Patagonia Lake SP
Interstate 19 leads directly south from Tucson so that one can be at the Mexican border in just over an hour. Our goal was Patagonia Lake State Park, just north of Nogales.
On route we took a lunch break and hike at Tumacacori National Historical Park. Teddy Roosevelt named the mission here a protected national park. The building is in disrepair, but has been stabilized and is quite beautiful and impressive. A hike around the grounds took us to the lime kiln where they created the materials for the white plaster used on the buildings, the orchard, water canal, and gardens with edibles and herbals both local and imported. It was worth a stop.
We reached Lake Patagonia with time to secure a site overlooking the water and take a walk along the birding trail. There are many small birds in the trees, but I am a terrible birder and can mostly just name birds by classes. I saw towhee, sparrows, finches, and woodpeckers. I did not see the elegant trogon who is supposed to be in these woods — tomorrow is another day. In the lake were the usual heron, coots, and ruddy ducks along with a black bird I could not identify. At first I thought they were anhinga, but they float too high in the water to be that.
The terrain around here was a surprise to us. The mountains are covered with yellowed grass giving them a soft look. At some point in the year they must be very green. Because of the lake there are many more, and larger, trees and very little cactus. We are pleased we came here.