First Visit to Catalina State Park

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On Saturday, since it had cooled down to a mere 80 degrees here in Arizona, we visited Catalina State Park for the first time. A day pass cost $7 per car. There are two campgrounds, a picnic area, group areas, and several hiking trails.

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We chose the Romero Ruins trail first. We climbed around 80 steps to reach the top which took us on a loop.

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There we saw the remains of the Romero ranch which was on top of and next to the base of an Hohokam village.

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The Hohokam village dates back to 500 A.D. approx. while the Romero homestead was from the 1800’s.

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After our first hike, we drove to a picnic area for some lunch. Then Marcus and I hiked the Birding trail, which was a one mile loop. This trail was more forested and we saw a lot of big black beetles, which I did not take any photos of because beetles creep me out!

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Again there were several stairs to climb and descend, just in a more wooded setting.

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But above the stairs, this was what it opened up to, more hot dry desert. (Not very autumn-like! For those of you who are experiencing a true autumn, I envy you!)

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At one point on both trails, we crossed a wash. Definitely don’t want to be caught in one of these during a flash flood!

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Next time we’ll take on one of the longer, more challenging trails, but this was a great first visit for us, and these are my first official photos on my new camera which my generous husband gave me for my birthday (which was on Friday). I’m excited to play with the different features and especially to try out my new macro lens, which I thought I’d save for another day at Tohono Chul. ♥ Thanks for reading!

Christmas Memories

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On Christmas Eve, which was also Marcus’ birthday, we let Marcus choose activities to occupy our day. After going out to a late breakfast at his favorite restaurant in town, we went ice-skating, and then we saw the new Star Wars movie from the front row! (We would’ve had a lot more action shots of ice-skating except that it was discovered that my camera was missing its memory stick. Oops! My oldest son ended up driving to the nearest store and buying a new one.)

Back home, we enjoyed our traditional Prime rib Christmas Eve dinner. Marcus unwrapped his gifts and we sang Happy Birthday to him. We also carried out our Christmas Eve tradition of reading the Christmas story from the scriptures, singing Christmas carols/hymns, and unwrapping new pajamas. It was a beautiful, full day and Marcus proclaimed it his best birthday ever. 🙂

This was our first Christmas Eve and Day in our Utah home (that we’ve owned for three years) and it was a blessing to spend it altogether, with the college kids home. After opening our gifts, we enjoyed my husband’s delicious waffles and then we spent the rest of the day watching Christmas movies in our theater room and snacking.

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Today at church it was nice to sing Christmas hymns one last time. Tomorrow we are skiing (for the first time ever!) so we are looking forward to that. By next Sunday we’ll be back in our small apartment in Arizona, ready to resume our homeschooling.