Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Garwood Trail

Corona de Tucson

October 26, 2021

In March of 2019, Joe and I visited DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun.  I won't rewrite about his beautiful gallery or mission (he designed and built both which were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006) or the life of Ted DeGrazia in this post.  

The Featured Post (top, right side bar) is a link to the blog post I wrote on that visit.   I closed that post by writing "and a return visit someday would be just as enjoyable".  It definitely was! 

There are six permanent exhibits featured in the gallery.  We spent awhile perusing them again, but the reason for going was to see the three rotating exhibits we had not seen.  The photo below shows the entrance to the corridor where the "treasures from the vault" are on display. 

First are the paintings and drawings in a collection named "Dinner with DeGrazia" featuring regional food of the desert southwest.


Next is the exhibit titled "DeGrazia Recycled".  

The entire collection of oil paintings were done on ceiling board scraps leftover from the construction of the gallery.  

"Wispy layers of pastel colors had been dry brushed onto rough-sawn ceiling boards before installation, and the resulting cut-off scraps were recycled as ready made, pre-painted backgrounds."  

"Lost in the Flowers"

The smallest known oil paintings by DeGRazia were done on these ceiling board knots.

The last rotating exhibit,  "DeGrazia's Superstition Mountain Collection" is a collection of essays, drawings, and paintings for his 1972 book Degrazia and His Mountain - The Superstition.  From the late 1940s to the late 1970s, DeGrazia was a frequent visitor to the mountain...exploring the backcountry on horseback and prospecting for gold.  He was inspired by the legends, history, natural beauty, and native cultures of the Superstitions.  

Dr. Thorne (oil on canvas in 1972)

This is one of my favorite paintings in this collection. 

There is Hope

When we visited the gallery in 2019, Mission in the Sun was closed due to renovations.  The mission was the first building DeGrazia constructed in honor of Padre Kino.  It is open 365 days a year. 

Murals painted in the entrance

"The roof is open to the sky, as it should be. You can't close up God in a stuffy room!"  DeGrazia

Moving on,  we explored a new trail.  Our destination was Garwood Dam.  Garwood Dam was built in 1948 by Nelson Garwood, who at the time, owned 450 acres in what is now the northwest corner of Saguaro NP East.  Access to the property was difficult for the Garwoods so they constructed an entrance road on Speedway Blvd..  Today, Douglas Spring Trailhead is located in the same proximity as their road and this is where we began our hike.  

There are lots of intertwining trails off Douglas Spring Trail.  The intersections are well marked and signs are easy to follow so a hike can be as long or as short as you like.

Joe and I were both in awe as we walked along completely engulfed by the desert and all it's beauty. We stopped a lot, just to breath and take it all in.  This is home!

We did an in-out trail and the dam was our turning around point.  It is definitely a place we will do more exploring.  

At home we have enjoyed lovely pastel skies,

curious teenagers,

shimmering hues,

early morning smell of rain, 

and lots of cuddles.

Joe and I got boosted this week.  I found myself on the sofa with a headache and achy muscles from head to toe for a couple of days...not quite as bad as it was when I had the second vax.  Jack stays close by!  

That's a wrap...another week in the memory bank from our little oasis in the desert.  Until next time, 



  1. What a lovely tour of the art gallery--we will have to do that sometime! Loved your "teenager" photo. And congratulations on your boosters--we too are both boosted. It's a good feeling. So glad you guys are loving the area you chose to make your home.

    1. DeGrazia’s gallery is beautiful and a piece of southwest history…a fun place to spend a couple of hours. I am already looking forward to returning to see the winter exhibits. If you ever head this way, give us a shout!

  2. A fun gallery with a southwest theme. Awesome hike with a perfectly formed crested saguaro.

  3. Gay your pictures are wonderful. We've never been to DeGrazia's gallery, we've always avoided it because we were so turned off by his children images on millions of refrigerator magnets and other tchotchke everywhere when we first visited Arizona many years ago. I see we were wrong to paint his entire life's work with "one brush". Your photos show a beautiful place, very much worth visiting.

    1. Thank you Sue. Children were one of DeGrazia’s favorite things to paint. There are lots of drawings & paintings of them throughout the museum. UNISEF used one of his paintings for cards & posters in the early 60s. Maybe that was the reason for millions of refrigerator magnets. I had never seen any of his art before we visited the gallery. I’m sure that made a difference & like you, might feel differently if I had.

  4. What a lovely museum. I do remember your last visit. Love that photo down the entrance corridor. Such a great story of him being led blindfolded to the gold. I was wondering why someone was blindfolded in the painting. We'll definitely have to check out the trail and dam in SNPE. I don't recall doing this hike and can't find it in our blog. Love that perfect crested! We, too, enjoy any hike in the desert...our special place.

    1. That whole section of trails is very scenic Pam. You won’t be disappointed! We had never been there before either and didn’t even realize that part of the park was accessed from Speedway Blvd. There is another trailhead we want to explore near this one...Joe had MOHs surgery on his leg last Thursday so it is healing right now.