An early start to a long driving day. We headed way southeast toward Bisbee (not far from the Mexican border), with a stop at the very special Kartchner Caverns State Park. Before breakfast, though, we wanted to check out the Occupy group across the street. The police were supposed to arrest the remaining lingerers at 7 am.
By the time we got back in the evening, they were all gone and the park as if nothing ever happened. We saw some arrests on the news later.
An hour southwest of Tucson is a site that makes you feel good at both the world we live in…and some of the people who protect it’s beauty. The caverns were discovered by two amateur cavers who were able to keep it secret, along with the Kartchner family who own the land, and the State government until a law was passed to turn it into a state park. The history of discovered caves is most often a sad one as people find out about them and do all they can to “destroy” them with vandalism, poaching, and commercialization. Besides being incredibly beautiful, the pains taken to keep it that way are a story in itself. If you ever have the chance give yourself a half day to enjoy this wonderful park. No cameras are allowed in the caverns so our 1.5 hour tour through will have to reside in our mind’s eye. We’ll describe it to you if you’d like when we see you.
Our next stop was even further south at the old copper mining town of Bisbee. The town is a real charmer, housing retired miners (some of whom give tram tours of the old Queen Mine) and old and new hippies who have converted the charming old homes to art and craft shops, cafes and bars, and little museums. It’s build on a steep, steep hillside, and just a tad more interesting than our New Hope/Lambertville communities. There is still a little copper reclamation going on, but just outside of town is a terribly strong reminder of what open pit mining can do the the beauty of our earth:
The day was getting late, we had a long ride back to Tucson, and we would have been too late to really get to see the Coronado National Monument. Soooo, the old town, Tombstone, being right on our way back, became our next stop! And it was a pleasant surprise. Touristy as it is, it is full of history and nicely restored.
Still full of bullet holes and echoes of a gambling house, house of ill repute, and drinking place of all those remembered law-men and desperadoes.
Heading back, we decide to detour to see the sunset over the Gates Pass, just west of Tucson. A beautiful way to relax, wind down from the long day and to think about the next day that will end in Phoenix, really Scottsdale.