A drive through Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona this week allowed for a glimpse of conditions since the Slide Fire was extinguished. Since the beginning of the monsoon season is upon us, worries over the safety of visitors to the canyon in the event of flash flooding has caused many closures. The camping areas affected by the fire as well as other parking for day use along the canyon are now closed. Thus the photos I post here are all from a moving car, not the best of situations. However, you can see that if you are looking for fire damage, you will find it, however, most of the beauty that is Oak Creek Canyon remains.
The worst of the burn area, as visible from the road, is where the fire started. It burned very hot here. Note the discolored ground in the burn area.
You can see from the many signs and banners in Flagstaff, how appreciated the efforts of firefighters were. The question currently on the minds of locals is how much damage could occur due to runoff from the anticipated summer monsoons. Oak Creek has many fans awaiting the answer, and thinking ahead to their next trip.
Two weeks ago we camped with our tent trailer at beautiful Cave Springs Campground in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona. We have lived for decades in the area, but never actually camped in the canyon previously.
Yesterday, Tuesday, May 20, a devastating wildfire started in the canyon south of the Cave Springs Campground, and has been whipped along by high winds. Twenty-four hours later it is estimated at 4500 acres and has topped out of the canyon and approaches Flagstaff, Arizona. ABC News 15, reports at this time the fire is zero percent contained. (Air15 fire photos at the link)
Interior photos and information here.
Construction on the current San Xavier del Bac began in 1783. More than 200 hundred years of harsh desert climate, use, abandonment and attempts at restorations have taken a toll on the interior and exterior of this incredible structure. Finding funding for proper conservation has been an ongoing challenge.This year, 2014, conservation and preservation efforts are underway. Photos here.
San Xavier del Bac: The White Dove of the Desert
If you drive a car on I10 in southern Arizona, you will undoubtedly see sign after sign asking “The Thing?” In fact, a miracle in advertising, the first signs begin near El Paso, TX, traveling west. By the time you arrive at exit 322, in the middle of the desert between Willcox and Benson, Arizona, your curiosity should be aroused. For a whole dollar, you can find out just what The Thing, the Mystery in the Desert, is. And you can buy an ice cream cone, or other tourist delights.
In the same southeastern corner of the state you will encounter beautiful Texas Canyon, rich in the history of Arizona Territory, the Butterfield Stage Route, ranching, and Apache country.
A few minutes driving will take you to famous Tombstone, Arizona. In 1877 Ed Schieffelin announced to cavalry stationed in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, that he intended prospecting in the valley of the San Pedro River. He was warned that he would only “find his tombstone there.” It was a dangerous time in Arizona Territory because this was Apache country. But he persisted, found silver and staked the Tombstone and Graveyard claims. Soon other rich deposits were discovered and more prospectors came and the town of Tombstone blossomed. It was a rough, tough boomtown until 1886 when fire destroyed the pump works and the mines flooded. Tombstone remains as a thriving tourist attraction, complete with shootouts in the streets, busy saloons, stagecoaches and people dressed in the best of western wear.