Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: Memorials, Shrines, Canyons, and Velvet

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Memorials, Shrines, Canyons, and Velvet

Rick Morgan


Heading out for yet another day of discovery we traveled to the Coronado National Memorial. This National Treasure commemorates Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s expedition and cultural influences of the Spanish Colonial exploration in the Americas in the 1500s.


With a backdrop of the beautiful Huachuca (waho-choo-ka) Mountains, and from the top of the 6575’ overlook, you do get remarkable panoramic views of the U.S.-Mexican Border, and the San Pedro River Valley, which was Coronado’s probable route. Note in the “blurry photo” the fence that separates the U.S. and Mexico.


As we left Coronado, heading back to Patagonia, we saw a beautiful shrine from the road.  Being free of time constraints, we decided to stop and see what it was all about. Turns out, Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine, completed in 1998 was an amazing stop along the road. It sits on top of a Huachuca hill, and greets you with a 75’ Celtic cross. Adjacent to the Cross is a 31’ beckoning Angel who greets every visitor. More beauty as the stone chapel is open to the public every day. It was constructed from river rock mined from Ash Canyon, and is one of the largest stone structures in Southeast Arizona.  
It’s not for the faint of heart to get to the top of the Shrine. The elevation is 5300’, and there are 72 alternating narrow, then wide steps (yes, I counted them)!




After taking some photos and visiting the chapel, we descended and now headed to The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve in Hereford, Arizona. The self-guided nature walk is charming. Set within the tall Arizona Sycamore’s joined by Ramsey Creek running alongside the path…well; it was a very peaceful place!



It’s fun to imagine how the nearly 100 early settlers built their homes in this exact place – in fact there are two homes from 1902 still standing. 


The life of the settlers was not easy, raising apples, apricots, cherries, peaches and plums. But in our eyes…it was sure picturesque now!


Now we really had to head back to our rig at Patagonia State Park…having a full day, we were wondering what to do for dinner when it occurred to us we could stop at Velvet Elvis in the artsy town of Patagonia. So that’s exactly what we did! What a charming place with great service, absolutely delicious food, and yep, they even have velvet Elvis in artwork, although “the King” was not how the restaurant was named. If you are interested in the history better check out the link.


Finally after a full day, and pretty much exhausted, (but well-fed), we head to the RV just in time to capture some amazing sunset photos.  Here’s to safe travel and new adventures!



Birding

We never did see the Elegant Trogon. In fact, after talking to some of the bird guide volunteers it is possible he may have left the area as he had not been seen for 3-4 days. Yet, birding is what the park is all about at this time of the year. 


On one 2 hour volunteer lead walk here are some of the birds we saw: Gladwell, Cinnamon Teal, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, American Coot, Broad-Billed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Gray Flycatcher, Black Phoebe,Say's Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, Hutton's Vireo, Bridled Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Bewick's Wren, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Phainopela, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch.

More pictures here.