At the Hadrian Hotel

At the Hadrian Hotel

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Arizona Day 3 - Sabino Canyon

Friday brought us to Sabino Canyon. When we arrived at the parking lot and paid our parking fee, we were given a bright green flyer warning us about mountain lions. "Maintain eye contact." "Do not run." "Make yourself big." "Pick up small children, but do not bend down." That certainly set our minds at ease.

We bought our tram tickets for the ride into the canyon. We were warned that the tram was only running to stop 4 (instead of 9) because the road beyond that was severely damaged by a 1000-year flood last July 31. We were told that the stream flowing through the canyon was the only running water in Tucson.

The tram ride was a 45 minute round trip to stop 4 and back, driving along the two-lane road punctuated by several one-lane bridges. These bridges all had pipes to allow water to flow beneath them, but many of the pipes were blocked (probably due to the flood) and the water flowed over the bridges like waterfalls.

So, we got off at stop 4 and walked further up the road. It was a beautiful day and we walked around for about an hour. We walked along the road and through the stream and took a bunch of pictures. There was quite a bit of mica in the sand in and along the stream, looking kind of like the "gold" we had panned for the day before at the Old Tucson Studios.

On the way back to the visitor's center, the tram driver told us a little bit about the flood and pointed out the debris line on a tree (which was about 6 feet high) and a picnic table that was buried in the sand. We got a five minute stop at the Sabino Canyon dam, which was built in the 1920s to create a lake for boaters. These days, there is no longer any boating in the canyon.

After visiting the canyon, we headed over to the University of Arizona, where Eric had a 2PM tour scheduled (along with about 80 other kids and parents). While Randee and Eric took the tour, Mark and I headed over to the Flandrau Science Center to see what they had to offer.

The Flandrau center has a number of exhibits. Mark and I took advantage of the hands-on physics exhibit where we examined (played around with) light and motion. We also took a quick look at the rocks and minerals exhibit in the basement, which had some interesting specimens. Unfortunately, we got kicked out when they closed at 3PM so we wandered around campus a bit until we met up with Randee and Eric at the end of their tour.

We went back to the hotel for a while and then had dinner at a restaurant around the corner. Then back to the hotel for a little TV before we crashed. Another fun vacation day in Arizona!

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