Our first one week+ at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument has been busy and very good. We can hear white tailed doves cooing from before dawn till dark. What a soothing sound! There are round-tailed ground squirrels everywhere, but I haven’t been able to get any photos of them. We also have seen several roadrunners (or one roadrunner several times.) But I didn’t have the camera out then.
The roof over the ruins has a resident pair of great horned owls. I don’t think I have seen these owls before, but now I go check on them every day. They have a nest and we wait to see if any of the babies survive. This is the best photo I have been able to get so far of one of the owls.
We have a great RV site here on the grounds.
In addition to a full-hookup site, they have provided two clothes washers and two dryers. This is a real perk for volunteers and only the third time it has been available to us while volunteering. It saves us at least $10 a week in laundromat expense, as well as the time to drive somewhere to do our wash. We are maybe 50 steps away from the washers.
Looking the other direction from the same spot, this is our view of the Casa Grand Ruins.
National Monuments are smaller than National Parks. The staff here is small and almost like a family. Already we have met almost everyone that works here. Today, as I did our wash, I talked with two members of the maintenance staff and the monument superintendent. Everyone has welcomed us here and treats us like we belong. It is the friendliest place we have ever volunteered.
A major way that volunteers help at Casa Grande is by leading guided tours of the ruins. We have a lot of research to do before we can give these tours. They don’t give a script of what they want us to say. They want each volunteer to develop their own theme and do their own research so they know that the information they are discussing is correct. That will take a lot of work, so we won’t be giving any tours this month. We will work on our tours over the summer and fall, before we (hopefully) return next winter. We do answer questions from visitors and rove around the ruins to keep an eye on things and be available to visitors. Also, we have both been trained to help in the bookstore.
The cacti are beginning to bloom here. This is a beautiful prickly pear cactus.