Cave Dwellings: Two Beautiful Arizona Missions
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two Beautiful Arizona Missions

   We were again awakened at 4:45AM by the highway workers and our neighbor next door..Ya just gotta love those diesel trucks…We have one so I am sure we have offended a few people early in the morning too.  It is laundry day, and Den and I trekked down to their laundry room about 7:30AM..and were the only ones there.  I was able to wash, dry, fold and put away, all by 9:30.  We knew we needed to walk, and wanted to make a jail break through the barbed wire gate we saw another couple going through yesterday….and Den programmed our GPS so we would find our way back…


..Well, apparently someone didn’t want anyone else to open this gate because when Den tried to get it opened, it had been tightened so much he couldn’t budge it..(and Den is pretty strong)…Now what?? I refuse to be forced to walk around this park again, threatened by numerous dogs , some behind fences that can barely hold them back.

   Dennis is not to be stopped from going into the desert, so he tells me to follow him, which is what I do best.  He found a place a ways down the fence line where it had been stretched open enough to duck and climb through…I wasn’t so sure I could do this without leaving a good chunk of my jeans hanging on the fence, but my hero and scout, Tonto, went through first , then held the wire fence for me …FREEDOM!!!!


100_5933 We headed off on what seemed to be a trail though the grasses.  This is still the Sonoran Desert, but different than Ajo.  There were no cactus here, but some Palo Verde and tall grasses…and there were TONS of colorful rocks!! As we headed farther into the desert we began to spot clothing and backpacks frequently…There was even someone’s jacket in a tree…

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Honestly, we have never seen so much clothing and evidence of people as we have seen in this Eastern edge of the Sonoran Desert.

We walked a while a100_5932nd crossed what use to be an irrigation ditch..  There was evidence also that cattle had been grazing there..Maybe the barbed wire fence was there to keep tourist rockhounds OUT as well as the cattle IN.. I had visions of us being chased around by a Longhorn Steer and having to shinny up a Palo Verde tree to get away…Then I imagined I could hear cattle in the distance..Dennis just laughs at me, but I would be the one laughing when  has a long horn stuck in his buttocks…


We traipsed through some more tall grasses and came upon a wide dry river bed…full of neat stones…

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I couldn’t resist filling my pockets with amazing and colorful quartz and some rocks I had no idea what they were, but I loved them…After about 45 minutes in the riverbed, we headed back across the desert to our break-out spot and climbed back through the fence to our camper..

I told you yesterday I would post pictures of the Mission San Xavier del Bac that we drove forever to find yesterday…It was fabulous…very lovely architecture…It is known as “The White Dove of the Desert”, originally built in 1783.

100_5910Here are some photos of the inside where there were people quietly praying, so I took these from the back with no flash…I didn’t want to intrude into private moments of prayer…

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I do apologize for the poor quality of the photos, but this mission is one of the more beautiful ones we have been in…and we have been in quite a few.  There was a hill we climbed with lions on each side at the top….

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…and there is a grotto on one side of the hill, which you can walk all the way around and get a great view of the valley… I loved this place..If you want to read more about the history, just use this link…San Xavier Mission

After lunch we went about 15 miles down the road to another mission located in Tumacacori.  It was on the Tumacacori National Park grounds, and thanks to Den’s “old age” card (Golden Age card), we got in free.  This mission original church was built in 1783, and has been restored…It was abandoned in the early 1800’s..and restoration began after 1828.

Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tumaca'cori, AZ 100_5943

The sanctuary still has its original paint, picture frames and extensive stenciling. The ceiling and walls are also adorned with paintings though they are now quite faded.

Altar dome ceiling in sanctuary of mission

mock up of santuary as it was Above is a diorama reproducing what the sanctuary would have looked like back in it’s original state…Note there are no pews and the worshipers have to kneel on the floor

steps in sacristy


The photo on the left is the steps from the sacristy into the sanctuary.  The sacristy is not blessed nor consecrated. It was where the priests kept the clothing and articles used in their duties…..Many people spent nights there, resting from their travels..Even General John Pershing spent a few nights here, resting from patrolling the border….



100_5953 Jesus statue by Jesuits mission from courtyard grainery

Above on the left , the Jesuits rendition of Christ..and a close up on the right…In the next on the left, is a view from the courtyard…and on the right is the granary.  If you want to read more info on the mission use this link…Tumacacori Mission.. We enjoyed this tons, and I know I overdid my photos AGAIN!!

OK, I think I have given you an idea of how much I love touring the missions here. As for now, if you have not fallen asleep, I will let you rest your eyes from staring at my blog for hours on end…We have again succeeded in spending most of the day away from our camper…I will see you tomorrow??? Don’t give up on me…and remember…we are moving again this Saturday..Onward to New Mexico!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of the missions. They are so beautiful.