Tucson, Part 1: Sometimes, you just need to go to the desert.

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I took the boy on his first trip out west a few weeks ago. My dad and stepmom have taken to RVing down South through the winters, and so we met them in Tucson. Not only does Tucson have the obvious appeal of cacti and mountains, but Dad’s cousin Susan and her husband Brian live there. Which means we got to visit with some of my favorite family members and explore the desert while snowmelt filled the streams and the flowers were in bloom.

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The first day we went to the Arizona-Senora Desert Museum. That place was amazing and so well done. It’s a huge maze of pathways that connect multiple botanical gardens and desert animals in natural settings. So many different types of cacti.

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Dad wanted to know what I was going to do with all those pictures. At least two blog posts, Dad.

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Just two miles from the museum is Saguaro National Park West.

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Twice in the last few years I’ve had the feeling that I was exactly where I should be. (Both times I was out west next to some serious mountains. Coincidence?) Hiking through Saguaro National Park was one of those times. I asked Coban if this was the best thing he’d ever done in his whole life, and he agreed that it was.

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The next day we headed out of town for a zipline adventure. My second cousin, Emily, who I met for the first time on this trip, is part owner of Arizona Zipline Adventures. She and her partner have created an amazing space with bunkhouses for people to stay in, a communal space for meals and gatherings, and of course, a zipline course that gives amazing views of the mountains and surrounding ranch land.

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There’s even a place outside to mine for gold.

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Right up the road is the historic 3 C Ranch, which Emily’s family has restored to include guest houses and event space. There was so much color and texture and beauty out there that I couldn’t fit it all in one post. Stay tuned for Tucson Part 2.

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