Tucson to Nogales
110 Miles RT
Friday, May 9, 2014
Las Lagunas de Anza, Nogales, AZ
Today we traveled to Nogales, AZ after we confirmed that the new Anza NHT passport stamp had been received at this site. Las Lagunas de Anza is part of the private, non-profit Santa Fe Ranch.
The site was a very pleasant oasis. Nice walking paths, developed gardens, a shaded picnic area, bird observation blinds and interpretative signs are scattered around the property. This is the first campsite, campsite #13, in the U.S.A. of the Juan Bautista de Anza 1775 Expedition.
While walking around the property saw a Green Heron.
Shrine at Las Lagunas de Anza
Las Lagunas Wetlands
Anza NHT Interpretative signs
This wetlands is in Nogales, between I-19 and old US 89. We continued into Nogales looking for the post office. The building was built in 1923. In addition to collecting historic postal cancellations my husband is having me take pictures of post office buildings that are older than 50 years. This building was not very unique, but the historic Santa Cruz Courthouse next door was. This has been operating as the "campus" for Cochise College Nogales Center. It also houses the Ranger Museum and the Cowbelle's Museum.
Historic Santa Cruz County Courthouse
Once we left Nogales we started back north with several stops before returning to Tucson. First stop, and a regular stop, was the Spice Factory. Their selection and prices are excellent. Another reason to stop is the tasting table; tortilla chips with numerous dips available to sample.
For the past several weeks the roadsides of Southern Arizona have been lined with one of my favorite flowers, they stand about 2 feet tall. I have tried to cultivate them in my yard with no success.
Roadside Flowers - Prickly Poppy
A place we always visit is the Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Factory. Their selection and prices is worth a visit. Another reason to stop is the tasting table; tortilla chips with numerous dips to sample.
Just down the road from the Spice Factory is the Tumacacori NHS. After visiting the museum you can tour the grounds which include the mission, nicknamed the 'Dirty Dove of the Desert'. This is in contrast to San Javier Mission, further north and closer to Tucson which is painted white. The fountain in the courtyard is always appreciated, as is any permanent water in the desert. This is another campsite along the route of the Anza Expedition.
We wandered around Tubac looking for the old post offices. Pictured below is considered one of the oldest, across the street from the Presidio. Another building that is considered more recent was elusive. We found the location given, but the building had been significantly altered and is now a private Inn.
Tubac -old Post Office
Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
After leaving Tubac we continued north and drove up to Madera Canyom, about 15 miles east of Green Valley. In this short distance you travel up 2000 ft into a unique canyon environment. Besides finding a new letterbox we had hoped to spot the Elegant Trogon. This is one of the few locations this tropical bird can be seen in the U.S. We have seen it previously here and a few other SE Arizona canyons, but not today. Several weeks ago I hiked from the top of the canyon, at 5400 ft to Baldy Saddle, at 8800 ft for a total of 9.5 miles. While on the hike I heard the unique call of the Trogon, reminds me a hoarse dog barking, but did not see it then either.
The Gift Shop at the Santa Rita Lodge has wonderful t-shirts and lots of bird-related gifts and gear. While visitng the shop you are welcome to enjoy their viewing patio overlooking numerous bird feeders. While there the Tom turkey, pictured below, was very vocal. From the picture it is hard to tell, but he was large.
The lodge has cabins and casitas to rent. Years ago there was a wonderful restaurant on site, but it burnt down in 1983 and was not rebuilt. We had dinner there in 1979, several years before we moved to Tucson.
Madera Canyon - Santa Rita Lodge
Madera Canyon - Turkey
Madera Canyon - Mountain Spiny Lizard
Juan Bautista de Anza NHT
Las Lagunas de Anza
Mountain Spiny Lizard
Red - tailed Hawk