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This trip was a rich tapestry of treasure that unfolded hourly where we multi-faceted characters began to share and revel in our fortunate gathering amid spectacular scenery. — Betty H., Washington
|Arizona, USA||January 14 – 19, 2018 – CLOSED for registration||$1,949|
Tucson is calling you, the free thinker and the free at heart, to explore without boundaries. Tucson is a city in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert surrounded by multiple mountain ranges, including the Santa Catalinas. Famous for its dramatic beauty, the Sonoran Desert covers this region with spectacular cacti – including the giant saguaro, symbol of the American Southwest. Cactus forests lead to rolling grasslands, riparian streams, hoodoo mountain ranges and evergreen sky islands. Its restorative climate and casual pace are a natural setting for today’s adventure destination. We’ll hike among these gorgeous mountain ranges, explore caves, visit the “Old West”, explore the Sonora Desert museum, and stay in unique accommodations! Great activities, scenery, food, and laid back people add up to one active and memorable adventure experience!
Arrive in Tucson by 3pm (airport code TUS) and our guide will meet you in the baggage claim area. We’ll do a city walk of Tucson and enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at one of the many splendid Tucson restaurants and check into our hotel.
After breakfast we’ll head to Sabino Canyon for a hike in the Coronado National Forest. Sabino Canyon is one of the most premier natural areas in southern Arizona. This recreation area is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Here you will find outstanding scenery that features steep rock cliffs and unique desert vegetation adjacent to riparian corridors. You may get lucky and view a Gila Monster, Bobcat, Gambel’s Quail, Eastern Collard Lizard, Gopher Snake and more. We’ll have lunch, then late afternoon we’ll go to a luxurious horse ranch right outside Tucson and located on 60,000 acres of Tucson’s most breathtaking desert landscapes, nestled amongst the Rincon Mountains and adjacent to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest. They have a large herd of hand picked horses and knowledgeable wranglers to guide our trail ride at sunset. We’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at Tanque Verde Ranch after our ride before heading back to our hotel.
After breakfast, we’re off to Mt. Lemmon! This is the highest point in the Santa Catalina mountains at over 9,000 feet elevation. The beautiful, curving road is a favorite drive for locals as well as tourists, and has been recently designated as the Sky Island Parkway, part of the US Scenic Byway System. The very top of the mountain may be closed at this time of year due to snow, however there are plenty of beautiful overlooks and hiking trails. We’ll head back to town for lunch then we’re off to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. This is a special place that offers a museum, hiking trails, gardens, animal rehab / zoo, and so much more! We’ll stop for dinner before heading back to our hotel.
After breakfast, we’ll head out to enjoy our 6 mile hike into Madera Canyon to experience this natural wilderness and excellent birding opportunities. Bring your binoculars! With fifteen species of hummingbirds, elegant trogon, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, black-capped gnatcatcher, flame-colored tanager, thirty-six species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented in total, Madera Canyon is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. We’ll enjoy a late lunch then head back to Tucson and our hotel to relax and maybe have a dip in the pool before dinner.
After breakfast, we’re off to experience a stunning limestone cave in Kartchner Caverns State Park that boasts world-class features. This “live” cave, discovered in 1974, is host to a wide variety of unique minerals and formations. Water percolates from the surface and calcite formations continue to grow, including stalactites dripping down like icicles and giant stalagmites reaching up from the ground. Tour guides (required) will unveil this fascinating underground landscape during a memorable tour. After lunch, it’s off to Tombstone where we’ll walk the very same streets that Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Johnny Ringo, Ike Clanton and a host of other western legends walked over 130 years ago. You can just feel the history here! Then it’s off to Bisbee. During its late 19th-century mining heyday, Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco and was known for such bawdy locales as Brewery Gulch, then a stretch of rowdy saloons. Today, Bisbee is known for its stunning Victorian architecture, mild year-round climate and abundance of galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. We’ll head back to our castle in Tucson to freshen up and have our Farewell dinner, as we recount our week in the wonderful jewel that is Tucson.
Enjoy breakfast before you depart for points beyond. An airport transfer to the Tucson airport will be provided around 9:30am, or you can schedule your own transfer (at your expense) if you have an early departure or wish to extend.
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