Monday, March 18, 2013

Madera Canyon

One of the cabins & gift shop
This post isn't about food as much as it is an experience. The experience I am talking about is Madera Canyon, Arizona. This is a beautiful place located about 45 minutes south east of Tucson and is a favorite spot or birdwatchers and nature lovers alike. The canyon takes you up to elevations over 5,000 feet on the main road and yet higher when you venture on many of the hiking trails.

My husband first brought us here in 2010 when we were traveling in the Southwest U.S. for vacation. We stopped at a couple of the B&B's in the canyon to look at the birds there. The owners put out seed and sugar water to attract some of the incredible species that pass through the area.

In March 2012 we decided to rent a cabin at the Madera  Kubo for 3 nights. There are four cabins to chose from we picked Cabin #3. This is a rustic cabin with a full kitchen, bath, one bedroom, a sleeper couch, and a wood stove for heat. The owner's supply you with milk, fruit, and cereals for breakfast, as well as basic cooking utensils and pans. There is also a small barbeque in the back for you to enjoy. Be prepared and bring your own charcoal if you want to use it.

Home Sweet Home Cabin #3
We enjoyed our first stay so much we decided to return at the end of June 2012 for a week and then again in March 2013 each time renting Cabin #3. There is something about the tranquility of this place that can recharge you. It can be pretty busy with hikers and birdwatchers on the nearby road, but there is privacy and they tend to blend into the place. 

At night it is a different story s the people leave and the wildlife comes out. What you mostly see here are squirrels, lizards, and birds with the occasional deer. The largest grouping of animals though are the flock of turkeys. The amount in the flock depend on the weather. We've had up to 25 roost at night in the tree next to our bedroom to as few as 12. We have heard that there are mountain lions and ring-tailed cats but have never seen them.

Back porch of Cabin #3
 Last June while I was sitting on the back porch overlooking the stream listening to the rain starting to fall I encountered a bear. Having heard the story of a mother and her cub causing a ruckus the day before for hours I was weary. I heard a sound to my left and looked that direction and was surprised to see a large black bear walking along the creek. Not sure at that point if it was the mother and cub I quietly and quickly went back inside to one grab my camera and two make sure I wasn't going to put myself in harm's way. After a few minutes and seeing that the bear was alone and walking away down the stream I decided it was safe enough to go back out on the porch. There I took a few pictures and watched this beautiful bear walk and mind his own business. Because it was so late in the day and the lighting was horrible, the pictures looked more like black blobs than a bear. But the experience was one I will not forget.
My favorite view

As for staying here at the Kubo life here is a simple one. I plan our meals out before hand and we bring most of our supplies from home, but for a few things we pick up in town before we head up. There is something about roughing it as I call it here. I come prepared with my knives, other kitchen essentials, and spices so we can have the best possible meals we can while we are here.
Dinners consist of steak and baked potatoes, chicken, broccoli, and rice, and hamburgers with homemade french fries. It's easy and we are happy to eat in style in this bare bones location. We also bring up some fantastic wines and beer to enjoy.

What do we spend our time doing? For my husband he goes off birding and the occasional hike. As for me, I take our daughter on hikes and I like to sit on the back porch and read. Today I am sitting on the porch writing for my blog. There is something about the fresh air and the sound of the streams on either side of the cabin that converge to one a few yards away that bring out the creative juices.
I forgot to mention, the internet does not exist here. They have no WIFI and you are lucky to get a cell phone signal. You can go down the canyon a few miles if you really need it. At times you are lucky to get a bit of a signal and email will come to your phone. Text messaging is the best way to communicate with the outside world if you really have to. 

The tree the turkeys roost in at night.
If you have time and want to get away and relax and re-energize yourself come out to Madera Canyon. Enjoy the little bit of Heaven in the Desert Southwest.

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