the Desert Museum and it is different for every visit. Of course, everything here was in bloom also:
Beautiful vignettes everywhere.
Fabulous texture from spent aloe leaves.
Who’d a thunk to put cactus in a strawberry pot?
There was art too! Featured was the incredible work of Chris Maynard, who carves art from feathers. You’ve never seen anything like this:
He carves these incredible pieces using simple tweezers and snips.
Again, the shadows are an important part of the art.
Charming and whimsical.
I loved how this piece worked its way around 4 walls. Every single piece is a pin into the wall.
And finally, a little bit of local culture:
I’m pretty sure we do not have these flavors here in NorCal, giggle! I enjoyed Tucson in a very different way this time. I will be back soon as our youngest son lives there. I really packed this visit with adventure! I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.