Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not the winter to go south...






For the 2nd time this week, Homer temperatures topped 50, at least on our thermometer. Shirt sleeve weather, if you stay in the sun. Tomorrow, we head for Fairbanks and some negative numbers so for warm thoughts, a few memories of the last several winters camped in the AZ desert. A good deal of our winter camping during January and February was south of Tucson in the Coronado National Forest , or more specifically, the Patagonia Mtns, San Rafael Valley and Canelo Hills. We hiked the countryside exploring old mines, looking for a possible turquoise deposit, of which we found several. The small town of Patagonia (http://www.patagoniaaz.com/) sits in the middle of the area we explored and is composed of an interesting mix of ranchers, artisans and retirees. The area's history is rich with traditions from early Spanish explorers, Mexicans, gold & silver miners, ranchers on large Spanish land grants, Native Americans and Jesuit priests. The area varies from desert flora to lush lowlands surrounding Sonoita and Harshaw Creeks to Sonoran grasslands to pine and live oaks forests; it has as much bio-diversity as anywhere in America.

But this winter has been cooler and wetter in the southwest and Alaska has been warmer and quite dry. Absent are the normal Pacific storms and the Siberian cold fronts. Glad we stayed north.

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