Explore Arizona with the Arizonan

Arizona is a lot more than Phoenix and the Valley. It is a complex and diverse landscape of mountains and deserts, ranches, and farms. Arizona is public lands, Indian lands, military complexes, and forgotten ghost towns. 

Let us help you explore Arizona. Get comfortable, there is a lot to see and learn.

 

Carl Chapman, REALTOR

West USA Realty

Dec. 4, 2020

Rim Road

The Rim Road is one of Arizona’s most scenic drives.  General George Crook developed the road in the late 1800’s.  General Crook was stationed at Fort Verde and was charged with the task of subduing the Apache Indians living in the area.  The original military road was 200 miles long and connected Fort Apache with Prescott and Fort Verde. 

 

In 1872, General Crook and his men developed the route, which hugs the edge of the Mogollon Rim.  The road was used for 22 years.  When the railroad came to Holbrook in 1882, the road became less traveled.  In 1928, the Rim Road was constructed.  The Rim Road follows parts of the old Crook Trail.  During the 1970’s, the historical value of Crook’s Trail was preserved by the placement of markers along its path.  Today drivers will see white V’s on trees and rock formations marking the old route. 

Rim Road is also called Forest Road 300.  It has spectacular views along the 42-mile gravel road.  You can get to the Rim Road from Camp Verde by taking State Highway 260 east out of town, until you meet State Highway 87.  When you come to State Highway 87, turn left and head north.  Then you will be looking for the sign marking Forest Road 300.  It will be on you left.  Once you are on Rim Road, you will climb to a height of 8,074 feet at Baker Butte.  The road continues along the rim passing High View Point.  You will also go past roads leading to Knoll Lake, Bear Canyon Lake and Woods Canyon Lake.  All of these lakes provide camping areas.  The drive ends just past Woods Canyon Lake, where the road bumps into State Highway 260.  At this point, you will be 22 miles southwest of Heber and 32 miles northeast of Payson.

The best time to travel the road is between the months of May through October.  Make sure you plan on a four to six hour drive.  Be prepared for the trip.  Weather can be a problem with mud and snow.

Camping areas are located along the road.  Those with sharp eyes will spot wildlife.  Black bears, coyotes, turkeys and deer are just some of the animals living in the area.  There are hiking trails available.  You will want a trail guide map before you set out on a hike.  The scenic views are definitely the highlight of the journey.  It is possible to see Camelback Mountain in Phoenix 85 miles to the southwest and on very clear day the Santa Catalina Mountains can be made out near Tucson 150 miles away.

If you are coming from Phoenix or Tucson you will take Interstate 17 north out of town, until you come to Camp Verde.  You will then follow the directions stated above to reach the Rim Road.  If you are coming from Flagstaff, you will take Interstate 17 south out of town to Camp Verde.  Once you are in Camp Verde, you will follow the directions stated above to get to the Rim Road.

The Rim Road offers drivers wonderful views.

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge is the world’s largest natural bridge.  It is called “nonnozhoshi” or “the rainbow turned to stone” by the Navajo people.  The bridge’s size, symmetry and red sandstone color make it one of the most amazing sights on earth.  It is 290 feet high, nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty and spans 275 feet across the water.  The top of the arch is 42 feet thick and 33 feet wide. 

Rugged canyons and sandstone mazes hid the bridge for many years, yet the Native American people knew of its existence.  It wasn’t until the 1800’s when it was seen by wandering trappers, prospectors and cowboys.  Finally, in 1909 two exploration parties ventured across slick rock and difficult conditions to reach the bridge.  Byron Cummings and W.B. Douglass, along with their guides Nasja Begay and Jim Mike announced to the world their trek to the bridge.  Soon afterward in 1910, Rainbow Bridge was declared a National Monument.

President Taft wanted to preserve this extraordinary natural bridge, which is of great scientific interest as an example of eccentric stream erosion.  Natural bridges are formed by extremely rare conditions.  The dry climate, steady flowing stream and firm but soft sandstone rock all became the perfect conditions for the creation of Rainbow Bridge.

Not many visitors ventured to see Rainbow Bridge after it became a national monument.  The trip to the bridge was tough made by foot with a several day hike in a hot climate across slick rocks.  Soon, rafts were used to make the trip easier.  Still the trip took several days to complete.  Rafters were faced with a 7-mile hike to Rainbow Bridge after leaving the raft.  Even by the 1950’s the trip took three days.  It wasn’t until 1963, when the Glen Canyon Dam was complete and the water began to fill into Lake Powell that the higher water level made access to Rainbow Bridge much easier. 

Today 300,000 people come to Rainbow Bridge each year.  Rainbow Bridge is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, however it is a separate unit of the National Park System.   The National Monument status reduces the range of activities permitted compared to that of a National Recreational Area.  Activities such as swimming, fishing, water-skiing are not allowed within the monument.

Rainbow Bridge has been a sacred religious symbol for the Native Americans living in the area for countless years.  Visitors are reminded to respect the religious importance of Rainbow Bridge by staying at the viewing area to marvel at its beauty.  Please do not leave this area and hike up to or under the bridge.  As visitors to the bridge, please respect the long-standing beliefs of the Native American people.

The ranger station is staffed intermittently during the year.  The best time to visit is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the station is staffed daily.  There are no fees to see Rainbow Bridge, however there is a fee to use the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, of which Rainbow Bridge is included.

Rainbow Bridge can be accessed by boat.  Visitors can take a tour or rent a boat from a marina along Lake Powell to reach the bridge.  By boat it is approximately 50 miles from Wahweap, Bullfrog or Halls Crossing marinas to the bridge.  There is a courtesy dock for those who want to take the half-mile hike to the bridge.  It is important to remember to stay on the trail to the bridge.  The monument is trying to prevent trampling of vegetation.  There is a revegetation effort underway.  The dock is for short-term use only.  The courtesy dock has rest rooms only.  Visitors should plan on a minimum of four hours to boat to the bridge, hike to the viewing area and return to the marina.  The trip will take a minimum of 6 hours, if you are leaving from the Hite area marina.  There are half day and full day tours available at the Wahweap Marina.  Lakeshore camping is available; however there is no camping permitted within the Rainbow Bridge National Monument boundaries.

Individuals, who want to hike to the bridge, will need to acquire a permit from the Navajo Nation.  Hikers will be traveling through Navajo Nation lands to reach Rainbow Bridge.  If you are interested in making this hike please write to: Navajo Nation, Parks and Recreation Department, Box 9000, Window Rock, Arizona 86515 or call 520-871-6647 or 520-871-4941.  There are no roadways to the bridge.

 

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

Ramsey Canyon Preserve is owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy.  In 1975, the Nature Conservancy established the 300-acre Ramsey Canyon Preserve.  It is a spectacular preserve.  This canyon is on the eastern half of the Huachuca Mountains, at an elevation of 5,525 feet. 

The preserve has a permanent spring-fed stream and hosts a variety of plant and wildlife.  The high canyon walls offer Ramsey a cool, moist and stable habitat.  There are places to rest and take in the beauty as you walk the three-quarter mile round trip trail.  Along the trail you come across a multitude of wildlife.  Visitors may get a trail pass at no charge at the preserve office.

There are at least 15 species of hummingbirds at Ramsey Canyon.  That’s not all you will see, there are wrens and woodpeckers flying about.  The best time to come and see these creatures is April through September. 

The canyon preserve has six furnished cabins for visitors.  Guests need to bring food.  The cabins offer a bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen combination.  Cabins also include a bathroom.  If you want to spend a night in one of these cabins you will need to call in advance.

There is a bookstore at the preserve that offers a variety of information that will enhance your visit.  The store includes books on birds, nature and cards to remember your trip.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve is a very popular spot for many nature lovers and hikers.  Because of the canyon’s popularity and limited parking, it is advisable to call in advance and/or make your visit during the week.  Phone reservations are required during Saturday and Sunday visits.  The preserve has limited parking and tours need to be scheduled in advance.  You may call the preserve at 520-378-2785.

You can get to Ramsey Canyon Preserve from Sierra Vista and/or Fort Huachuca by taking Highway 92 south out of town.  Then you will head west on Ramsey Canyon Road, just outside of town.  The preserve is approximately 6 miles out of town.

When starting out from the town of Bisbee, head east on State Highway 80 to the small town of Lowell.  Then take State Highway 92 southwest, as you drive along, you will find the highway will begin to head north.  Continue to travel on State Highway 92 past Nicksville to the sign for Ramsey Canyon Road.  It is just before you get to Sierra Vista.

Coming from the town of Tombstone, take State Highway 80 south out of town.  Follow State Highway 80 through the town of Bisbee to the small town of Lowell.  Here you will find State Highway 92.  Take State Highway 92 southwest, after traveling on the highway it will begin to turn and head north.  Continue to travel on State Highway 92 past Nicksville and look for the sign to Ramsey Canyon Road.  The preserve is just before you get to Sierra Vista.

The simplest way to get to the Ramsey Canyon Preserve from Benson is to take Interstate 10 east for a very short time, until you come to the State Highway 90 exit.  Take State Highway 90 south down to Fort Huachuca.  Continue through Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista south out of town, for approximately 6 miles.  Then you will see signs for the preserve, head west on Ramsey Canyon Road. 

 

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Queen Mine Tour

The Queen Mine Tour is one of the best tours around.  You will see first hand what it is like to be down in a mine and learn of the many hardships miners endured in the tunnels.  The tour begins by visitors donning slickers, 5 pound light packs and hard hats.  Then the tour heads down into the once active copper mine, which has been closed since 1943.  The trip is in open mining cars and is very exciting.  You will travel down into the mine’s tunnels.  The tour goes approximately 1,800 feet into the 10 level mine.

Along the way, you will learn about the drilling and blasting that occurred to get the copper ore out of the rocks and on their way up to the smelter.   Former miners host the hour-long tour.  These miners will explain the workings of the copper mine and answer your questions.

The tours are available every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Tours begin at 9:00, 10:30, 12:00 noon, 2:00 and 3:30 pm.  The admission charge is $10.00, children between 7 and 11 are $3.50 and children 3 to 6 are $2.00.

The Queen Mine Tour recommends bringing a sweater or jacket, since temperatures can hover around 46 degrees.  Visitors should also be aware of the narrow 8 foot by 6-foot tunnel that the mine cars travel through can cause claustrophobia. 

The Queen Mine Tour encourages visitors to call and make a reservation in advance.  If you are interested in taking the tour, call 520-432-2071.

It is an unforgettable experience.  You will leave the tunnels wondering how men could mine everyday.  It is a way of life that can only be understood by walking in their path, so to speak.  It is a must do tour!

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Renee Cushman Museum

The Renee Cushman Musuem can be found in the town of Springerville. The museum is in the LDS Springerville Ward at 150 N. Aldrice Burk.  The museum is open by appointment when you call 333-2821.  Renee Cushman came from the family of a prominent European artist and traveled extensively around the world.  After marrying a second time she moved after WW II to the White Mountain Hereford Ranch in Springerville.  She lived in Springville until 1950 when she moved again.  In 1969, she died leaving her collection to the Latter-day Saints in Springerville.  The museum is in one wing of the building and is appropriately designed to show her treasured pieces.  Many of the pieces are from the Renaissance period to the 20th century.  Some pieces that you will find are three ink drawings by Tiepolo, complete set of Austrian china and a piece by Sir Godfrey Kneller.  The museum is a unique stop. 

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Fun Phoenix

phoenix skyline

Arizona Science Center

 

            The Arizona Science Center is a relatively new spot in downtown Phoenix.  The Center hosts a variety of activities for the whole family.  Children will love going to this place because there are lots of hands-on projects.  There are many things to do at the Center. 

You need to make some decisions when you arrive at the admissions counter.  Your choices include visiting the exhibits, viewing a giant screen film or going to a planetarium.  The decision is a difficult one to make but use the time you have set aside for the visit to guide your decision.  Don’t take on too much.  You can always make a return visit.  All of the admission choices include the exhibit portion.  I believe this is the highlight of the trip for children.  Children become involved in the activities at the Center.  These exhibits allow the visitors an opportunity to not only read and learn about science concepts but also participate.  The giant screen film is always changing.  When you arrive at the Center you will have to look at what film is currently showing.  It can be an awesome experience viewing a film of this size.  The planetarium is an amazing experience too.  The planetarium takes you out to the night sky, where you are guided through the constellations.  Be prepared for a ride at the end of the show.  Visitors can also try all three activities.

I have found that taking my time moving through the Center has proven to be the most rewarding.  Children can become very excited with all the things to see and touch.  It is important to slow them down and talk about the things they are encountering.  It will make the experience more beneficial.

The Arizona Science Center is open every day of the year 10 am to 5 pm (except on Thanksgiving and Christmas).  The admission is as follows: exhibits only adults $x.00 - children (4-12) and seniors (65+) $6.00, exhibits and giant screen film adults $1x0 – children and seniors $x.00, exhibits and planetarium adults $x.00 – children and seniors $x.00 and all three activities adults $x.00 – children and seniors $x.00.

It is located in downtown Phoenix on the northwest corner of Washington and 7th Street.  You may find parking in the parking garage at the Heritage and Science Park only (southeast corner of Monroe and 5th Street).  If you bring your parking stub you may get it validated at the admissions counter.

The Center is a fun filled day.  Be prepared to spend some time there.  The Center also has a gift store full of great objects to remember the day and increase learning.  There is also a snack area nearby.  If you plan to take more than one trip to this exciting spot you might want to look into a membership.  The films and exhibits are always changing and nobody will ever tire of the endless opportunities to explore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife World Zoo

 

            The Wildlife World Zoo is a unique zoo.  As a native Arizonan, I always want to go explore new spots in the area.  One such spot I recently visited was the Wildlife World Zoo.  It was a great experience.  The Zoo is much smaller than what I expect to see, but its small size is more than made up with the special experiences that it holds around every corner.

            The Zoo hosts one of the largest collections of exotic animals.  Visitors are allowed to have an up close experience with these animals.  The Zoo has several exhibits for your family to see.  Some of these exhibits are: A Small Mammal Exhibit, Tropics of the World Reptile Exhibit and the Waters of the World Aquarium.  In all of these exhibits you will see strikingly unusual animals.  I enjoyed the small bats in the Small Mammal Exhibit.  When I was at the bat enclosure, I was able to see the feeding of the bats.  This was exciting to see so close.

            Arizona’s first white tiger is also at the Zoo.  This creature is spectacular.  It was a real treat to see this animal in person.  There are several other experiences that I also enjoyed like the wildlife shows.  Be sure to check the schedule of these shows at the admissions gate.  Plan your tour so that you won’t miss one of these informative shows.

            Children will love the petting area.  The Zoo has a variety of friendly animals for the young ones to pet.  I have to admit my most favorite area was the giraffe enclosure.  I have seen giraffes on television, in magazines and in zoos, most of the time these creatures are far away.  It is difficult to truly grasp the size of these tremendous creatures.  The Wildlife World Zoo allows visitors a chance to really understand these animals.  At the Giraffe Feeding Station visitors climb stairs to perch where you may feed the giraffes.  I could have stood there all day gazing at these giraffes.  I marveled at their gentleness and size.  It is an experience everyone should have in his or her life.

            The Wildlife World Zoo is open seven days a week 365 days a year.  The hours are 9 am to 5 pm.  The admission is adults $9.95, children (3 – 12) $4.95 and children (under 3) free.  If you are with a group of 10 or more the admission is $1.00 less per person. 

            The Zoo is located at 165th Avenue and Northern.  One of the easiest ways to get there is to take Interstate 10 West to Litchfield Road and then North on Litchfield to Northern.  Turn left on Northern and head West to the Zoo.  The Zoo is on your left side. 

            You will love your visit to this special zoo.  I did.  It is an experience I will never forget and worth repeating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

 

            This is a spectacular place to visit any day of the week.  The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum uses natural landscapes as a backdrop for the numerous creatures that live there. 

            The Museum is divided into four areas for visitors to enjoy.  The four areas are: Life Underground, Riparian Habitat, Desert Grassland and the Hummingbird Aviary.  These four exhibits give you the chance to see the animals in their natural habitats.  In the Life Underground exhibit you will see tarantulas and kit foxes.  The Riparian Habitat allows you to see underwater the various creatures.  Some creatures you will see are river otters and desert fish.  You will spend some time at the Desert Grassland enclosure watching the black-tailed prairie dog colony.  These prairie dogs can be quite entertaining.  Everyone delights in the Hummingbird Aviary.  The Aviary has hummingbirds all around and visitors are able to walk through to see them up close.  What an experience!

            There are so many animals at the Museum.  You will see a Gila Woodpecker, Mountain Lion, Fig Beetle, Mexican Wolf and a Collared Lizard.  It can be surprising to discover how many creatures do live in the desert.  Many individuals view the desert as a dead lifeless place, when in actuality the desert is teaming with living creatures.  The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum shows just how many things are living out there.

            The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum did a spectacular job creating such realistic habitats for the animals.  As a matter of fact, the gardens are a highpoint of the visit to the Museum.  The gardens display cacti, wildflowers and succulents which make the desert bloom.

            When you make a visit to the Museum, please come prepared.  Your visit is primarily an outdoor experience.  Make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes for walking.  The Museum provides shady ramadas, drinking fountains and restrooms.

            There are two restaurants at the Museum.  One is a coffee bar and the other is a casual refreshment ramada.  Visitors are asked not to picnic on the grounds.  You may choose to browse in two of the gift shops on the grounds.  There you can find something to take home to remind you of the trip. 

            The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is open every day of the year.  The hours are October – February 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and March – September 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.  The admission to the Museum is Adults $xx, Children (ages 6 – 12) $xx and Children under 6 free.  The Museum does offer group rates.  You may wish to become a member of the Museum.  Members receive discounts on a variety of items.  Please look into a membership at the admissions gate.

            The Desert Museum is located in Tucson.  The best way to get to the Museum is to take Interstate 10 to Speedway Boulevard.  Exit on Speedway Boulevard and head west.  Turn right onto Kinney Road.  Travel down Kinney Road about 2.5 miles and the Museum will be on the left side.  The drive to the Museum is marked with brown signs saying “Desert Museum”.

            I had a great time at the Arizona Sonora Museum and I know you will too.  The Desert is a beautiful place.

 

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Phoenix Zoo

Phoenix Zoo

 

            The Phoenix Zoo is a fun attraction to visit for the whole family.  The Zoo has a variety of free activities each day.  Some activities include: zookeeper talks, elephant encounters and a cheetah chase. Details on all of these activities can be found in the activity guide given out at the zoo entrance.

 

            As a native Arizonan, I have always enjoyed my trips to the zoo.  During the past few years, the zoo has grown and expanded with new animals and exhibits.  The Zoo is divided into four zones called Trail Tours.  These Trail Tours are called African, Arizona, Tropic and Discovery.  In each Trail Tour visitors learn about different animals.  The Discover Trail Tour hosts a farm.  This zone has just recently undergone a large renovation.  Visitors are able to be a part of the farm experience through hands on activities.  Kids love this section of the zoo, but I have to admit I look forward to this part of the Zoo.  It is a must see.

 

            Another exhibit found in the Tropic Trail Tour is the Uco, which houses the Speckled Bear.  This is a terrific enclosure for these unique creatures.  The enclosure is built in such a way that the visitor feels a part of the environment.  You feel like you are in a South American Rainforest.  The Zoo did a tremendous job creating this exhibit.

 

            With so many things to see, I have found that the best way to view the Zoo is to begin with a Safari Train Tour.  You can catch the Safari Train Tour near the entrance of the Zoo.  This tour gives you the opportunity to see the entire zoo in one swoop.  After the Safari, I usually head for the refreshment stand to plan my day.  I decide what zones interested me the most while on the Safari Train Tour and then I create a map for the day.  I also take into consideration any special activities that will be held.

 

            The Zoo is a beautiful place to view animals.  Be prepared to be in the sun and to walk.  I always wear sunscreen, a hat and good walking shoes.  The Zoo does provide strollers and wheelchairs for a reasonable rental fee. 

 

            The Phoenix Zoo is open every day of the year, rain or shine (except December 25).  The Zoo summer hours are 7:30 am to 4 pm (May 1 thru Labor Day).  Winter hours are 9 am to 5 pm (Tuesday after Labor Day thru April 30)

 

            The admission to the Zoo is Adults $8.50, Seniors $ 7.50, Children $4.25 and children two and under are free.  I would suggest if you are planning on visiting the Zoo more than once a year, you should become a Zoo Member.  It is well worth while.  I have been a member for several years and the benefits are great.  Be sure to look into it.

            The Phoenix Zoo’s entrance is located off Galvin Parkway in the center of Papago Park, just half mile west of the Desert Botanical Garden.  Take the Loop 202 to Van Buren and then head east to Galvin Parkway.  Turn north on Galvin Parkway and you will see the signs.

 

            I know you will enjoy your trip to the Zoo as much as I have enjoyed my trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Geography and Climate of Phoenix

The heart of the City of Phoenix, and what many would say might be at the very heart of the state, is called Phoenix Arizona Home Central Phoenix.  Phoenix is surrounded by a ring of mountains, and therefore finds itself located in a valley.  As this valley, blessed by almost year-round constant sunshine, is called The Valley of the Sun, so is Phoenix, the jewel that sits at the center of this valley, often referred to as The Valley of the Sun.

 

 

The exact location of Phoenix, in latitude and longitude, is 33 degrees 31'42" north and 112 degrees 4'35" west. This puts it at about the same latitude that would be on an east-west line going from west to east through Long Beach, CA, Shreveport, LA, and Savanna, GA.  Phoenix sits in the center of Phoenix Valley, also frequently referred to as the "Valley of the Sun". 

 

It is easy to imagine the in-state location of Phoenix by just thinking of a place right in the middle of the state of Arizona. The elevation of Phoenix is 1,117 feet above sea level and it is in the heart of the beautiful Sonora Desert.

 

A major feature of Phoenix is the Salt River.  The Salt River is important in the history and development of the city, and of the state.  But the Salt River is also an important part of the landscape.  The Salt River flows westward through the city of Phoenix; the riverbed is normally dry except when excess runoff forces the release of water from the dams upriver.

 

The city of Tempe has built two inflatable dams in the Salt River bed to create a year-round recreational lake. The Tempe Town Lake is surrounded by lavish living accommodations and a number of recreation and nightspots to meet the plan of creating a luxurious resort location.

 

But aside from this man-made lake the city and surrounding places are mostly made up of land.  The city officially has an area of 475.1 square miles. You can see how important water is to the area when you consider that of all this space only 0.05 percent of it is made up of water.

 

The majestic mountain ranges that enclose, ring and protect the city include Camelback Mountain to the east, Piestewa Peak (Formerly known as Squaw Peak and renamed to commemorate a brave Native American member of our military who fell in the line of duty with U.S. Armed Forces fighting for freedom in Iraq) in the northeast, and South Mountain, appropriately enough, in the south.  Completing the enclosure and a bit further away, are the White Tank Mountains. 

 

These mountains, rising spectacularly above the mostly level desert plains, form a breathtaking background for this jewel of a city amidst the desert.

 

But the Phoenix area itself is not simply a flat plain with no character to its terrain.  Within the city are the Phoenix Mountains and South Mountains.  These mountains not only add to the scenic beauty of the valley, they are also ideal locations to participate in local recreation.

 

Phoenix has a very dry and hot climate, with little change during the year. Clear blue skies are typical on most days, and Phoenix boasts nearly 300 sunny days per year on average. The temperature reaches or exceeds 100 degrees on about 89 days during the year. 

 

The hottest times are the days from early June through early September. To get an idea of how hot it can get there record temperature was set on June 26, 1990, when it reached an all-time high of 122 degrees!  (The lowest temperature ever recorded in Phoenix was 16 degrees on January 7, 1913.)

 

The dry Arizona air makes the hot temperatures easier to withstand early in the season.  But the resident must be aware of the August monsoon season.  At this time Phoenix can get nearly as humid as it gets in the Southeastern United States.

 

The normal annual rainfall is 8.29 inches and rain is particularly scarce from April through June. Although thunderstorms occur on occasion during every month of the year, they are most common during the monsoon season from July to mid-September.

 

Snow is extremely rare in the area.  Most of the snowfall occurs north at the higher elevations around Flagstaff with snowfall in Phoenix noted.  When it snows in Phoenix it goes in the record books!

 

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Pima County

Pima County was the last of the four original counties established in1864.  It was the second largest, reaching south of the Gila River and covering almost the entire Arizona portion of the Gadsden Purchase.  As time went on, the counties of Maricopa, Pinal, Cochise, Graham and Santa Cruz were carved out of it.  Today, it covers 9,184 square miles.

The name “Pima” came from the Spaniards traveling through this area.  During their journeys, they came across the Indians.  The Spanish gave them the name Pima, after asking them their name and their response was “pim.”  This word actually means “no,” but the term stuck.  The county and the Indians living here still hold onto the name Pima. 

Tucson is the county seat.  It was also the Arizona Territorial Capital from 1867 to 1877.  The town was also selected to be the home of the University of Arizona.  In 1891, classes began with just 32 students and 6 teachers.  Needless to say, the school has grown.  Currently, it is one of the top research universities in the nation and Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona.

Pima County has countless attractions for visitors to see.  The Mission of San Xavier del Bac began construction in 1793 and was completed in 1797.  Since its completion, it has served the Tohono O’odham Indian community.  There is a museum located near the mission, where you will find more information.  Those in the area sometimes refer to the mission as “The Dove of the Desert.”  It is a beautiful sight set against the desert landscape. Services are still conducted today.  Saguaro National Monument is actually divided into two sections.  One is located to the east of Tucson and other is to the west.  The eastern part has a drive through the magnificent saguaros.  There is a visitor center, hiking trails and picnic areas available.  The western section also has a driving tour, hiking trails, visitor center and picnic area.  This monument is a perfect place to learn more about the Sonoran Desert and how important the giant saguaro is to those living here.  In 1937, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was created to protect the organ pipe cactus living in this region.  There are over 250 species of birds and animals living at the monument.  Two drives through the monument allow visitors to see some of the rare cactus.  The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect the fragile riparian environment in this area.  Endangered bobwhite quail, Gambel quail, mule deer and javelina live in this region.  Those traveling to the refuge should find out more about where to hike, before heading out.  The Catalina State Park covers 5,500 acres near the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.  The park offers numerous hiking trails that cross scenic areas.  A unique section of the park is the equestrian center.  The center provides trailer parking and riding trails.  Bird watching, camping and picnicking are more of the activities that visitors enjoy during a trip to the park.  Sabino Canyon Recreational Area is a gorgeous canyon within the slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest.  Visitors will be amazed at the numbers of wildlife.  There is a tram available to take those up to the higher sections of the other trailheads.  Sabino Canyon is located just northeast of Tucson. 

Pima County has wonderful scenery for those to explore.

Posted in Explore Arizona
Dec. 4, 2020

Picacho Area

Picacho, Picacho Peak and Red Rock are in the lower Santa Cruz

River Valley in south-central Arizona.  These three unincorporated

communities are 50 miles northwest of Tucson in Pinal County.

 

The name Picacho is Spanish for peak or point. This area was

important to early travelers because it had water and was

halfway between Tucson and the Gila River.

Picacho Pass was the scene of the only Civil War battle fought in

Arizona. It took place in April 1862, when troops from the

Union's California Volunteers encountered a detachment of soldiers

on guard duty from the Confederacy's Texas Volunteers. A

post office was established in 1881.

 

Red Rock is a red butte near the Southern Pacific Railroad. At

one time, a branch spur line to the Silver Bell Mine smelter had

its junction with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Red Rock. A

post office was established in 1887.

 

The Santa Cruz Valley economy is based on agriculture. The

communities of Picacho and Red Rock were established as ship-ping

points for area agricultural products. Livestock, cotton, cit-rus

and pecans are predominant products shipped from these

points.

 

The other major economic activities in the three-community area

are wholesale/retail trade and services. These sectors include old

and well-established businesses supplying agricultural products

and farm implements, as well as many new firms located along

Interstate 10 to serve travelers along that route.

 

The Santa Cruz Valley, including Picacho, Picacho Peak and Red

Rock, is rich in scenic and historic attractions offering a wide

variety of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors

alike.

 

Picacho Peak State Park, located at Picacho Pass along Interstate

10, opened in 1968. The park provides hiking trails that lead to

the summit of the majestic peak, as well as camping, picnicking,

and other facilities. Rock hounds will enjoy the selection of distinctive agates, a type

of quartz with bands of color, that can be found at the nearby

Agate Fields.

 

The 472-acre Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is north of

the Valley, near Coolidge. This facility displays a four-story structure

of coarse caliche, built about 1350 A.D. by the Hohokam

Indian farmers of the Gila Valley. Arizona's famed Superstition

Mountains are 60 miles north of the Santa Cruz Valley near

Apache Junction.

 

Posted in Explore Arizona