Yesterday we went to the Tanque Verde Swap Meet (fleamarket), located in Tucson AZ. We haven't been to Tucson yet so it was a great way to start. As far as fleamarkets go, this one was mediocre. It took us about an hour to get through the whole thing and we didn't find anything worth purchasing. We decided that since we were in Tucson, we'd detour through the Saguaro National Park, home of the Saguaro cactus, which is the universal symbol of the west. That was worth the whole trip to Tucson! We took the 8 mile Cactus Forest loop...it takes about an hour to drive because you can stop all along the way and take pictures. The views included the Rincon mountain range that surrounds the park. The Saguaro cactus are very majestic, but are dwindling, thus the creation of the park to preserve and save the remaining cactus. It takes at least 75 years to grow one of its cactus arms, and the cactus can live 150 years or more. The Saguaro blossom is the Arizona state flower. Gila woodpeckers and gilded flickers build nests in the holes on the sides of the cactus.
Today we attended mass at the San Xavier Mission on the San Xavier Indian Reservation about 10 miles south of Tucson, AZ. The website is: http://www.sanxaviermission.org/History.html.
The current church was built from 1793 - 1797 and is a beautiful and ornate church, affectionately known as the 'White Dove of the Desert'. It has been undergoing restorations for years, and the Italian artists who worked on the Sistine Chapel traveled to Arizona to help with San Xavier's interior restorations. It was definitely worth the 50 mile trip.
Tomorrow we're heading down to Tombstone again with our friends to visit the famous Rattlesnake Ranch. Sounds interesting!