We knew we loved the seashore and the deep woods. Then, when we first started RVing we discovered the mountains. Then came a fourth locale to grab our hearts -the desert.
We spent four days camped on the edge of the Sonoran Desert right next to the Saguaro National Forest not far from Tucson.
It was perhaps the most peaceful place we have ever been. “Instant peace,” were the exact words Jennifer used. A total unwinding.
We stayed at the Desert Trails RV Park. In season – November through April, it's hard to find a spot. But in mid-spring, come mid May, just as the desert really starts to heat up, you'll find your choices of spots. In our case it was a little hidden cul de sac that backs up to miles of desert wilderness.
Our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL was shaded by a giant Saguaro and the only sounds we heard were the cooing of doves and the occasional raucous caw of a tohwee.
At night, there were coyotes, kicking up a ruckus off behind us. One morning one dashed past the rear of our unit.
The park had a great workout area, a pool, laundry and even a 35-foot high observation deck to watch the always spectacular sunsets.
I hiked and biked every day. Great trails meandered through the desert for miles, accessible right from the park.
Many of the cacti – besides Saguaro there is Green and Violet Prickly Pear, Cholla, Golden Hedgehog and Barrel – were still blooming during our visit, and almost every tall and stately Saguaro had a bird perched atop.
The first two days, the daytime temps were in the mid to high 80s. The last two days saw it approach triple digits. Nights were pleasantly cool.
If you do go, be sure to have plenty of water. Don't even attempt a short hike without water. And, whenever you are in the west and in the wild, watch for rattlesnakes. At night, always have a flashlight when you ware walking outside because that is when they are most active. I didn't see any. But they are out there.
The Saguaro National Forest offers lots of hiking opportunities throughout its 500 square miles, plus some nice loops you can drive down dry, dusty gravel roads. They're fine for a Class B motorhome. I'd be leery of anything bigger.
I highly recommend walking the Signal Hill Trail in the Tucson Mountain District (West). Starting from the Signal Hill Picnic Area, the trail gently climbs to a hill covered with dozens of ancient petroglyphs created by the prehistoric Hohokam people. Their etchings were created by pecking or scraping designs into the dark patina found on the surface of sandstone and other rocks. Both representational and abstract designs can be seen in Hohokam petroglyphs. Representational images are often animals, humans and astrological objects and they were very well preserved.
Here's a bunch of photos of the petroglyphs and more shots the desert.