The La Fiesta de Tumacacori held annually the first weekend of December was a great time for the club to visit Tumacacori National Historic Park, which is south of Tucson. The park is the perfect location for hosting this annual celebration of the cultural heritage of the Santa Cruz Valley. There were local artisans, food vendors, and much more.
One of the highlights of the day was the entertainment by mariachi bands and singers. By the time the music started, people were already gathering around the stage and open area with chairs and on benches. The feeling was festive and carefree on a near-perfect weather day.
The park staff and volunteers provided tours of the mission grounds and a nature walk to the Santa Cruz River so that people became acquainted with their new surroundings. During the tours, visitors were introduced to the connections between the land, agriculture, and people of the area. There was also a movie available for viewing that talked about the history of the Santa Cruz Valley describing how Father Kino and Spanish settlers came in the 1600s to live in the area.
Superintendent Mike Medrano had visited SaddleBrooke Ranch in October to meet the club and introduce the park to the group. Among the numerous topics he covered was how the Santa Cruz River runs through the park. He described the river’s unique water flow. The river starts in the U.S. and flows south into Sonora, Mexico. Then it naturally changes direction and flows northwest back into the U.S. where, when there is enough water, it joins the Gila River that flows south into Mexico. In December 2018 glowworms were newly discovered along the river. They are actually a form of earthworm with bioluminescent fluid.
The superintendent also spoke about the synchronized fireflies found in the park during several weeks in the summer. The park is open on nights when the fireflies are active. If you are interested in learning more, check out the website: nps.gov/tuma.
Fifty-five club members rode a chartered luxury bus for this enjoyable day trip. A few other members opted to drive the 90-minute trip on their own.
Special thanks to everyone who helped plan this trip, including Sharon Ringsven, Linda Newton, Ellyn Biggs, Gail Jacobson, Vickie Atkinson, and Sheryl Berman.
The next day trip will be to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on March 26, 2024. Then a multi-day bus trip is being planned for fall 2024 to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. For more information, check out SBR National Parks Club on GroupWorks or send an email inquiry to [email protected].