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Early snaps were of the stretches of Coronado National Forest between Tucson and Parker Canyon, later snaps were from the road between Patagonia and Nogales. We did catch a stunning sunset right on the outskirts of town.
On the way back to Tucson, I got caught in yet another Border Patrol checkpoint. The agent stopped us, looked at me oddly for a couple seconds … I finally said “Hello,” he asked if I was a citizen, and then told me to move along before I responded.
I wonder if maybe some of these resources should be reallocated to something like murder or domestic violence or something.
We walked around a bit, saw yet another snake (NOT poisonous) and I was incrediably impressed with the preserve. It was well signed, very good literature, and obviously well cared for.
As we were leaving, the preserve keeper came over to shoo us away (nicely, of course) … and we talked for a while before we drove off. Not that I am not already a donor, but if I wasn’t I think the whole experince was enough to inspire me to get my checkbook out.
The initial thought was to drive down to the Mexican border, stopping at a Nature Conservancy preserve along the way. Through the first part of the trip, however, we were innundated with signs for an Arizona State Park called “Parker Canyon.”
Feeling a bit of familial loyalty, we took a detour and wandered around the *completely* empty state park.
I had heard good (if touristy) things about Sabino Canyon and the sound of a tram car between myself and Mother Nature sounded like a pretty ameniable idea to me. Unfortunately, Sabino Canyon sustained pretty severe flooding the past season and was largely closed.
Thanks to the wonders of the interweb, I tripped on the Sky Islands Parkway which covers 27 miles in one of Coronado National Forest’s northern most pretected spaces. What an unbelievably lucky discovery.
To some extent, it was standard “parkway” setup … not too dissimilar from Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway. However, the scenery was just stunning and unlike anything on the East Coast. Easily the best drive of the trip so far … and nary a poisonous snake in sight.
We all had our role — Simon was on amphibian patrol, Steve pretended he could analyze animal poo and Jonathon evaluated the sharpness of cacti needles. Oh, and I ran around taking pictures, all the while rediculously underestimating how far away we were from the summit.
On the way back, our bus was forced to stop at Border Patrol checkpoint. The most fun of the trip so far was trying to convince an English ex-pat friend of mine that he should hide in the bathroom to avoid being deported. He kept dismissing the idea as “poor” as “it might arouse suspicion” … *sigh*.