November 20, 2012:
We had a campground breakfast activity on Friday at 9 AM, Twinkles made a fruit salad, we met several new campers and ate too much (it was good). Afterwards we went for a hike at the Saguaro National Park for about 5 miles. The first part of the hike followed a dry Canyon Wash (stream bed) to an area with old indian petroglyphs. The trail then climbed up into the back country with great views in all directions. On the return back down, we took a side trail (Gould trail) that took us past the old Gould mining area. There was a large open pit covered by a locked steel grate cover with deathly warning signs.
It was a partly cloudy day, then it got dark and it looked like we might have rain, but then it passed and the sun broke through again. I would like to be here to see a good rainstorm to see these dry river washes instantly turn into ragging torrents and waterfalls, it must be a spectacular sight (as long as you are out of the way.
On Saturday, we went to San Xavier del Bac Mission (The white dove of the desert) just outside of Tucson. It is only a few miles from our campground and we went primarily to get some Indian fry bread made by the indians in the parking lot, the old fashioned way over wood fires, really good stuff ! I think this is my fourth time there, so I am getting a little jaded about the beauty of the old mission, but every time I go I see something new and inspirational. On this visit, we went into the small museum with it's historical exhibits on the native Tohono O'odham people, the spanish /mexican takeover of the region, the establishment of the mission, the influence of the church and then the United States takeover of the region.
We then took a ride into Tucson to the 4th Avenue area to walk around, walk off the fry bread. The 4th Ave area is loaded with restaurants, bars, a great bookstore and a weird, fun mix of eclectic shops. A favorite area of mine from previous Tucson trips.
Many downtown Tucson streets are torn up for construction of a new light rail system. As a result, it's a little tricky getting around, haven't figured it out yet, in other words we got lost getting out of town !
On Sunday, we visited the "DeGrazia gallery in the Sun", a national historic site, in the Catalina foothills. Ettore (Ted) DeGrazia was a famous Tucson visionary artist of the southwest. The studio itself and the art on display were fantastic, never enjoyed an art museum so much, anywhere ! The man was a real character, right down to his easel with the "Red Man" chewing tobacco, old metal tool box for his paints, his old cowboy hat, boots and his bottle of vodka.
Our first week here was interesting and we decided to extend another month to mid January.
|Canyon Wash Trail|
|Petroglyphs on the rocks at the end of the wash trail|
|Sun breaking through on the Gould Trail|
|The old Gould mine site|
|Mission San Xavier del Bac with indian food vendors in foreground|
|Mission San Xavier del Bac|
|Mission details are incredible|
|Even the door handles are special|
|I loved this tile work done by the local indian school kids at the mission|
|Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia incredible artist and Tucson folk hero|
|A portion of the DeGrazia studio in the sun|
|Interior of the "Lady of Guadalupe" shrine at the DeGrazia studio|
|Rare crested Saguaro Cactus at Sabino Canyon trail|