Tucson’s “A” Mountain

I wanted to get up close and personal with Tucson’s “A” Mountain, otherwise called Sentinel Peak; so I hiked, really a short walk, to touch the white rocks of the “A”. The rocks are at the western side of the city somewhat overlooking the downtown area. You can see the “A” from across town too.

Sentinel Peak has plenty of history so I best discuss that before the white-washed rocks. The peak is part of a current-day park, but the area’s first inhabitants grew crops at its base along the Santa Cruz River (one of my favorite parts of the bike loop). Archeological remnants have been discovered from 3,000 years ago, and the peak was used for sentinels to watch for raiding Apaches. There was plenty of history happening through the ages on this mountain of volcanic rock; however, it is not a volcano.

I wanted to touch the “A” and to learn more about the creation of it. Apparently after a football victory in 1914, a civil engineering class had a project to design and create the huge “A”, and did so on March 4, 1915. The basalt rock (great choice as that will take eons to decompose) was hauled from a local quarry, and the “A” was painted white.

What I did not know: On March 23, 2003, 4 days after the start of the Iraq War, it was painted black in protest. Two weeks later the Tucson City Council resolved to have it painted red, white and blue in honor of American troops. Ten years later it was restored to the white color, yet on occasion for St. Patrick’s Day it has been green. (I will check it out this year.)

There is plenty of archeological and historical information about this peak, and it all began with me curious about what the “A” looked like up close. Cool!

Horchata…is to drink and enjoy!

I am creating a new habit, especially when looking for a beverage break while on a bicycle ride. There are plenty of coffee stands, yet I think I have discovered a real treat. Horchata!

I had no idea what it was, but when the vendor said “cinnamon”, I was willing to give it a try, and have been drinking it ever since. Oh, did she also say the rest of the ingredients?

The authentic Mexican horchata is made during a process that seems to take a few hours to prepare…no wonder I will always buy it when on the road…soaking rice, almonds…and pouring through cheesecloth and adding cinnamon. Actually, I have no idea how to make the drink, but it is delicious.

Give it a try some day, especially if you enjoy cinnamon!

enjoy this drink...horchata!
enjoy this drink…horchata!
Delicious to the last drop! Enjoy iced on a warm day!

Five Years Later; In Remembrance.

John Green unveiling a plaque for all to remember his daughter and why this green space is important for us all.

I do not remember where I was 5 years ago when I heard about a shooting at a Tucson Safeway store. I heard people were gathered outside there to listen to Gabby Giffords speak, this young girl: Christina-Taylor Green was one individual in attendance. Gabby was severely injured, Christina-Taylor was killed and many other spectators were part of the horrific moment.

Now five years later there is a section of the Tucson bike path with an area, and future cacti garden, to commemorate Christina-Taylor’s memory. Her father, John Green, spoke about his family’s use of the recreational areas nearby and their use of the bike path. The family has plans to continue developing a couple of acres of land here with everyone’s financial support.

The bicycling group I was with the day of this presentation did bike ride to attend this plaque unveiling and rode to the Safeway store where flowers were present. It’s unfortunate we in the USA are still amidst such gun violence, but I have hopes we will always remember those we have lost and work toward a safer USA.