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Marchers on Route 6 enroute to Highway 70

Marchers on Route 6 enroute to Highway 70

Campfire smoke is thick in the morning chill on Oak Flat in the lush 5000′ Arizona high country. Western Apache from all over the state have come together to “occupy” their ancestral homeland and the smell of breakfast drifts across the Flat as members of the San Carlos Apache, White Mountain, Yavapai and Tonto Tribes leave their

High country chill makes a morning fire a good thing to have

High country chill makes a morning fire a good thing to have

warm sleeping bags and meet up around the oak wood fire. There is little said about the planned Resolution Mine that will collapse this spot into a huge hole when their robots have undermined this land. President Eisenhower set aside this treasure by Presidential decree to save America’s unique wild places. Instead talk centers on happier days! Days spent with their mothers, fathers and grandparents, aunts and uncles, the kids and babies, as everyone scurried about harvesting the rich, sweet-tasting acorns which for centuries have been a delicacy of the Apache people and a centerpiece to their ceremonies marking each chapter of their lives, like joyous weddings.

Today some of those beloved relatives are now buried in Gann Canyon, their wakes and funerals where held here in the campground, acorn stew was boiled with meat, into a pancake batter like paste, and served honoring those who have now met their Creator. Many Apache Sunrise ceremonies are held here each summer to celebrate Apache daughters reaching womanhood, accented by the Apache Crown Dancers, twirling and funneling their prayers to God.

Today, Anthony Logan, an Apache medicine man will bless this holy ground beneath them and they will all dance to the drums and pray that God will answer their prayers.

Medicine Man Anthony Logan blessed the morning meal before being the first in line

Medicine Man Anthony Logan blessed the morning meal before being the first in line

Many will pray the Creator protect Oak Flat from the destruction set in motion by politicians, like Arizona Sen. John McCain, who behind their backs put a land swap into the “must pass” defense spending bill at midnight. The new Republican Senate then passed the $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2015…89 to 11. Tucson representative Raúl Grijalva has called this “a grave injustice” and calls this “unjust legislation” be repealed, a motion supported by more than 70 Indian Tribes across the United States who now join him in demanding protection for Oak Flat. The Apache protest began in San Carlos last week when tribal members started a 50 mile march to their sacred holy ground two miles east of Superior, Arizona. In spite of a few blisters, they arrived more than 250 strong supported by Tribal members from all over the U.S.. They filled the campground and Anthony Logan, aka “Rolling Fox”, conducted the “Holy Ground Blessing” ceremony held beneath the mine shafts being constructed by Resolution, a British mining company who wants to undermine the mountain and collapse the entire sacred Mountain into the country’s third largest copper mine to sell the ore to China, leaving the Apache the hole and a compromised water supply. Apache drummers and singers performed sixteen songs blessing the sacred land

The Reverend John Mendez

The Reverend John Mendez

and dancers who came to take to back their ancestral land. After the ceremony, the Reverend John Mendez, an internationally recognized civil rights activist, told the crowd that the Apache spiritual movement would move “like a prairie fire”. The fire and brimstone preacher from Emmanuel Baptist Church in North Carolina told the mostly Native American audience, “they can’t stop you, when we unit”. “A people united won’t be stopped. We will not quit, there is nothing that can stop you.” Mendez closes in pray “Father we put all things in your hands, guide us.” “We have to stand up and fight Congress, laws can be made and laws can be changed! John McCain made a big mistake doing this to us said Terry Rambler, present Chairman of the San Carlos Tribe, who gave all tribal employee an administrative day off to join the March.

Hot coffee coming off the stove for chilled campers

Hot coffee coming off the stove for chilled campers

San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler

San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler

They put this (land swap) in behind our backs-then they stabbed us in the back.” God blesses the world–he put us here to protect the land and as

Wally Davis, Chairman of the Tonto Apache Tribe

Wally Davis, Chairman of the Tonto Apache Tribe

long as we put God first–he will fight for us. Apache people were taught to pray and only through prayer will we win. The white man came to America in search of religious freedom but still they deprive the Apache of what is his religious right.” “We are still prisoners-of war” said Wally Davis, chairman of the Tonto Apache speaking of how all Apache had historically been forced marched to the San Carlos Indian Reservation. “This is a message to all Native Americans.” “San Carlos is still a prison,” Davis said.

Apache Leap Mountain hangs over the mining community of Superior.

Apache Leap Mountain hangs over the mining community of Superior.

Apache Leap Mountain gains its name from the Pinal Apache Band who lived in these hills and valley, the rocks still carry rock drawing left from their dreams of successful hunts for deer and mountain sheep, game that filled their stomachs and fueled their children’s futures, their love of the land and their freedom. Fifty of the 1870 band died leaping from the ragged mountain edge as they were surrounded by the United States Cavalry who demanded they return to the reservation in San Carlos, or die by their sabers. They chose to leap instead knowing their God knew best how they should live and die.

Speaking in one voice for Native Americans everywhere, tribal members attended from all over the world and former San Carlos Apache chairman Wensler Nosie announced Thursday February 4th, 2015, to be a historic day as

Wendsler Nosie Sr. leads his people on the march to Oak Flat.

Wendsler Nosie Sr. leads the march to Oak Flat.

the Apache once again took the field against the United States of America. “We were pushed here”, we used to roam the entire South West, but we were told to stay on the reservation and extermination was the response when we didn’t. The white man killed our ancestors, my great-grandparents, when they tried to continue their nomadic lifestyle! My mother told me, stay on the reservation-don’t bother those white people outside or they will hurt our people! That was a sickness pressed upon our people by the U.S. government, that ends today, says Nosie, “Today we pray to our God and through God we will win.” Nosie told the 250 people and media assembled outside the Tribal Administration building to begin their march to Apache Leap Mountain which towers over the Arizona community of Superior.

 Anthony Logan, an Apache medicine man will bless the holy ground (right)

Anthony Logan, an Apache medicine man will bless the holy ground (right) and leads his people to Holy Ground.

Their voices thundered with emotion Thursday as the San Carlos Apache prepared to march on Oak Flat the words spoken left no doubt that “greedy politicians”, like Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake Representatives Anne Kirkpatrick and Paul Gosar, have worn out their welcome in San Carlos, Arizona or in Indian Country anywhere else in the United States. “The rape of Indian land stops today on this historic day. Oak Flat was a gift from God to the Apache people, may we all be blessed from this day forward,” Nosie told the crowd. “We are spiritually guided today–indigenous people from all over the world are watching our fight”! If America is the World’s Policeman, and this under-handed maneuver is how they treat their native peoples, then what hope do native souls have anywhere.

Marchers leave San Carlos for Oak Flat

Marchers leave San Carlos for Oak Flat

“They think we are stupid, he said, “but our ancestors are smiling down on us and saying those our children — our educated children! “We want entitlement to our land and reservation, this is a day of healing and through prayer,

Emory Oaks, native to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico can grow up to 80 feet tall.

Emory Oaks, native to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas grow up to 80 feet tall.

we are going to win this! Today we are bringing down the barriers imposed upon us and today we breakout, our children are strong and the abuse from the people outside (the reservation) ends today.

All 2,400 acres of the land swap are part of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands. So although Republican lawmakers have tried for years to secure the transfer of these lands, they have always run into strong opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Democratic lawmakers and conservation advocates, so they stole it. If the legislation succeeds, it will allow Resolution Copper Mining Co. to exchange more than 5,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land it owns throughout Arizona for about 2,400 acres of federal land near Superior. The company would develop a 7,000-foot-deep mine there, opening the third-largest undeveloped copper resource in the world.

Councilman Fred Ferreiria from the San Carlos Peridot district says “they gave us this land because no one wanted it — they found minerals — and they took it. If we don’t stop it now — bit by bit they will take it all away again.” We learned the laws and how things are done, we were doing that, and the government broke the rules, we continue this fight, we are here today for our children.” “We have champions in Congress and they will help us “repeal this law” said Ed Norris, chairman of the Tohono Oodham.

Crowd listens to Tribal leaders following the Blessing Ceremony

Crowd hears Tohono Oodham Chairman Ed Norris after the Blessing Ceremony

The Tonto National For­est is this country’s fifth largest for­est and has on aver­age 5.8 mil­lion vis­i­tors annu­ally.

Resolution drills into the pristine Tonto Forest.

Resolution drills into the pristine Tonto Forest.

It was set aside as a national for­est back in 1905 in order to pro­tect its water­sheds around key reser­voirs used by the peo­ple of the com­mu­ni­ties around it which include Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, Snowflake, Winslow and the nearby Apache Reservations. The for­est pro­duces an aver­age of 350,000 acre-feet of water each year feed­ing into Theodore Roo­sevelt Lake and the Salt River which bisects the national for­est run­ning east to west. In 1955 Eisen­hower used Pub­lic Land Order 1229 to pro­tect parts of Tonto National For­est from the min­ing indus­try that wanted to despoil it for prof­its. Thanks to the work of con­ser­va­tion­ists over the decades, with­out a doubt, it is one of the most beau­ti­ful unspoiled areas this nation has left…

For 50 years Vonda Cassadore whose grandmother Josephine always brought them camping at Oak Flat, to the very campsite we enjoy today as they prepare breakfast for the Apache protestors. They had fun picking up the acorns and now Cassadore shares that experience with her little grand-daughter Amaee Talgo who is learning the art of baking bread. For today’s breakfast Vonda and her friend, Kris Salaloa, work together to fry bread and tortillas, Theresa Nosie is dishing out the biscuits and gravy, hash browns, bacon and sausage for the hungry, growing

For breakfast Vonda Cassadore (left) and her friend, Kris Salaloa, work together to fry bread and tortillas for the hungry, growing camp of protestors.

For breakfast Vonda Cassadore (left) and her friend, Kris Salaloa, work together to fry bread and tortillas for the hungry, growing camp of protestors.

camp of protestors. The Apache Way makes it’s grandma’s duty to teach her grandchildren the traditions of their people. “Since I was a little girl I came here with my mother and now I bring my grandkids says Salaloa, some of these trees are as old as I am and God knew what he was doing when he gave Apache acorns. For Cassadore, today’s memory of watching her mom sitting at the base of the Emory Oak shading them today is still quite vivid. “She would check to make sure we were okay and where we were, “making sure we didn’t get more acorns picked than she did”. Since I was age 3, I started picking up acorns and filling up coffee cans”, they always arrived in July before the monsoons came, the whole family came to pick, the babies would be hung in their cradle boards from the huge Emory Oaks while we searched for acorns. The acorns would be transferred to a glass jar with old levi’s wrapped around the glass and soaked in the cool stream to keep them fresh. Mom would let us run free here around “Grandmother’s Tree” where we camped while they picked plants for the burden baskets and medicinal plants. “Go to the new trees”, she would say, “they have the biggest acorns”.

“Grandmother's Tree” where baby cradle boards once would hang while grandma enjoyed its shade and directed the acorn harvest.

“Grandmother’s Tree” where baby cradle boards once hung while grandma enjoyed its shade.

Indian kids play in the stream beneath the thick canopy from the Emory Oaks that provide the much sought after acorn

Indian kids play in the stream beneath the thick canopy from the Emory Oaks that provide the sought after acorn.

“This is Apache territory and Oak Flat belongs to the Apache–they took it away from us and we must take it back says Chairman Terry Rambler. I am very proud of my ancestor’s “Apache Pride” we were supposed to be exterminated but we are here today, let’s take over Oak Flat, this is our time to be involved! Apache were slaughtered and killed here–we will fight for the blood of our ancestors. “The chairman continues saying San Carlos Tribal council went on record voting against any copper mine being built upon their land and notes the white people came to this land in search of religious freedom, fleeing persecution, they wanted “to have the ability to pray, we want the same freedom”.”Some people have to visualize something, like a church, a structure to express their love of God, Oak Flat is our church, it is no different today, today is about religious freedom, we need to keep our connection to our God.”

Resolution plans to collapse the land beneath the Oak Flat Campground and it will be out of bounds forever

Resolution plans to collapse the land beneath the Oak Flat Campground and it will be out of bounds forever.

“Oak Flat is our high ground, our mountains are called “weather makers”, they attract snow, it melts and the water flows in the four sacred directions. It flows to the Gila River, Queen Creek, the Salt River it makes the water that flows to us–it is the giver of Life and when Resolution Mine drill a mile deep making a hole a thousand times the size of a professional football stadium, it will subside and cave in–it will change the water.” All our medicinal plants will go away… We followed all the rules for ten years, we were winning and they put in a rider which made it hard for the legislature to say no. So without public input they passed this bill…”

When thunderstorms hit in this region, the mountains are where water is deposited before it flows downward toward the streams, rivers, underground aquifers and lakes. The water from the Oak Flat area continues eastward underground and flows down from the Pinal Mountains into Gilson Wash, then into the San Carlos River onward to the Gila River before it reaches San Carlos Lake. Our water is precious and limited. Resolution Copper Company will poison our waters and drain our aquifers.

Resolution Shafts #9 and #10 stand ready to begin

Resolution Shafts #9 and #10 stand ready to begin

“We are not going to give up, it’s because of our children–our children’s children…we must fight this land deal!

White Mountain Apache Kay Lewis, a former tribal judge, wearing yellow pollen on his cheek noted Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick was raised on the WMA reservation where her father made his living from a Trading Post selling to the

Kay Lewis,former White Mountain Apache Tribal Judge (center)

Kay Lewis,former White Mountain Apache Tribal Judge (center)

Apache and “she should know better”. “I was surprised”, Lewis noted, Apache are Democratic voters and they supported Kirkpatrick in her last successful re-election.”She used the Apache! She should know the Apache values, traditions, customs and ceremonies and she did not speak up for the Tribe on this land. The Apache are really done with her !” Signs proclaims “AZ. TRIBES BEWARE OF KIRKPATRICK”, “DON’T UNDERMINE OUR SACRED LANDS”, black teeshirts say “PROTECT SACRED OAK FLAT”, “YOU CAN’T GIVE AWAY LAND THAT ISN’T YOURS TO GIVE” “SAVE,PROTECT AND OCCUPY OAK FLAT — NO LAND EXCHANGE, NO COPPER MINE !

Sandra Rambler says if bulldozers show up on Oak Flat, I will stand in front of them and “they can bulldoze me if they want…I am all in !” says the sister of Chairman Rambler.

Sandra Rambler

Sandra Rambler

“It will be a great devastation, I don’t want our ancestors graves disturbed, my daughter had her Sunrise Ceremony on Oak Flat, if these laws can be made and they can be changed! We want justice for the Apache people, we are educated not stupid, they brought us here and made promises now broken, we are too smart to let this happen again!” Rambler says. “I have ancestors who fought for the U.S. Army, who weren’t given the right to vote until 1948”, even though Native Americans were given the right to vote on June 2nd, 1924, but because of some state law, Indians were not allowed the vote until 1947 except for Arizona and New Mexico who finally dropped their prohibition in 1948 because of legal rulings. Three main arguments for Indian voting exclusion were Indian exemption from real estate taxes, maintenance of tribal affiliation and the notion that Indians were under guardianship, or lived on lands controlled by federal trusteeship.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s reference to American Indians as “wards of the federal government” following a discussionREP PAUL GOSAR about the controversial Arizona land deal that opens the door for the country’s third largest copper mine. The Arizona Republican in responding to concerns from Phil Stago of the White Mountain Apache Tribe when he made the comment that stunned people at a December round-table talk in Flagstaff, as well as Indians all across the United States.”He kind of revealed the truth — the true deep feeling of the federal government: ‘Tribes, you can call yourselves sovereign nations, but when it comes down to the final test, you’re not really sovereign because we still have plenary authority over you,'” Stago told The AP.

In 1978 Indians were given the right to express our religion through the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Aug. 11, 1978 a United States federal law, enacted by Congress to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. These rights include, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rights, and use and possession of objects considered sacred. The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native American religion, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites. It also acknowledges the prior violation of that right. Due to the complex nature of American Indian religious beliefs, American Indian religions have often been at odds with existing federal laws and government policies. There have been several areas of conflict. Firstly, American Indians did not have access to a number of sacred places that the tribes had traditionally used in religious ceremonies. Native American religious practices often came into conflict with the idea that American public lands exist for the use and benefit of the American people.

Dancers celebrate the beginning of the Occupying of Oak Flat

Dancers celebrate the beginning of the Occupying of Oak Flat



“You don’t get tired dancing, the drums put you into a meditative state.” The drum is like a heartbeat and it pushes you on”, says May Lenca, from western Honduras where her indigenous people live in the endangered rain forest. She is a spiritual person and came to Oak Flat to link spiritually with her Apache brothers and sisters. “John McCain has no heart, conscience or soul and he gave them up long ago for power, money and greed. You can’t do this if you have a heart ! “McCain is a lost soul.” We natives have joined together here, Lenca said. “We are all from the creator and we have to gather to protect Mother Earth.” “People can chose to be good”! The legislatures who did this – used to be people you could work with. But power corrupts and you have to learn to be humble with people.”

“We are a non-violent religious movement, said Wendsler Nosie at the conclusion of the Holy Ground Blessing.

Wendsler Nosie Sr.

Wendsler Nosie Sr.

“Today eagle feathers arrived here on foot, this is a spiritual gathering. The idea is to get here so the blessing can be given by God. We have arrived so God will have blessed us … we are all brothers and sisters here. Together we will protect our waters so we can continue to live as human beings. The Apache need to be afforded the same protection as all U.S. citizens — we Apache want the same rights afforded everyone else. This is a gift from God to help save the world may we all be blessed from this day forward,” Nosie concludes.

Carrie Curley, age 26 is dancing with her aunt Margie Curley and says she is fighting for “my identity, our religion and our ancestral land”. Curley says every time she drives into the valley she stop at Oak Flat to pray. Her fondest memories are in Gann Canyon, where she prays thanking the good spirit for their land and to grace us with

Carrie Curley dances with her aunt Margie Curley

Carrie Curley dances with her aunt Margie Curley

his blessing. “The creator gave us land so they can’t take it away.” Margie remembers Oak Flat from her high school days where she attended high school there, her fondest memories of the Easter celebration celebrated by the much of the whole town who moves to Oak Flat over the Easter weekend-but as an Apache, she loves Oak Flat as “a holy land, a land of prayer.”

On a bronze plaque in front of the San Carlos Apache Administration building is written beneath the names of all the Apache who served as chairman or leaders of the San Carlos Tribe; it reads: “We remember those who sacrifice and defended our people–we recognize our great leaders and their respect for those who know freedom. We must guide our people to, once again, hold our destiny in our own hands, so I challenge each of us to overcome the oppression and begin the process of believing in ourselves. This must be the first step…
Usen, we ask for your blessing to guide our current and future leadership so that our children and the unborn will inherit our Apache Way of Life…..Wendsler Nosie Sr.

The Oak Flat Campground was set aside in 1955 by President Eisenhower in an effort to preserve special public lands from threats like mining and development. Since that time, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the wilderness.

 Shaft # 10 Mucking Process

Shaft # 10 Mucking Process

Copper mining would shut out visitors to Oak Flat and allow international mining companies like Rio Tinto the power to disrupt the land by digging mine shafts, excavating minerals and carving roads through a once wild landscape. The tribes would be stripped of access to native and sacred lands to practice their religion, contrary to the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Block cave mining is a technique that involves drilling and blasting from underneath the copper ore body, creating an underground cavern. This method causes instability within the mine and at the surface, making it collapse. At the Henderson Mine near Empire, Colorado, an entire mountainside collapsed after undergoing block cave mining. At Oak Flat, this would put sensitive ecological areas and sacred tribal lands at risk and would change the landscape forever.

Former Republican Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi reported to a federal prison in West Virginia
to begin serving a three-year sentence for corruption, money laundering and 15 other convictions
including wire fraud, extortion and racketeering.








CONGRESSMAN Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the “Save Oak Flat Act,” to repeals a congressional giveaway of sacred Native American land to a Canadian company called Resolution Copper co-owned by multinational mining conglomerate Rio Tinto .


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Playing the Tohono Oodham women’s stick game, Toka, is not for the weak at heart. The Lacrosse-style game involves teams of 5-12 members played without pads and battling it out with sticks cut from the desert mesquite tree. Getting slapped around in the heat of battle is part of the experience for contestants who range in age from early youth to late middle age.The recent tournament played during the TO’s Nation’s annual Rodeo and Fair brought out ten teams and almost 125 participants who took on various villages for the honor of being the best or toughest of the bunch. SELLS RODEO, FAIR, TOKA TOURNEY-8021 Starting at the civilized hour of noon, rivals “back-in-the-day tournaments which often began before sunrise and then moved into mid-day, stopping only as the heat of day forced folks into the shade. Today’s Toka Tournaments, since 1990 have been organized into tribal tournaments encouraging women of all ages to come out and fight for the “honor of their village” and this year celebrating the 25th anniversary of the “revival of Toka” has seen frequent tournaments pop up around the reservation and causing moreand more teams to surface particularly during the cooler months. The next tournament will be hosted by the San Xavier District and many of teams have eyed that trophy. While Toka was played differently in the 1970’s taking over large fields with no specific out of bounds, today’s tournaments are fenced in providing some barriers to those battling for the Toka puck, two pieces of wood, held together by a piece of rawhide string, to win-the victory goes to the first team to get two goals. Spectators should not get to comfortable sitting on the sidelines because like the days of old, any spot within the fence is in play and a snoozing fan would not be the first to get slapped around and chased from their chairs-if not run over and flattened. SELLS RODEO, FAIR, TOKA TOURNEY-5136I personally took a dirt bath when photographing my first tournament as the play moved toward my stance on the sidelines, expecting things to cease on the sidelines, was surprised to hide myself and camera in play. So I wasn’t surprised to find out, men are not allowed on the Toka field, probably because they aren’t tough enough to take the beating. Chatting with a former Santa Rosa player what she found the most challenging about Toka, she emphasized how much it hurt getting wacked on the ankle by a mesquite branch and further it was pointed out while the game might be about earning the honor for their village–secretly it was pointed out a few well-placed wacks on your competitors ankle–slows them down a bit and schools them on the finer points of competition. May the best team win ! SELLS RODEO, FAIR, TOKA TOURNEY-7783This year’s Tohono O’odham’s Rodeo and Fair was hammered by desert rains, beginning on Friday with the Nation’s Junior Rodeo and continuing into the weekend. Saturday the day started out with a drizzle for the annual parade and then it opened up and poured on the mid-way and fair, making the rodeo grounds a muddy mess, adding new action for the wild horse races, bareback and saddle broncs competition, presided over by rough stock, who didn’t really need the help but got it anyway. Some events didn’t register a good time all day taking all the prize money into a much drier Sunday SELLS RODEO, FAIR, TOKA TOURNEY-7700performance. Still attendance was good, fantastic for weekend of rough weather, almost 800 people turned on Saturday and braved the downpours, some wrapped their feet in plastic shopping bags, to wander around the midway to enjoy the rides and corn dog alley. Sunday the sun came out, as did the mud-graders, who pushed the “chocolate pudding” aside, to make way for die-hard participants who danced the “Chicken Scratch” to a battle of bands honoring the Tohono Oodham way of dance. On the road side graders piled up mud 18 inches deep, reminding me of the mid-west winters, when snow would be pushed off the roadways and stack up there until Spring, in Sells, the mud was all gone by noon.


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Why did the “White Dove of the Desert”, Tucson’s San Xavier Mission, survive when all it’s brother missions scattered across the South West mostly melted into the desert? Today’s Mission was built between 1783-1797 and is the oldest European structure in Arizona. Its hosts 200,000 visitors from all over the world each year, charging no admission, the Mission is widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. That wasn’t always the case, San Xavier began life in New Spain, then it was gathered up by Mexico and when the lines were drawn for the Gadsen Purchase, it came to the United States and became a part of the Diocese of Santa Fe and soon major repairs began. It was spared the fate of the Tumacacori Mission whose roof collapsed when locals salvaged the timbers and instead it was adored and appreciated by the nearby Tucson community unlike the Missions of the Baja, beloved by their neighbors, but too poor to build up their missions overtaken by the weight of time. The Tucson Presidio contributed to San Xavier’s success by extending its protections to the remote village, and while the Apache razed San Xavier in 1770, the soldiers from the fort allowed repairs to be made then and work today continues to restore the ancient relic to its original state.

“Father Kino, made his first visit to the Tohono O’odham village of Wa:k (Bac) in 1692, the centuries old village was called the “place where the water appears” for the natural springs fueled by the nearby Santa Cruz River.



Kino began to build a church in 1700. It apparently never got beyond its foundations. According to The South West Mission Research Center on “The Pimeria Alta” in 1751 the Jesuit Father Visitor Jacobo Sedelmayr said of the Indian community, ‘It is still very backward without a catechist, without obedience, and without any church other than a ramada and a wretched house. It is clear to see that this village has been visited very little.’ San Xavier’s first church, other than a ramada, was a flat-roofed, hall-shaped adobe building begun after the arrival of Jesuit missionary Father Alonso Espinosa in 1756, it was in service by 1763. Espinosa failed to level the site and there were no stone in the foundations, so structural problems existed from the beginning. “The adobe church built by Father Espinosa was the one inherited by Father Francisco Garcés when he arrived at San Xavier in 1768 as its first Franciscan minister.”

Bishop Antonio de los Reyes on 6 July 1772 wrote a report on the condition of the missions in the Upper and Lower Pimeria Alta. This is his report on San Xavier as translated by Father Kieran McCarty:

SAN XAVIER del BAC photographed in 1887 by Leo Goldschmidt. Carriage rides to the Mission from Tucson were popular.

SAN XAVIER del BAC photographed in 1887 by Leo Goldschmidt. Carriage rides to the Mission from Tucson were very popular at the turn of the century.

The mission at Bac is located on a long, flat lowland. To the east lies a land, little known and occupied by the wandering and warlike Apache nation. To the west lie the settlements of an infinity of pagan Indians, meek and docile, who people the land all the way to the Gulf of California, a distance a little more than a hundred leagues. To the south at distances of eighteen and twenty leagues lie the two missions at Guevavi and Suamnca and the Presidios of Tubac and Terrenate. To the north lies the little-known land stretching some forty leagues to the Gila River. The village of San Xavier at Bac is situated on open ground with an abundance of water and good land where the Indians cultivate a few small fields of wheat, Indian corn, and other crops. The church is of medium capacity, adorned with two side chapels with paintings in gilded frames. In the sacristy are four chalices, two of which are unserviceable, a pyx, a censer, dish and cruets, a baptismal shell, all of silver, four sets of vestments of various colors, with other ornaments for the altar and divine services – all very poor. According to the census Book, which I have before me, there are forty-eight married couples, seven widowers, twelve widows, twenty-six orphans, the number of souls in all – two hundred seventy.

SAN XAVIER DEL BAC -The East Tower was never completed simply because the Friars ran out of money.

“Improvements in the architectural at San Xavier had to await the 1776 arrival of Father Juan Bautista Beldarrain, a Basque friar. Building San Xavier was expensive, but Father Juan Bautista Beldarrain, was able to borrow $7,000 pesos – the equivalent of more than twenty years of a missionary’s salary – from a businessman, Don Antonio Herreros. The friar’s only collateral was wheat from crops not yet planted – almost as if he expected Don Antonio to join his vows of poverty. He hired an architect, Ignacio Gaona, and a large workforce of O’odham to create the present church. The church is roofed with masonry vaults, making it unique among Spanish Colonial buildings within U. S. borders. Gaona, is credited with building another church in Caborca, Sonora. The good Padre was never able to repay the debt; he died at San Xavier in 1790, the church still was undecorated and incomplete. Father Juan Bautista Llorens, oversaw the finish in 1797.

“In the nineteenth century, when Southern Arizona was still part of New Spain, around 1783 Father Espinosa’s old church was torn down and its adobes, wooden columns, and ceiling beams were re-used to build a convento wing extending east from the east bell tower of the Franciscan structure. Today’s church itself has interior and exterior walls of fired bricks set in lime mortar with an interior core filled with stone rubble over which lime mortar was poured as the walls went up.”

Following Mexican independence in 1821, San Xavier became part of Mexico. The last resident Franciscan of the 19th Century departed in 1837. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, the Mission joined the United States.



In 1859 San Xavier became part of the Diocese of Santa Fe, which began the first repairs of the Mission. In 1866 Tucson became an diocese and regular services were held at the Mission once again. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened a school at the Mission in 1872. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity now teach at the school and reside in the convent. In 1913 the Franciscans return to Bac.

An earthquake in 1887 knocked down the mortuary wall and damaged parts of the church, extensive repairs began in 1905, under Bishop Henry Granjon. The next restoration followed the years after 1939 when a lightning strike hit the West Tower. In 1953 the church facade was restored. San Xavier became a National Historic Landmark in 1963. The Mission is nine miles south of downtown Tucson, just off of Interstate 19. Take exit 92 to San Xavier Road, follow the signs.
San Xavier 1325
The Patronanto of San Xavier in 1978 arose from within the Tucson Community to promote the preservation of Mission San Xavier. The group led a comprehensive study of the church’s architectural condition and found water seeping into the west wall of the church’s sanctuary, forcing emergency repair. An international team of conservators cleaned, removed over-painting, and repaired the interior, painted and cleaned the sculptured art within San Xavier. More work remains to be done to guarantee this landmark for future generations.

A kissing cousin to San Xavier del Bac California’s Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia was founded in 1798 by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, the Mission was named after St. Louis IX, King of France, who lived during the 13th century. Due to its large size the mission was nicknamed “King of the Missions.” Its construction is similiar to San Xavier, more than any of the twenty-one missions, built between San Diego to the San Francisco Bay region. San Luis Rey may be the King of the California Missions but San Xavier was built first and towers over all the Spanish Mission now or historically, and today, is found on the City of Tucson Logo and Great Seal of Pima County.


Phillipp Segessor awoke to the understanding at age ten he was born to be a missionary on the edge of civilization in some far distant land. Within twenty years he would realize that dream, and for forty years his life in New Spain would bring many hardships far beyond the sweet promise of childhood daydreams. Segessor would bring many souls into the light and dispatch many more with the promise of salvation in eternity. TUCUMCACORI-4981Phillipp found himself far from the lush Switzerland slopes of his youth and in a land where there is only “the sky above and the ground below”. If one wishes more, he would have to either build it or grow it and then defend it.

Many letters were written between the missionary, his mother and brother who sponsored his spiritual service by shipping the needed seeds, and supplies required to kick-start a civilization just finding the wheel. Knifes, forks and spoons, plates, farm tools; hoes, books, writing paper and chocolate. Correspondence, record-keeping and journals became today’s history or the first written record which helps us understand the hardship these pilgrims endured, for their love of GOD.



SAN XAVIER FARMS-The Catholic Jesuit Order built a mission based economy on the frontier by harvesting everything of value. Missions less fortunate were re-enforced by more prosperous missions who shipped the Baja missions grain and dried beef from the mainland. For the malnourished Indians of the Baja, the missionaries changed their lives. In Mexico and southern Arizona, the Pima Indians were less taken by God’s representatives in New Spain and ignored them as long as they did not annoy. After a few dust-ups over late night dances and singing, missionaries tried cracking down on “their villages” and found the natives ready to revolt and after some unfortunate deaths on both sides the Indians saw the wisdom in the word of their father’s god and moved back to the villages, to work the fields, milk the cows, tame the horses and bring in the harvests. Death was everywhere from disease and both sides wallowed in superstitions that only made the deaths worse, breeding more fear and misunderstanding. The Indians moved closer to the Church in hopes it would protect them from the disease killing their family and friends and not affecting the men in robe, could they save them ?



As for Father Segessor, when he was young, sleeping still under his mother’s roof-he was ready to conquer the world for Jesus Christ. The further he got from his homeland, his confidence eroded, until after years of being on the frontier where the Apache made each day a lottery. He became pretty realistic about the demands on his time and how much one man could possibly accomplish under such extreme conditions.

“For ten years the Seri and recently also the unbearable Apache, who have often come to my mission, raided it four times in three months, carrying off all the livestock. Nevertheless, they have reduced my mission and the neighboring indian to such a wretched state that I have even found myself forced to beg for a coat to cloth myself, and others do not have a shirt to cover themselves.”

“So that we can eat, it is necessary that my Indians, like the mountain hunters, procure wild cattle or oxen. No such misery has been experienced for as long as the mission have existed.”

Phillipp Segesser Swiss Missionary

Phillipp Segesser
Swiss Missionary”
“It will live on” (writes Kino of the work of missionaries, like Phillip Segesser whose generation would follow Kino’s) “in the splendid construction of temples, churches, buildings and houses. It will reflect in the solemnities of the saints, in joyous fiestas, and in treats of religious banquets. It will be heard in music and the choir of opulent missions which will be a source of pride. Fortunately, it was a blessing, neither of these Jesuits Priests would live to see their Order or themselves evicted in chains under threat of death from New Spain.

PADRE KINO“It is so dangerous to travel the paths and byways that no one is safe. All travelers are in great danger of falling into the hands of the enemy or dying from poisoned arrows and lances. I wish that the soldiers would humble my neighboring enemies, the Seri. “Last night”, he reported, “they finally carried off the few cattle, mules and horses that had previously escaped their thievish hands and have robbed me of all needed support, so I know not how I shall subsist in the future. Gold help us! On top of that, this year the crops have been very meager, so I do not know how we shall maintain ourselves.”

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
I hope he will not desert us. God’s will be done.”

Later still there was less of the “His Will be Done!”, and more of a complaining tone which noted how much was accomplished and how more was impossible until such time as more money was contributed from the Crown or the Lord provided! Still the Mission system grew and grew, prospered, greened over while providing the surrounding tribes with a crop to sustain them and establishing a barter network that allowed missions to swap stuff needed elsewhere and some comforts from the Old World made the New World better.

first tourists

“The missionary in America makes his way by horse, writes Segessor, which can be ninety miles or more, while in Europe he goes on foot. The differences is that in Europe he at least sleeps in a bed in a house at night, has a nice roast and some wine and can get some rest. In American he sleeps in the field and has to drink muddy water scooped from a pond, or no water at all, as has happened to me more than once. The difference is that in Europe the priest can get together with his friends or other competent residents and take care of his duties in a calm manner. The American must deal with a very careless Indian and even must put his own hand to the plow if he wants to support himself and his Indians. The different is that the European has ample income, while the American missionary Father has to live day after day in sworn poverty and pray by the light of a candle.”
ANGELXxXNew diseases from the Old World were everywhere, the plague took tens of thousands in Europe. But the chickenpox bedeviled Segessor and his missions, like San Xavier del Bac, Guevavi, Urias, his own health was up and down from the time he boarded a ship and sea-sickness wracked his system, still while he attended to his duties he had repeated bouts of malaria and at times, he gave death blessings for his fellow priests. Soon his letters spoke of a willingness to move closer to Jesus, a readiness for eternity if it pleased his Lord!

“I am in a state of distress in all things this year (1760), partly on account of enemy attacks, partly because we can’t work in the fields for fear of the enemy. Robbers attack the inhabitants and beat them horribly.

“Besides this, in the past year lightning hit my house and church three times causing great damage. I have not yet been able to repair the damaged house and church roof for a lack of nourishment, for everything in the field was lost.”

“During these dangerous uprisings when one is not safe on any road, or indeed even in his own house. My neighboring enemies, the Seri, burn and slaughter at will and kill the inhabitants. They cleverly appear first in one place, then in another, and there are too few Spanish soldiers partly because of the great expanse of the region and partly because of the great drought, the enemy has free reign to pursue his evil deeds.”

“I fear they will soon reduce my villages to ashes because they are roaming in the area and have killed or taken away all the horses, not to mention the great damage they have done to the herds of cattle.”

“I am not at all sure that they wouldn’t capture me, because I have to travel to the visitas (the outlying churches). “I am not even safe with my own Indians.” “Their fellow country men, the Upper Pima at San Xavier, killed two missionaries, a Spaniard and a priest in the Pima Rebellion of 1751 which took the lives of many, all between breakfast and dinner”, reported Father Segesser, writing from Horcasitas…April 11, 1761, rather his assigned Ures Mission which lay in ruin.

Segesser was at the presidio of San Miguel de Horcasitas to execute the will of the new governor and friend who decided to visit and was greeted by a hail of poison arrows from Seri tribesmen. Juan Antonio de Mendoza, governor of Sonora and Sinaloa, died November 28th, 1760, he had a promising future, but left no son.

Father Segesser died seventeen months later on September 28th 1762…


Five years after Kino’s death, Padre Luis Velarde, wrote that he died as he lived, “very humble and poor”.



His bed was two calf skins as his mattress and a saddle as his pillow. Hot-headed when reprimanding sinners in public. He would pray a hundred times a day, and after supper he would enter the church and Father Velarde never saw him leave. He had no vices, he did not smoke, use snuff, drink, nor use a bed. He took his food without salt. He gave everything he had to the Indians. He was pious with everyone and cruel to himself, lacerating (flogging) his body. Father Vellarde stated that “to discover lands and convert souls were the virtues of Padre Kino”

Father Kino died in Magdalena, Sonora on March 15, 1711, his bones ly there still. He had traveled from his mission at Nuestra Senora de los Dolores to celebrate with Padre Agustin de Campos the Mass of Dedication for the new chapel to San Francisco Xavier, Kino’s patron saint. At the time of his death, Padre Kino had established 24 missions or vistas. Kino established the California peninsula was not an island, a popular theory in his time. After their discoveries in the New World by Kino and other Jesuits, in their absence, little knowledge was gained for 150 years.

Kino followed ancient trading routes established by the natives, these trails were later expanded into roads. His many expeditions on horseback covered over 50,000 square miles, during which he mapped an area 200 miles long and 250 miles wide. Kino was important in the economic growth of the southwest. He introduce the indians to European seed, fruits, herbs and grains. He also taught them to raise cattle, sheep and goats. Kino’s initial mission herd of twenty cattle imported to Pimería Alta grew during his period to 70,000. One historian called Kino Arizona’s first rancher. In his travels in the Pimería Alta, Father Kino interacted with 16 different tribes.

Feast Day Procession at San Xavier...

Feast Day Procession at San Xavier…The National Historic Landmark, San Xavier, was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. The oldest European structure in Arizona, the interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can truly step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space. The church retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners.

Camino del Diablo graveMacDougall’s Papagueria essay says ten or twelve centuries ago, the Tohhono Oodham (Papago) Tribe was encountered by the Spanish in Coronado’s expedition in the mid-16th century. The area became known as Papagueria and was traveled in all direction by padres establishing missions.


Padre Kino, climbed the summit of Sierra Pinacate to view the Sea of Cortez, the peninsula of Baja California and the mouth of the Colorado River to determine whether Baja California was a peninsula or an island. Kino believed it was a peninsula, though today, most folks feel he could not have see that far. However, giving credit where it is due–when Kino’s caravan moved into a water spot to camp–it was dry when he left and that meant he could never return the way he came and constantly was looking for new water, a fearless approach to life. In the early days the ancient road from Sonora coming through Altar and Carboca led through the oasis of Sonoyta and across the desert to California, crossing the Colorado River in Yuma. It was traveled religiously by Spanish priests and the guards for the missions, it was the route followed by Father Kino in 1699, and became known as the “Camino Real”. During the Gold Rush days many inexperienced in desert travel, attempted the long arid stretches, it was the scene of many tragedies, as evidenced by the numerous crosses of stones spread out along the way. Particularly near Tinajas Altas, a series of holes high up on the granite, holding the only water in a three day journey, this became known as the “Camino del Diablo” through the Tule Desert.

Pinacate Tecolete Flow Son

Pinacate Tecolete Lava Flow in northern Sonora borders Arizona and California

The Land of the Tohono Oodham Indian

The Land of the Tohono Oodham Indian

Tohonos and Hispanic worshipers today follow the age old pilgrim route cut by Padre Kino himself to the Mission at Magdelena, Son.

Tohonos and Hispanic worshipers follow the age old pilgrim route cut by Padre Kino himself today to the Mission at Magdelena, Sonora. This year many Tohono Oodham were bused to Magdalena due to threats of personal injury for pilgrims by the drug cartel who control the border region.

This year many Tohono Oodham were bused to Magdalena due to threats of personal injury for pilgrims by drug cartel members.

The University of Arizona have conducted their Spring Archaeology Field School at the Guevavi Mission in 2013 and 2014, under the direction of Dr. Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman of the University, Homer Thiel of Desert Archaeology, Inc., and Jeremy Moss of the National Park Service.

TUMCACORI NATIONAL MONUMENT  The priest's first responsibility in founding a new mission was to build a church. When the Jesuits first arrived at Tumacacori, they held worship services in simple brush shelters and, eventually, replaced them with masonry, flat-roofed buildings. The largest and most elaborate of Tumacacori's churches was begun about 1800 by the Franciscan, Fray Gutierrez and the design was changed at least once before it was dedicated in 1822. Attempts were made to emulate the great cathedrals of Europe in many detail; the lime plaster of the entry was painted and grooved to resemble a stone arch: two side alters were constructed on each side of the nave and oval plaques displayed the Stations of the Cross.

TUMACACORI NATIONAL MONUMENT The priest’s first responsibility in founding a new mission was to build a church. When the Jesuits first arrived at Tumacacori, they held worship services in simple brush shelters and slowly replaced them with masonry, flat-roofed buildings. The largest and most elaborate of Tumacacori’s churches was begun 1800 by the Franciscan Fray Gutierrez and the design was changed before it was dedicated in 1822, attempts were made to emulate the cathedrals of Europe in detail; the lime plaster of the entry was painted and grooved to resemble a stone arch but money woes kept it simple.

Father Juan Domingo Arricivita, in 1792, writes “In 1768 Fray Juan Chrisostomo was assigned to the mission Los Santos Angles de Guevavi in Primeria Alta. Guevavi had three villages or visitas in its jurisdiction: Calabazas, two leagues away, Sonoitac, six and Tumacacori, seven leagues. It also had in its charge the Presidio of Tubac.

The Guevavi Mission site is owned today by the National Park Service, as part of the Tumacacori National Historical Park, and the City of Nogales, AZ. Today 21 students have participated in the field school’s mapping project that revealed features being damaged by traffic, erosion, and burrowing animals who were digging into a mission-era trash midden. The students found copper ore and slag at the top of the midden and believe it relates to Yaqui occupation of the site by miners in the 1810s. Deeper levels revealed mission-era Native American ceramics, Spanish olive jar fragments, Mexican majolica, Chinese porcelain, metal items, and large amounts of bone and plant remains, including maize cobs and peach pits. Aerial photos of a light-colored soil area revealed possible wall alignments, that proved to be trenches for animal pens, likely used to manage cattle and sheep herds. The students have on-going soil analyses in an attempt to find signs of animal manure, and chemical analyses of animal teeth, to find the origins of the cattle teeth found on site.

Papago cooks work over baskets and ollas for cooking 1930's. Today the Papago Tribe is known as the Tohono Oodham or Desert People.

Papago cooks work over baskets and ollas for cooking 1930’s. Today the Papago Tribe is known as the Tohono Oodham or a Desert People who have lived off the desert for more than a 1000 years.

Their studies suggests the cattle was free-ranged. The bones were predominantly rabbit, deer and fish but found an active tallow rendering process to make candles for their light and axle grease to keep things moving. Trincheras pottery was found from Mexico, shell beads and one glass bead. A hand made cross was found at 3.5 inches dig depth, the Chinese porcelain was probably from Hong Kong which came from the Philippines, then Mexico by ship, then overland to Arizona, Spanish Olive jars, and peach pits from the oldest known specie of Peach tree, Tohono and Subaipuri ceramics. Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman notes this small and the less prosperous of frontier missions “had material coming into Arizona from all over the world”, noting China, the Sea of Cortez, Gulf of California, Spain/Mexico also Czech and Italian influences were found in this 1700 era mission.
The Letters of the Swiss Jesuit Missionary Philipp Segesser (1689–1762): An Eyewitness to Settlement of Eighteenth-Century Sonora (Pimería Alta)

The beautiful lagoon on the road into San Ignacio is the Río San Ignacio, one of two rivers in the state of Baja California Sur.

The beautiful lagoon by the road into San Ignacio is the Río San Ignacio, one of two rivers in Baja Sur.

SAN IGNACIO BAJA SURMission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at today’s San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, Mexico./>[/caption] San Ignacio brags it has more date palms trees than residents, it is an oasis that is in contrast to the cactus and rock of the Baja. The palm covered oasis of San Ignacio is a welcome sight for all Baja travelers, the Jesuits planted the date palms and citrus orchards after 1728 when they built the mission. This site proved agriculturally productive, and was the base for Jesuit central peninsula expansion. In 1706 the surviving church was constructed by the Dominican missionary Juan Gómez and eventually abandoned by 1840.

A whale skeleton on Highway 1 marks the halfway point from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas, it also marks the turnoff into the small town which serves as the gateway to Laguna San Ignacio, one of the best whale watching areas in Baja. The peaceful natural lagoon opens up to the Pacific and lies 40 miles to the west of San Ignacio. This is the only lagoon that is still completely undeveloped and a seasonal stop for the California gray whales.


When the Jesuits arrived in Baja they planted the date palms which still provide a crop today for the folks living in San Ignacio Baja.

The Jesuits planted the date palms which still provides an annual crop for people living in San Ignacio.

 Spanish Royal Crest above the doorway

Spanish Royal Crest above the doorway

A scene that resembles priests beating Indians

A scene that resembles priests with the natives

Saint Francis looks over the crowd

Saint Francis Xavier looks out over the mass crowd and keeps an eye out for sinners and slakers in the crowd.



After the Spanish conquered the Mexican mainland early in the 16th century, they began searching westward for the fabled Island of Gold. In 1532, the conquistador Hernán Cortés sent two fleets of ships to look for the island. They failed to find it, so Cortés decided to lead the search himself. In 1535, he landed north of La Paz near the southern end of the Baja California peninsula where he found black pearls but no gold. Cortés and his men returned to the mainland, only to launch another expedition in 1539 under the leadership of Captain Francisco de Ulloa. This time the Spaniards sailed the full length of the Sea of Cortés, confirming that Baja was a peninsula. Ulloa was lost at sea the next year; Cortés returned to Spain in 1541 without fully exploring or colonizing Baja California. In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo ventured into the region, but it proved to be the last exploration for 50 years.BetterCortezScamctop

La Paz was frequently the site of conflicts between the Spanish and the local Guaycura and Pericú Indians. In 1555, Cortés led a large party that attempted but failed to establish a settlement. Isidro de Atondo y Antillón and Eusebio Francisco Kino attempted to establish a mission settlement in 1683 but failed because of conflicts with Indians. When Jesuit missions finally took root in Baja California after 1697, their focus went north to Loreto.

Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de La Paz

Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de La Paz

The Heart of La Paz is the city’s main square, the plaza is the heart of cultural and political life. La Paz’s main square, Velasco Garden, has been rebuilt and modernized since colonial days. On one side is the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Paz, was built in 1861 by Dominican priests on the site of the city’s original Jesuit mission, built in 1720. Inside, you’ll find paintings rescued from old missions. On the plaza’s north side you will see the former Palacio de Gobierno, now housing the Biblioteca de Historia Regional de las Californias (Library of Regional History of the Californias) and a Youth Center. A meeting point for locals and visitors, the Velasco Garden or Constitution Plaza is a place to relax. Its shaded from the sun by trees with a fountain in the center and makes a stage for a wide variety of activities-from dancing to book fairs or late evenings when folks congregate in the coffee shops, bars and night clubs. The Cathedral was established by the Jesuit missionaries Juan de Ugarte and Jaime Bravo in 1720. This church was the scene of the earliest Spanish activity in Baja California, and finally abandoned in 1748, when its Indian neophytes were relocated to Todos Santos.

Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos (Our Lady of Pilar Church) was built in 1733 perched above the town of Todos Santos and has a spectacular view of the ocean. Much of the mission’s original architecture and many of the period furnishings have survived intact. Take the guided tour, which presents the mission’s history, for a fee. The church towers protectively over the square, but it is not the 1730’s original but an adobe reconstruction. This mission site was selected by Father Jaime Bravo in 1723. He built a “visita” town able to help support the mission of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in La Paz. He explored these lands and chose this place due to the number of “Pericúe” indians he found there, as well as, its climate and good soil conditions. Under Bravo’s direction, sowing of some crops began, their most important crops, were corn and sugar cane. As time went by, Todos Santos became one of the main providers for the La Paz mission. In 1733 the “visita” town became the mission Santa Rosa de Todos Santos and when the La Paz mission was closed, the mission of Santa Rosa de Todos Santos adopted it’s name Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos.



Unlike the mainland settlements that were designed to be self-sustaining enterprises, the remote and harsh conditions on the BAJA peninsula made it all but impossible to build and maintain these missions without help from the mainland.Baja California mission trail Supply lines from across the Sea of Cortez including from the missions and ranches of Padre Eusebio Kino on the mainland to the Port of Guaymas played a crucial role in keeping the Baja California mission system intact. Along with religion, the Europeans brought diseases to indians who had no immunity. By 1767, epidemics of measles, plague, smallpox, typhus, and venereal diseases had decimated the indian population. From an initial population of 50,000 indians, only some 5,000 are thought to have survived. In Segessor’s letters he speaks of one priest who had spent a lifetime amongst the Pima and when he appeared to be getting soft on his Indians, they removed him, fearing he had become unstable and not more humane. This story reminds us in the wake of the Spanish wave across the New World that “they could be very cruel”…

Indians were housed often by gender, forced to convert to Catholicism and trained in the ways of the Spanish Empire within the confines of the mission. Indians often ran away or revolted, and many missions tettered on disaster. Use of firearms, whippings, religious ritual and psychological punishments were all methods employed by the missionaries to maintain control of their slaves. The cost of getting into Heaven, went sky-high, since there was little else for the Church to sell their flock.”From the wealthiest, whether it be for marriage or burial, the pastor demands as much as seems appropriate, even if it comes to two or three thousand whalers” writes Phillipe Segessor of his experience on the frontier. “The burial of an Indian servant or of his child costs 16 thalers, provided the large cross is not carried in the forefront of the procession. If it is carried, the cost is twenty-five thalers. Burial of a wealthy Spanish costs 30 thalers, with Mass and offices for the soul extra.” None of this money went to the Missionary father who provided all services for free in the belief that, “God would provide”.

During the sixty years that the Jesuits served the natives of California, 56 members of the Society of Jesus came to the Baja California peninsula, sixteen died at their posts, two were martyrs. Fifteen priests and one lay brother survived the hardships, only to feel the sting of the Jesuit removal decree launched against the Society by King Carlos III of Spain. Rumors that the Jesuit priests had amassed a fortune on the peninsula and were becoming very powerful, produced he order on February 3, 1768 when the King ordered the Jesuits forcibly expelled from the Americas and returned to the home. The Franciscans, under Fray Junípero Serra, took charge of the missions-closing or consolidating settlements.

Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé - in Mulegé

Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé – in Mulegé

When the expulsion order was issued from the King of Spain for the Jesuits to be rounded up and shipped to Europe, no resistance resulted. Instead the Jesuits from the fourteen operating missions said goodbye to the Indians who had worked for them and sadly left for Loreto. Following their forced march, many of their loyal friends reportedly followed their path and provided food and water to the priests throughout their ordeal. One priest later wrote “Not only did I weep then but throughout the journey, and even now as I write the tears stand in my eyes.” While few believed the Jesuits had amassed the fortunes believed to be hidden in the hills, it is true, on the mainland there were priests more tolerant of the natives and their ways than others. There beatings and hard labor was the measure of their devotion. On the Baja where life was strikingly harder, the Jesuit fathers changed the lives of many of their Indians neophytes and in return, they reportedly returned the love shown them. When they arrived in Loreto, the King’s order was read to them. Together they said a farewell prayer for their native friends and themselves; and in the dark of night they marched to the beach, to board the ship home. Still, the natives cried and kissed the hands that had worked so hard to lift them up from their hunger, as true friends, they begged the priests not to desert them. It is written even the governor shed tears, as the exiled missionaries stepped into the boat and together chanted the litany of Our Lady. Their voices rang out from the dark, reaching the weeping crowd on shore and the Jesuits sent their last farewell to Baja and their flock. Of the 678 Jesuits expelled from Mexico, seventy-five per cent were Mexican born. The royal decree said any Jesuit who returned to Spanish land under any pretext, was subject to the penalty of death. All the missionaries were sent to Vera Cruz, where they were held until their brothers from remote lands joined them there, so they all could be shipped together. There thirty-two of the Jesuits priests died while awaiting transit.

The only Franciscans mission in Baja was Missión San Fernando Rey de España de Velicatá and the nearby Visita de la Presentación was built in 1769. Thirty-nine Friars toiled on the peninsula during the five years and five months of Franciscan rule. Four died, ten transferred to Alta California, and the rest returned to Europe. Along with Governor Gaspar de Portolà, Father Serra was ordered by the Spanish government to travel north and establish a series of mission sites in Upper California. The Dominican order arrived in 1772, and by 1800, had established nine more missions in northern Baja, while running all the former Jesuit missions.

Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé-in Mulegé Founded in 1705 by the Jesuit missionary Juan Manuel de Basaldúa.

Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé-in Mulegé
Founded in 1705 by the Jesuit missionary Juan Manuel de Basaldúa.

Mission Santa Rosalía de Mulegé was a ranchería of Cochimí Indians, known as Mulegé, at the entrance of Bahía de Concepción, a part of the Gulf of California. A hurricane in 1717 reportedly devastated the fields that supported the settlement, finally construction of a stone church began in 1766, with a 300 Indian workforce. In 1733 the Dominicans began to rebuild, but their work force of less than 100 forced closure in 1828. LORETO MISSION-The Mother Church of Baja’s Missions have been restored in what is now downtown Loreto, Baja Sur. Spanish Missions on the BAJA began on October 19, 1697, when Father Juan María de Salvatierra, with a small group of soldiers, disembarked from the ship “Santa Elvira” into the Bay of San Dionisio at 26° N latitude. In the first days after their arrival, the missionary erected a modest structure that served as a chapel, and they placed a wood cross on the front. On October 25 they carried the image of the Virgin of Our Lady of Loreto in a solemn procession, a ritual of faith that claimed this land as Spanish territory.
Mother Mission of Loreto Baja Sur

Mother Mission of Loreto Baja Sur closed in 1829.

Thus began the Mission Loreto. Loreto served as the base for expansion of the Jesuit mission system, first in south-central Baja California and then to more remote portions of the peninsula both to the north and to the south. The mission’s stone church, which stands today, was started in 1740. After the Jesuits were expelled from Baja California and replaced, first by the Franciscans in 1768 and then by the Dominicans in 1773 Loreto continued to be the headquarters. In 1769, the Loreto Mission was the starting point for the land portion of the land/sea exploratory expedition the joint military-missionary expedition that traveled into today’s state of California as far north as San Francisco Bay, led by Juan Bautista de Anza who later established new Franciscan missions at Velicatá Baja, San Diego and Monterrey. The Mexican Captain established a land route to California which aided colonization and cut off Russian and English encroachments.

SAN JAVIER -3San Javier is a village in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. It is approximately 25 miles southwest of Loreto on an dirt mountain road. It has a population of 131 residents and contains the Misión San Francisco Xavier de Viggé-Biaundó (more commonly called Misión San Javier). In 2002 San Javier Mission was checkpoint #8 in the Baja 1000 off-road race. Located in a deep valley in the Sierra de La Giganta, Mision San Javier is one of the few original Baja California Missions in an almost perfect state of preservation.

SAN JAVIER altar view

SAN JAVIER altar view

Mission San Javier was the second mission founded by the Jesuits and dates from 1699. That Mission is considered the most beautiful and best preserved Mission of the Californias. San Javier was built with stone hauled from a quarry 16 miles away. Its interior has a golden altarpiece with five oil paintings, brought from Mexico City in thirty two boxes; two statues: one of San Francisco Javier and another one of Our Lady of Guadalupe; a crucifix, all from the 18th century. It has three bells, two of them are dated 1761 and the other one 1803. There is a monument at the end of the street that leads to the church, known as “the Cross of Calvary”, from there hundreds of pilgrims walk on their knees to visit the Church of San Francisco Javier.

RELICFestivities of the Patron Saint Day are from December 1st-3rd; There will be horse races, cock fights, folklore dances, a few national artists will perform. On the way up the road, take a side trip to Las Parras Ranch, which has a 200-year-old chapel to visit. During the annual celebration that attracts hundreds of pilgrims to participate in the county fair/carnival atmosphere that overwhelms the hamlet every year. One women decided to build a hot-dog stand – her first such venture at the Festival, although she grew up there. She had her portable wood stove set up from which she was making and selling tortillas, and while she sold lots of hot-dogs, she was surprised that her tortilla stove attracted a crowd of fascinated on-lookers waiting to be customers. The town’s wants to establish a self-guided nature walk of the surrounding area, including the orchards that date back almost three centuries to the Jesuit founders of the original mission. Dedicated to All Saints on the 1st of November 1699, by Father Juan María de Salvatierra it was later destroyed by hostile Indians. In 1701, the task of rebuilding the mission was given to Father Juan de Ugarte, he introduced cattle breeding, big and small species, developed agriculture and taught the locals to thread and knit wool, not only for themselves, but also for the missionary project in general. It was not until 1744 when they started construction of the mission that stands today, because of the difficulty in obtaining masons who wanted to come to a remote land, the mission was not completed until 1759. Its strong waIls and foundations are built of limestone have withstood the ravages of time.



Misión San Francisco Borja Spanish mission established in 1762

Misión San Francisco Borja
Spanish mission established in 1762



Mission San Borja was established in 1762 by the Jesuit Wenceslaus Linck at the Cochimí settlement of Adac, west of Bahía de los Ángeles. Before becoming a mission, the site of San Borja served as a visita for Missión Santa Gertrudis. The construction of buildings started in 1759 and a stone church was completed in 1801 during the Dominican period. The mission was abandoned in 1818, as the native population disappeared. Early on, the Mission was supplied from the mainland by boat which shipped grain by wagon a dozen miles from the gulf. This mission was financed by one women in Europe who supported the name of her favorite saint.

Beautiful old church never really moved into--a special fixerupper

Beautiful old church never really moved into–a special fixerupper

Road to San Borja Road to San Borja[/caption]



It was the silver smelted from Mount Alamos that fueled the interest from the Spanish Crown to colonize the New World. Coronado camped here in 1540, but Alamos and Aduana really boomed when silver was discovered in 1680. Alamos then held sway over a vast region and was arguably the most historically important spot in Sonora, the ecologically richest spot where the Sonoran Desert met a dry tropical forest,



In 1955 the Aduana Mine just outside Alamos, Sonora was gearing up for a new decade of silver mining and work crews were assembled to tear down the 200 foot smoke stacks, tools in hand not a worker moved, instead the Indian work force, explained the stack was needed the Indian’s believe so “that thousands of ghosts could nightly leave their tombs in the depths of the mountain each night wandering as free spirits. Before dawn the ghosts return through the smokestack to passages networking throughout the mountain, without the stacks, the ghosts would be doomed to wander homeless forever without rest. The huge stack was protected from demolition by superstitions and stands still today as a symbol of the past rich silver age. Time and time again Alamos, Sonora has planted the seed of History, and has helped spread Civilization across the South West. This rich mining community nestled in a Tropical region of Northern Mexico has flown many flags including Mexico, Spain and France and its history has been turbulent, it was once almost a country itself.

In 1780 Álamos was at its peak of population and wealth. It was an era of mansions building and furnishings from the world’s finest items, Philippine galleons brought fabrics, rich silver and all the best of the Orient. The mines were exporting silver bars and the wealthy business community was importing the best Europe had to offer, during this time Father Baegert wrote, ” even at times of fasting, when they come to us in confession…such finery among the women as I scarcely ever saw in Mexico… With astonishment and pity I have seen many a woman dressed in velvet cloth of gold.”



Seven miles west of Alamos surrounded by 4,700′ mountains, Aduana has less than 300 people where once there was 5,000, there is a store, cemetery, a small restaurant-inn, a plaza and a church named Nuestra Senora de Balvanera. At the altar is a painting of the Virgin of Balvanera and in the shrine below is her statue. Legend says the statue was actually brought here from Spain where it was discovered hidden in a cave. The cactus growing from the church wall 12′ above the ground represents the cactus which a legend says from when a Mayo Indian saw a lady on top of a cactus. Thinking she needed help the Indians built a pile of rocks to climb up and reach her. Once there, they discovered she had vanished and in her place was a rich vein of silver.

Aduana's Fiesta of Nuestra Señora de La Balvanera

Aduana’s Fiesta of Nuestra Señora de La Balvanera

La Aduana became one of Mexico’s richest silver mines, for four hundred years from 1737, the Aduana mine produced silver. In 1906, mining stopped and the isolated small mining communities fell into ruin, ghosts took the place of the residents and slowly the jungle began reclaiming it’s own. The pages of history speaks of a 1000 mule train that left the tax collection site in Alamos and labored for five months winding along the Kings highway, the Camino Real, to Mexico City. ADUANA BELL2-2The cactus growing in the church wall represents the cactus the Virgin was seen on and late each November Aduana’s Fiesta of Nuestra Señora de La Balvanera the statue of the Virgin is taken from the Aduana church to the Alamos church in a Saturday procession. Before dawn on Sunday morning, the Alamos bells ring for the start of the quiet religious procession back to

Organ Pipe Cactus growing from the Aduana Church wall 12 foot above the ground was thought either a “miracle” or possibly seed dropped by birds

Aduana. During the week, pilgrims walk, some on their knees, from all over Sonora to fulfill their vows to the Virgin. The weekend of the Fiesta, Aduana is jammed with thousands of people, bands playing, food and religious art vendors, take a bus to the junction and walk-in, traffic snarls quickly.

In 1775 on September 29th de Anza’s expedition leaves Alamos, it arrives in Tubac in 17 days. On October 23, de Anza departs Tubac with 300 people and more than a 1000 head of livestock. They have no wagons or carts, all supplies were loaded on pack mules every morning and unloaded each night. The expedition follows reports of a great river flowing into the bay, where they built a presidio, mission and a pueblo now known as the San Francisco. In March 1776 deAnza arrived in Monterrey, California, 1800 miles from where he started, on March 28th Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Padre Pedro Font arrive at the tip of San Francisco, where deAnza planted a cross, claiming all lands for the King of Spain.

In February 1781 Ramoñ Laso de la Vega came to Álamos to recruit settlers for Los Angeles. He left with 11 settlers and 17 soldier families. Several of the soldiers had married in Álamos. Ramoñ Laso de la Vega was under the command of Fernando de Rivera y Moncado who was leading a group of 42 soldiers. Fernando de Rivera followed the de Anza trail north through Sonora to Arizona and then west towards Los Angeles. He was killed along with his men, before reaching the San Gabriel Mission. On September 4 Ramoñ Laso de la Vega arrives in Los Angeles. His party had gone from Álamos to Guaymas and then sailed to Loreto, Baja California. From there they marched up the Peninsula. The official record states that 11 families of settlers from Sinaloa and Sonora along with four soldiers and their families founded Los Angeles.

Sketch drawn in 1869 by California emmigrants who found the Tubac Presidio abandoned with the bell, church ornaments and images ripe for thieves like the peaches still rippening on the trees and not a soul to be found. When Apaches roamed close-folks ran for the hills

“Sketch drawn in 1869 by California emmigrants who found the Tubac Presidio abandoned with the bell, church ornaments and images ripe for thieves like the peaches still rippening on the trees and not a soul to be found. When Apaches roamed close-folks ran for the hills”


SAN CAYETANO de TUMACACORI… When Mexican decree forced all Spanish-born to leave in 1878, Tumacacori lost it priest. Scaffolding still clung to the bell tower and for twenty years the Indians, settlers, helped by Mexican priests hung on to the settlement. Apaches kept raiding and the hard winter of 1848 drove the last residents from Tubac and Tumacacori. The 157 year relm of the Spanish Mission came to an end.

When the final Tohono Oodham and Pima families left Tumacacori Mission for the safety of San Xavier they took the Mission's statues with them for safe-keeping. Soon everyone would camp inside the old abandon Mission, soon the roof disappeared.

When the final Tohono Oodham and Pima families left Tumacacori Mission for
the safety of San Xavier they took the Mission’s statues with them for safe-keeping. Soon everyone would camp inside the old abandon Mission, the roof soon disappeared, the holes in the wall and floor come from vandals digging for Jesuit gold.

The first mortuary chapel was built at Tumacacori perhaps signals the realization that germs were killing people.

The first mortuary chapel was built at Tumacacori perhaps signals the realization that germs were killing people.

Altar area of Tumacacori

Altar area of Tumacacori

Chapel view of Tumacori interior

Chapel view of Tumacacori interior

In the extreme southeast corner of California, far from the more famous chain of twenty-one coastal missions, were two forgotten missions. The short lived missions of the Colorado River, near present day Yuma, remain a sketchy record and exist only as one historical marker each. Purísima Concepción, established in October 1780 at Fort Yuma and Mission San Pedro Y San Pablo de Bicuñer, founded January 7, 1781, were really “Arizona” missions on the California side of the Colorado River and not part of the better known coastal California Mission system. One mission site, Mission La Purisima Conception de la Virgen Santisima, most likely was built here because of the commanding hill top location.

Both mission’s short history are closely intertwined.

This cross marks the spot where de Niza is believed to have entered in what is today the San Rafael Valley 10 miles east of Nogales, Arizona

This cross marks where Fray Marcos de Niza is first thought to have entered the U.S. in what is today the San Rafael Valley ten miles east of Nogales, Az.

Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuñer was founded on January 7, 1781 by Father Francisco Garcés to protect the Anza Trail where it forded the Colorado River. The settlement, located about ten miles northeast of Yuma Crossing, was a part of the Arizona mission system. It could not adequately support it’s Indians, the Spanish colonists had seized the best lands and destroyed the Indians’ crops, and ignored their rights. In retaliation, the Quechan Indians attacked and destroyed the settlement and the neighboring Mission Puerto de Purísima Concepción during a three-day period, beginning on July 17, 1781. Some 50 Spaniards, including Father Garcés as well as three friars and Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncada were killed, and the women and children taken captive. The attack closed the crossing and crippled communications between Las Californias and New Spain-Mexico. Today, a historical marker is on Imperial County Road 524, 0.2 mi W of intersection of Levee and Mehring Roads, 4.4 mi NE of Bard, California, eight miles away, along the river.

Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission is a Catholic mission in Winterhaven, California. It was dedicated in 1923, and its design replicates the Mission Puerto de Purisima, which once stood on this site. Built on the grounds of the original mission founded by Father Garces in 1780, the mission is a reminder of the long history of the Quechan Indian Nation and Yuman People. The present Catholic Mission Church was built in 1922 and is a replica of the original Mission destroyed during the uprising in 1855. Mass Sat. 4:30 and Sun. 9:30 a.m. June-Sept

St.Thomas Indian Mission is at Fort Yuma, California, on the Colorado River’s west bank, opposite the present city of Yuma. Take Interstate 8 almost to the Arizona border. After the check station, turn off on Winterhaven. Fort Yuma (1849-1885) would become a U.S. military outpost and was revived as an active mission in 1919.

During his travels, Father Garcés became acquainted with Chief Palma, head of the Yuman Indians living along the Colorado River. Palma had embraced Christianity and visited Mexico. He asked Garcés to live with the natives and seemed interested in conversion. After some study the king ordered a mission be built. Father Garcés strongly recommended against too large a presence. The Yumans, unlike the California Indians who lived off the land, were agriculturalists likely to resent settlers, who appropriate Indian crop land. Unfortunately the commandant general, Carlos de Croix did not listen to Garcés, and he ordered that two missions be built, Purisima Concepcion at Fort Yuma and San Pedro y San Pablo at Bicuner. On August 1st, 1779, leaving Padre Diaz with a small escort of soldiers at Sonoyta, Padre Garcés started with two soldiers on his last expedition into what is now Arizona. He reached Yuma late in the month, and on September 3rd, sent the soldiers back to Diaz at Sonoyta, with the information that he was already having trouble on account of the dissensions among the Yumas. The soldiers reached Diaz, just when a Papago reported that some of his tribe had revolted and were planning to attack the soldiers.


PADRE GARCES AT SAINT THOMAS MISSION IN YUMA. A plaque on the site with a statue of father Garcés commemorates the mission and its beloved friar-it proclaims
Born April 12, 1738
Died July 17, 1781

Just as Garces had predicted, the natives resented the white presence and Garcés was given several warnings that the missions would be attacked. The Yumans finally did attack both missions on Tuesday, July 17, 1781. Garces was saying mass at Concepción to a few people, mostly women, when the attacks started. While the killings and looting was occurring, both priests heard confession and administered the sacrament to some of the dying. The same day the Indians attacked Padres Diaz and Moreno at Bicuner as they were preparing to say mass, and they, and most of the soldiers, were killed in the attack. Through the influence of Palma, Garcés and Father Barranche survived until the 19th when they were both beaten to death with clubs. The four priests were afterwards recovered and laid to rest in one coffin in the church at Tubutama.

The Baja resisted European colonization for more than a century after its discovery, the Spanish finally managed it using the missions we find in poor condition today or have disappeared completely, but tourists today still visit sites such as Misión San Vicente Ferrer, Misión El Descanso and Misión San Miguel Arcángel de la Frontera.

Misión San Vicente Ferrer -San Vicente was one of the largest and most important of the Dominican missions, because of its fertile land, abundant water, and strategic location on the missions' Camino Real.

Misión San Vicente Ferrer –
San Vicente was one of the largest and most important of the Dominican missions, because of its fertile land, abundant water, and strategic location on the missions’ Camino Real.

Missión San Vicente Ferrer was established on August 27, 1780 on the western edge of the basin of San Vicente, a permanent creek creating rich pasture lands allowed this mission to grow corn, wheat, beans and barley. The brothers, Miguel Hidalgo and Joaquin Valero also raised cattle, goats and sheep. Wild plants as mezcal, jojoba and various kinds of cactus were harvested. At its founding, St. Vincent Ferrer was the administrative center of the military missions, with the job of preventing attacks on the Indians coming down the stream of San Vicente and to protect the mountain missions they were erecting. Of all the Dominican missionary settlements, San Vicente Ferrer was the largest, with almost 1300 square kilometers, including the church, bedrooms, kitchen, dining and the presidio walls and towers. Today the ruins are ninety miles south of Ensenada by the federal highway about seven miles north of San Vicente.

Nowadays, indigenous Cocopah people still inhabit a small government-protected corner of the Colorado River delta near the junction of the Hardy and the Rio Colorado.Bishop341 The Cocopah Tribe is split into two groups, one of the U.S. side of the border and another poorer group living in Mexico who mostly work on fishing and agricultural ejidos. While working in the Colorado River Delta, I happened by the Cocapau village about the time the Bishop of Mexicali, the Monsenor José Isidro Guerrero Macías, was visiting the “Vista” which the Catholic church still serves and hosts mass for the locals, much like the missionaries of old, who visited the outlier villages and held mass for the locals. There was a large turnout and the church provided rosary beads for those attending, a few babies got kissed and blessed–the Bishop’s ring was kissed and the Monsenor then moved on down the road til the next time. The locals really enjoyed and appreciated the visit, it was well-attended and food was served following Monsenor Macias visit.
Welcome to the Cocupa
A Spanish mission was more than a religious institution. Its purpose was to take an indian population and convert it not only to Catholicism, but to the Spanish way of life. In building the missions in Texas, the Spanish wanted to create a self-sufficient population that would become loyal Spanish subjects, thereby staving off any involvement of foreign powers like France. Indian converts were taught farming, raising livestock, black-smithing, carpentry, stonework, and weaving. To sustain a mission, the padres needed strong backs, to cultivate crops and run enough live stock to support a mission. Indians were often forced into living at the missions, and beatings enforced the conversion to Catholicism. Forcing tribes into missions was enforced by Spanish soldiers, simple flogging was handled by the priest or assistants. ALAMO SAN ANTONE 4-Indians and missionaries at San Antonio de Valero found protection at the mission from Apaches from the west and Comanches from the north, the local tribes, were under constant attack. Mission life brought protection as well as a shelter with a stable food supply. It also gave Indians access to: firearms and horses. On June 30, 1745, an Apache attack on the town of San Fernando was driven back by 100 mission converts from Valero. You might remember another story of Americans holding off the Mexican Army in a Mission of the same name “San Antonio de Valero Mission”, or more fondly asthe Alamo, the cradle of Texas Liberty.

 San José de la Laguna

San José de la Laguna

The Spanish Missions in New Mexico territory were a series of religious outposts established by Franciscan friars under charter from the Spanish Empire and the government of the Vice royalty of New Spain for Indian Reductions of the Native Americans—Indians into Christianity. The Spanish wanted to hispanicise the Indians, including the rich cultures of 21 distinct Pueblo people; the Tewa; the Navajo; and the Apache. The missions also tried to pacify resistance to the European invasion of the tribes’ pre-Columbian homelands. The missions introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and small-scale industry into the Southwest region. Fray Marcos de Niza, was sent by Coronado, he first saw New Mexico in 1539, where the picturesque mission church of San José de la Laguna was built around 1706 by Fray Antonio Miranda and shows the single aisle floor plan commonly used in pueblo churches. It has been repaired many times, and acquired its distinctive white stucco exterior in 1977. The church contains a beautiful altar screen made between 1800 and 1808 by a folk artist. The interior walls are mud plastered and white washed, and the floor is packed earth. Marker is on Interstate 40 at milepost 113.5.

 Salinas National Quarai Unit, in the foothills of the Manzano MountainsSalinas National Quarai Unit, in the foothills of the Manzano Mountains[/caption]

Three historic sites in the sparsely-populated grasslands of central New Mexico, southeast of Albuquerque, are protected as Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, a relatively little-known preserve with low annual visitation. Centerpiece of each are the ruins of 17th century Spanish Franciscan missions, dating from the earliest period of European colonization, when the settlers began to spread Christianity to the local Tompiro and Tewa Indians. The sites have ancient pueblos, mostly overgrown and unexcavated but one village is large and well preserved. Although all structures are ruins and have been abandoned for since 1677, the general remoteness and lack of subsequent settlement in this part of the state have left the remains in excellent condition.

The northernmost site, and the least visited, is Quarai, in the foothills of the Manzano Mountains – this contains a sizeable red brick church plus outbuildings and grassy mounds with pueblo foundations. Twelve miles south, the Abó ruins receive more visitors as they lie along a main road (US 60), but are similar to Quarai except the surroundings are more desert-like, less tree-covered, with long distance views across open plains to the mountains. The third and most extensive site is 20 miles further southeast, at Gran Quivira; this too is based around a mission complex, next to a multi-room pueblo village, both rather different in appearance to the reddish sandstone buildings further north, being instead made of white-grey limestone. The national monument headquarters is in the small town of Mountainair along US 60 though each site also has its own visitor center. No fee is charged for entry, and the ruins are open between 9 and 6 pm.

Salinas National Monument Gran Quivira Unit

Salinas National Monument Gran Quivira Unit

First contact with the Spanish happened in 1583 with the arrival of Don Antonio de Espejo who mentions a settlement that sounds like Gran Quivira. In 1598 with the expedition of Don Juan de Oñate who was the first Spaniard to colonize New Mexico. As part of the mission system, Gran Quivira was first placed under the Pecos Mission District, with the arrival of Fray Alonso de Benavides in 1626, Gran Quivira became a visita of Abo in 1629, then construction began on the first permanent mission at Gran Quivira. Soon a larger church, San Buenaventura, was begun. By 1672 a combination of disease, drought, famine, and Apache raids led to the abandonment of Gran Quivira.

The Acoma Pueblo had contact with Spanish explorers heading north, all generally recorded as peaceful interactions. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s Expedition, described the Pueblo in 1540 as “one of the strongest places we have seen.” Upon visiting the Pueblo the expedition “repented having gone up to the place.” The only access to the Acoma Pueblo during this time was a set of almost vertical stairs cut into the rock face. It is believed Coronado’s expedition was the first European contact with the Acoma.

By 1598, relationships with Spain had declined. In December, the Acoma heard that Juan de Oñate intended to colonize the area. The Acoma ambushed a group of Oñate’s men, killing 11 of them, including Oñate’s nephew. The Spanish took revenge on the Acoma, burning most of the village and killing more than 600 people and imprisoning approximately 500 others. Prisoners of war were forced into slavery and men over 25 years old had their right foot amputated. Wikipedia says that a row of houses on the north side of the mesa still retain marks from the fire started by a cannon during the Acoma War.

Many Acoma people resent Juan de Oñate being called New Mexico’s founder. In 1998, after an Oñate statue was erected as a tribute at the Onate Monument Center in Alcalde, someone cut off the bronze right foot of his statue with a chainsaw. Karma!








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Pope Franciscanonized Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Spanish Franciscan priest who created the first Catholic missions in California in 1769 and is credited with ushering in Catholicism in a region that today has become one of the religion’s strongholds in the United States. Before a crowd of more than 20,000 people — nuns, cardinals, bishops, Catholic University of America students and lay people — gathered Wednesday afternoon at and around the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. as the pontiff celebrated a Mass to usher in the church’s newest saint. The controversial Franciscan missionary is the first saint canonized on American soil. The Huffington Post reports Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Spanish Franciscan priest who created the first Catholic missions in California in 1769 and is credited with ushering in Catholicism in a region that today has become one of the religion’s strongholds in the United States. Serra’s sainthood has been long in the making, beginning with a push in the 1830s. Pope John Paul II beatified the priest in 1988 and the canonization, the final step to sainthood, has been highly anticipated since the the pope himself announced it in January. For Serra, the pope fast-tracked the usual process for saints, which requires the Vatican to certify two miracles attributed to them. Serra has been only credited with one: a nun who prayed to him in 1960 said she was cured of lupus. Serra, who founded the first nine of what would became 21 famed Catholic missions in California as part the Spanish colonial-era conversion of Native Americans, has become one of the most controversial sainthoods in recent years because of the role activists and historians say Serra played in the death and torture of thousands of people.
The Native American view differs saying Junípero Serra actually created and brought genocide to the California Indian people, Corrina Gould, co-founder of Indian People Organizing for Change and an Ohlone tribal member, told The Huffington Post. “In less than 100 years, our way of life, our language, our foods — everything — was destroyed.”





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HAVANA CUBA-1041OBAMA! He did it again! Cuba was about to collapse and OBAMA saved the REDS proclaims the grey-haired conservative across the aisle at my morning breakfast place loud enough for everyone to hear. In Southern Florida’s Cubano District folks stood on street corners and argued into the night, the line was split down generational lines, according to all reports the youth of today have said enough. Let the Cuba People’s Blockade end, lift the yoke off the backs of our neighbors living a short 45 minute flight from U.S. shores.



Open our economy to their starved demand for parts, imports and allow their citizens to come and go from the Island paradise first found by Christopher Columbus, who established Havana, where the Portuguese explorers “relics” are rumored to be hidden in Viejo Havana…

Home the "Relics" of Christopher Columbus?

Home the “Relics” of Christopher Columbus?

Lines have been drawn in the sand about Cuba! Between democrats and republicans, young and old, yes-but I believe specifically between people who have been to Cuba and those who haven’t! ANYONE, who has visited Cuba and have lived amongst the Cubanos knows they are the salt of the earth. They love the U.S., they have waited patiently, hopefully and now they dared not to wish for too much — they have been disappointed in the past.

But secretly they know their lives are on track to be better, and the new U.S. Embassy, will signal a new era.



Media coverage of Barack Obama’s historic olive branch to Cuba, pointing out the pros and cons of the blockade being lifted have seized upon the fact there will not be enough hotel rooms to handle the sudden influx of American Tourists.

I visited Havana for two weeks spending nine days in a hotel and then moved in with the wonderful family of Senora Raudelina Rodriquez leyva who lived almost in the shadow of the Cuba’s Capitol Building and within walking distance of Old Havana and the Park Central Hotel, where you can trade money and check your email and stay in touch. It was not until I moved in with “Grandma” did I really feel I had been to Cuba. Many Cubanos open their homes and rent rooms or others create their own restaurants and bring the public into their dining rooms. The food cooked in Cuban homes was the best I had. Much better than the high-end “National Hotel”, the high water mark in Cuban social circles, with exclusive menus featuring meat.



Havana Cuba is anything but a sleepy tropical community, it’s a huge city built next to the Atlantic Ocean over the past 498 years ago when construction began and continues today. There is a huge natural harbor on leeward side of the island which was the logical place to begin the city and as it grew across the flat plains it finally hit the river which is now the City Park and itself newly restored from the once toxic dump to the serene focus of this riparian district.
Havana City Park

Havana City Park

Havana itself, is constantly being renovated, Plaza Viejo and its surrounding communities,in the 1980-1990’s were in ruin and no place for smart people to hang out. Today Plaza Viejo, is the crown jewel of the Tourism community, nice restaurants, planetarium, microbrewery with beer bongs, live bands, primary school and the renovation spreads out from the square, you can see the reconstruction cross the street and move down the street. Cuba is literally rebuilding the entire city. In a Police State or Communistic community it easier, no one owns anything–so you just move folks to transitory housing–and as new renovations come available move people in to accommodate their needs. CUBA -1088

Havana Cuba is a cool place. Americans tourist will be captivated by the “Yank Tanks” as they ebb and flow through traffic all around you, they will never disappear for Cubans they are a way of life, a social watermark. This time warp in this Caribbean city began when America pulled out and left this communist leaning community behind and off limits. “Trading with the Enemy” or Cuba was not allowed and no one was excused not even the world famous “Pappa Hemingway, who was forced to leave his beloved Cuba, boat and Cadillac behind. Cuba had a wonderful rail line-which the Italians had installed for transportation all over the island, particularly in the cities. When the Americans arrived the first time, Ford, Chevy, GMC all made the Island “smoking good deals” for buses, large trucks and cars. The population who had been served well by rail, but changed to automobiles, buses and trucks and as rail service diminished and when it became run down, it was sidelined, then discarded.

Old Cars261

While American cars, buses and trucks filled the local needs until spare parts became scarce because of the U.S. boycott after that, innovation and genius was required to keep all these cars on the road. Many have been “cherried out” and still have original parts, many more have been crossed with spare parts from the Russian Lada’s or whatever might fit or work. Some Cuba lovers fear opening the Island up to the Americans again-will ruin it! Folks fear car buyers will arrive and buy up all the old treasures, all the color, and material culture, like yesterday when the U.S. left leaving behind the worn out and tired, stealing again, the island’s life blood and reason for others to come. Still there will be plenty of demand for replacement parts for the vintage U.S. autos still cruising Havana’s roadways.

The huge walls of the City of Havana soak up the Caribbean Sun while the narrow passageways create a cool shaded walkway which makes life much more comfortable escaping the tropical heat. Within that maze of walls, plazas, all of its inhabitants have developed a strategy to survive. Everyone gets a taste, but if you snooze you lose, you have to be ready.capitol928 There is the Cuban economy or marketplace and the Cuban Black Market both work together to provide all the goods Cubans require but supply is limited and long absences are frequent, like light bulbs, just because you have the lamp, the electricity, doesn’t get you light without the bulb. The U.S. 50 year Embargo on CUBA has placed real hardships on the people of CUBA, but the Cubans don’t hate us, they don’t feel sorry for themselves, they laugh at their plight and look to President Obama with great anticipation.



They have been disappointed before and have learned to live with the realities of their country. Recent news of a new era of cooperation with the United States means those days may be behind the Cubans as they get ready for the “Best Tourist” or the Americans to arrive. Things will happen slow at first but as the new American Embassy gets into place, more and more flights will arrive from the United States. Presently ten airports provide direct flights to Havana and more will be on the way, as Cubans begin to return to their homeland to reconnect their relatives left behind a half a century ago.

Our Cuban tour guide says “the government pretends to pay us and we pretend to work” In one small elevator, sat a women sitting in a chair, pushing the up and down button for pesos tips. Folks young and old will approach, rub their belly and hold out their hand. Our guide suggested you might give these folks, your small coins, the centavos which bring us to the Cuban Pesos and how there are special stores where this currency is exchanged, and others, for CUC$ is where tourists shop. Locals can go to the movies for 80 cents, but tourists can’t. cuban travelers-1484The Presidente Hotel, probably a 3-4 star stay, charges $85 a night, the tour was charged $65 a night for the same room and breakfast. Living with families in Havana, breakfast is often included and two people can share a room for $25 or less a night. Likewise many homes are open as restaurants and bars where frequently the woman of the house is the owner/operator and her children, waiters and kitchen help.PESOSGIRLS9359 This entrepreneurial spirit is what Cuba hopes will produce more home licenses as the renovation of the old buildings of Havana continues In Cuba, you are given a place to live. If you need a bigger home, you find someone who wants to swap and if their home is bigger or better, then you pass some cash under the table and everyone is happy. One local writer’s poem explores the return to a previous home and how the hummingbird plate of many years ago still lived in that space and still held so many memories for her. CORRINA0223 I was standing on a street corner and when a fella and his #3girlfriend stopped on their way to hear Amereto Fernandes, once a staple at the Buena Vista Social Club and stayed to chat and invited me along, when we arrived down the street at a local bar, this fella and his girl felt I should buy them both a drink, Amereto was glad to pose for photos, if I bought his CD and of course, the Bar was happy with me taking photos as long as I too, had a drink. Total around $25-happened so fast I never saw it coming and that is how it is done…click.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THE CUBAN PESOS ? WHICH PESO ? THE PESOS USED BY THE LOCALS OR THE ONE USED BY THE TOURISTS ? Visiters to Cuba buy $CUCs, which trades even with the Canadian dollar but stands above the US Dollar, $1.20 to $1, so walking thru customs costs the US visitor an extra 20% which goes straight to Fidel, and then there’s the state’s Health Insurance which is factored into the cost of our Tour, about $400 for the week. The convertible peso (CUC$), is one of two official currencies in Cuba, the other being the peso. It has been in limited use since 1994, when it was treated as equivalent to the U.S. dollar. In 2004, the U.S. dollar ceased to be accepted in Cuban retail outlets leaving the convertible peso as the only currency in circulation.

Just recently for the first time since the 1959 revolution, Cubans have the right to buy new and used vehicles from the state without government permission, taking one more step toward economic freedom on the island. The newly en-acted reform allows Cubans to buy and sell used cars from each other, but must request authorization from the government to purchase a new vehicle or second-hand one, usually a relatively modern rental car, from State retailers. The newspaper GRANDMA said, “the retail sale of new and used motorcycles, cars, vans, small trucks and mini buses for Cubans and foreign residents, companies and diplomats is freed up.” Newer car models are largely in state hands and sold used at a relatively low price to select individuals, for example, Cuban diplomats and doctors who serve abroad, then often resell them at four or five times the price.The Cuban state maintains a monopoly on the retail sale of cars. The liberalizing of car sales was one of more than 300 reforms put forth by President Raul Castro, who took over for his ailing brother Fidel in 2008, and approved in 2011 at a congress of the Communist Party, Cuba’s only legal political party.
The changes put a greater emphasis on private initiative, which was largely stifled under Cuba’s Soviet-style system, and less government control over sales and purchases of personal property like homes and cars.

Meanwhile real Cubans scam tourists for pesos, smuggle rum or cigars, run illegal taxi’s, or beg in the streets. Talents like drawing, turns into quick tourists sketches signed by the artist, colorfully dressed Cuban women swarm foreigners to be photographed and then charge $5 pesos or CUC. Cubans with huge cigars, grab tourists in the plaza for a photo, then charge a peso for their image, nearby a local band performs with cigar box open for donations. As you walks the streets of Havana, folks constantly ask where you’re from and each has his own come-on which begins as soon as you answer. Elsewhere, pirated CDs and DVDs, are sold on the streets and large crowds appear to shop and buy. My favorite of them all, were the three dachshund puppies, from left Canela, 6, the mom, Azuear age 3, the baby and Cachito age 8, the dad.



Here is my guy in Havana, Grandma’s oldest son, Tony Fernandez-Rodriguez Amistad No.302 esq.a San Rafael St.-phone number 011-53-7-862-6181 e.mail raudelinaleyva@yahoo.es
GrandMa has an entire building, she gives you three keys, one for the room, one to the upstairs floor door and one for the street door. My friend and I split a room for $25, we got breakfast and refrig space, we ate out mostly, the bath was better than the El Presidente, water was hot, bathroom clean, updated towels. It’s address is 302 Admistad, right next to the San Rafael walkway five minutes from the Park Central Hotel, where you can check email, drink a beer off the roof at the night or change money. There is a cop on every corner, they never seem to be looking but I believe they see everything. GrandMa is a real straight shooter, she likes her novelia, but you’ll see her out on the street, her son Tony of Cuba speaks English and is your contact-862-6181 or email raudelinaleyva@yahoo.es. The building is right on the street and on the weekends it can be noisy.


We meet another sweet women who took us into her home when we couldn’t find the address of our B&B, she had a nice place on San Rafael which is closed to traffic but folks meet there and party, so could be noisy San Rafael #402-(537) 867-8902 candidacobas@yahoo.es, this spot is listed in a tour book, web address: lacasadecandida.com–they were helpful. Our guy, Tony and his daughter, came to get us, walked us over to their place which is three story, they always had someone in the property for security which never seemed an issue to me. My friend and fellow photographer, Clarence Tabb of Detroit who turned me onto Tony and his mom, the last time he brought his laptop and left it behind in the room which seems quite do-able to me. At the Park Central Hotel it is cheap to buy an one hour wifi card, than get onto one of their computers. I liked Senora Raudelina, she was very sweet and her son Tony is an real operator–he can find you anything.


While walking around Plaza Viejo down one street off a narrow nondescript street we peer into an open door and see a beautiful courtyard and then we noticed that they rent out rooms and a guy noticed us and we asked to see them, but they were occupied… It was a beautiful level ground space…Luis Batista Betancourt, Casa Colonial Aro 1717 Alto Valor Cultural Amargura No. 255, e/. corner of Habana y Compostele 863-3622, looked very nice and as I understand $25 a night is the limit for two sharing one room this too may be changing like lots of other things.

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Road to Annapurna Nepal2_Unhappily, Nepal never was conquered, it was helpful! When the British fought India, Nepal sent in their Gurkas to break up the trouble-makers. The legend goes that pinned down by rifle fire, out of ammo, their backs to the sea. The now-legendary Gurkas, who weren’t big on swimming, pulled their knives and charged the Limey’s fighting force, who then dropped their rifles and ran off…. Churchill built India, roads and railroads because they needed them for their fight and colonial exploits…all they gave Nepal was the English language which today is the Nepalese second tongue. ANNAPURNA TRAIL PORTERS- Nepal has grown as a powerhouse in being helpful to the trekking and climbing community! The entire country is dwarfed by the magnificent Himalaya Mountains, hosting eight of the fourteen 8,000 meter mountains makes it the rooftop of the world. More than a hundred thousand climbers visited Nepal in 2013 and Nepal has hopes to build that number to three million visitors. Nepal wants to grow the third-world country into a developing nation. There are many places in the Hindu Kingdom still untouched by telephones, roads and electricity all the creature comforts of the 21 century. That is changing. Annapurna, the world’s best trekking, once a 21 day trek, across the most beautiful landscape anywhere, now 21 days has shrunk to 16 day treks because roads are being cut on both ends. For five years roads have been built into the Annapurna Conservation District which delights locals who must carry anything they wish from the outside themselves usually on their backs. On my way out of Annapurna a young man in front of me had his grandfather strapped to his back, sitting in a wood chair. The road-building has brought the local tourist and religious Indian pilgrims but trekkers are seeking out detours and new routes, bypassing huge numbers of Tea Houses, lodges and a large number of folks who made their living from the trekking industry. 53-landslidetoned Before the roads were cut, if you want anything in or out of Annapurna you had to carry it or pay for it to be hauled in now locals are glad to see the progress. In 1997 a hundred years from the first white man’s visit to Nepal, I showed up and hiked up to Ghangdruk, three days in and two nights out, our expedition’s half-dozen camp boys, swelled to 28 sherpas, to carry provisions and camping gear. It was so neat, no roads, just a well worn trail! The same trail mankind had used since day one. Your feet leaving footprints where half of humanity have crossed over this mountainous trail. “HERE I AM FAR FROM HOME!” sang our camp boys around their warming fire. “NO ONE MISSES ME, I AM ALL ALONE.” NO SWEATHEART, MOTHER OR LOVED ONES…ALL ALONE!” they all sing delighted to have a job, with money coming in and sitting next to a warm fire. One of them would stay up all night with a Gurka knife watching over our tents and the entire camp, Germans the week before, had been robbed while eating dinner when someone with a knife slit their tents and helped themselves. GHANDRUK SING- I remember the trail was often choked by donkey caravans each carrying two twenty gallon containers of kerosene for the generators, heaters, machinery and for light after the sun sinks. They took over the trail and you hugged the inner wall, each donkey following the tail of the one in front, who seemed to know the trail. Today the people of Annapurna would like to let the 21st Century in and benefit from the outside world with the ease of modern conveniences. Trip leaders and the famous sherpas fear the road will be the end to their profitable business of taking tourists into the wilds of Nepal. If there is a bus stop then who needs a guide! HOTEL 2-3 HOTEL OWNER-We encounter a new Tea House under construction beside the age old Annapurna route this tourism entrepreneur was building a six room hotel by shaping rock and cementing it one rock at a time, just like his ancestors centuries ago, The older man’s young wife, less than 20 years of age, the Tibetan refugee had a beautiful young child whose future looked bright. Work had began four weeks earlier on the hotel and he believed he would have it complete and ready to take boarders in another two weeks. ANNAPURNA TRAIL HOTEL3-3ANNAPURNA MT TRAIL PLOW-3 Eventually we will climb to 2000 meters to Ghangdruk on our third day of trekking, there at the cities edge we would be greeted by Nepalese Police who required we check-in (filling out some forms and flashing our Trekking Permits) before we could find our lodge where we would pitch our tents beneath the huge Fishtail formation known as Machhapuchre at a 22956 feet. The next morning I would arise early and walk the pathways through the community, enjoying meeting the residents-making some pictures and eventually being adopted by three boys who wanted to show me the basement of their large urban home. I followed them into the pitch dark room where after my eyes adjusted, I could barely make out a drum and some wall drawings and so I mounted my Nikon flash and made a photo. Since those were the good old film days, I didn’t see it was a ceremonial room for Hindu celebrations until I got home and got all my film developed and edited down.


I soon found myself following kids in uniform heading to town for their school which held class outdoors right next to the main downtown businesses which consisted of tea shops and fruit stands. Everyone was very friendly, particularly the kids most who learn English in school and then chase down Western visitors to practice on. The people are a lot of fun and very curious where ever we went and set up camp, the locals would turn out like the circus had just arrived and watch. The return trek was the best because it was downhill and after a couple nights we returned to Pokhara which had been knocked off the grid by a thunderstorm. Everything was dark except car and truck lights and the amazingly light-up SHIVA murals flashing on the passing buses or Tata trucks which reflected in the standing water puddles. According to Hindu tradition, Shiva was once married to Sati and who would not be consoled after she died. The distraught widower never wanted to marry again. However, a young women named Parvati “Daughter of the Mountain” committed herself to living an austere life of meditation to win over Shiva. She meditated in the Himalayas for years, through driving rain, blistering heat, or elephant stampedes. But one day, she heard a child cry in suffering and she immediately sprang up to help. But it was Shiva, testing her resolve. She had failed his test, but he was so touched that she would give up what she desired most to help someone in need that he took Parvati as his wife who according to some actually his former wife, Sati in another life. ANNAPURNA MT TRAIL VIEW2- The Annapurna Sanctuary, a breathtaking high country tabernacle set in a circle of snow-capped mountains, won’t ever have the intrusion of a road. Settlements after the village of Chomrong were especially built for trekkers to whom a jeep or bus ride into the amphitheater’s over 13,000 feet would be profane. This open-sky, inner shrine, offers nearly 360 degrees of the surrounding Himalayan goddesses. GHANGDRUK PORTERS- Nepal has been rebuilding its public image after a decade of Mao Communist storming the countryside, kidnapping, stealing and killing off enemies of their movement, particularly the Nepalese Army who police the remote spots on their landscape. The past two years, with the death of 16 climbers dying while climbing Everest in 2013 and now news of more than 43 dead, 175 injured, more than 40 people still reported missing after 6 feet of snow fell on the mountain in 12 hours unexpectedly closing the trail during the peak of trekking season. More than 500 trekkers have been rescued from the snow which fell in the Manang region, and it is damning news for a country trying to build their credibility as a safe outdoor adventure land. A story from the British Telegraph now blames eight deaths on a Tea House owner who threw out trekkers seeking shelter from the storm and offered to lead them to safety for cash, then abandoned them, leaving them to die, tough story to build up the business with. Big snows in the Nepalese high country is not unusual, usually the worst of it means there is no place to sleep and the price of tea goes through the roof after being trapped for a couple of weeks, on the Himalaya 10th highest peak, especially when the helicopters can’t fly. Like 2014, in 1995 more than 700 people died when residents and trekkers without the needed gear died of exposure, but worse yet, two avalanches took out two tea houses where trekkers had hold up for protection from the storm. ANNAPURNA MT TRAIL VIEW14-11ANNAPURNA MT TRAIL VIEW12-8 Heavy snow had fallen in the high Himalaya when my trekking trip kicked off and we changed routes starting beside the beautiful reflecting lake near Pokhara. We refocused on the Annapurna Ghangdruk trek which is still popular among those trekkers who love soft and few days walking. Ghangdruk circuit trekking is a short trek in Nepal, the major highlight of Ghangdruk trekking is Ghangdruk village situated at an altitude of 2012 meters above sea level. Ghangdruk is inhabited by Gurung people, they are one of the major ethnic groups of Nepal having their own traditions and culture. Trekking there offers an excellent view of Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre and Himalchuli. Walking through rhododendron forests is another experience of this trek and the villages of Landruk, Dhampus gives a nice snapshot of rural lifestyle of Annapurna. THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT READY FER SCHOOL-Trekking began in NEPAL in the 1950s. The role the Gurkha soldiers played in the British Army was very much appreciated so they promoted the Annapurna Region with the British. Before that, the famous Japanese monk and explorer Ekai Kawaguchi is considered to be the first tourist who visited the Mustang of Annapurna Region in 1899 while on his way to Tibet Girls I met on my visit on a viewpoint beg off photos because of modesty. These pretty middle class young women are close to the age to marry and must be modest. If they like a boy they would give him a picture. But if their picture was seen elsewhere–their virtue or character would be in question and their boyfriend might dump them. NepaleseSchool Tourism entrepreneurs in the Annapurna Region have suggested new trekking routes will be explored to avoid the threat of road extension and Tourism officer Anu Kumari Lama says new routes will be built. The new road, she says, is an opportunity to bring both conservation and development forward on a parallel track. The main Annapurna circuit starts from Lamjung and ends in Kaski. However there are dozens of other long and shorter trekking routes throughout the area. ANNAPURNA MT TRAIL VIEW-22 NEW ANNAPURNA ROAD THREATENS NEPALS TREKKING INDUSTRY All the treks feature scenic mountain views and cultural diversity, flora and fauna are the major attractions within the region. According to the Annapurna Conservation District there are 1226 species of plants, 102 mammals, 474 birds, 39 reptiles and 22 amphibians within Annapurna. One of the world’s largest rhododendron forests is in Myagdi, the world’s deepest gorge (22857 feet) is at Kaligandki, Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world (16138 feet), is in Manang and where there is an abundance of hot water springs. FishHookAnnapurnaRangeNepalX Additionally, beautiful mountains like Annapurna I (26545 feet), Dhaulagiri (26794 feet), above photo Machhapuchre a.k.a. Fishtail (22956 feet), the famous Muktinath Temple, decades old monasteries in Mustang and Mustangi King Jigmi Palbar Bista’s palace in Lo-Manthang of Upper Mustang are also attractions in upper Annapurna. ANNAPURNA TRAIL- Nepal has a population of 18 million made up of different races and tribes living in different regions each with their own language. The rural Nepalese live much as they did centuries ago.NAMASTE-2 “NAMASTE !” Is a form of greeting commonly found among Hindus of South Asia, Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture means “I bow to the divine in you. CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS…SEE SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK.COM NEPAL GALLERY… CLICK HERE FOR MORE VIEWS OF TREKING IN ANNAPURNA…..

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Missouri votes today to protect their right to Farm. Many in the Mid-West believes Farming is their God given right to till the soil and take produce to market. Regardless of how their votes tally, it seems they are right about God endorsing the 100,000 family farm making up Missouri and the surrounding green states which each summer bust out with lots of crops.

The NASA’s Orbiting Satellite Carbon Observatory have given climate researchers an unexpected global view from space of a nearly invisible fluorescent glow that sheds new light on the productivity of vegetation on land. A “signature” of photosynthesis, the solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence is an indicator of the process by which plants convert light from the sun into chemical energy. As chlorophyll molecules absorb incoming radiation, some of the light is dissipated as heat, and some radiation is re-emitted at longer wavelengths as fluorescence. The new data allows monitoring solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence on a global scale, opening up a world of potential for studying vegetation on land.

The Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth we find chlorophyl emits a fraction of absorbed light as a fluorescent glow

The Midwest United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth as seen from space as chlorophyll emits some absorbed light as a fluorescent glow.

I love to drive the blue highways of the midwest, crossing states like Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio and Nebraska, those two way traffic highways which are pretty narrow back there, no shoulders to speak of, lots of streams and real rivers flowing beneath the numerous bridges needed to keep traffic moving. I remember summer as a time of heat, humidity and growth. I moved to Arizona forty years ago, so I have forgotten much about life in the breadbasket of the U.S., I moved to Tucson which is the front door of the Sonoran Desert and have learned to love, hike and enjoy the American Southwest which is a lot browner…

MIDWEST GREENING-Folks who live in the Midwest would say I’m crazy. In fact, there are folks there that say that, BUT one summer I drove back to the heartland of the Midwest landing in the middle of the Missouri and found myself mesmerized by the greenness of everything around me. I drove on and on getting deeper into the green and soon leaves were climbing over buildings, entering some through broken windows and transforming brick, wood and mortar into vegetation. But the farmlands overwhelmed me the most until finally I saw a place so green I had to pull over and make a photograph. Settling into the scene I find myself standing next to the road and composing a field of hay which to my “desert” eyes is glowing in green when the farmer himself drives by and stops to see what’s all the excitement is about. He rolls down his window, letting a/c blast from the interior and says, “what’s the picture”?

“This field”, I reply, “it’s so green that it hurts my eyes”! The farmer rolls his eyes, rolls up his car window and kicks up a little gravel as he pulls away toward town. He didn’t stick around for me to explain that the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth and all that chlorophyll emits absorbed light as a fluorescent glow and if he didn’t have his sunglasses on-he might see it himself, maybe!


Scientists are excited about the new fluorescence measurement because it gives them insight into how Earth’s plants absorb carbon dioxide. The future of Earth’s plants depends largely on water. Plants need water to carry out photosynthesis. When their water supply runs low, such as during times of drought, photosynthesis slows down.




The Old Order Amish moved into Central Missouri back in the 1950's and slowly the agricultural based religious community has built a prosperous church featuring its own businesses which attracts the "English" to drive out to shop for baked goods, leather tack,  rugs, baskets, furniture or cabinets.

The Old Order Amish moved into Central Missouri back in the 1950’s and slowly the agricultural based religious community has built a weekly prosperous farm Produce market featuring their own businesses which attracts the “English” to drive out to shop for baked goods, leather tack,  rugs, baskets, furniture or cabinets.


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The new Tucson Street Car System was rolled out for public inspection last weekend much with the fan fare of a Walt Disney Production this pumpkin of a RTA project, might well bloom into a Cinderella story, if the 60,000 riders who participated each buy a monthly pass. Realistically, Tucson expects the daily fare to run around 3600 riders each day, instead of the 17,000 who rode Friday, the 25,000 who rode Saturday or the 17,000 counted on Sunday, today each trip costs $1.50 or $4 for 24 hours or $40 for monthly coverage.The free weekend was a lot like Disneyland’s Log Ride, each car was filled (about a 100 people), and the backup buses picking up overflow from the Street Car were filled of folks too tired to wait for another Streetcar.  Saturday night in the middle of the 25,000 crush, the Street Cars filled up, and stacked up somewhere because around 9 pm no street car could be found. Six passed us going West and after more than an hour one East bound street car showed up and filled up remarkably tightly, but riders seemed to embrace the armpit laced journey. I noted Mayor Rothchild on that last Street Car on the “Street Car to NoWhere”… he or someone arranged for stranded voters to be picked up and taken to their cars. Where the rest of those street cars went I can not say, perhaps they all stacked up on the bridge across the Santa Cruz.


In fact, at that point, I noted how “Eastern” an experience this Street Car ride had become. It reminded me of train rides I have had in the “rustbelt” of the East Coast, and found there is an element in Tucson who wants to embrace more of an Eastern lifestyle. Many of those folks live near downtown and now find themselves living along the Street Car route and will no doubt embrace this new conveyance into their travels. There is another part of Tucson who scarcely noticed, in spite of the $OneBillion rollout investment for infrastructure, they will never go downtown and will not benefit greatly from the City’s new toy.


The tightening up of downtown parking continues to push motorists into parking garages. It will continue to get worse, Tucson plans adding parking meters to what little open parking still exists, you don’t like parking meters? Wait until you get one of the $187.50 parking tickets, you won’t like them any better. This is summer, wait until the snowbirds and next semesters students arrive, there will not be any parking at all. Realizing last weekend as a “learning moment” I joined friends on Saturday afternoon, to go downtown and meet another couple for dinner, we parked at the University Medical Center, walked to the Street Car and rode downtown.



Pretty easy travel getting on a car and heading into town (the day before I hit the UA just before 5 pm and the street cars were all packed solid and everyone knew each other) but after 8 pm, when the Street Car was supposed to quit on Sunday (the overflow bus was full also) conductors continued to run because people continued to line up for the street car.




But last weekend was also about adventure. Kids loved it! Most kids saw very little since their point of view was at the belt buckle level-but still they soldiered on… The UA types seemed jazzed since this Street Car is really aimed at them and the 5000 plus UA students now living downtown, they will get the most from this investment, while others will have to pay the freight. TUCSON STREET CAR-4443Sixty police officers were assigned the New Street Car system last weekend and there will be additional staffing, in addition to the already increased downtown policing to deal with the new reality there. Many have complained the Street Car is not “bike friendly” and recent studies show 87 bike riders who have already had serious injuries and for others, the new system has disrupted their daily commutes. I witnessed a young women bike rider accidentally ride into the track which grabbed her front wheel–froze it–which spun the young rider headfirst into the pavement as the rear wheel continued to travel, paramedics were called. The long roll out has hindered businesses, keeping away shoppers for almost 2 years, the route saw business’s fold and solicited “the Street Car to NoWhere” mood among the survivors. It wasn’t surprising to see members of the Tucson Transportation Staff drinking Friday celebrating the launch of “SUNLINK” Tucson Street Car, their baby to present to the public. At each of the 20 stations along the Street Car route, volunteers lectured those waiting in safety, and they offered cold water bottles from a kid’s swimming pool, filled with bottles and ice.



And last weekend was festive. Folks turned out for the new ride and showed great patience and few seemed disappointed. Many supporters believe the new street car system is breathing new life into Tucson’s once dead downtown. The truth is–Downtown has been growing and gathering critical mass for the past few years, local investment, the Rio Nuevo projects buoyed by key local movers and shakers who continue to mold this city around the history that built it. Projects like the San Augustin Mercado on Tucson’s westside, or the greening of the San Augustin Mission Gardens at the base of A-Mountain, are still buds of growth, which few Tucsonan’s have yet discovered. Perhaps the completion of the Street Car which now runs into that development will provide the incentive needed to launch west side infill. In the next 3 to 5 years, developers plan to build 700 to 800 additional residences, both high and low end. That construction should begin in the fall, while more retail and a questionable “boutique hotel” are also planned.

Advocates look forward to the day when the system expands further east to Wilmot Road and eventually north up La Cholla to the Pima College North Campus. Light rail in Phoenix which runs from Mesa to downtown has been really successful and has helped make downtown Phoenix vital, but so has moving ASU’s Walter Cronkite School there. Presently, the Tucson Street Car runs 3.7 miles from the University of Arizona along University Blvd to North Fourth Avenue through Downtown on Congress across the bridge spanning the Santa Cruz River back under I-10 along Broadway back to Fourth Avenue.





Regular fares will now be charged on the streetcar. A one-way trip is $1.50. Kiosks at the Streetcar Stations will sell for $4 for the next 24 hours, and these machines accept only exact change and credit cards. Passes can be purchased online or at any of the municipal transit system three centers.






The schedule:

Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every 10 minutes 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes

Thursday-Saturday nights: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every 30 minutes

Saturday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every 20 minutes

Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every 20 minutes

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Guardian Angles lined the road to Mt Lemmon offering protection and love for the kids on the bus

Guardian Angles lined the road to Mt Lemmon offering protection and love for the kids on the bus

The Mexico-U.S. Border across the SouthWest has long been ground zero for political debate between the American liberal left and conservative right, today, that debate finds new strength in the thousands of Central American children hot-footing it across our fences in hopes of finding safety in the long reported “Land of the Free”. In spite of recent press, this has been happening for years and has again reached critical mass due to the numbers of children finding sanctuary in Texas and now overflowing into new states like California and Arizona where locals have long been divided over whose responsibility it is to provide for those who arrive here in the newest invasion.

First thing the Bus would see was an American flag and messages of support

First thing the Bus his would see was an American flag and messages of support

Much like the American Civil War, a battle for human rights masked as a struggle for states rights, some have opened their arms and embraced those crossing our borders in need for safety and others, like in Murrieta, California have chosen to repel them from their communities. Murrieta named after Basque immigrants who first settled what is now one of the fastest growing communities in California surfaced in headlines recently when the city’s mayor and residents blocked the arrival of buses carrying Central American immigrant children who were to be processed there.

In the town of Oracle residents turned out to make sure the first thing the kids in the Bus saw were signs of Welcom.

In the town of Oracle residents turned out to make sure the first thing the kids in the Bus saw were signs of Welcome.

In Arizona, a politically-damaged Sheriff, whose sees his political future embolden by the onslaught of illegals in the state made a point of alerting the Conservative Right of a busload of Central American immigrant children arriving in the small community of Oracle, 30 miles north of Tucson, a 100 mile drive to the U.S.-Mexican Border.

This calculated move had the desired effect, all the Nation’s media fearing another Murrieta, converged on the bottleneck in the road where the buses carrying 50-60 children were expected to be stopped there and turned around. Any media organization who missed this potential slow-summer news story, would have looked likes fools and perhaps biased.



Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu answers questions telling the press he is there to protect everyone rights

Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu answers questions telling the press he is there to protect everyone rights

Any Conservative political who missed this opportunity to show up and preach their hatred for the Obama Administration was obviously asleep at the switch knowing full well this was going to bring out a charged community of activists who seldom missed an opportunity to push their agendas, aka, another Murrieta, and lots of national press.

Russell Pearce has lots of friends in the Pinal County Sheriff Depts top administration.

Russell Pearce has lots of friends in the Pinal County Sheriff Depts top administration.

“This is a lawless and godless administration putting Americans at risk and we’re not going to take it” said Russell Pearce of SB10-70 fame who was escorted by the Arizona State Militia as he milled around in the crowd, speaking into every microphone he could find. “I’m here as an U.S. Citizen'” he said. “I came here to stand up for the rule of law and I’m going to do whatever it takes. (Stopping that bus by whatever means it takes) I will defend America and will stand with these people.”

A small city sprang up over night.

A small city sprang up over night.

Perhaps 200 activists, sheriff deputies and an entire posse of media from all the big outlets arrived hours before the buses was expected to pass through their choke point on the back road to Southern Arizona’s highpoint, the Santa Catalina Mountains, which lead to the Sycamore Canyon Academy, a home from troubled youth, many of whom are in the Arizona criminal justice system. Speaking to a charged audience–the Sheriff made his case for everyone obeying the rule of law and promised that “everyone’s rights would be protected”… The Arizona State Militia “was asked by the State to provide security” for dignitaries who showed up to speak their minds. As you might expect, arguments broke out — people spoke their minds while music played in the background, tunes like Dixie, Born in the USA, set the tone for the day.

Mariachi Luz de Luna with supporters serenade the choke point on the Mt Lemmon highway

Mariachi Luz de Luna with supporters serenade the choke point on the Mt Lemmon highway

It wasn’t until Ruben Moreno, a leader of Mariachi Luz de Luna, a Tucson Mariachi group arrived from behind the checkpoint and took everyone by surprise when the group of a dozen musicians and activist came walking up the road holding signs that read “Open your Hearts, not your Hate!”, “Show the Children Love” (heart) and the large group greeted them with some yelling, pushing, then attempted to drown out the traditional mariachi sound with their own refrain until Moreno’s trumpet solo broke out with “America the Beautiful”. Literally quieting and taking the wind from the sails of the hatred raining down on him–his group of mariachi and hispanic activists, all the cameras were on him. TV loves good video and great sound.

Ruben Moreno from Mariachi Luz de Luna plays "America the Beautiful" for the National News. No one booed.

Ruben Moreno from Mariachi Luz de Luna plays “America the Beautiful” for the National News.

There's a Bus coming In...

There’s a Bus coming In…

Then the buses arrived! Children on board pressed their faces against the windows, peering out at the crowd holding signs, waving U.S. flags (some upside down), POW-MIA flags, “Don’t Tread on Me” said some and screaming at the children “Go Home”. It was great sport for the YMCA campers who had every right to be there and had never had as much fun as being the center of a national news story they scarcely understood. Still one political tweeted from the scene “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law”. He later reported, “I was able to actually to see some of the children in the buses. And the fear on their faces … This is not compassion!” When Adam Kwasman was then told by a reporter that the children on the yellow school bus were actually YMCA campers from Marana, Kwasman said, “They were sad, too,” and admitted he made a mistake. The kids I saw, and photographed on the bus were having the time of their lives.

With the national anthem playing protestors walk back and forth in front of the bus because pedestrians have the right of way

With the national anthem playing protestors walk back and forth in front of the bus because pedestrians have the right of way

Tuesday was a day for performance art! When I arrived in Oracle, I first encountered a large group of Oracle protesters six were costumed as Guardian Angles aligning the road that the Central American children would see first, signs screamed “Bienvenidous a Todos”, “All Children deserve Human Rights, All Children are Children of God, So are You !”, a 25 foot white banner lined the roadway proclaiming, “AMOR (heart) LOVE”…not the worst first impression!

Twenty-five foot banner screamed love instead of Go Home Illegals

Twenty-five foot banner screamed love instead of Go Home Illegals


More messages of love

More messages of love

Several miles further up the back road to Mount Lemmon you ran into the main protest, a pickup with a generator and a stereo, truck loads of water for the participants and two outhouses were setup for those attending. Impromptu, I don’t think so, this was a planned political event and the target for the whole event never showed up, the buses from Nogales carrying 40-60 illegal Central American Children. Around l pm, everyone was told by sheriff deputies that they had received word that the buses would not be coming that day. So pretty quickly people folded their signs, downed their water bottles and took off for lunch someplace cooler and less toxic. Conservative politicians had turned out to make this day all about them and their upcoming race for election.

More dueling conservatives arguing amongst themselves.  Some seemed confused and others complained when liberals showed up at their fork in the road.  Go back to your own protest spot…we're protesting here they said.

More dueling conservatives arguing amongst themselves. Some seemed confused and others complained when liberals showed up at their fork in the road. Go back to your own protest spot…we’re protesting here they said.


Adam Kausman on his soap box preaching how incompetent this administration is to the people of the US

Adam Kausman on his soap box preaching how incompetent this administration is for the people.


Dueling conservatives were as common as snide remarks and dirty looks from both sides

Dueling conservatives were as common as snide remarks and dirty looks from both sides

“They are using fear and hatred in hopes of generating demonstrations like those in Murrieta” says Latino civil right group Somos America. Republican Rich Nugent (R-Florida) told a radio show Monday, that the children crossing into the U.S. are “gang affiliated”, he promised listeners. “When you have those types coming across the border, they’re not children at that point. These kids have been brought up in a culture of thievery. A culture of murder, rape. And now we are going to infuse them in the American Culture.” It’s just ludicrous, Nugent said.

Compassion was seen everywhere and no way was the message of Hate the overwhelming point

Compassion was seen everywhere and no way was the message of Hate the overwhelming point

Bob Moore standing on a hill overlooking the protest said, another sheriff, would have created this day differently. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is on our side he said to me. Turning to his phone video Moore does a “selfie” of himself in front of the protest and speaks into his phone. “Lot’s of patriots here–lot’s of freedom-loving Americans”. Then he turns back to me and says, I’m 62 years old ! I figured by now I would be traveling the USA in an RV but instead I’m buying beans and bullets and protesting the government he said. “I’m here for my grand kids, he concluded.

Another sign that caught my eye read: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuge of your teaming shores. Send these, your homeless, the tempest tossed, to me!

I will lift my lamp beside the Golden Door …” taken from the inscription carved upon the Statue of Liberty that greeted all of our ancestors when they arrived in New York harbor, decades ago.




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There is a perverse irony to the Murrieta protests, given that the rallying cry for the anti-illegal immigration movement is “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” By blocking the buses, the protestors were engaged in the illegal act of interfering with law enforcement.






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PreHistoric Man in the SouthWest moved toward water, larger groups and on to high cliffs battling to survive against the Environment and Raiders who stole what they want.

Drought a 1000 years ago moved prehistoric man in the South West toward water, he moved into the safety of large groups and he moved on top of high cliffs fighting to survive against the environment and raiders who stole their crops, will the South West become a dry wasteland again ?

A SKY ON FIRE, global warming will bring Mankind  to the brink if steps aren't taken NOW>>>

SKY ON FIRE, global warming will bring Mankind to the brink if steps aren’t taken say scientists who believe 2014 could be the hottest and driest year in the last 500 years the Southwest drought for the past two decades has been hotter than any time since records began…

Lake Mead has dropped below 1,082 feet above sea level — 7 feet above the level at which the federal government would declare its first shortage on the Colorado River, the lake is 39 percent full. “How urgent it is depends on what you think the risk is,” said attorney Wade Noble, who has represented Yuma-area (above) irrigation districts for 30 years. “If the risk is high that the water is not going to be there … then something needs to be done in the immediate future, not next year.” ALL EYES ON LAKE MEAD AS SHORTAGES GROW….. Since December 2004, the basin of the Colorado River lost nearly 53 million acre feet (65 cubic kilometers) of freshwater, almost double the volume of the region’s largest reservoir, Nevada’s Lake Mead, the researchers reported. About 75 percent of the total — about 41 million acre feet (50 cubic km) — came from groundwater, the new study found. “We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” Stephanie Castle said. “This is a lot of water to lose.” Castle and her co-authors tracked groundwater loss in the basin with NASA’s twin GRACE satellites (for Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment). The satellites circle the Earth, monitoring the slight changes in Earth’s gravity from increases or decreases in ice and water.

Sitting on Interstate 40 which has a reach all across the United State this coal fueled power plant is called Cholla Power Plant named after the dreaded cactus .

Sitting on Arizona’s Interstate 40 this coal-fueled power plant is called the Cholla Plant named after the cactus.

In the Spring of 2014 the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has reached the highest level in human history, exceeding 400 parts per million in April. Ice cores taken from Antarctica with air bubbles as old as 800,000 years has not revealed a level higher than 300 ppm. “This should be taken as a warning,” said Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist with the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology at Stanford University. “It is time to stop building things with tailpipes and smokestacks. “If we fail to heed this warning, our children will end up living in a world that is much hotter than any human being has ever experienced,” Caldeira said.


Clifton-Morenci Stack_Clifton-Morenci Stacks at sunset, Arizona’s Oldest Copper Mine and Smelter since 1849. PHOENIX RESORT--2Scientists predict this 2014 summer we will experience a new global record for all time HOT … ! Nature reported within 35 years, a cold year, will be warmer than the hottest year now on record. Thirty nine climate models were used to make a single temperature index for places all over the world, findings estimated when major US cities’ average temperatures will never again dip below that of the hottest year in the past century and a half. Data showed Phoenix and Honolulu would swelter as early as 2043 with 2049 taking San Francisco, and by 2071 Anchorage Alaska would melt.

The Rio Colorado is running dry, too many depend and there is not enough water for 27 million people.

The Rio Colorado is running dry, there is not enough water for 27 million people.

Sharon Megdal, director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona, says she doesn’t want to alarm people, but she thinks our water situation could be serious. MexicanWater257“I don’t want to get people worried. If there is a shortage in 2016, it won’t affect the Colorado River water to Tucson and Oro Valley, but it’s getting real,” she said. “I think the reality of a shortage is resonating with people.”



Megdal believes “toilet to tap” water is in Tucson’s future believing the city will have to implement new systems for recycling water, including cleaning waste water for use again by the customer. Much of Arizona’s water comes from the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project, but the river is in trouble, Megdal told AZ Illustrated Nature. “The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the manager of the Colorado River says there’s a two percent chance of a shortage in 2015, but a 50 percent chance in 2016, Megdal said. “The Colorado River flows, are based on rain falling on the headwaters and how much water they’re releasing from Lake Powell to Lake Mead.” Former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said last year that to avoid a water crisis, Arizona should partner with Mexico to establish desalination plants to bring water north, if the Colorado River’s flow continues to suffer. The U.S. Department of the Interior could declare a shortage as early as 2017. Stocking up for the 4th of July Holiday, buying fruit, ice tea and hotdogs–I ask my grocery checker what folks are buying to cool off today …. “Water!” she says, “people are loading up on water”.”I never thought I’d see the day she says–when folks would pay good money-a dollar or more-for a plastic bottle of water”, I mutter pushing my cart across the parking lot. “Now we can’t keep it on the shelves” and we are running out!

Suffering from drought the once three pond compound has shrunk up and has only the main pool.

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” As many already know, Tucson’s historic Agua Caliente Park is experiencing the extended drought and changes in the water table. The stream that feds the ponds is not currently flowing and, although Pima County is pumping well water to augment the pond, it is insufficient to counteract the water loss. Continuing drought has been blamed for dropping water table, as well as, the significant amount of palm trees and cattails that use lots of water. The park originally was once a three pond compound which has shrunk up and has now only the main pool. Twelve new nearby wells have reportedly dropped the water acquirer and additional pumping has been unable to replace the monthly loss. The County wants now to bail on the two ponds and shrink the main pool. PKW_0215 PKW_0229Last Spring something mysterious happened in deserts of the West. In the Mojave Desert’s Joshua Tree National Park. we’re talking about blooms on the Joshua trees that are larger than locals say they’ve ever seen, the reason may be grim but the effect was beautiful. “I don’t know what happened this year, but it was an incredible display,” Virginia Willis, a 15-year resident, told ABC. Biologists have said they think the blooms are a stress response by the trees to climate change, specifically, to no rain. Joshua Tree National Park receives two to five inches of rain a year but this year only received 7/10 of an inch, the Los Angeles Times reported. The theory is that the trees are producing more flowers, and thus more seeds, in an effort to survive with less rain. And locals hope it works, because right now the iconic trees are in decline. “We haven’t had a new, young Joshua tree emerge on our Wickenburg study site in almost 30 years, and there have been a number of trees that have died,” desert ecologist Jim Cornett told USA Today. “They’re just not getting the kind of environmental conditions that they require to survive.” PKW_0200 The Wickenburg Joshua Tree Forest also produced large blooms and maximized seed output “It’s more than interesting, it’s probably unprecedented in anybody’s recent memory anyway,” Cameron Barrows, an ecologist at the University of California, Riverside, told ABC.

Mexico has reclaimed this rich farmland from the golden dunes but for how long ?

The Colorado River helped Mexico reclaim this farmland from these golden dunes but for how long ?

COLORADO RIVER--2 Get used to the heat!”, says Jonathon Overpack, a UA Scientist, “Expect 130 degree days and by 2050, the Colorado River will probably be dry.” “Once the Central Arizona Project (canal) goes dry for one year, Arizona is dead,” Overpeck warns. “People won’t want to live here anymore.” Economic calamity will result. The question isn’t whether the man-made Colorado River and its reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell will go dry, it’s when.” PHOENIX RESORT- “PHOENIX IS DOOMED” NEW TIMES LAYS OUT HOW CLIMATE CHANGE TAKES PHOENIX’S AND ARIZONAN’S BECOME THE FIRST CLIMATE REFUGEES…”NO ONE WILL WANT TO LIVE HERE…” PHOENIX WATER PARK RESORT- Phoenix will become the largest ghost town in history-extending to every corner of the Valley of the Sun. The few folks who remain will do so mostly to provide services for people passing through. The date is January 1, 2114 and Phoenix is dead. THE RELENTLESS DROUGHT…it’s getting more real ! Scientists predict this 2014 summer we will experience a new global record for all time HOT … ! “Temperatures are more frequently going beyond the bounds of what we’ve seen before,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. It wasn’t just Phoenix that simmered last summer. It was the fifth-hottest summer worldwide since record-keeping began in 1880, and the 15th-hottest in the United States, Crouch said. Most of the hotter areas were in the West. Nationwide,it reflects a warming trend of 1 degree over the past century. In Arizona, the increase has been about 2 degrees, he said. Higher temperatures can affect moisture in the air, Crouch said, leading to more floods and longer droughts. “When it’s wet, it will be wetter. When it’s dry, it will be drier,” he said.

ASU students traditionally have migrated to the Salt River to cool off and drink some beer tubing down stream

ASU students traditionally have migrated to the Salt River to cool off tubing and drink some beer.

It isn’t your imagination-since Phoenix recorded its all-time high of 122 degrees on June 26, 1990-it has just gotten hotter, last summer was the hottest in Phoenix since U.S. record-keeping began in 1895. 2013 was the 6th hottest year in Arizona since 1850, the National Weather Service says the average temperature in Phoenix was 95.1 degrees from June through August. Tucson recorded its second-highest average temperature, 88.3. John Glueck, a meteorologist notes those temps were partly from heat-island effects, the tendency for concrete and asphalt in urban areas to retain heat, raising night-time temperatures. Every day last summer in June the temps pushed past 100 degrees, and news stories promised all-time heat records and Phoenix finally topped out at 118, Death Valley reached 128, pushing the all-time Death Valley record, of 134 degrees at Furnace Creek Ranch, recorded on July 10, 1913 it’s the highest or hottest temperature ever recorded in the World. Valley residents better prepare to swelter through more days like the June 26 record temperature when in 1990 the heat soared to 122 degrees in Phoenix, the hottest recorded day in the city’s history. That extreme heat does more than make people sweat. Temps climb over 119 in Phoenix, cancels air flights because excess heat affects a planes’s ability to take off and land. The American Southwest will be ground zero for extreme heat. The Southeast and Upper Midwest of the United States will add 27 to 50 extra days each year when temps hit at least 95 degrees by 2050. By 2100 45 to 100 additional days when days exceed 95 degrees. These ground temps will make being outdoors so difficult, labor productivity will drop. Demand will increase for air conditioning, requiring more power thus increasing costs.

MORMON LAKE, just East of FLAGSTAFF, AZ has shrunk down to a puddle. Will Rogers once said, "If that was my lake, I'd mow it."

Today MORMON LAKE, just East of FLAGSTAFF, AZ has shrunk down to a puddle. Will Rogers was reported to have said of the once spring fed lake, “If that was my lake, I’d mow it.”

In the Southwest, we have plenty of drought experience. The region has been in drought much of the last 14 years, including several years of unprecedented drought, first early in the 21st century, and then eclipsed by the burning dryness of the last two years. Burning dryness because we’ve literally seen unprecedented wildfire, but also because Southwest droughts of the last two decades have been hotter than any time since we started keeping track reports Johnathan Overpeck.

Looking back a thousand years ago by studying South West tree rings between A.D. 1125 and 1180, we see very little rain fell in the region. After 1180, rainfall returned to normal briefly. Between 1270 to 1274 there was another long drought, followed by another period of normal rainfall. In 1275, yet another drought began. This one lasted 14 years. When this cycle of drought began, Anasazi civilization was at its height. Communities were densely populated. Even with good rains, the Anasazi were using their land to its limits. Without rain, it was impossible to grow enough food to support the population. Widespread famine occurred. People left the area in large numbers to join other pueblo peoples, abandoning the Chaco Canyon pueblos and, the smaller communities that surrounded them.

Looking back a thousand years ago by studying South West tree rings between A.D. 1125 and 1180, we see very little rain fell in the region. After 1180, rainfall briefly returned to normal. From 1270 to 1274 there was another long drought, followed by another period of normal rainfall. In 1275, yet another drought began, this one lasted 14 years, much like the drought we have today. When the drought began, Anasazi civilization was at its height, communities had large populations. Without rain, they couldn’t grow enough food to feed the people, widespread famine forced people to leave in large numbers, they abandoned Chaco Canyon’s twelve great houses and, later, they left the communities that surrounded Chaco.


One small “hot spot” in the U.S. Southwest is responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the entire United States — more than triple ground-based estimates — according to new studies of satellite data by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan.

Methane traps heat in the atmosphere and, like carbon dioxide, it contributes to global warming. The hot spot, near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, covers about 2,500 square miles, or half the size of Connecticut.

In the seven years studied from 2003 to 2009, Four Corners released 0.59 million metric tons of methane into the air. War is now raging over Colorado coal-fired power plants new tough stack EPA regs which coal advocates are fighting.

Today throughout the South West individual states are fighting their own battles with drought, Las Vegas is paying its residents $2 a square foot to pull out their grass and lush gardens, the landscape is changing slowing. Nevada is removing wild horses and cattle from all federal rangelands. Wyoming is seeding clouds as part of a long-term “weather modification program,” officials in Colorado say the state’s southeastern plains are experiencing Dust Bowl conditions, and the entire western U.S. has been beset by ferocious wildfires across an ever-more combustible landscape. In small towns all across New Mexico residents are subsisting on trucked-in water, and others are drilling deeper wells. Eighty-seven percent of New Mexico is in drought, the last three years have been the driest and warmest since 1895. All of New Mexico is officially in a severe or exceptional drought, water reservoir storage statewide is 17% of normal, the lowest in the West. Wildlife managers are hauling water to elk herds in the mountains and blame drought for the high number of deer and antelope being killed on roadways. WATCH CALIFORNIA DRY UP IN SIX PHOTOS

A rare Tornado in Arizona swept through forest near Flagstaff and heat Bellmont head-on taking out an entire neighborhood of homes and a huge trailer sale operation on I-40,

A rare Tornado in Arizona swept through the forest near Flagstaff and hit Bellmont head-on taking out an entire neighborhood of homes and a trailer business.

Thousands of Albuquerque’s trees have died because homeowners under water restrictions can’t water them, and in the NM state’s agricultural belt, low yields and crop failures are the norm. Livestock levels in many areas are about one-fifth of normal, and panicked ranchers face paying inflated prices for hay or selling off their herds. CALIFORNIA’S HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD…….SAN JOSE MERCURY Last year was California’s driest on record for much of the state, and this year, conditions are only worsening. Sixty-three percent of the state is in extreme drought, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack is just 10 to 30 percent of normal. Last year was California’s driest in 119 years of records, Los Angeles and other cities around the state recorded their lowest precipitation amounts for a calendar year. Urban areas are feeling the pinch, the Metropolitan Water District, which serves about half of heavily populated Southern California, has been using reserves to meet residents’ needs, and plans to do the same next year, said spokesman Bob Muir. If 2015 is also dry, rationing may be required. Water levels in key reservoirs have been dropping when they should be rising with winter rains, storage in Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, the two largest reservoirs in California, is at 57 percent. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked Californians to reduce their water use by 40% in this drought emergency. Lake Mead’s water levels is eight feet above the cut off level where a shortage is officially declared and rationing goes into effect for Nevada and Arizona, and at that point, Hoover Dam’s hydroelectric output could be seriously jeopardized and may brown out the Vegas Strip. Lake Mead could be dry by 2020 and Lake Powell will never fill up again. “This strikes me as such an amazing moment” says Barry Nelson, an analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, “It’s three-quarters of a century since they filled Lake Mead. And now at the three-quarter-century mark, the world has changed.” In the winter of 2005, Lake Powell reached its lowest level since filling, an elevation 150′ below full pool. Lake levels recovered during 2005 – 2011, but the resurgence of extreme drought conditions have provoked a steep decline in 2012 and 2013, with the lake falling 35′ over the past year. As of August 18, 2013, Lake Powell was 109′ below full pool (45% of capacity), and was falling at a rate of one foot every six days. LAS VEGAS, the StripLAKE MEAD GOES DRY, THE VEGAS STRIP BROWNS OUT – WILL VEGAS BECOME THE NEW CHACO ?

 Arizona Prehistory saw migrants immigrating to Roosevelt Lake and south down the San Pedro River in search of water to farm and survive. In Cherry Creek alone, archaeologist found ten different strains of corn, brought in by migrants. The great civilization of Chaco Canyon was completely deserted by 1100 AD

Arizona Prehistory saw migrants immigrating to Roosevelt Lake and south down the San Pedro River in search of water to farm and survive. In Cherry Creek alone ten different strains of corn, was brought in by migrants. The great Anasazi civilization of Chaco Canyon was gone by 1100AD.

TREERING3674Looking back in time through the tree rings, scientists have determined that the current Southwest drought, beginning in 2000, is the fifth most severe since AD 1000. Devastating mega-droughts have occurred regularly in the region, one struck during the latter 1200s (probably driving people from the region) and another in 1572-1587, a drought that stretched across the continent to the Colonies. Few conifers then abundant in the Southwest survived including piñon, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir, despite lifespans approaching 800 years; those species have now regrown.

Corn was the crop that showed that man had become farmers and stood and defended their fields.

Corn was the proof that man had become farmers and defended their fields.

By the Classic Period, 1150 to 1450, the Hohokam irrigation systems could deliver water to over 110,000 acres and support the largest population in the Southwest. It was the largest canal irrigation system ever developed in the prehistoric New World. The Hohokams created a sustainable agriculture that survived for at least 1,500 years. From 1200AD to 1350AD, their irrigation systems delivered water and fed the Southwest, today, canals still follow prehistoric routes, and many were built by cleaning out original Hohokam canals. The Hohokams were also the only prehistoric culture in North America to rely on irrigation networks to raise crops. They transformed their environment creating fields that stretched as far as the eye could see. CRACKED EARTH …. PLATFORM MOUND-3054 Scientists studying the drought say the extensive damage done to trees shows what the future holds for other forests worldwide face rising temperatures, diminished rainfall, and devastating fires. As air grows warmer, its capacity to hold water vapor increases exponentially, which speeds evaporation and sucks more moisture out of trees’ leaves or needles, as well as the soil itself. If the vapor pressure deficit sucks out enough moisture, it kills trees. U.S. Drought Monitor Click Here… PKW_8063 ‘The forests in the Southwest probably cannot survive in the temperatures that are projected.’ Global warming will make feeding the world harder and more expensive, a warmer world will push food prices higher, trigger hunger among the world’s poorest people and put the crunch on delights like fine wine and robust coffee, says the Panel on Climate Change in a 32-volume report. Food prices are likely to go up in a wide range of 3 percent to 84 percent by 2050 just because of climate change, said the United Nations scientific panel.“We’re facing the specter of reduced yields in some of the key crops that feed humanity,” panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri said. We will still get good years—wet years—but they will be more and more the exception. A better bet is to expect more drought and plan for it. Climate change is affecting today’s world’s oceans as well as every continent and it’s going to get much worse if emissions are not curbed, scientists say in the sweeping report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last spring. The report asserts that ice caps are melting and global water supplies are being affected. Important for many island and coastal countries, the pace at which sea levels are rising is endangering coastal areas. The list of problems reads like an unending parade of misery, including rising acidity in the oceans, a threatened world food supply, and possibly mass migration and violence as a result.

Once Mt Lemmon's Cabins were hidden in a carpet of trees, now the plants get plenty of sun.

Once Mt Lemmon’s Cabins were hidden in a carpet of trees fire changed all that.

January 2014 was recorded as the warmest January in fifty years in Arizona. Tucson’s Ski Valley on Mount Lemmon lost the whole ski season to the lack of snow in the southernmost ski area in the United States. Sabino Creek, a mountain stream fed by snowfall and rain stopped running three weeks early this year. Residents of Oracle on the North side of the Santa Catalinas find their beloved oak trees receding and withdrawing up the mountain. Fires and tree die off makes longtime residents like Rick Volante, think their forest may soon become a grassland. Elsewhere in Arizona, plant species are scaling the Sky Islands growing uphill to reach higher altitudes and cooler habitats. Last year Drought covered 30 percent of Arizona–this year it has almost doubled to 57 percent settling in the southern counties of Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Graham, where residents there are being hammered the hardest. U.S. Forests shows stress, 20th-century temperature records show a connection between drought and tree mortality associated with huge wildfires and bark-beetle outbreaks, like we have seen here in the past two decades. Projections say forests by 2050 in the Southwest will be suffering regularly from drought stress at levels exceeding previous megadroughts. After 2050, 80 percent of the years to follow will exceed those levels. “The majority of South West forests will not survive the temps projected”. In 2013 the USDA designated a Drought Disaster Areas in Arizona where Navajo Reservation water supplies were being compromised by the springs drying up and folks turning to shallower wells that might have been impacted by uranium or arsenic. On January 9, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Apache, Maricopa, Navajo and Pinal Counties as primary natural disaster areas due to drought. Eight other counties were named as contiguous disaster counties Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Yavapai and Yuma.

Lightning occurs more frequently when it is hotter than when it is colder, but how much more lightning should we expect as global temperatures increase?ThunderHead Male Rain

In a new study, a team of researchers led by David M. Romps predicts that the frequency of lightning strikes will increase about 12 percent for every degree of rise in the average global temperature. If current trends in warming continue unchecked, it could result in a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes by 2100, the authors of the study say.
“For every two lightning strikes in 2000, there will be three lightning strikes in 2100,” David Romps, at the University of California, Berkeley, is quoted by the BBC as saying. Currently there are around 25 million lightning strikes per year.

Romps says temperature fuels lightning and that his team’s conclusions are based on the fact that there will be more heat energy to fuel storm clouds. “As the planet warms, there will be more of this fuel around, so when thunderstorms get triggered, they will be more energetic,” Romps says, according to the BBC. (science11/2014)

Mother Jones magazine points out: “lightning strikes are the principal cause of wildfires, which are predicted to grow more severe due to global warming. In one 24-hour period in August, lightning in Northern California started 34 wildfires.


The Waila Fire to 10,000 square acres of woodlands.

The Wallow Fire took 10,000 square acres of woodlands.

The tragic Wildlands firefighter death toll taken last summer when 19 members of the Arizona’s Prescott Granite Mountain Hot Shots died fighting a wild fire near Yarnell, Arizona, it was the worst tragedy since 1903. More than 500 homes were lost in a firestorm of epic proportions in Colorado Springs, where wildfire triage wanted to save “every other house” but saved only one in four homes. In California the Fire season just didn’t end last year which prompted Gov. Edmund Brown, to declare a state of emergency. “It’s not if–it burns,” he says. “It’s when.” After a year of asking Californians to cut back their water consumption, water use has gone up one per cent. A $500 Water Waste fine has now gone into affect… Thomas Tidwell, the head of the United States Forest Service, told a Senate committee on energy and natural resources recently that the fire season now lasts two months longer and destroys twice as much land as it did four decades ago. Fires now, he said, burn the same amount of land faster. The Slide Fire’s 1200 firefighters are now just winding down with a 32 square mile damage footprint wiping out iconic Oak Creek Canyon which would just now beginning to pull in Phoenix tourists for cooler get-aways and now will not attract any tourist, causing huge damage to the high country economy when it is just beginning the season. Flagstaff averages a 100 inches of snow a year, last season, the area received 19 inches of snow, they now fear fire.

Cabins built 50 years ago had survived unscathed for a half century and then the fire came in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeast Arizona

Cabins built 50 years ago had survived unscathed for a half century and then fire came to the Chiricahua Mountains in southeast Arizona


The All American Canal borders the right side of the Imperial breadbasket in Southern California.The bottom border is the US-Mexican Border where water stops and the dunes begin.

The All American Canal borders the right side of the Imperial breadbasket in Southern California. The bottom border is the US-Mexican Border where water stops and the dunes begin. Around 90 percent of the vegetables that Americans eat in the winter are grown here. Lettuce, potatoes, sweet corn, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and alfalfa. The All-American canal, crosses 82 miles of desert just north of the Mexican border to reach Imperial Valley farms, when the dam and canal system were completed in the 1930s, they were considered one of the wonders of the world.



The present 11-year drought, says Nelson, has caused the Colorado River to deliver considerably less water than users were promised. The Bureau of Reclamation’s current plan calls for an increase of up to 40 percent in the amount of water delivered to Lake Mead from Lake Powell, the big reservoir upstream, a step that may help equalize the amount of water in each reservoir and possibly avoid triggering the shortage declaration that cuts off towns like Tucson from the concrete tit.



Nate Stephenson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), based near Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, says that if climate warming continues tens of thousands of the ancient Sequoia trees will be at risk in the coming century from destruction. “In 25 years, we would see trouble for sequoia seedlings, then in 50 years trouble for the whole population,” Stephenson said. “In 100 years time, we could lose most of the big Sequoias.” The threat that climate change poses to giant sequoias is indicative of a broader danger to tree species worldwide. A study published in December in the Journa Science found rising death rates among trees 100 to 300 years old across a wide range of global landscapes, from forests, to savannas, to cities. The study noted that mortality among older trees is linked, at least in part, to higher temperatures and drier conditions, according to a paper in Nature Climate Change. THE REDWOODS- A 2010 study conducted by 20 researchers worldwide and published in Forest Ecology and Management documented dozens of cases of “significant tree mortality” on every continent (except Antarctica) over the last 40 years — all of which were linked to heat and drought. According to Craig Allen, a USGS research ecologist based in New Mexico and the Forest Ecology and Management paper’s lead author, ‘Old trees and ancient forests everywhere are arguably at risk.’ Mortality rates have not only risen in dry regions, but also in wet forests. “Old trees and ancient forests everywhere are arguably at risk,” says Allen. “If projected temperatures rise by 4 degrees by 2100, that warming alone could cause most old trees to die sometime this century.” CALIFORNIA WATER RESOURCE CENTER ARIZONA DROUGHT PROGRAM NEW MEXICO DROUGHT MONITOR The Prehistoric South West by Steve Lekson A new study center at the University of Arizona thinks residents of the Sonoran Desert are lucky to be the canary in the coal mine. “In Arizona, many opportunities will come from the fact that we are early adapters. We have so much focus here on drought and extreme temperatures that we’ve actually developed techniques to deal with them: artificial groundwater recharge, reuse of waste water, conservation and efficiency.” We’re going to have to adapt to more huge wildfires, prolonged heat waves, electricity brownouts, floods and more drought in the future, thanks to climate change, says the new director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions that will try to help people do that. “That’s really how people experience climate change,” says director Kathy Jacobs.



“People are confident in their ability to take off another layer of clothes or put on the thermostat. What is of greatest concern is extreme events,” The center is a virtual center, with no formal office or headquarters, and with only Jacobs and an assistant as full-time staff. It operates out of the UA’s Institute for the Environment headquarters in the Marshall Building near Main Gate Square. Being prepared is a key theme the center will focus on. Starting operations in January, the center’s basic purpose is to help people in Tucson, nationally and globally adapt to a changing climate by offering management options and practices aimed at protecting lives, property and the national environment from its impacts. The center will connect with the UA’s climate science community, so ideas stemming from climate research have a better chance of becoming reality. “How do we make science useful?” Jacobs said. Helping manage risks that come with climate change, particularly a cascading series of risks such as public health problems from a major heat wave that damages the electrical grid. “Managing risk is the central nut we need to crack here,” Jacobs said “Risk is a complicated, interdisciplinary problem — it’s hard to understand the factors for risk.” Last year’s drought scorched over half of the U.S. last year. Now that drought is targeting the Southwest and western Plains, according to Mark Svoboda, climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center. Svoboda says the Southwest and Great Plains are likely to see the drought deepen, and it’s possible the drought will reach the Pacific Northwest, like Oregon and Idaho. At the end of last summer, about 65 percent of the country was experiencing drought. Today, the extent of the drought has dropped to 48 percent — but it is far from over Svoboda warns.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists reports misinformation about climate science on cable news channels is pretty common. A study found that last year, 30 percent of CNN’s climate-related segments were misleading, compared with 72 percent on Fox News and just 8 percent for MSNBC. The methodology for the study was quite strict: segments that contained “any inaccurate or misleading representations of climate science” were classified as misleading. OBAMA CUTS CARBON DIOXIDE COMING FROM POWER PLANTS BY 30% IS ARIZONA RUNNING OUT OF WATER….CLICK HERE
Climate change is happening, it’s entirely man’s fault and limiting its impacts will require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century, the U.N.’s panel on climate science said. The report caps its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-percent certainty that most of the warming seen since the 1950s is man-made.
Still the American public isn’t as convinced. A survey by Pew Research showed 67 percent of Americans believed global warming is occurring and 44 percent say the earth is warming mostly because of human activity. Recently, a New York Times poll said 42 percent of Republicans say global warming won’t have a serious impact, a view held by 12 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents.

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Tourist visit MESCAL on one of the weekends when Frank Brown gives tours.

Tourists visit MESCAL on one of the weekends when Frank Brown gives tours.

Since 1913 over 126 movies and television shows have been filmed in Southern Arizona; from Oklahoma to McCLintock, to The Bottom of the Bottle. Movies and television shows provide an economic boost to southern Arizona as “the homeland of the Old West”. Baja Arizona continues to inspire film companies and continue to pick up movies like the recent Hangover III that was partially filmed in ‘Nogales. The Old West still lurks in these hills, perhaps the Old West Town of Mescal lies forgotten in the desert, but it is still celebrated in the Spirit of the Old West. Old Tucson Studios has set the pace in Southern Arizona for decades beginning in 1939 with “ARIZONA”‘ filmed at the studio. Dozens followed John Wayne, Glenn Ford, John Huston, Steve McQueen, Danny Glover, Clint Eastwood, and the Highwaymen, new generations followed, like Young Riders.

Frank Brown has been the Sheriff in these parts for the past twenty years

Frank Brown has been the Sheriff in these parts for the past twenty years

In the 1960’s MESCAL was built originally for TV filming “The Young Riders” and Michael Landon’s “House on the Prairie”, but classics followed like Jose Wales, The Quick and the Dead, Stagecoach with the Highwaymen, Buffalo Soldiers with Danny Glover… For almost 20 years, Frank Brown has been the Sheriff in these parts. Frank is the sole resident of MESCAL except for Samantha, a stray black cat, that follows him everywhere.



Frank is the caretaker of this slice of the Old West. He jokes and laughs about working with some of the greats in todays film making, Val Kilmer told him he regretted his “I’m your Huckleberry” line in Tombstone when facing down Johnny Ringo. Today he says, “No one ever comes up to me anymore and says Hello, It’s always, “I’m your Huckleberry”. Just for the record, there is no way that movie should have been called “TOMBSTONE”, it would have sold out as “DOC HOLIDAY”. Val Kilmer stole the whole show from Kurt Russell. We walk through the Saloon where EARP (Russel) walks into the bar and straight up to Billy Bob Thorton who is dealing cards and bad-mouthing everyone around. Earp back hands Billy-Bob a couple good licks and says “You gonna stand there and bleed or you gonna peel that smoke wagon”? Brown giggles to himself as we exchange lines from the scene and relive the moment. Franks loves this job.


Brown is retired Military, been married six times and all of them got new houses and cars, and he paid for them all so he likes living alone, “I love being by himself”. He is on duty 24/7 week-in, week-out. Sometimes kids show up late expecting to party on the site and when I show up, and slide a shell into the shotgun, you can hear their assholes puckering. Brown hasn’t had much problem, he scares away someone, at least once a week.



Sam the cat is nice and friendly but Frank has an allergy to cats and can’t pet her so she is always underfoot begging for the attention Frank can’t provide. Samantha showed up about two weeks after Henry, the mouser at Mescal for fourteen years disappeared, SAM has been there now for six years.

As we wander through the streets Frank relates stories about each building and points to a staircase constructed for just one scene years ago, the OK Corral where the Earps went toe-to-toe with the Cowboys it is now a grassy lot. The Ghosts of Steve McQueen, Michael Landon and David Carradine linger along the Boot Hill built for the filming of TOMBSTONE. Just West of town stands the dead tree used in the movie “Maverick” where Mel Gibson is being hung on his horse and rattlesnakes are thrown at his horse’s feet.

Tree in the opening of Maverick as Mel Gibson is being hanged is now anchored in cement.

Tree in the opening of Maverick as Mel Gibson is being hanged is now anchored in cement.

Brown originally found the tree in the Sonoita area and dragged it to the site for the filming, later in 2007 winds topping 70 mph knocked down the tree and 20 building on the Mescal site, each had been constructed for a scene or a movie in the past. The tree was resurrected by 3300 pounds of concrete, many of those twenty buildings still lie as stacks of lumber aging in the sun, just awaiting the next movie crew to blow in and start hammering away building something new.

Stairs built for one movie scene.

Stairs built for one movie scene in
The Ballad of Cable Hogue.

Fly's Photo Shop

Fly’s Photo Shop

Scene of the ShootOut at the OK Corral in Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell.

Scene of the Shoot Out at the OK Corral in Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell.


Theatre in Tombstone which was shot up by the Cowboys in Wyatt Earp




“I would leave home for six months at a time, all my wife would get was a phone number she could call to see if I was okay!

Frank is a little frustrated because his efforts to get MESCAL recorded as a historic park or memorial, have gone nowhere, mainly because nothing here is built to be permanent. Nothing but Frank Brown, who is permanent, Mescal has had four caretakers, the first was “Tex”, the second was “George”, then the couple, “Bill and Marlene”, and now, “Frank”, who says “you betcha” if asked if he wants to die there. He has a trailer, Old Tucson provides power, water and septic. He seldom leaves, he likes the peace and quiet, often thinks he was born too late in the last century.

Frank takes pleasure preserving his small piece of the “Old West”. The Oklahoma Land Rush was filmed here and history will remember Mescal as the place where movies were made that glorified the Old West and opened a window to the world here before Statehood. Frank feels history all around him. He thinks his Dad and kin folk would be proud of the fact he wears a badge every day, he comes from a long line of Marshals, Sheriffs and Constables and Franks wants Mescal to last as long as he does. So they can just carry him over to Boot Hill and erect another cross to balance out that composition.

Pool table Bill Paxton died on as Wyatt's brother after being shot.

Pool table Bill Paxton died on after being shot.

Until that day, Frank’s too busy to worry, “if you want to die–just sit there, but if you want to live, keep moving and honestly the seventy-nine year old “hopes to die getting shot jumping out of some window”. In the meantime, Frank is learning to shoot a 70lb compound bow to fill his Elk tag for this fall’s hunt. So, this summer, arrows will be flying once again where Fort Apache was filmed to grace the BIG screen. MESCAL TOUR INFORMATION


According to Wikipedia Old Tucson Studios
was built in 1938 by Columbia Pictures on a Pima County-owned site as a replica of 1860s Tucson for the movie Arizona, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur. Workers built more than 50 buildings in 40 days, many of those structures still stand.

Arizona was the first movie filmed at the new Old Tucson Movie Set

Arizona was the first movie filmed at the new Old Tucson Movie Set

Ernest Borgnine yucks it up during the 1958 filming of

Ernest Borgnine yucks it up during the 1958 filming of “The Badlanders” at Old Tucson. The movie dealt with two men being released from the Arizona Territorial Prison at Yuma in 1898. Both want gold and revenge from a small mining town who imprisoned them unjustly.


Filming of McClintock starring Maureen ODowd and John Wayne

Ricky Nelson, Stars in Rio Bravo

Ricky Nelson, stars in Rio Bravo

John Wayne 1932

John Wayne 1932







After the filming of Arizona was completed, the movie set lay quiet for several years, until the filming of The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Other early movies soon were filmed including The Last Round-Up (1947) with Gene Autry and Winchester ’73 (1950) with James Stewart and The Last Outpost with Ronald Reagan. The 1950s saw the filming of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958), Cimarron (1959) and Rio Bravo (1959) among others.

Robert Shelton holds a Winchester Centennial 30-30 rifle given to him by his former partner and friend John Wayne.

Robert Shelton holds a Winchester Centennial 30-30 rifle given to him by his friend John Wayne.

Among thousands of artifacts, photos and posters is a signed photo of Robert Taylor.

Among thousands of artifacts, photos and posters is a signed photo of Robert Taylor.

In 1959, entrepreneur Robert Shelton leased the property from Pima County and began to restore the aging facility. Old Tucson Studios re-opened in 1960, as both a film studio and a theme park. The park grew building by building with each movie filmed on its dusty streets. John Wayne starred in four movies at Old Tucson Studios. Rio Bravo (1959) added a saloon, bank building and doctor’s office; McCLintock! (1963) added the McCLintock Hotel; El Dorado (1966) brought the storefronts on Front Street; and with Rio BRAVO (1970) came a cantina, a jail and a ranch house.

Preparing battle injuries.

Preparing battle injuries.

In 1968 Old Tucson began adding tours, rides and shows for the entertainment of visitors, most notably gunfights staged in the “streets” by stunt performers, the 13,000 square foot soundstage was built to give Old Tucson Studios greater movie-making versatility. The first film to use the soundstage was Young Billy Young (1968), starring Robert Mitchum and Angie Dickinson.

Michael Landon, left, sets up a scene with Moses Gunn, center, and Merlin Olsen, right, during the filming of an episode of

Michael Landon, left, sets up a scene with Moses Gunn, center, and Merlin Olsen, right, during the filming of an episode of “Father Murphy” at Old Tucson.

This is the Tucson Citizen front page for April 25, 1995, when Old Tucson Studios caught fire.

This is the Tucson Citizen front page for April 25, 1995, when Old Tucson Studios burned.

On April 25, 1995, a fire destroyed much of Old Tucson Studios. Twenty-five buildings, costumes and memorabilia were lost in the blaze, 100 pieces of fire equipment was deployed and over 200 firefighters from every fire department in the Tucson metro area, including Davis Monthan Air Force Base and the Arizona National Guard fought the wind-driven fire for four hours. The loss included all of Kansas Street and Front street to the wash on the east side, the corner store on the west, and the entire sound stage. The Mission area was destroyed along with the Mission, the Greer Garson house, and the cantina from Rio Bravo. Damages were estimated to be $15 million. Fortunately, there were no human or animal casualties.

Old Tucson served as an ideal location for shooting scenes for TV series like NBC’s The High Chaparral (1967–1971) where the ranch house survived the 1995 fire: Little House on the Prairie, and later, Father Murphy, featuring Merlin Olsen and “Petrocelli”. Three Amigos was a popular comedy shot there in the 80s, using the church set.

Movies filmed at Old Tucson

Movies filmed at Old Tucson

From 1989 to 1992 the show The Young Riders filmed at MESCAL Old Tucson’s sister site. The main street appears prominently in 1990s westerns such as Tombstone, a mirror set still exists at Mescal, AZ and is featured in The Quick and the Dead which filmed all of the town of Redemption scenes there.

In 2013, Old Tucson and Mescal was featured in “A Hot Bath An’ A Stiff Drink”.

DIRECTIONS TO MESCAL MOVIE SET: From Tucson, follow I-10 East. Take exit 297 for J-Six Ranch Rd towrd Mescal Rd. Turn left onto South J-Six Ranch Rd (signs for Mescal Rd). Continue onto N. Mescal Rd (dirt road). Turn left into drive. TOURS ARE $10 EACH. EXCEPT FOR TOURS DAY, MESCAL IS CLOSED TO VISITORS.

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Elsewhere in Arizona on June 1960 Apacheland Studios opened for business and filmed its first TV western, “Have Gun, Will Travel” in November 1960 and its first full length movie “The Purple Hills”. From the beginning as Superstition Mountain Enterprises in 1959 as Apacheland Studio until its demise in 2004 as Apacheland Movie Ranch, this historic Arizona landmark has seen Hollywood’s finest western actors walk the streets on Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon, Arizona.

Movies filmed at Old Tucson

Movies filmed at Old Tucson

Actors such as Elvis Presley, Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, Ronald Reagan and Audie Murphy filmed western television shows and movies, such as Gambler II, Death Valley Days, Blind Justice, Charro!, Have Gun, Will Travel and The Ballad of Cable Hogue at the western movie studio for some or all of the filming. The last full length movie to be filmed was the 1994 HBO movie Blind Justice with Armand Assante, Elisabeth Shue and Jack Black.


On May 26, 1969, fire destroyed most of the Movie ranch. Only 7 buildings survived. The sets were soon rebuilt but then almost 35 years later on February 14, 2004, 2 days after its 45th anniversary, another fire destroyed most of the Apacheland. On October 16, 2004 Apacheland closed its doors to the public permanently.

The cause of both fires remain a mystery.

All that remains of CATCH22 Beach in San Carlos Sonora where the satirical movie was filmed.

All that remains of CATCH22 Beach in San Carlos Sonora where the satirical movie was filmed.




The freestanding fireplace the center of the love nest shared by Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristoferson in the Sonoita, AZ area.  It stood for years as a testimony to the Power of Rock and Roll but one night it burned and was wiped from the face of the earth by day break.

The freestanding fireplace the center of the love nest shared by Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristoferson in the Sonoita area. It stood for years as a testimony to the Power of Rock and Roll but one night it was torched and burned from the face of the earth by daybreak.

Exterior of the Love nest filmed in the making of A Star is Born.

Exterior of the Love nest filmed in the making of A Star is Born near Sonoita, Az.


Many films, not all of them Westerns, were shot at Old Tucson Studios, either in whole or in part;

1940: Arizona
1945: The Bells of St. Mary’s
1947: The Last Round-up
1950: Broken Arrow
1951: The Last Outpost
1955: Strange Lady in Town
1955: Ten Wanted Men
1955: The Violent Men
1956: The Broken Star
1956: Walk the Proud Land
1957: 3:10 to Yuma
1957: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
1957: The Guns of Fort Petticoat
1958: Buchanan Rides Alone
1958: The Badlanders
1958: The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold
1959: Last Train from Gun Hill
1959: Rio Bravo
1959: The Hangman
1961: The Deadly Companions
1962: Young Guns of Texas
1963: McLintock!
1964: The Outrage
1965: Arizona Raiders
1965: The Great Sioux Massacre
1966: El Dorado
1967: Hombre
1967: Return of the Gunfighter
1967: The Last Challenge
1967: The Way West
1967: A Time for Killing
1968: The Mini-Skirt Mob
1969: Heaven with a Gun
1969: Lonesome Cowboys
1969: Young Billy Young
1970: Dirty Dingus Magee
1970: Monte Walsh
1970: Rio Lobo
1971: Wild Rovers
1972: Joe Kidd
1972: Night of the Lepus
1972: Pocket Money
1972: The Legend of Nigger Charley
1972: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
1973: Guns of a Stranger
1974: Death Wish
1974: A Knife for the Ladies
1974: The Trial of Billy Jack
1975: Posse
1976: The Outlaw Josey Wales
1979: The Villain
1980: Tom Horn
1981: The Cannonball Run
1986: ¡Three Amigos!
1989: Gore Vidals Billy the Kid
1990: Young Guns II
1993: Nemesis
1993: Tombstone
1994: Lightning Jack
1995: Hard Bounty
1995: The Quick and the Dead
2000: South of Heaven, West of Hell
2002: Legend of the Phantom Rider
2004: Treasure of the Seven Mummies
2005: Miracle at Sage Creek
2007: Legend of Pearl Hart
2008: Mad, Mad Wagon Party
2011: To Kill a Memory
2013: Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink


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Untouched and pristine North America's only coral reef was a personal adventure in the 1980's.

Untouched and pristine North America’s only coral reef was a personal adventure in the 1980’s.


The first time I visited Cabo Pulmo I drove right past it. True it’s unique beauty lies beneath the waves in this enormous bay which is quite shallow and nurtures young life and marine treasures. The view from the road was the same view that I had enjoyed for the past 100 miles since leaving La Paz so when I drove past this faint truck path disappearing into the sand and dunes who knew it would led us to a farmhouse and a gate and the most outrageous campsite on the Baja.CABO PULMO--7 Over the years I visited three or four times each time I was more excited and pushed out from the shoreline, further and further. Once we rented tanks in La Paz and diving at Cabo Pulmo in 20′-45′ of water our tanks lasted forever. Free diving allowed you to get a better overall view but the tanks made things more personal, the colors, the life and the over whelming size of this undersea garden which is unique to the Sea of Cortez because of the temperate weather, the shallow cove captures the natural solar power from the sun and never dips beneath 70 degrees. In those days I tried to know something about the marine biology of the area, so I had some idea of what I was looking at and what not to touch. Cabo Pulmo has one very curious affect on one resident, the Gineafowl Puffer, which is black with white spots all over its body. Apparently, at one moment in the Gineafowl Puffer life, they have a golden moment, literally a golden phase, where their black and white spots disappear and they turn gold. The reef is a protective place where they can dress outlandishly and not get harvested for their pretty hue. Camping on the beach allowed the early riser to watch the sun climb out of the Sea of Cortez lighting up the world as it rose.

CABO PULMO2“The coral reefs in Pulmo Bay consist of eight long bars of igneous rock, upon which coral and other marine flora and fauna grow.;



All eight of these bars extend out from the beach and are easily visible, resembling rocky dikes that project from the sand and continue into the sea. Marine life around the coral reefs include; the White-banded Angelfish, Moray eels, lobster, puffer fish, Yellowtail, Surgeon fish, Pork fish, Butterfly fish, Parrott fish, Moorish Idols, Hawk fish and blennies. Along the deeper reefs, schools of grunts with larger game fish and large grouper appear, as well as a greater abundance of gorgonians and sea fans,” this is the picture painted by the “BAJA CALIFORNIA DIVER’S GUIDE, which guided me to Cabo Pulmo the first time back in the 1980’s. The outer Cabo Pulmo reef lies two miles from the point and features 60′-70’dives into caves and crevices covering with rich layers of sea fans. http://www.cabopulmopark.com/


Intova Digital Camera

Since I last visited this sleepy cove, the Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort, has grown up around a small, rustic, romantic village of palm-thatched bungalows that are located right in front of the National Marine Park of Cabo Pulmo just 60 miles up the Sea of Cortez from Cabo San Lucas on the gulf side. Cabo Pulmo is a quiet village that has no salesmen or trinket sales to bother you, no paragliders or noisy jet skis, you can walk for miles on the beach and not see anyone at times. The village of Cabo Pulmo has it’s own well and the quality of water surpasses most water found elsewhere on the Baja Peninsula.

The village is off the grid and relays totally on its own solar power.

Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort sells lots on the East Cape of Baja California Sur, Mexico all with panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez, desert and mountains. Lots are said to sell for prices ranging from $39K to $200K and taxes are about $100 per year!

Development along the  East Cape Road started a long time ago. But development threatens the Treasures of the BAJA.

Development along the East Cape Road started a long time ago. But development now threatens one of the Treasures of the BAJA.

A new 23,000 room hotel complex called “Cabo Dorado”, has been proposed for Cabo Pulmo which is strikingly similar to two previously canceled projects that were proposed for 3,769 hectares in the exact same location as the other. These projects would change the current landscape entirely, Los Pericúes wanted to include nine hotel lots (eight of which were proposed as unobstructed beach front) and 6,650 residential units built on two 18-hole golf courses.


Now for the third time, the threat of massive coastal tourism and real-estate development has returned to Cabo Pulmo National Park, one of the world’s most robust marine reserves and home to a critically important coral reef system. The new mega-resort project, now called “Cabo Dorado”, raises the specter that Cabo Pulmo’s fragile coral reef and the local community’s fresh water supply could once more be at risk.

Here’s what we know so far about Cabo Dorado:

The 3,770 hectare project is proposed on the same lands – just north of and adjacent to the Cabo Pulmo reserve – where first Cabo Cabo Cortés and later Los Pericúes were also proposed.SEA TURTLEThis new mega-resort would be built in five phases at a cost of at least 3.6 billion dollars. The project would have 22,500 rooms, nine hotels and more than 6,000 residences. There would be two golf courses, sports facilities, beach clubs, a 14 kilometer aqueduct, a new airstrip on the site but a project of this scale and scope would also generate 711,900 kilograms of waste per day and could extract up to 4.8 million cubic meters of water from the local aquifer of this arid, desert region. Apart from the proximity to the fragile Cabo Pulmo coral reef and the marine life it supports, the proposed project site is home to 26 species considered at risk under Mexican law, including endemic plant species and endangered sea turtles.


The sheer scale of the proposal has brought concern about the Cabo Pulmo reserve, a gem internationally recognized and treasured by both the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and it was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. Representatives from both of these international organizations after a visit recommended that Mexico restrict future large-scale development in the vicinity of the park to avoid the risk of damaged habitat.

UNESCO and Ramsar are not the only ones to have weighed in about the risk of large-scale development in this region. The IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in September 2012 issued a resolution urging Mexico to guarantee the protection of Cabo Pulmo, including from the risk of large-scale tourism and real-estate developments.

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Fortunately Cabo Cortés was eventually halted by former President Calderón in June 2012, but it should never have progressed as far as it did. Now, with a new project proposed near Cabo Pulmo National Park it is absolutely critical for Mexican authorities to ensure that history does not repeat itself. A project that would endanger the fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems near Cabo Pulmo and the neighboring communities must not be allowed to move forward as Cabo Cortés did. A bad project that threatens one of the country’s and the world’s crown jewels must simply not get the green light – no matter how many times or who proposes it.






This petition is about saving God’s treasures on this Earth. I have visited Cabo Pulmo and I have dove into this bay and can testify how beautiful all of this reef can be, with the schools of colorful juveniles and huge schools of jacks, grunts and barracuda. Proposed development will only destroy the reason people want to go there. To enjoy the pristine beauty unique to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) we need to fight to save it now.

That’s why I created a petition to Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, which says:

“Cabo Pulmo reserve is an internationally recognized treasure it is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. As North America’s only Coral Reef it has been recommended that Mexico restrict future large-scale developments in the vicinity of the park to avoid the risk of ruining what nature has built.”

Will you sign this petition? Click here:


Thanks! Pass this along to like-minded individuals….

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22nd STREET SKATE PARK-3446 SKATE PARK The first skateboarding wave washed across the United States in the 1960’s. Like all fads from the coast I had seen the hula-hoop and had little hope skateboarding would last long, locals nailed their sister’s skates to the bottom of a board and went for the downhill. You either knew if you were a skater or not, I was not the right stuff and knew it instantly. Historically the first skate park was made of plywood on a half acre sand lot in Kelso, Washington in 1966 and it had lights. The first modern concrete skate park opened in 1976 in Port Orange Florida and Carlsbad California, followed by indoor parks in less temperate climates but high insurance premiums caused the first wave of skateboarding died in court, but realized a resurgence followed in the United States when legislation in states like California’s 1998 law that said skateboarding is an inherently “Hazardous Recreation Activity” and cities will not be held liable for claims of negligence resulting in a skateboarding injury. Skateboard construction improved and skate parks have become more common.



SKATE PARK Today some cities put in skate parks with features not designed for skateboarding, but are street legal for skaters, other not. Tucson’s has a number skate parks in different parts of town, Tucson was once one of the best skateboarding scenes in the country, which is a little known fact about earlier times when Tucson skateboarders had permission to skate “THE BLOCKS” at El Presidio Plaza after 5pm until 1994. Rumor has it Skateboarders got the skate park at Randolph Park in exchange for no longer skating at “The Blocks” downtown. Today Tucson Skateboarding is a new force and has hopes of becoming politically active and wants to approach the city council in hopes of taking back “The Blocks”, and Tucson’s claim to top ten spots in the US to skate. Downtown Tucson has a new skateboarding shop opened by two brothers Kenzo and Zen Butler and their partner Jerry Jordon have moved into The Arches, a high ceiling warehouse at 35 E. Toole Ave and have spacious floor space and stylish fashions, boards at their The BLX Skate Shop dedicated to the “Golden Age of Skateboards” and the Skateboard culture which has its own set of values and language. Since downtown is the heart of this skateboarding culture, BLX is pronounced “Blocks” named for the feature now off-limits to skaters, but a short distance away. THE BLOCKS "Skateable THE BLOCKS 22nd STREET SKATE PARK-3425 Skateboarding is a popular recreational activity among children and teenagers — especially boys. In recent years, skateboarding spin-offs, such as long-boarding and mountain boarding, have become increasingly common. Although it is a fun activity, skateboarding can result in a serious injury. 22nd STREET SKATE PARK-3437In 2011, skateboard-related injuries accounted for more than 78,000 emergency room visits among children and adolescents 19 years old or younger. On average, about 52% of skateboard injuries involve children under age 15. Eighty-five percent of the children injured are boys. Many injuries happen when a child loses balance, falls off the skateboard and lands on an outstretched arm. Skateboarding injuries often involve the wrist, ankle, or face. Injuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk range from cuts and bruises to sprains, strains, and broken bones. Wrist fractures are quite common. Wearing wrist guards can reduce the frequency and severity of these fractures. Facial injuries, such as a broken nose or jawbone, are also common. Severe injuries include concussion and other head injuries. There are many things that parents and children can do to help prevent skateboarding injuries, such as carefully selecting safe places to ride, and wearing protective gear, especially helmets. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under age 5 years should not ride skateboards. Children aged 6 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult whenever they ride a skateboard.22nd STREET SKATE PARK-3473

Practice tricks and jumps in a controlled environment, such as a skate park that has adult supervision and appropriate access to emergency medical care.

Be considerate of fellow skateboarders, especially those who are younger and/or less skilled. Take turns on ramps or other equipment.

Learn the basic skills of skateboarding, especially how to stop, slow down, and turn. Be able to fall safely: If you are losing your balance, crouch down on the skateboard so that you will not have as far to fall. Try to land on the fleshy parts of your body rather than your arms. Relax and roll.

Skateboard according to your ability level. Skateboarding skill is not acquired quickly or easily. Do not take chances by skateboarding faster than your experience allows, or faster than is safe for the surrounding conditions.

Practice and master each skill before moving on to a more challenging trick. Staying in good physical condition can help to prevent skateboarding injuries.


Directions to follow to Santa Rita Skate Park I-10 Fwy Westbound – exit Starr Pass Blvd/22nd St, take 2nd right at 22nd St, left at 3rd Ave into Santa Rita Park. 22nd STREET SKATE PARK-3419

Albert M. Gallego Skate Park Santa Rita Park 3rd Ave and 22nd St GPS 32.207522,-110.963395 Date Opened 2009 Square Footage 12,000 22nd STREET SKATE PARK-3424x Just off the 10 Fwy in Tucson lies Santa Rita Skatepark.

The Albert M. Gallego Skate Park is located within the Santa Rita Park and should be on your list of places to go. This park opened in 2009 after almost 10 years of fundraising and plan changes. Santa Rita consists of three separate bowls: The Bonnie Bowl (a 12’ deep keyhole), a 4-6’ deep flow bowl, and a good size kidney. The Bonney Bowl is a classic 80’s style keyhole. It felt 12’ deep and fast. The shape is not perfectly round, but slightly squashed and the lip is finished with tiles and orange pool coping. The flow bowl varies in depth from 4′ to 6′ with a clamshell in the middle and a couple of hips. The bowl is finished with metal coping. The last bowl is a righthand kidney with an 8′ deep end and 3′ shallow end. This bowl is pretty mellow and good for beginners learning to carve. Santa Rita skate park opens at 6am and has lights until 10:30pm, which is necessary considering the daytime heat of the desert.

Now go check this one off.

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