Friday, December 9, 2011

Gila Bend to Kartchner Caverns

Tuesday, December 6

Tuesday morning we were up at 6 and took our time with coffee and breakfast, since we only had about 170 miles to go. I decided to use some of those fat blueberries I had in the freezer, and made blueberry pancakes with some Little Smokies. We were on the road by 8:30, and had an easy trip on Interstate 8 to the junction with the 10 near Eloy. There we picked up a little of the Phoenix-to-Tucson traffic. There was construction as well, but we really didn't have any difficulty.

We reached the turnoff to Kartchner Caverns State Park around 11:30, and were pleasantly surprised to learn that campers do NOT have to pay the state park entrance fee. (In Colorado, you have to pay for EACH DAY you're in one of their state parks.) We pulled into a spacious pull-through campsite among the mesquite trees and settled in for the next two days. We were greeted by Margie, one of the campground hosts and enjoyed a short chat with her. There are only 5-6 RVs here (in addition to the hosts) so things are blissfully quiet. The park is at an elevation of 4600', so it's a bit chilly.

After lunch we headed over to the Discovery Center and spent a couple of hours learning all about the caverns. We learned that they were only recently discovered--1976--but kept secret for 14 years until the public was made aware of the new state park. We watched a video about the discovery and the subsequent protection, as well as how the cavern's formations came to be. The Discovery Center has some very nice displays that help visitors understand the history and geology of the caverns.

We came back to the trailer around 3, where Don enjoyed a nap and I watched some TV. Dinner was barbecue "muffins," and we watched some more TV until we went to bed to read. We'd been warned that it would be freezing during the night, so Don unhooked the water hose and brought it inside the trailer for the night.

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