Posts Tagged ‘Coronado’

A Welcome Respite

Sure, there’s some historical significance to the Coronado National Memorial. Famed Spanish explorer & would-be conqueror, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, entered the present-day United States nearby in 1540. But the great thing about Coronado is its role as an oasis.

Now before I go any further, let me say that I really liked Arizona. It was my first big state tour west of the Mississippi, and I really loved that trip. There’s an awful lot to see and do, it’s really a beautiful state. But it is freakin’ hot.

Bob Thompson MountainComing from the cool Northeast, I had a really hard time adjusting to the blast furnace of southern Arizona (see my post on Chiricahua). Saguaro is a desert, Organ Pipe is the hottest spot in America, and Tucson and Phoenix are scorching blacktop heat islands. But Coronado was great. It’s situated on the northern side of the Sierra Madre, meaning it doesn’t get the full blast of the sun. The ground is also moister than the rest of the state, probably because of the mountains and the geological implications of the water table. The place is quite cool and surprisingly lush. A stop at Coronado is a welcome respite for those circling through Arizona’s national park sites.

The park’s HQ has some antique chain mail on display, the rainfall has created a wet cave up the slope (reminiscent of Gollum’s lair in The Hobbit), and there are some enjoyable, windy roads through the nearby mountains (I advise a sunset drive, really beautiful views abound). Just don’t pick up any hitchhikers….

I know, it doesn’t sound particularly exciting. But it is a nice change of pace.

[I didn’t own a digital camera when I visited Coronado. Pic courtesy of the National Park Service.]


Coronado National Memorial

Coronado’s Exploration into the American Southwest

Coronado Trail Scenic Byway

Google map of Coronado

Read Full Post »