In celebration of our 13-year wedding anniversary, TravelGuy and I decided to take a day trip to do some sightseeing in our new homeland of Arizona. Venturing out of our Phoenix home around 7:30 a.m., bundled in jeans and sweaters, we made our way a couple of hours south to the Sabino Canyon, nestled in Tucson’s Coronado National Forest. This also being Valentine’s Day, we really didn’t know what to expect in terms of crowds given that it was a Hallmark holiday, Presidents’ Day weekend, and of course our anniversary which meant we weren’t really sure if the paparazzi had been tipped off as to our whereabouts and whether or not we could dodge them on our special day.
Our arrival to the Sabino Canyon visitor’s center proved to be uneventful. Whew! We both felt lucky that we were unrecognized and would be able to enjoy a day without signing numerous autographs. Though the sunshine felt intoxicating, the shady areas of the canyon were on the nippy side with me zipping up my hoodie as high as possible, and TravelGuy wishing he’d sported a ball cap or something for that shaven head of his. We hopped aboard the shuttle for our 45-minute round trip ride along the canyon trail, passing picnic tables and a plethora of flat rocks perfect for a picnic! Even the creek looked inviting, and we envisioned how fun it would be to come back and set up a little picnic area along the water on one of the rocks, sipping some cruise juice with sandwiches in hand.
The Sabino Canyon was truly beautiful with various shades of green foliage, red rocks, and even a red cardinal. Our PNW blood had never exposed us to a cardinal (other than the dreadful sports teams), so it was cool for us to be up close and personal with one at the end of our trip back down the canyon. That cardinal looked exactly like we’d seen on football helmets and baseball jerseys. If you’re looking for a place to explore with trails to hike, head up to Sabino Canyon – bundle up in the February shade and get there early as the parking lot fills up fast!
From there, we headed southeast to a little place called Lovin’ Spoonful, a vegetarian restaurant in Tucson with an Asian ambiance but a varied menu serving everything from vegan barbecued sandwiches to BLTs to burgers and melts. I recommend it if you’re looking for a healthy eating option in Tucson, but not looking to break the bank.
Our final stop of the day would be the Old Tucson Studios at the base of the Tucson Mountains. This place is noted as the Hollywood of the West, similar to Kanab, UT if you’ve ever been there, but bigger and more of a theme park now though it’s an active working production location. It seems that just about every John Wayne movie was filmed here along with various television series’ such as Little House on the Prairie and The High Chaparral who put their claim here. The set of The High Chaparral is still intact, and along with the entire town, can be toured and enjoyed either by guided tour or just a leisurely stroll on your own. For horse lovers, guests can even take a trail ride or simply gaze at these majestic creatures making their way around the park. If horses don’t float your boat, the park offers a train ride around the perimeter so you won’t miss a thing! We took the opportunity to watch a couple of live stunt shows that were part comedy, part pyrotechnics, but completely goofy and entertaining.
With the day coming to a close and our quest to get home before our doggies became restless, we hit the road – top down, 73-degree sun on our shoulders, and a breeze on our faces. How wonderful it was to be a quick 2-hour drive from a different world, different landscape, and a new adventure. Who knows what year 14 will bring, but if all I have is my TravelGuy, that’s all a TravelGirl really needs.