We left Texas and stopped for the night at another Escapee Park in Demming New Mexico from where we continued on to Tucson to spend New Years eve with our machettonim (Richard's in laws.) We camped for the night in the gorgeous Catilina State Park about 5 miles from their new home. When we drove in to pay our fee we exchanged greetings with the volunteer at the entrance who had lived on West 83 st in New York City from 1947 till a few years ago. He was so exited at meeting people from what he considered his home that he didn't warn us about the wash. There were no electric sites left but we planned to dry camp and put our name on the list for an electric site. When the host came by to add our name to the list she warned us that in the rain that they were expecting the dry wash that we had just driven through floods leaving those out who are out and those in who are in until the waters recede and the mud is cleared from the road. Since we had come to visit friends and the park was incidental to our visit we decided to leave for a less scenic but dryer campground the next morning. After arriving in Catilina SP for our one nights stay we still had time to pick up some grocery's, mail a letter and take a short hike on the Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail before it got dark. The 3/4 mile "trail meanders through the ruins of a prehistoric Hohokam village site that is over a thousand years old". In order to reach the trail we had to walk through a dry wash. The next time we were in the park this wash and the wash we had driven through wasn't so dry. The rains came as promised later that day. After moving the trailer we walked on a side walk before the rain started. The next day the park was closed so we again walked on the side walk.The next day we drove into the park which was still officially closed, none the less we were allowed to walk through the wash to hike on the higher ground nature trail.As we were leaving the ranger was trying to clear the road with a bull dozer. The next day the park was again open and we were able to drive in to hike. We walked several miles on the Southerland trail which took us through the wet washes five times but it was a bright sunny day and we enjoyed our walk.
After spending a lovely New Years Eve with Caryn's parents as well as her Aunt and Uncle who had also bought a new home in the same development we returned to see their home in the Sonoran Desert with the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountain as a backdrop, in daylight.
On January 2 we headed west on Arizona 79 to Mesa and the Maricopa County Usery Mountain Recreation Area. On our way we even passed and stopped at a memorial for Tom Mix the famous cowboy silent film star.
We had camped at the Usery Mountain Recreation Area on our previous trip west and enjoyed the hiking. When we arrived we climbed up the 1.6 mile Wind Cave trail to the cave and spent the next day cooped up in the rain. Then we walked in several dry washes and hiked around the 2.9 mile Blevins trail and the .8 mile Moon Rock trail a day before we hiked the 7.1 mile Pass Mountain Trail all of these we had done on our previous trip. This time we also climbed the half mile Vista trail and walked the one mile Merkle barrier free interpretive trail around the circumference of this quarter mile mountain that the Vista Trail traverses.