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Saturday, September 1, 2001

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Navajo Wash

I walked down to Navajo Street, which is just a couple blocks south of my apartment. At the corner was a new little park that I had noticed when I walked home yesterday. I had thought that this was part of the Catholic Church next to it and hadn't noticed a Tucson parks sign on it before. It's small but nice, the Amphi Neighborhood Park. Just right to take the kids to play on the play equipment or play ball with neighbors.

I came on a unique fence as I walked along Navajo. It was a chain link fence only, instead of plastic woven through the links, they had woven fake grass through. It looked like a vertical lawn. Unfortunately it looked like they had run out and picked up another batch so one end was a different colored green, or they had done part and then let it fade a bit before doing the rest. It's not Martha Stewart but I found it to be a refreshing change from pastel plastic strips.

Navajo is one of the streets that are designed as storm drains and has the edges slanted up. Alvernon used to be one when we lived near there and my kids would play in it when it rained even though I constantly told them not to. When I worked at the insurance agency one guy came in with a ticket he got from waterskiing down Alvernon, pulled by a friend's pickup. The main streets are being redone with proper drainage but there are still quite a few smaller streets that fill with water when it rains. It must be a pain for people who live along them.

I followed Navajo west past Stone to Oracle where it went into a drain under the street coming out into the cemetery as a genuine wash. The graves near the wash were people who had fought in the wars from WWI to the Korean War, and their wives. These were the lucky ones who lived for many years afterwards. Further on there was a fenced area with gravestones in hebrew inside. I was surprised as this is the Holy Hope Cemetery and I thought it was catholic. Next to it is Evergreen Cemetery which I thought was more multi religious as I had seen Jewish graves there.

A little further and I was into a rather barren, weedy area and then I came to a very bare and sad part of the cemetery. There was no nice grass here and many of the wooden crosses were leaning sadly. There was a sign saying this was the Pima County Cemetery. They often had two or three plaques together. I suppose they cremate them and just bury them close together. I was saddened to see so many babies. Often they lived less than a day and were only known as Infant So-and-so. I can understand the adult graves as these would be people who died and had no family but it's that hard to believe that there were so many newborns without families to bury them.

There were some round markers next to the graves. They said they were Pima County Highway Dept Reference Mark. I don't know why there were several markers here in the back deserted part of the cemetery. I took a picture of one had on it S.E. Cor 25B.

By this time I had reached the back of the cemetery and didn't want to walk all the way back and around again. The wash curved south and went under Fairview Avenue. The fences were too high for me so I walked down but the tunnel was a little long. I walked south a bit to where the other wash crosses the cemetery and walked under that one. It was dry and I could see the other side but I did have to bend over and I didn't like it. I don't like tight places. On the other side the two washes joined and headed east through a deep concrete wash. I was able to get up the side where they met and over the lower fence.

It was nine by this time and I went just north on Fairview to Jacobs Park. Jacobs has a rather shabby YMCA and an outside pool that was closed at this time. There was a guy in the office but the place was rather deserted. I ate breakfast at a table outside and saw one guy wander through and a group in the far corner but that was it.

I then wandered west again trying to stay as near to the wash as I could. I was back on Navajo and then followed an access dirt road right next to the wash to Flowing Wells. The wash and road, now surfaced, continued west and the road was now Ft Lowell again. Not long after Flowing Wells the wash turned north and I couldn't follow it as fences blocked it. I continued west to Romero as there were no through street till then. This area is nearly all trailer parks, and most of them are very nice, despite Carville's opinion of trailer parks.

Where Ft Lowell dead ended into Romero there was another wash going west toward the railroad and interstate. I turned north past more mobile home parks on the right and , the Plant Materials Center with neat rows of plants and irrigation ditches. This may be a part of the University of Arizona but I'm not sure.

Just before Prince the wash came through again and went under Romero and west again. I was tired of walking and it was getting warm so I'll leave that for another day. At Prince I had to walk east to Flowing Wells to catch the bus. I just crossed the street to the bus stop when it came and I was so relieved that I wouldn't have to wait another hour for the bus. Well, I wouldn't have waited an hour but would have taken another bus but that wouldn't have been as convenient.

I did a little shopping and had lunch at the mall but was glad to get home again and put my feet up. Other than walking over to the library, I was set for the day.

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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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