I had a lot of really wonderful experiences during my four weeks at Red Mountain Cottages in Bisbee, Arizona. I gazed at the sunset over the Huachuca Mountains each evening. I enjoyed visits from mule deer, roaming cattle, and flittering desert birds, and heard the sounds of coyotes singing in the night. I visited Old Bisbee, Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Chiricahua National Monument, Coronado National Memorial, Coronado National Forest, Cochise Stronghold, Kartchner Caverns State Park, the Whetstone Mountains, the wild west town of Tombstone, and the border towns of Naco and Agua Prieta in Mexico. And last but not least, I devoured ridiculous quantities of delicious Mexican food.
My mother came to visit for my last week in Bisbee and shared in the fun, too. She was perhaps even more mesmerized by the beauty of the desert than I was - standing outside each morning in her coat and pajamas to watch the sunrise, strategically placed to see nature's fireworks to both the east and the west. The time whisked past, and it was hard to believe it was time to pack up the SUV and head to the next adventure on January 21.
I had made a couple of day trips to Tucson (about two hours from my Bisbee home) to see Saguaro National Park, and decided that my run to the airport to bid "see you later" to mom was a good reason to spend a couple more days there.
Mom and I spent her last day in Arizona visiting the Arizona - Sonoran Desert Museum, which was an interesting and expansive combination of museum, zoo, aquarium, art gallery, and botanical gardens. It was home to an amazing array of cacti, interesting desert creatures (including my favorite - the javelina!), and some informative exhibits. Our four hours there flew right by, and we took a small rest at our Airbnb before heading to El Charro Cafe to meet my second cousin Kim, a Tucson resident.
Kim, who I hadn't seen in 15 or so years and had never really known, graciously invited me to her gorgeous home for a hike after I deposited mom at the airport this morning. We journeyed six miles into the saguaro-covered mountains, watching her sweet dog Murphy busily investigate the landscape and getting to know one another. As someone who has never lived near extended family, it was fun to make that connection, especially with such a lovely person.
After three hours with Kim, I had another social date. Kalisha, a friend from home, had recently relocated to Phoenix and we had arranged to meet up in Tucson. It was nice to see another familiar face, and we talked non-stop for the next four hours. I have to admit, she made me wish a bit that my next stop was in Phoenix so we could have a few more visits, but alas, my route is set through February. Perhaps my path will encounter hers again sometime in the next few months... time will tell.
For now, I'm westward bound in the morning. Stay tuned!