We keep setting our visit dates back each year in hopes of experiencing warmer weather. I think we overshot our target this time, with temperatures in the upper 90s, low 100s each day we were there. We did manage to accomplish a wide variety of sight-seeing in spite of the heat.
Casa Grande is a fascinating site. It's interesting to think about the complex culture that existed there for centuries, disappearing around the time Columbus arrived in the western hemisphere.
We visited Mission San Xavier del Bac again because restoration has moved to a different of the mission and the scaffolding is all gone off the towers. It's a beautiful sight. This time I had additional photographic tools available to capture the interior detail in HDR
Tumacacori is on south toward the Mexican border. Another old mission from roughly the same era as San Xavier, it is now mostly in ruins.
Chiricahua National Monument is an obscure park tucked away in the southeast corner of Arizona (map below). The 'Land of Standing-up Rocks' is well worth seeking out. A true mountain island in the desert, it hosts a number of unique plants and animals. A little cooler than the valley floor, it is a welcome relief from the intense heat of summer. A quick note on "the Thing" - This piece of Americana, attracting tourists since 1950, is a flash back in time. Having seen it, you ask, would I recommend it? If you find it difficult to part with dollar for a sense of adventure with a sense of humor, no. Was it worth the dollar? I've visited the Thing twice - once out of curiosity, and second to inflict the experience on my unsuspecting wife. It just seems to get better with each encounter!
Bisbee and Tombstone are two old towns in SE Arizona. Tombstone, famous for the gunfight at the OK Corral, is an interesting tourist trap. Bisbee sits on the edge of a giant open pit mine.
For me, the hightlight of the trip was the Saguaro in full bloom. What an amazing sight! The flowers open at night and quickly begin to wither in the hot sun. We arrived at the gates of the east unit of Saguaro National Park at 6am to capture some images.
- Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
- Mission San Xavier del Bac
- Tumacacori National Monument
- Chiricahua National Monument
- Saguaro National Park (east unit)
Chiricahua National Monument
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