February 22, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring...In Southern Arizona

A big El Nino storm that brought massive snowstorms to Nevada, the Rockies, and Northern Arizona has been dumping significant amounts of rain onto Southern Arizona. Mount Lemmon, just above our campsite recieved approximately 12 inches the other day.

But, having done the nice hikes we'd planned on in advance, we've been dealing with the past three days of rain focusing on indoor activities. For example;

On Saturday, we rewarded Hilina for her patience sitting in the backpack on the multiple days in a row on hikes with a day at the Tucson Children's Museum. The place was an absolute madhouse of kids on a rainy weekend day and Hilina had an amazing time playing with the exhibits and the kids alike.

She LOVES fire trucks...Mostly because she loves that they put out fires. She is also into driving now, wanting to drive the truck, those shopping carts with the plastic cars in front of them, or this fire truck.

On Sunday, we did a shortened loop hike at Catalina State Park in between the rains. We enjoyed the cooler temperatures and drew animals and characters in the wet sand, which Hilina loved trying to guess what they were (we're not artists after all).

Today, we moved our operations south to Tumacacori National Historic Site, approximately 75 miles south of Tucson and about 20 miles north of the border. It was an old Spanish mission built in 1691 to "serve" the O'odham and Yaqui tribes of the region for about 130 years. It was abandoned in 1821 following the Mexican Revolution when the new Mexican government ordered all Spanish-born priests out of the country.

We plan to do a hike in the nearby Santa Rita Mountains tomorrow (sun is expected back), before heading east to visit the Chiricahua and Dragoon Mountains one last time. Then, early next week, we'll begin heading west towards California with a brief stop at Organ Pipe Cactus NM, where we are hoping wildflowers will be blooming by then. Stay tuned....

Inside of the Tumacacori mission church. It was brightly colored inside originally, but after being abandoned for more than 100 years (until 1921), including being without a roof after local ranchers took the timbers, the elements took their toll on it.

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