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The best way to understand and appreciate our beautiful Sonoran Desert is to visit the Desert Museum. It’s not a museum exactly, but rather more like a combination botanical garden and zoo. Watch any of the videos provided below for a sneek peek at what to expect while visiting. To visit other parks and gardens in our area click here. For more ideas of Things to do with Kids see our article here.

Raptor Free Flight Show

It’s the first place we recommend newcomers visit and everyone, adults and children alike, loves this truly unique destination. It’s big and mostly outdoors, so wear your hiking shoes.

The Desert Museum has a coffee bar and two good restaurants. The Ironwood Terraces is a self-serve grill with everything from cheeseburgers and pizzas to vegan wraps and salads.

The Ocotillo Café is fine dining. We suggest you make a reservation. Weather permitting, ask to be seated on the patio.

The drive from Tucson over Gates Pass to the Desert Museum is an unsurpassed scenic drive though the Sonoran Desert. Take your camera. Stop for a grand view from the parking area at the top of the pass.

While you are there:

  • Spend a leisurely day visiting the plant and animal exhibits.
  • Listen and learn from the knowledgeable docents.
  • Go to: "Live and on the Loose" demonstration.
  • Enjoy the Art Gallery. Take a Class.
  • Don't Miss the Raptor Free Flight Show!
  • Enjoy a good lunch at the cafeteria or Ocotillo Cafe'
  • Take in one of the Behind the Scenes Tours. SPECIAL DEAL for the Summer! Great for kids!

Tucson Street Names Honor Many Who Were Killed By Apaches

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Naiche, younger son of Chief Cochise.

Naiche, youngest known son of Chief Cochise. Many who knew both men said that Naiche looked a lot like his father.

Many of Tucson's first streets were named for early pioneers, folks who came to the Old Pueblo in the 1860's or early '70's. I was struck by how many of our street names honor pioneers who were killed by Apaches.

Then I got to wondering, how many Tucson street names honor people who killed Apaches? Keep reading. I think you'll find it interesting. And you can use these otherwise useless facts to impress your friends with your knowledge of local history.

Tucson streets named for guys who were killed by Apaches.

  1. Cushing Street: Named in 1872 for First Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing (1838-1871). Cushing was a Civil War veteran, having fought in many battles, including Shiloh, Fredericksburg, & Gettysburg. He was killed by Apaches while in pursuit of the tribe known as Chiricahua. He managed to survive General Robert E. Lee. He did not survive the great Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise. Few did. Which is why the U.S. Army declared victory and acquiesced to Cochise's peace terms in 1872. BTW, Cochise fulfilled his promises. That cannot be said of President U.S. Grant and the American government.
  2. Read More

Tucson streets named for guys who killed Apaches.

Jesus Maria Elias

Jesus Maria Elias

Elias Avenue: Named for prominent Mexican pioneer and Tucson civic leader, Jesus Maria Elias (1829-1896), a man who was widely recognized as one of the most skilled Indian fighters in Arizona Territory. In April 1871, he played a leadership role in the infamous Camp Grant Massacre, the slaughter of at least 120 defenseless Aravaipa Apaches, mostly women and children.

Six to one. It isn't scientific, but seems about right. For every White man or Mexican traveling to or from Tucson in any direction between 1861 when Cochise declared war and September 1886 when Geronimo surrendered, one out of six might get through. Venturing from Tucson alone or in a small group was, at best, a crapshoot.

Apache-history_115For more information on the Apaches and the history surrounding the Apache Wars, see our page on the Local History of the Apaches.

The Western Coral Bean or Chilicote, Harbinger of the Monsoons

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In this video, Mike Foster talks about the Western Coral Bean and it's connection to the more tropical mountains of Mexico.
Chilicote is a shrub or small tree in more tripical regions of Mexico, leafless much of the year and bright red flowers in June in advance of the monsoons. Coral-bean can grow to 15 ft. with a singular trunk. In the United States borderlands, it is usually a shrub due to the more inclimate winters. Much of the year the shrub is leafless. In June, clusters of red, tubular flowers sprout from the stem tips. The plants are most noticable in fall when the pods open to reveal dark-orange seeds.
Watch this video.

Mike Foster, San Pedro River Videos, is an ardent supporter of the Friends of the San Pedro River which serves to educate people about the value of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). Please visit the site at: http://www.sanpedroriver.org and Friends of the San Pedro River on Facebook to join and learn more about conserving this important ecosystem.

Hiking Arizona: Boots & Burgers; A Review

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bootsandburgers
For all you carnivorous hikers out there in Arizona, this book is for you. Roger Naylor, an avid hiker and unrepentant lover of all things Arizona, has written a light, witty book about some of the best, most prominent and popular hikes in Arizona. And none of them is out of reach of a good greasy spoon, which are perhaps not as well known, but nonetheless, offer up a delicious side of beef.

Boots and Burgers presents 37 cameo hikes throughout most of the state, most of them moderate in difficulty. It is a fun read, covering just enough information about the area and the hike to make you wanting more.

The premise of the book is hiking, but the book is a smattering of hikes, good eats, (some less well known), tips on other things to do in the area and great photography. The layout of the book makes the different topics easy to peruse. Did I mention, it has a lot of beautiful color photographs to illustrate the subjects?

HIkers in the ChiracahuasLet's focus on Tucson and Southeastern Arizona for a moment, since we know that best. Roger hits the nail on the head in his intro and starts with probably the most hiked canyon in Tucson, Bear Canyon to Seven Falls. Assuredly, it must also be one of the most rewarding after a long, hot hike. Roger then hits the highlights around Tucson, mentioning several small and out of the way eateries around town. I have not been to these, but will keep them in mind. He writes about some fun venues in Tucson before moving out to Cochise County and the Chiracahua Mountains. Did I say that Seven Falls was the most rewarding? I misspoke. The Chiracahuas are bloody awesome.

Roger next stop is Wisdom's in Tumacacori, and a hike along the Santa Cruz River, following in De Anza's horse tracks.

There are 8 more regions in this book to explore with Roger. To tell you the truth, he has probably saved the best, less well known for himself.

You can ask him yourself, Saturday June 27, 2015 at the Summit Hut on Speedway, where he will be talking about his adventures, and most likely signing books. 
Ask him for me, how he missed Hannagan Meadow in the Alpine district of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the little restaurant in Clifton. I suspect it will be in "Boots and Burgers Redux". Stayed tuned for more. I am sure there is plenty more where that came from and he is ready to get hiking, eating and writing.
Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers

Hiking On A Cool June Day On Mt. Lemmon

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Hiker on Mt. Lemmon

Yours truly out of breath from the altitude.

June 2015. Ms. Karen, Ms. Rosemary, and I decided to get out of the dry heat of Tucson for a while and do a little cool summer hiking near the summit of Mt. Lemmon.The summit is over 9,000' elevation, so while Tucsonans suffer in 107 degree heat in the valley, we, along with many others, enjoyed a pleasant 77 degrees mid-day. Should you go, be aware that parking is limited and go early.

Below, please enjoy a brief slideshow and commentary of our experience.

Rosemary-01SM
Marshall-Gulch-Stream-SM
Hiker-DogsSM
Rosemary-KarenSM
Summerhaven
Rosemary-Phone-Camera
Windy-Point-Hikers-w-dog-02
Repelling of Windy Point
Repel-02SM
Repel-03SM

Near 8,000' elevation, I dropped the ladies off at the Sunset Trailhead near Soldier Camp. The plan was for them to hike to Marshall Gulch Picnic Area where I would pick them up an hour later. Here's Rosemary on Sunset Trail.

Marshall Gulch is at the end of Sabino Canyon Park Road that goes through Summerhaven. When I got there around 10:30AM, there was only one or two parking spots left, which is to be expected on a summer weekend. Nevertheless, there was still a little water in the creek.

Karen & Rosemary encountered a lot of hikers, and many of them had a dog on a leash. These folks had three canines.

Here Karen & Rosemary arrive at Marshall Gulch Picnic Area. They said the hike was shorter but a bit more difficult than expected.

From Marshall Gulch, we drove the one mile to Summerhaven to lunch at Sawmill Run. Sitting on the patio, this is what you see. The damage caused by the 2003 Aspen Fire is plainly and painfully observed. The fire burned more than 85,000 acres of prime forest and destroyed over 250 Summerhaven cabins and businesses.

After lunch we took the Forest Service Road up to Mt. Bigelow just to see what's there. There are three trails leading from the top, including the Butterfly Trail. At the top there are many microwave towers. But the more interesting thing we noticed is people can camp up there even though there are no campgrounds or facilities of any kind. What IS there are lots of mature trees that were spared from the fire. To us, camping up here would be preferable to any of the campgrounds in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Here, Rosemary is taking a picture of the scene NW of Mt. Bigelow.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped at Windy Point to look around. There were perhaps a dozen hikers out near the point overlooking Metropolitan Tucson.

Just below us I spotted this young lady getting ready to repel off a steep rock outcropping. If she fell, the drop would have been at least 600 feet, probably more. At first, she did not look at all confident. I thought perhaps she was new at rock climbing and repelling.

But once she got over the edge, she started to push away with her feet and bound down the face 15-20 feet at a time.

This is her third repel. One more and she was out-of-sight. This whole sequence took no more than 15 seconds. Obviously, she was no novice.

Is Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse The Best In Tucson?

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Continuing our ranking of the 10 Best Steakhouses in Tucson, Ms. Karen, Neighbor Roy, & I moseyed off to Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse near the West Campus of Pima Community College for an early Sunday dinner.

I had dined at Daisy Mae’s with my mother-in-law some years ago and we had a good experience. Ms. Karen had never been there and the last time Neighbor Roy dined at Daisy Mae’s was way back in the mid-20th century. Of some concern, however, was the fact that our friend, Ms. Rosemary, had recently dined there and did not have a good experience.

Daisy Mae’s opens for dining at 4 PM. We arrived about 4:30 and hardly anyone was there. However, as we were leaving an hour later, the place was filling up quickly.

Antonio, a quiet, unassuming lad, took our drink orders. Ms. Karen had a glass of pinot gregio ($5.50). I had a Cadillac margarita /rocks & salt ($7). And Neighbor Roy, hard-drinking cowpoke that he is, had a Sasparilla topped with a maraschino cherry ($3).

Checking out Daisy Mae’s menu, it was apparent that they offer a huge variety of beers, including my favorite, Nimbus Old Monkeyshine Ale. As to their wine selection, Daisy offers just a couple of pathetic cheap wines. I guess they know their clientele.

As we sipped on our cocktails, we had the opportunity to look the place over. Definitely nothing fancy. Daisy Mae’s will not be confused with Fleming's.

Daisy Mae's Wall of Money

Daisy Mae's Wall of Money

Once seated in the dining room, it is impossible not to notice that the walls and ceiling are covered with one-dollar bills that had all been defaced with ink or magic marker. (Is that illegal?) According to Antonio, these thousands of one-dollar bills are removed from the walls and ceiling about every decade and given to some worthy charity. Antonio explained that the last time this was done, they had collected over $2,000 and gave it to the foundation that helps the 911 First Responders. So we wrote: “SoAzGuide was HERE!” on two one-dollar bills and stapled them to the wall next to our table.

The other item one notices upon being seated in the dining room is the enormous BBQ pit just outside on the patio. Like Silver Saddle Steakhouse, Daisy Mae cooks her meats over a very hot mesquite fire.

The Order
To be consistent with our other steakhouse reviews, Ms. Karen ordered a 9 oz. Filet ($30). I ordered a 14 oz. Ribeye ($27); and Roy order their 18 oz. T-Bone ($25). Each entrée comes with baked potato, cowboy beans, and salad.

I inquired of Antonio if Daisy seasons her steaks and, if so, what seasoning do they use. He didn’t know, but wandered off to the kitchen to inquire. A few minutes later, he returned and told us they use “Larry’s” seasoning.

Antonio immediately noticed our quizzical expressions. Ms. Karen ventured a guess. “Do you mean “Laury’s Seasoning?” she asked. “Yes, I think so,” replied Antonio. Ms. Karen then decided to take this scintillating conversation to the next level. “Laury’s make many different types of seasoning,” she pointed out. “What type of Laury’s seasoning do you put on your meats?” Antonio admitted that he didn’t know. Moreover, his body language conveyed the message that he didn’t really care either.

Daisy Mae Steak PlateA few minutes later, Antonio delivered our salads, such as they were. Perhaps the best description of our Daisy Mae salads would be “minimal”. A small bowl of crisp cello lettuce; a sliver of carrot; a thin slice of cucumber. And one cherry tomato. And we though the salad bar at Silver Saddle was underwhelming.

No matter, it was now time for our steaks, baked potatoes and beans. Mind you, all of this was served on hard plastic dishes and bowls reminiscent of an elementary school cafeteria with cheap eating utensils to match.

The Verdict
Said Neighbor Roy, “My 18 oz. T-Bone was done to perfection. Very flavorful. I enjoyed my large baked potato. And I loved the beans. However, the garlic toast was just OK.”

Said Ms. Karen, “My 9 oz. filet mignon was very good, but not as good as the one I enjoyed at Flemings.” She also commented favorably on the beans, although I though just about any can of Bush’s Beans would do as well or better.

As to my Ribeye, it was quite tasty. I shared a bite or two with my dining companions and they agreed … “Very good!” Just not quite as good as the one I enjoyed at Flemings … but half the price. More importantly, it was not quite as flavorful as my ribeye at Silver Saddle. I agreed with Roy about Daisy Mae’s garlic toast. Just so-so! Even I could have easily produced a better garlic toast.

That said, we should point out that while our dinners at Fleming's Steakhouse was very good, the tab came to $90 per person not including tip. Our dinners at Daisy Mae's averaged a mere $40 per person.

Conclusion
Daisy Mae Steakhouse has good steaks, not great. The service is good, not great. The salad that came with the entrée was pathetic. And don’t bother with the garlic bread. It would be so easy and inexpensive to up Daisy Mae's game with a little imagination and effort, but … Daisy Mae's Steakhouse will NOT be invited to advertise on our Southern Arizona Guide because we cannot wholeheartedly recommend this establishment to our friends and family. Ms. Karen summed up our Daisy Mae experience. "It was OK, but I don't see any reason to go back unless you don't have a barbecue grill."

3 saguaro ratingDaisy Mae's Steakhouse
2735 W Anklam Rd, Tucson, AZ 85745
(520) 792-8888

 

 

 

 

Hiking Aspen #93 and Marshall Gulch on Mt. Lemmon

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Mt. Lemmon TrailsOne of the more popular summer hikes on Mt. Lemmon is the loop beginning and ending at the Marshall Gulch Picnic Area at the end of Sabino Canyon Park Road, the narrow paved road that runs through the village of Summerhaven.

This loop sports great views of the Wilderness of Rocks and cool mountain surroundings. Three miles of the Aspen Trail and 1 mile of Marshall Gulch Trail are within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.

Water is found in Marshall Gulch year-round and is still heavily forested. Just don't drink it. In fact, unless you want some kind of dreaded disease, never drink naturally occurring water in Southern Arizona. Bring plenty of your own.

Marshall Gulch Trail along a creek.

Marshall Gulch Trail along a creek.

When hiking in remote areas, go with a companion whenever possible. Always tell some responsible person(s) where you are going and when you expect to return. Up on the mountain, cell phone service is spotty at best. Read More

How A Tucson Campground Got Its Name: The Gordon Hirabayashi Story!

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Few Southern Arizona residents know that we have a winter recreation area named in honor of a federal prisoner. In fact, this recreation area, including a campground beside a stream, is located on the former site of a federal prison camp in the Santa Catalina Mountains a few miles north of Tucson.

Ruins of Catalina Federal Honor Camp in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, AZ

Ruins of Catalina Federal Honor Camp in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, AZ

We thought there might be a good story here, so Ms. Karen & I drove up General Hitchcock Memorial Highway (aka Catalina Highway) and took a short hike through the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site. We wanted to know; (a) what this fellow, Hirabayashi, did to land himself in this remote federal prison camp; and (b) why did Coronado National Forest officials name a campground after him. The two don’t normally go together.

The Ugly Truth

To understand Mr. Hirabayashi’s story, we first have to acquaint ourselves with (a) an embarrassing fact of human nature; and (b) an utterly shameful fact of U.S. history. First, humanoids are inherently xenophobic. Generally speaking, as a species, we naturally fear and hate “the other”. Unless we are taught “kindness toward all” from a young age, we tend to think of others who are different from us and our group, as “second-class citizens”, or sub-humans, or non-humans unworthy of our respect. This is why racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry, injustice, and wars are so common throughout history.   Read More

Preacher In Helldorado: Endicott Peabody & St. Paul’s Church in Tombstone, AT

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Rev. Endicott Peabody

Rev. Endicott Peabody

In the cold Boston winter of 1944-45, Reverent Endicott Peabody lay dying. At 87 years of age, he had lived perhaps the most productive and influential life of any American clergy. He had much to reflect upon, including 6 months as a young pastor of a little church in a dusty Western mining town that lawman Billy Breakenridge famously referred to as “Helldorado”.

Born into a prominent Massachusetts family, Endicott was primarily educated in England where, in 1880, he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a degree in law. However, he felt a strong and sincere call to the ministry, and in February 1881, became a student at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, MA.

Following his first semester, Peabody (pronounced Pea-biddie in MA) was asked to take charge of a very small Episcopal congregation in an isolated pocket of Southern Arizona. Six months earlier, the church building had burned to the ground and its priest had moved on. Endicott, known as “Cotty” to friends & family, arrived in Benson, AZ dressed in his finely tailored, but rumpled eastern suit after a 7-day train ride from Boston. There he boarded Sandy Bob's stagecoach for the $2 night ride south, and arrived in Tombstone early on Sunday, January 29, 1882. Read More

Check Out The Mini Museum’s Summer Classes for Children

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Are you looking for things to do in Tucson with children this summer? Good news! The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures has summer programs for kids ages 5 through 12 that keep them engaged and stimulated.

Mini Time Machine Summer CampThe Mini offers both morning and afternoon programs that involve the kids in arts and crafts, as well as yoga, games and other activities.

Their week-long morning camps are designed for ages 5-7 or 8-12. During a week-long summer camp, kids work towards creating their very own miniature in accordance to the week’s theme.

Mini Time Machine Summer CampclubHOUSE is a weekday afternoon program created to provide families with flexibility to drop their kids off for a few hours here and there or to add on to our morning camps for full day coverage. A supervised lunch hour is available for children attending morning camp and afternoon clubHOUSE. At only $20 ($15 members) per child, per afternoon for three hours of quality fun- it's a great deal!

Way-Out-West-2013-Art-copyFor more information, go to: The Mini Time Machine dot Org/Summer.

The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
520 881 0606
4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive
Tucson, AZ 85712

KID APPROVED

Kid Approved This article has been KID APPROVED. For more interesting ideas of Things to do with kids, some of them not very expensive, please see our page, "Things to do in Tucson with KIDS"
For more things to do this Summer with Kids, please see our Summer Classes page.


Tucson Street Names Honor Many Who Were Killed By Apaches

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Naiche, younger son of Chief Cochise.

Naiche, youngest known son of Chief Cochise. Many who knew both men said that Naiche looked a lot like his father.

Many of Tucson's first streets were named for early pioneers, folks who came to the Old Pueblo in the 1860's or early '70's. I was struck by how many of our street names honor pioneers who were killed by Apaches.

Then I got to wondering, how many Tucson street names honor people who killed Apaches? Keep reading. I think you'll find it interesting. And you can use these otherwise useless facts to impress your friends with your knowledge of local history.

Tucson streets named for guys who were killed by Apaches.

  1. Cushing Street: Named in 1872 for First Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing (1838-1871). Cushing was a Civil War veteran, having fought in many battles, including Shiloh, Fredericksburg, & Gettysburg. He was killed by Apaches while in pursuit of the tribe known as Chiricahua. He managed to survive General Robert E. Lee. He did not survive the great Chiricahua Apache chief Cochise. Few did. Which is why the U.S. Army declared victory and acquiesced to Cochise's peace terms in 1872. BTW, Cochise fulfilled his promises. That cannot be said of President U.S. Grant and the American government.
  2. Read More

Tucson streets named for guys who killed Apaches.

Jesus Maria Elias

Jesus Maria Elias

Elias Avenue: Named for prominent Mexican pioneer and Tucson civic leader, Jesus Maria Elias (1829-1896), a man who was widely recognized as one of the most skilled Indian fighters in Arizona Territory. In April 1871, he played a leadership role in the infamous Camp Grant Massacre, the slaughter of at least 120 defenseless Aravaipa Apaches, mostly women and children.

Six to one. It isn't scientific, but seems about right. For every White man or Mexican traveling to or from Tucson in any direction between 1861 when Cochise declared war and September 1886 when Geronimo surrendered, one out of six might get through. Venturing from Tucson alone or in a small group was, at best, a crapshoot.

Apache-history_115For more information on the Apaches and the history surrounding the Apache Wars, see our page on the Local History of the Apaches.

The Western Coral Bean or Chilicote, Harbinger of the Monsoons

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In this video, Mike Foster talks about the Western Coral Bean and it's connection to the more tropical mountains of Mexico.
Chilicote is a shrub or small tree in more tripical regions of Mexico, leafless much of the year and bright red flowers in June in advance of the monsoons. Coral-bean can grow to 15 ft. with a singular trunk. In the United States borderlands, it is usually a shrub due to the more inclimate winters. Much of the year the shrub is leafless. In June, clusters of red, tubular flowers sprout from the stem tips. The plants are most noticable in fall when the pods open to reveal dark-orange seeds.
Watch this video.

Mike Foster, San Pedro River Videos, is an ardent supporter of the Friends of the San Pedro River which serves to educate people about the value of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). Please visit the site at: http://www.sanpedroriver.org and Friends of the San Pedro River on Facebook to join and learn more about conserving this important ecosystem.

Hiking Arizona: Boots & Burgers; A Review

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bootsandburgers
For all you carnivorous hikers out there in Arizona, this book is for you. Roger Naylor, an avid hiker and unrepentant lover of all things Arizona, has written a light, witty book about some of the best, most prominent and popular hikes in Arizona. And none of them is out of reach of a good greasy spoon, which are perhaps not as well known, but nonetheless, offer up a delicious side of beef.

Boots and Burgers presents 37 cameo hikes throughout most of the state, most of them moderate in difficulty. It is a fun read, covering just enough information about the area and the hike to make you wanting more.

The premise of the book is hiking, but the book is a smattering of hikes, good eats, (some less well known), tips on other things to do in the area and great photography. The layout of the book makes the different topics easy to peruse. Did I mention, it has a lot of beautiful color photographs to illustrate the subjects?

HIkers in the ChiracahuasLet's focus on Tucson and Southeastern Arizona for a moment, since we know that best. Roger hits the nail on the head in his intro and starts with probably the most hiked canyon in Tucson, Bear Canyon to Seven Falls. Assuredly, it must also be one of the most rewarding after a long, hot hike. Roger then hits the highlights around Tucson, mentioning several small and out of the way eateries around town. I have not been to these, but will keep them in mind. He writes about some fun venues in Tucson before moving out to Cochise County and the Chiracahua Mountains. Did I say that Seven Falls was the most rewarding? I misspoke. The Chiracahuas are bloody awesome.

Roger next stop is Wisdom's in Tumacacori, and a hike along the Santa Cruz River, following in De Anza's horse tracks.

There are 8 more regions in this book to explore with Roger. To tell you the truth, he has probably saved the best, less well known for himself.

You can ask him yourself, Saturday June 27, 2015 at the Summit Hut on Speedway, where he will be talking about his adventures, and most likely signing books. 
Ask him for me, how he missed Hannagan Meadow in the Alpine district of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the little restaurant in Clifton. I suspect it will be in "Boots and Burgers Redux". Stayed tuned for more. I am sure there is plenty more where that came from and he is ready to get hiking, eating and writing.
Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers

Hiking On A Cool June Day On Mt. Lemmon

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Hiker on Mt. Lemmon

Yours truly out of breath from the altitude.

June 2015. Ms. Karen, Ms. Rosemary, and I decided to get out of the dry heat of Tucson for a while and do a little cool summer hiking near the summit of Mt. Lemmon.The summit is over 9,000' elevation, so while Tucsonans suffer in 107 degree heat in the valley, we, along with many others, enjoyed a pleasant 77 degrees mid-day. Should you go, be aware that parking is limited and go early.

Below, please enjoy a brief slideshow and commentary of our experience.

Rosemary-01SM
Marshall-Gulch-Stream-SM
Hiker-DogsSM
Rosemary-KarenSM
Summerhaven
Rosemary-Phone-Camera
Windy-Point-Hikers-w-dog-02
Repelling of Windy Point
Repel-02SM
Repel-03SM

Near 8,000' elevation, I dropped the ladies off at the Sunset Trailhead near Soldier Camp. The plan was for them to hike to Marshall Gulch Picnic Area where I would pick them up an hour later. Here's Rosemary on Sunset Trail.

Marshall Gulch is at the end of Sabino Canyon Park Road that goes through Summerhaven. When I got there around 10:30AM, there was only one or two parking spots left, which is to be expected on a summer weekend. Nevertheless, there was still a little water in the creek.

Karen & Rosemary encountered a lot of hikers, and many of them had a dog on a leash. These folks had three canines.

Here Karen & Rosemary arrive at Marshall Gulch Picnic Area. They said the hike was shorter but a bit more difficult than expected.

From Marshall Gulch, we drove the one mile to Summerhaven to lunch at Sawmill Run. Sitting on the patio, this is what you see. The damage caused by the 2003 Aspen Fire is plainly and painfully observed. The fire burned more than 85,000 acres of prime forest and destroyed over 250 Summerhaven cabins and businesses.

After lunch we took the Forest Service Road up to Mt. Bigelow just to see what's there. There are three trails leading from the top, including the Butterfly Trail. At the top there are many microwave towers. But the more interesting thing we noticed is people can camp up there even though there are no campgrounds or facilities of any kind. What IS there are lots of mature trees that were spared from the fire. To us, camping up here would be preferable to any of the campgrounds in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Here, Rosemary is taking a picture of the scene NW of Mt. Bigelow.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped at Windy Point to look around. There were perhaps a dozen hikers out near the point overlooking Metropolitan Tucson.

Just below us I spotted this young lady getting ready to repel off a steep rock outcropping. If she fell, the drop would have been at least 600 feet, probably more. At first, she did not look at all confident. I thought perhaps she was new at rock climbing and repelling.

But once she got over the edge, she started to push away with her feet and bound down the face 15-20 feet at a time.

This is her third repel. One more and she was out-of-sight. This whole sequence took no more than 15 seconds. Obviously, she was no novice.

Is Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse The Best In Tucson?

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Continuing our ranking of the 10 Best Steakhouses in Tucson, Ms. Karen, Neighbor Roy, & I moseyed off to Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse near the West Campus of Pima Community College for an early Sunday dinner.

I had dined at Daisy Mae’s with my mother-in-law some years ago and we had a good experience. Ms. Karen had never been there and the last time Neighbor Roy dined at Daisy Mae’s was way back in the mid-20th century. Of some concern, however, was the fact that our friend, Ms. Rosemary, had recently dined there and did not have a good experience.

Daisy Mae’s opens for dining at 4 PM. We arrived about 4:30 and hardly anyone was there. However, as we were leaving an hour later, the place was filling up quickly.

Antonio, a quiet, unassuming lad, took our drink orders. Ms. Karen had a glass of pinot gregio ($5.50). I had a Cadillac margarita /rocks & salt ($7). And Neighbor Roy, hard-drinking cowpoke that he is, had a Sasparilla topped with a maraschino cherry ($3).

Checking out Daisy Mae’s menu, it was apparent that they offer a huge variety of beers, including my favorite, Nimbus Old Monkeyshine Ale. As to their wine selection, Daisy offers just a couple of pathetic cheap wines. I guess they know their clientele.

As we sipped on our cocktails, we had the opportunity to look the place over. Definitely nothing fancy. Daisy Mae’s will not be confused with Fleming's.

Daisy Mae's Wall of Money

Daisy Mae's Wall of Money

Once seated in the dining room, it is impossible not to notice that the walls and ceiling are covered with one-dollar bills that had all been defaced with ink or magic marker. (Is that illegal?) According to Antonio, these thousands of one-dollar bills are removed from the walls and ceiling about every decade and given to some worthy charity. Antonio explained that the last time this was done, they had collected over $2,000 and gave it to the foundation that helps the 911 First Responders. So we wrote: “SoAzGuide was HERE!” on two one-dollar bills and stapled them to the wall next to our table.

The other item one notices upon being seated in the dining room is the enormous BBQ pit just outside on the patio. Like Silver Saddle Steakhouse, Daisy Mae cooks her meats over a very hot mesquite fire.

The Order
To be consistent with our other steakhouse reviews, Ms. Karen ordered a 9 oz. Filet ($30). I ordered a 14 oz. Ribeye ($27); and Roy order their 18 oz. T-Bone ($25). Each entrée comes with baked potato, cowboy beans, and salad.

I inquired of Antonio if Daisy seasons her steaks and, if so, what seasoning do they use. He didn’t know, but wandered off to the kitchen to inquire. A few minutes later, he returned and told us they use “Larry’s” seasoning.

Antonio immediately noticed our quizzical expressions. Ms. Karen ventured a guess. “Do you mean “Laury’s Seasoning?” she asked. “Yes, I think so,” replied Antonio. Ms. Karen then decided to take this scintillating conversation to the next level. “Laury’s make many different types of seasoning,” she pointed out. “What type of Laury’s seasoning do you put on your meats?” Antonio admitted that he didn’t know. Moreover, his body language conveyed the message that he didn’t really care either.

Daisy Mae Steak PlateA few minutes later, Antonio delivered our salads, such as they were. Perhaps the best description of our Daisy Mae salads would be “minimal”. A small bowl of crisp cello lettuce; a sliver of carrot; a thin slice of cucumber. And one cherry tomato. And we though the salad bar at Silver Saddle was underwhelming.

No matter, it was now time for our steaks, baked potatoes and beans. Mind you, all of this was served on hard plastic dishes and bowls reminiscent of an elementary school cafeteria with cheap eating utensils to match.

The Verdict
Said Neighbor Roy, “My 18 oz. T-Bone was done to perfection. Very flavorful. I enjoyed my large baked potato. And I loved the beans. However, the garlic toast was just OK.”

Said Ms. Karen, “My 9 oz. filet mignon was very good, but not as good as the one I enjoyed at Flemings.” She also commented favorably on the beans, although I though just about any can of Bush’s Beans would do as well or better.

As to my Ribeye, it was quite tasty. I shared a bite or two with my dining companions and they agreed … “Very good!” Just not quite as good as the one I enjoyed at Flemings … but half the price. More importantly, it was not quite as flavorful as my ribeye at Silver Saddle. I agreed with Roy about Daisy Mae’s garlic toast. Just so-so! Even I could have easily produced a better garlic toast.

That said, we should point out that while our dinners at Fleming's Steakhouse was very good, the tab came to $90 per person not including tip. Our dinners at Daisy Mae's averaged a mere $40 per person.

Conclusion
Daisy Mae Steakhouse has good steaks, not great. The service is good, not great. The salad that came with the entrée was pathetic. And don’t bother with the garlic bread. It would be so easy and inexpensive to up Daisy Mae's game with a little imagination and effort, but … Daisy Mae's Steakhouse will NOT be invited to advertise on our Southern Arizona Guide because we cannot wholeheartedly recommend this establishment to our friends and family. Ms. Karen summed up our Daisy Mae experience. "It was OK, but I don't see any reason to go back unless you don't have a barbecue grill."

3 saguaro ratingDaisy Mae's Steakhouse
2735 W Anklam Rd, Tucson, AZ 85745
(520) 792-8888

 

 

 

 

Hiking Aspen #93 and Marshall Gulch on Mt. Lemmon

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Mt. Lemmon TrailsOne of the more popular summer hikes on Mt. Lemmon is the loop beginning and ending at the Marshall Gulch Picnic Area at the end of Sabino Canyon Park Road, the narrow paved road that runs through the village of Summerhaven.

This loop sports great views of the Wilderness of Rocks and cool mountain surroundings. Three miles of the Aspen Trail and 1 mile of Marshall Gulch Trail are within the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.

Water is found in Marshall Gulch year-round and is still heavily forested. Just don't drink it. In fact, unless you want some kind of dreaded disease, never drink naturally occurring water in Southern Arizona. Bring plenty of your own.

Marshall Gulch Trail along a creek.

Marshall Gulch Trail along a creek.

When hiking in remote areas, go with a companion whenever possible. Always tell some responsible person(s) where you are going and when you expect to return. Up on the mountain, cell phone service is spotty at best. Read More

How A Tucson Campground Got Its Name: The Gordon Hirabayashi Story!

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Few Southern Arizona residents know that we have a winter recreation area named in honor of a federal prisoner. In fact, this recreation area, including a campground beside a stream, is located on the former site of a federal prison camp in the Santa Catalina Mountains a few miles north of Tucson.

Ruins of Catalina Federal Honor Camp in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, AZ

Ruins of Catalina Federal Honor Camp in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, AZ

We thought there might be a good story here, so Ms. Karen & I drove up General Hitchcock Memorial Highway (aka Catalina Highway) and took a short hike through the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site. We wanted to know; (a) what this fellow, Hirabayashi, did to land himself in this remote federal prison camp; and (b) why did Coronado National Forest officials name a campground after him. The two don’t normally go together.

The Ugly Truth

To understand Mr. Hirabayashi’s story, we first have to acquaint ourselves with (a) an embarrassing fact of human nature; and (b) an utterly shameful fact of U.S. history. First, humanoids are inherently xenophobic. Generally speaking, as a species, we naturally fear and hate “the other”. Unless we are taught “kindness toward all” from a young age, we tend to think of others who are different from us and our group, as “second-class citizens”, or sub-humans, or non-humans unworthy of our respect. This is why racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry, injustice, and wars are so common throughout history.   Read More

Preacher In Helldorado: Endicott Peabody & St. Paul’s Church in Tombstone, AT

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Rev. Endicott Peabody

Rev. Endicott Peabody

In the cold Boston winter of 1944-45, Reverent Endicott Peabody lay dying. At 87 years of age, he had lived perhaps the most productive and influential life of any American clergy. He had much to reflect upon, including 6 months as a young pastor of a little church in a dusty Western mining town that lawman Billy Breakenridge famously referred to as “Helldorado”.

Born into a prominent Massachusetts family, Endicott was primarily educated in England where, in 1880, he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge with a degree in law. However, he felt a strong and sincere call to the ministry, and in February 1881, became a student at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, MA.

Following his first semester, Peabody (pronounced Pea-biddie in MA) was asked to take charge of a very small Episcopal congregation in an isolated pocket of Southern Arizona. Six months earlier, the church building had burned to the ground and its priest had moved on. Endicott, known as “Cotty” to friends & family, arrived in Benson, AZ dressed in his finely tailored, but rumpled eastern suit after a 7-day train ride from Boston. There he boarded Sandy Bob's stagecoach for the $2 night ride south, and arrived in Tombstone early on Sunday, January 29, 1882. Read More

Check Out The Mini Museum’s Summer Classes for Children

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Are you looking for things to do in Tucson with children this summer? Good news! The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures has summer programs for kids ages 5 through 12 that keep them engaged and stimulated.

Mini Time Machine Summer CampThe Mini offers both morning and afternoon programs that involve the kids in arts and crafts, as well as yoga, games and other activities.

Their week-long morning camps are designed for ages 5-7 or 8-12. During a week-long summer camp, kids work towards creating their very own miniature in accordance to the week’s theme.

Mini Time Machine Summer CampclubHOUSE is a weekday afternoon program created to provide families with flexibility to drop their kids off for a few hours here and there or to add on to our morning camps for full day coverage. A supervised lunch hour is available for children attending morning camp and afternoon clubHOUSE. At only $20 ($15 members) per child, per afternoon for three hours of quality fun- it's a great deal!

Way-Out-West-2013-Art-copyFor more information, go to: The Mini Time Machine dot Org/Summer.

The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
520 881 0606
4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive
Tucson, AZ 85712

KID APPROVED

Kid Approved This article has been KID APPROVED. For more interesting ideas of Things to do with kids, some of them not very expensive, please see our page, "Things to do in Tucson with KIDS"
For more things to do this Summer with Kids, please see our Summer Classes page.