Oracle, Arizona / November 16, 2013
The weather this fall has been absolutely perfect, so we’ve been taking advantage of it and going on adventures every weekend. This weekend, we planned a day trip up to Oracle, Arizona. Oracle is located on the North side of the Catalina Mountains, about a 50 minute drive from our home in Tucson. We went seeking several letterboxes, but found several attractions near Oracle that were worth visiting on their own.
Our first stop was to tour the Biosphere II, but I will save that experience for another post. After taking the tour, we drove through Oracle and began taking a dirt road up the North side of the Catalina Mountains. This road is nothing like the Catalina Highway from the South. The Catalina Highway has 2 lanes, is paved, and has many spots along the way to pull off and enjoy the views. The North side is much less maintained. It is a bumpy gravel road with hairpin turns and not much space for 2 vehicles. Thankfully our stop wasn’t too far up the mountain!
We stopped at the camping and picnic area near Peppersauce Cave. We came here to find a letterbox, and found it quite busy with people enjoying the nearby stream and cave. We have heard about the cave from some friends in Tucson, who told us that unfortunately Peppersauce Cave is filled with graffiti and litter. While it can be fun to wander through a cave without paying for a tour like at Colossal Cave or Kartchner Cavern, it is sad how people treat the areas and makes us glad that those other caves are being protected.
We followed the clues for the letterbox, and sadly found it in poor condition. The box and logbook were lying on the ground in the open and the stamp was nowhere to be found. Curtis collected what he could find so that we could return it to its owner. We did enjoy the bright orange leaves on the trees. That’s 3 weekends in a row that we were able to enjoy fall colors despite being in the desert!
Here’s a look at the rough dirt road. Hang on tight!
Next, we drove into Oracle to find another letterbox. This one was located near the Public Library in these cute public gardens. Curtis searched for the letterbox while I took pictures.