Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tumacacori to Tubac

One of  the many wonderful things about living in the desert Southwest is that you get to go to places with names like Tumacacori and Tubac.

Just agreeing on a pronunciation is an adventure.  Is it TumaCAc'ri or TumacaCORI ?? Probably the first, but we all slipped into the second from time to time.

Yes, we,  for this was another Happy Ladies Club Adventure.  15 of us walked from the thankfully-still-open National Historical Park's Visitor's Center in Tumacacori to the soon-to-be-closed-due-to-State-budget-cuts Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, the oldest State Historic Park in Arizona.  It's a flat walk in the riparian area bordering the Santa Cruz River and a variety of rivulets and streamlets and flooded washes which feed into the Santa Cruz.  Cross and re-crossing might have been problematic had not previous hikers been kind enough to leave behind board-bridges; we were grateful.... very very grateful..... to avoid removing shoes and socks and rolling up pants and hoping that we didn't slip on the rounded river rocks below the not-as-slow-as-we'd-have-liked current.

Yes, those bridges did come in handy.

The hike is about 30 minutes south of Tucson on the highway, and in just that short distance the change in temperature and foliage and ambiance couldn't have been more marked.  The air had a different scent, and much conversation was given over to the prevalence of allergies in the previously-thought-to-be-hypo-allergenic-climes of Arizona. 

As we came closer to the water courses, we found unfamiliar trees

and ferns

 The sight of all this green made us somewhat giddy, especially when we re-crossed the water and found the west bank covered with areas like this one:

Unfortunately, the area is also the receptacle for detritus 
which has been washed downstream or left behind by slovenly drinkers.  
There were 3 or 4 scenes just like this:

which, while quite photogenic were also intrusive.

But, we are the HAPPY Ladies Club, so we looked beyond the trash and kept on walking
and then we found this

member of the welcoming committee standing by the edge of the trail. 
No fence.  No tether.  No farmer protecting his livestock.  Just a cow and a couple of steers (who were less anxious to be captured in pixels than she was) and 15 city-folk. 

We continued a-pace to Tubac.

Up until recently, Tubac was a sleepy artists' colony close enough to the big city (Tucson) for culture if needed, but tucked away far enough that free-spirits could roam.  Once the housing boom hit Arizona, this quaint community began to sprout developments and planned gated neighborhoods and lots and lots of galleries with art-on-a-stick.  You know, those painted whirli-gigs and sparkly metallic ribbons and stick-on-the-wall geckos ...... not really the stuff of a juried art show.  Even when they try to be individual, it's just a little bit over the top. 

  I mean, really, isn't Sculptorium just a little bit pretentious?

Rather than shop the shops, Miss Marjorie and I took ourselves to the Presidio Park.  Used my State Park Pass for free admission and spent a lovely interlude with Gayle, the soon-to-be-unemployed-docent.  She sold me a copy of  Volume 1, Issue 1 of The Weekly Arizonian,  dated March 3, 1859.  Yes, serendipitously, that's exactly 151 years ago today, and No, I did not realize that when I began this post.  Some things are just meant to be, I guess.

The Park isn't much, but it does take you back to the times when the first newspaper published in Arizona had articles like this one:

Horse Thief Killed
....The rascal came to Marshall's Ranche riding a fine horse, which was recognized.  Being ordered not to leave, he started off, When Mr. M. fired his revolver, and the man fell dead.

and this one

We are obliged to the Agricultural Department of the patent Office for a package of rare garden seeds.


a section on Indian Depredations, 
 advertisements from Cincinnati and San Francisco
a full column poem.
We took our paper and wandered the grounds, including an indoor museum with motion sensitive lighting and, outside,  the excavated remains of the fort itself.  Once it was abandoned, the remaining settlers took the adobe bricks for their own homesteading.  Reduce/Reuse/Recycle -- it's not a new concept, it seems.

 Joined the group for lunch and then drove to

where, amongst the hot sauces and the ground cumin we also found these

It was DEFINITELY time to drive home.


  1. I am envious of your walk, but very much enjoyed looking at the photos. "Unfortunately, the area is also the receptacle for detritus...washed downstream or left behind by slovenly drinkers." Then comes the picture of, not mounded Bud Lite cans, but a defunct car, perhaps a Chrysler product. I like the idea of boozers popping open more brewskies, oblivious to their ride washing away.

  2. Thanks for the laugh, Barry/Barbara. At that site there were 3 cars in a row... perhaps a bachelor party run amok?


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