Friday, January 6, 2012

We have arrived at Kartchner Caverns State Park


Sunset over the Whetstone Mountains of Arizona

Since Kathy would not let me take any pictures of her surgery or various Doctor tests, the above is the first picture I have taken since mid-September.

Yes! We finally left San Juan Bautista, California and headed off to Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson, Arizona.

Our trip was fine. We stopped in Bakersfield the first night, Blythe. CA the second night and Casa Grande, AZ for 2 nights. Traffic was heavy as to be expected this time of year, but no big deal. The weather was prefect with no wind. The hours of sitting in one position especially on the long drive to Blythe, aggravated Kathy's pain problem, but it has gone down again.

We stopped for a couple of nights in Casa Grande to have lunch with  Montana Owner.Com friends Phil & Cathy Paramore and Bob Martin (Pam was in Chicago visiting their daughter). After the cold of San Juan Bautista the 72 degree days and low of  at night in Casa Grande was heaven.

We arrived here at Kartchner Saturday to low 70s, and dead calm winds. Once we arrived we were given a tour of the park and its facilities. Kartchner Caverns State Park uses a lot of volunteers and actually has two Volunteer Villages. We were assigned our site and off we went to get settled in. No less than 4 people stopped by to make sure we had been invited to the New Year’s Eve Party and 3 more peopled stopped to make sure we knew about the Volunteer Village pre-New Year’s Eve Party campfire. We finished getting all setup just in time to attend the campfire, but we passed on the New Year’s Eve Party. We were just too tired to stay up until midnight. We will be volunteering here for the next 2 months.

Our volunteer shift is 5 hours per day 4 days per week. Our assignments for the first 2 days were to be “Trailers”. This is basically to be a trail sweep on the Cavern Tours, to make sure that everyone stays together and to turn off the lights as the tour moves through the caverns. On our third day Kathy was at the Entrance Station to the Park collecting entrance fees. I worked the Visitor Desk answering questions and handing out tour tickets to those with reservations.

Our previous visits to this area have always been in March and we always got some snow while visiting here . We know that the bright sunshiny, 70 degree days won’t last. However for now we are REALLY enjoying the weather.

Bird Note: In our off hours Kathy and I have made a real effort to do a bird walk everyday. We are both surprised at how few birds we actually see. We have managed to see 21 species this past week.

This week’s Bird List: Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Northern Flicker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Chihuahuan Raven, Verdin, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Curve-billed Thrasher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pyrrhuloxia, Chipping Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, House Finch and Lesser Goldfinch.