Thursday, March 28, 2019

Three Trails and Three W's...

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
March, 2019

If hiking is something you enjoy, the trails around Tucson definitely have a lot to offer.  But, between appointments, MOHs surgeries and winter weather in February, we didn't have much time to enjoy them.

We experienced freezing temps and snow...the first snow in ten years according to the locals.  

March roared in like a lion with strong winds and hard rains.  The weather finally turned with lots of wildflowers and mild temps.  The desert was calling !  

Here are three great trail choices with wildflowers, water, and wildlife ...

Linda Vista Loop Trail

Linda Vista Loop is a trail located in Oro Valley at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.  The map at the trailhead shows several choices to go.  Joe and I hike the loop in the counter-clockwise direction.  It was especially pretty this year with the wildflowers blooming and as the name implies, there are vistas in all directions.

We saw our first Desert Cardinal.

Bluff Trail

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains featuring outstanding scenery, beautiful desert flora, and riparian corridors.  This day we chose to hike the Lower Sabino Creek Trail, connect to the Bluff Trail and finish the loop on the Esperero Trail. 
Just getting started on the Lower Sabino Creek Trail...

Thank goodness for rains and snowmelt...

Love the tannin-stained water...

Bluff Trail...

I love the Cactus Wrens.

A crested Saguaro on Bluff Trail...

Loma Verde and Squeeze Pen Loop Trail

We haven't hiked in Saguaro NP East in a couple of years. 
Loma Verde Trailhead starts off Cactus Drive.  It's a one-way drive and the trailhead will be on the left. 

 I don't now why because it sure is beautiful and maybe a little less congested than the west side.  At least this day, we had the trail almost to ourselves.  We had not done this trail before and the loop can be little tricky.  There are a couple of right hand turns...first on Pink Hill Trail and then on Squeeze Pen make a loop just over 4 miles.  
So many many choices...

Curved-billed Thrasher.... and what a pretty song they have !

 We only passed a couple of hikers, but we did meet Leigh Anne and Jasmine.  Jasmine is a Jerusalem Donkey complete with the markings of a cross on her back.  Jasmine has been a park volunteer with Leigh Anne (her owner) for 13 years.  
We also thanked park workers for the great job they do.

On a different note, I wanted to share a couple of pictures from Mission San Xavier del Bac.  We have visited a couple of times including last February.  It is beautiful both inside and outside.  After visiting Ted DeGrazia's studio (see our last post) it has even more meaning.  The mission was one of the 24 missions founded by Padre Kino 
Fiesta at San Xavier, 1960

FYI...if you are in Tucson and need repairs on your RV, Cameron's Reliable Mobile Repairs is awesome

 Kenneth and his wife Rachel make a great team.
They fixed a hot water issue, installed a Gen Start (In case the land power goes off and it gets 85 degrees in the MH, the generator will start and run the AC.) to keep the puppies safe, 

and we have two new house batteries. Kenneth and Rachel are so totally knowledgeable, thorough and honest. We are very fortunate to have them as our primary MH repair providers !

Joe had his last two MOHs Monday above his elbow and one Tuesday on his shin.  Instead of sitting here three more weeks, we will have the stitches taken out in Moab.    

So, that's a wrap on Tucson for this winter.  Today we will pack and Friday we pull out bright and early...both of us healthy, happy, and thankful for the good doctors and care we have been given.  

Up next Moab.  Until then, 


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Ted DeGrazia...Gallery in the Sun

Tucson Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
March 15, 2019

Born of Italian immigrants, Ettore DeGrazia (1909-1982) grew up in a mining camp in Territorial Arizona.  His early childhood experiences in the ethnically diverse community evolved into a lifelong appreciation of native cultures in the Sonoran Desert and a passion to create art depicting their lives and traditions.

In the early 1950s DeGrazia purchased a 10-acre plot in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. 

One of the first buildings DeGrazia designed and built on this property he named Mission in the Sun.  
Adobe bricks were made on site with water DeGrazia hauled up in his Model A.

DeGrazia was inspired by the life and times of Padre Kino (who arrived to Arizona in1687 and traveled on horseback to map out the region).  

Padre Kino (who brought a simple cross to introduce Christianity without destroying the native cultures),  built 24 missions in 24 years with the help of Native Americans.  DeGrazia traveled to every Kino mission as he studied the life of the Padre.  

Designed with rock floors, interior murals, and open air roof, the Mission in the Sun was dedicated to Padre Kino. DeGrazia was quoted to have said "... you can't close up God in a stuffy room".

The Mission in the Sun is not open to the public now as it is undergoing some renovations.

What turned out to be a small construction project in the early 1950s developed into a 10-acre National Historic District.  This is actually the second gallery on the property.  As his fame, finances and collections grew, a bigger gallery was needed.        

"The gallery was designed by me.  I wanted to have the feeling of the Southwest.  I wanted to build it so that my paintings would feel good inside." Ettore "Ted" Degrazia  

The iron gates are a replica of the Yuma Territorial Prison gate.  

The entrance resembles a mine shaft reminding him of his youth.   

A small gift shop is the first stop.  There you pay an $8 fee per person and receive a map and brochure.  The rest of the gallery is a self guided tour.  

DeGrazia's studio

There are six permanent collections of paintings in the gallery and rotating collections.  Rotating exhibitions showcase treasures form the vault.  "The Way of the Cross" exhibit is an annual showing every year at Easter through May and "Desert Blooms" is on exhibit now through August. Including the rotating exhibit only some of DeGrazia's 15,000 originals are housed in the gallery including oils, watercolors, sketches, lithographs, sculptures, and ceramics. 
One of my favorite paintings from the Padre Kino permanent collection...Kino's Indian Wedding
A permanent collection of 40 paintings done in 1967 that depict the Yaqui Easter...their biggest celebration of the year.

A permanent collection created in 1975 depicting Papago (the name officially changed to Tohono O'odham in the 1980s) Indian legends.  One of the legends (there were 4) is Ho'ok.  Ho'ok was a wicked witch with talons of an eagle and a large appetite for children. 
A few pictures from the rotating collection "The Way of the Cross"
Watercolors from the 1950s..."colorful" and "playful" paintings of cactus flowers and desert critters...part of the rotating collection.

There is a great video of DeGrazia...not to be missed.  It shows him attending festivals, talking with children, going to bullfights, painting, building the mission and gallery, and he explains his vision.    

There is a small courtyard just outside the gift shop.

DeGrazia was an accomplished trumpeter.  In 1945 he completed a Masters of Arts in Music.  His thesis "Art and Its Relation to Music" explored the connection between music and visuals.  His music plays in the gift shop.  

The Deer important part of the Yaqui Easter ceremony  inspired DeGrazia to create the seven-foot statue of the Deer Dancer in the gallery's courtyard.

Well, I could go on and was such a beautiful place to visit.  Even though Joe and I took our time and read about and enjoyed and discussed the paintings, we both agreed we probably missed a lot...there is so much to take in...and a return visit someday would be just as enjoyable.

I'll close for now with just a few more favorite pictures.  Until next time, enjoy and...

Little Indian with Olla lithograph...hand printed in 1980.  Also, notice how DeGrazia used hay in the wall mud for texture.

The bell on top of Mission in the Sun

Love the colors and textures in the photo.  The walk is made with cholla cacti cut in discs...amazing!

Joe's favorite from the Padre Kino collection.


"It's not how much paint from the tube I put on the canvas, or even how much paint I leave out. I work for the feeling of a piece." DeGrazia