We have stayed in Mesa twice before, but were unable to get into Usery. This time we were lucky to get a site for 5 days!! This is an absolutely beautiful desert park. The sites are far enough apart to feel like you have your own space. There is a trail from the back of our site to the bathhouse. The first afternoon I found a nice trail that went to the visitor center and took it. It was about a mile each way and was a wonderful walk through the desert. That evening we went to Fort McDowell Casino. Tim and Joanne got into a poker tournament and I played my penny slots. None of us fared well, but it was still fun. We look for casinos wherever we go.
On Saturday Joanne and I went into Mesa to the Swap Meet that is held every weekend. Tim and I had been there before, but it was a new and, I think exciting, visit for Joanne. The place has any and everything you can think of and much you don't!!! It is so worth seeing if you are in the area on the weekend. While we were gone, Tim got in some motorcycle time.
That evening the park was sponsoring a Moonlight Walk through the desert. We got there to take the hike and there must have been at least 200 others. We listened to the talk, but decided to take our own hike. We walked about 3 miles through the desert and for the most part didn't even need to use flashlights. The moon was bright and gorgeous!! Up on the mountains surrounding the park we could see the lights of campers who were enjoying the night. So very cool! As we were walking we saw a desert cottontail. Then we heard an owl. Following the hoots, we spotlighted a beautiful Great Horned Owl. In fact, we saw two! What a wonderful evening!! If we had continued with the group, we would have missed those wonderful critters!
On Sunday and Tuesday Joanne took long mountain hikes through the park. On Monday they played golf at a beautiful golf course, Silverado, in Scottsdale. That was the best weather day we have had on this whole trip. It was about 70 degrees and the wind was down. They really enjoyed that round of golf!
We celebrated Christmas this year in Mesa! It was very nice and simple. We were going to have a nice Christmas buffet dinner at one of the casinos, but the lines were hours long. So we found a little café at Casino Arizona and had a nice prime rib dinner out of a plastic container! Joanne had fried chicken! Not your usual Christmas dinner, but our needs are simple! We had a great time overall! If only the weather would cooperate and be a little warmer and less windy.
While we were here, I put out a hummingbird feeder and a regular bird feeder. We also put bird seed out on the ground. We had several hummingbirds and many finches and doves come to the other feeder. Alley loved sitting on the steps watching the birds. In addition to all the birds, there was a cute little chipmunk that would run in, stuff his face with seeds and hightail it back into the desert! Too bad we couldn't stay there for a month!! We had such a wonderful time and would go back. I highly recommend this park.