July 2006 – four days of rain in the desert (summer is monsoon season).
The end result? Sabino Canyon, one of the stars of Tucson’s city park system – and also part of the Coronado National Forest – was damaged and is still under repair. Instead of being able to take the tram all the way to the top, we only made it half of the way up.
Nature was cleaning house, apparently. There were fires the season before, which loosened up debris up on Mt. Lemmon and the four solid days of rain encouraged a lot of runoff and the clearing of all the debris from the top of the mountain down into floor of the canyon. The guide told us that instead of 6 rock slides in the season, that year there were over 240! Our tram actually drove through water on THREE bridges – instead of bridges over water, the water went over the bridges – and ended up dropping us off near a picnic table half-buried in sand.
Eighteen months later, there’s a lot of repair work being done, but the park won’t reopen to its usual status until late spring or early summer.
Still and all, it’s a gorgeous park with fantastic sajuaro specimens. We had a nice walk (a little over a mile) and I took lots of photos.
Today was my last day in Tucson. We head up to one of my favorite places (Sedona) tomorrow. We plan on stopping in at the Red Planet diner for a chocolate malted and hopefully will take in the shops at Tlaquepaque and maybe have a drink at a restaurant on Oak Creek. Look for some pretty red rock pictures in the near future!