Picacho Peak State Park

Alternative title: I Must Be Going, Hello.

We came up to Picacho Peak on the advice of the Ticknor Tribe who listed it as one of their favorite parks.  The park is north of Tucson, nested up against the hills of the Peak next to I-10 running to Phoenix.  The park has many hiking trails - including one that goes all the way to the top of the peak and features some sections where you have to climb using some cables installed for the safety of hikers.  Data and I did most of that trail but chose to pass on the cabled section.  The decision made sense at the time (it was getting quite warm, I needed to get some work done, I was concerned about having the stamina to both do that and get off the hill safely) but now I wish we had pressed on and taken on the whole challenge because it’s the first question people from the area ask you once they find out where you are staying.

This is our first experience with a multi-night stay where we don’t have a water hookup.  The park provides only electric hookups so we have been learning water conservation techniques.  We have a collection of water bottles and empty juice containers and milk jugs that we’ve been filling in the drinking fountain by the restrooms.  We use this water for drinking, making coffee, and doing dishes. We’re trying to use our trailer water tank for toilet flushing only.  So far we’ve gone 5 nights and still have water in the trailer so I’m quite pleased with how we’ve done.

While here MsBoyink and the kids made a day trip to the Saguaro National Park where they learned more about the Saguaro cactus and saw some petroglyphs.  Miranda did another Junior Ranger program and earned another badge (which we turn into a fridge magnet).

We also took another daytrip as a family (and hence the alternate title).  This past Thursday we were ready to move on, and MsBoyink did a fair amount of research to find places to go closer to Phoenix.  This is difficult in this area, as most all of the private parks serve the 55 and older crowds exclusively.  But we got recommendations for the same Phoenix-area county parks from online forums and our current camp host.  So we packed up, hitched up, and hit the road by 8:30 AM Thursday morning.  We stopped in Gilbert, AZ at a Sams Club to replace a dead trailer battery and stock up on a selection of meat.  We then hit a Walmart for other supplies, and dropped some extra clothes, toaster, and blanket off at a Goodwill.  From there we drove to the county park, and rolled up to see a “Park Full” sign and parking lot filled with RV’s waiting for spaces.

Oh. no.

Spring. Break.

We knew about it but didn’t think it would impact us this strongly.  Phone calls to other county and state parks got the same answer—full with waiting lines.  Being only Thursday we figured it would be this way at least until Sunday.  With not other obvious alternatives we called back down to Picacho Peak and found there was still room, so back on down the road we went.  By now it was quite windy and warm - we saw temps of 94 on the truck thermometer.  Arriving back in the park our previous site was still open so we settled back in for another 3 nights figuring we’ll call on Sunday to see if the weekender work-a-days have cleared out in the county parks and possibly try again.

It was good to get provisioned up, but still quite frustrating to kill a day and a $75 tank of gas to end right back where we were.

Yesterday we made the drive back to Tucson to visit the library and then meet up with some locals that we’ve met through various online forums.  Present were representatives from all aspects of my world - another young tech couple just getting out of long-term RV based travel, other ExpressionEngine users, and another Jeeper from EarlyCJ5.com.  The group melded quite well and we had a great evening of pizza, beer, conversation, and firedancers.  We made it back to our park about 15 minutes before the gate closed (which we hadn’t gotten the combination to and it’s a long walk from the gate to our trailer).

Our rig in the moonlight

Our rig in the moonlight

Saguaro in the moonlight

Saguaro in the moonlight

Saguaro and the moon

Saguaro and the moon

Some wildflowers

Some wildflowers

Saguaro in the sunrise

Saguaro in the sunrise

Saguaro in the sunset

Saguaro in the sunset

Hike to the peak

Hike to the peak

Looking up. Way up.

Looking up. Way up.

Data getting a view

Data getting a view

A view from the shade of the cliff

A view from the shade of the cliff

We made it. Halfway.

We made it. Halfway.

Saguaro  National Park

Saguaro National Park

Storybird not doing school

Storybird not doing school

Park wildlife

Park wildlife

Arizona State Tree

Arizona State Tree

We haven't seen any

We haven't seen any

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Boyink and Kids on Top of the World

Boyink and Kids on Top of the World

See - that's us!

See - that's us!

Fire dancers in Tucson

6 Comments Picacho Peak State Park

  1. Picture of ticknortribeticknortribeMarch 19, 2011

    LOL! Once we found out that you had stayed there, that would have been the first question that we would have asked too!
    Well, just think - now you have another chance to climb the peak :)  hehehe!  Did you know that you can buy cool t-shirts in the visitor’s center that say “I climbed the peak”?
    :)  dana and all

  2. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkMarch 20, 2011

    Hey- Norm the camp host here remembers you guys well. We’ve had a number of conversations with him -great guy.

    Not sure we’ll get another chance to summit Picacho as I’m heads-down getting prepped for our upcoming classes. We might just have to take it as a lesson learned in seizing the moment.

  3. Picture of BrentBrentMarch 20, 2011

    We picked up a collapsable five gallon container from Wal-Mart that works really well. Has a spout on the lid for easy access.

  4. Picture of ShadShadMarch 21, 2011

    Thanks for posting the pictures! I’m an Arizona native and lived in Tucson for six years before moving out east to Virginia. The last time I was at Picacho Peak was to pick my brother up at 2am because his car broke down.

    Hope you all make it to Sedona and Flagstaff. I consider Flag to be my hometown as that’s where I spent the longest amount of time growing up in AZ.

    Keep on Truckin’!

  5. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkMarch 21, 2011

    Thanks guys. We’ll look into the collapseable bucket.

    Shad - we’ll have been in AZ quite a while by the time we are done here in Phoenix. I think other than the Grand Canyon we’ll be ready to move on ..:). We have enjoyed it so far though!

  6. Picture of StephanieStephanieApril 06, 2011

    I miss those Southern Arizona sunsets (although not the 90+degree temps). That said, I would take 95 in Tucson to 85 in Florida any day. The humidity is killer.

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