Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marana AZ: A Bluegrass Festival in a neat City Park

The city of Marana is located on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. The railroad existed before the highway and runs parallel to the highway on the north side of town. Railroad workers named the town (Spanish word for "thicket") after clearing many thickets from the railroad right of way. 
This area is noted for agriculture and has been used in this way long ago by indigenous peoples who dug canals to irrigate crops of corn, beans and cotton. 

   This crop looked like wheat. Canals bring water for crop irrigation.

Pinal Airpark is just north of Marana. It has a history of being a CIA base and access is still closely guarded. The air base is now used for airplane storage. Large planes can be seen from the interstate. 

The Marana festival is three years old. RV numbers have doubled from last year making it necessary to open two additional camping lots. Tent campers were allowed to set up on the green grass near the festival area. 

The city of Marana has invested in nice infrastructure in this park and nearby city buildings and schools. The park has tennis courts, a pool, ball fields, a dog park, a nice walking path, many covered picnic areas and two covered play areas for children. There is a library and a community center/senior center. We walked the trail around the park every day. I enjoyed the many birds that were nesting and feeding on insects, raising their young and keeping out of the way of a hungry falcon. 

                                          Dave after a morning hike.

I noticed the Vermillion Flycatchers right away. They are hard to miss as they do acrobatic flying to snatch up the tasty insects in the park. Both male and female seemed to be teaching fledglings how to hunt. 

                                 Immature Vermillion Flycatcher

                      Female Flycatcher

I think this is a brown crested flycatcher. It had a nest under a canopy near the pool.

The nest of a lesser goldfinch. It was very nervous about me being near.

                    Lesser Goldfinch, Male

A Prairie Falcon favored a pine tree on a small hill along the park trail. He didn't like me hanging around either.
                                      Looks like he is ready to pounce!

There were some neat blooming bushes in and around Ora Mae Harn Park so I had a good time with my new camera.

While I was wandering around taking pictures, Dave had a good time picking and singing and fiddling. He even took the time to practice the banjo near Luci the Airstream.
               I took this photo from inside the trailer through the screen.

Dave was in a bluegrass gospel band called Nehemiah that played both days of the festival. 

There was a good crowd mostly trying to get some shade under canopies thoughtfully provided by the festival organizers.

On Sunday my cousins Dick and Becky Keidel visited us and took in the last day of the festival. They live in Wayne NE and winter in Green Valley AZ. It was good to see them and catch up on our families. 

After Nehemiah's set, we said goodbye to the cousins and the Nehemiah folks and followed the sun west. Home by dusk. It's nice to have our trailer close by in the Sun Village RV lot. This is our last camping trip until we return to Wyoming. It has been a good winter.

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