Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | October 1, 2012

Arizona trip, part 1

Let me start by saying that when you have guests (not that ANY of my few but lovely readers would do this) you should not insult and berate them over their political leanings. A calm and factual political discussion is fine, although often difficult to have, but one in which you inform your guests that they are really stupid for their opinion is a no-no. And when said guests have flown four people across the country, rented a car and driven two hours to see you, that just adds insult to injury.

That was the first night. After that, things improved.

Back in May I found out that one of my favorite authors, Laurie R. King would be having a launch party for her newest book, Garment of Shadows, at the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona on September 4th. Sigh, thought I, I wish I could go. And then, inspiration struck! My brother and his family had moved to Tucson a year ago and we had not yet visited. My kids would not (quite) be in school yet. My husband could take a couple of days off. The plan was coalescing. Then I found out that another of my favorite authors, Louise Penny, would be having a book signing at Poisoned Pen (hereafter referred to as PPB) the night before Laurie. It was like gravy, or frosting, or sparkles. So off we went on Thursday, the 30th, fly, fly, flying over the land. We arrived safely and will skip over that first evening.

My brother loves the area and was extremely eager to show us all his favorite hikes and places. My sister-in-law is also quite an athlete. She’s done triathlons. She’s like an entirely different species than me.

So, the first day we were there, they took us up to Mt. Lemmon. Bear in mind, we were home in NJ at about 650 ft. above sea level the day before and now, suddenly, here we are at 8800 ft. My head stopped being firmly attached to my body. We did one short-ish hike with lovely, beautiful views and then had a picnic lunch. The rest of the family then went on a 5 mile hike. I opted to take my unattached head and walk a half mile up the road to a coffee shop and hang out and wait. I had a book on my kindle ap on my phone, a yummy cookie, great coffee, and lovely weather.

The next day we went over to a park – Sabino Canyon. It was lovely, but oh so hot. And no, not a dry heat, it was monsoon season so it was kind of humid. We also hiked around another park, saw my brother’s office – very cool as it is a drug company working on cancer drugs. But the coolest (hottest?) place was the Desert Museum. You walk around outside with the animals in their natural habitats – mountain lions!! Bobcats!! (really really cute!) Wolves!! Javalinas! Otters!! (totally impossible to get a good picture of).

I’m doing a slideshow of some of what we saw and then write a new post on the Scottsdale portion of the visit. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



  1. Beautiful pictures! Are you sure that one is a mountain lion and not a lynx or something similar? It’s the spots. I didn’t think mountain lions had spots.

    I can’t wait to hear about getting to see Laurie R. King!

    And we’ve missed you. Glad to see you again in your place.

    • Well, I thought it was a mountain lion, but I certainly could be wrong. It’s been a month since I took the picture so I may not remember correctly.

  2. wow, those are great wildlife pictures! I also would have opted to sit and read a book at a coffee shop. Good thinking.

    • I like hiking and all, but given how the altitude made me feel I thought it better to just sit.

  3. I love your nature shots, Karen. You really are a good photographer. Loved the way you captured the light. And you know what, that terrain is very similar to where I live in the Cali desert.

    • Thank you so much! The light was really beautiful that morning at Sabino Canyon. It was lovely to visit and I’d love to visit again, but I don’t ever want to live somewhere that gets that hot!

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