Intrepid Quail Creekers enjoy horses, Father Kino’s Mission and a Spanish Fort

Maryellen Farmer

The Quail Creek TRIPS Group recently took a small group of Quail Creek residents on a full-day tour, visiting some of the most interesting spots south of Green Valley. This all-day adventure included tours of Equine Voices at Jumpin’ Jack Ranch, the Mission at Tumacacori and the old Presidio at Tubac.

Equine Voices, located in the Elephant Head area, is a non-profit organization dedicated to sheltering horses and other equines that cannot speak for themselves. On the morning of our visit, volunteers cared for 54 horses, five burros and two mules. Many of the mares and foals Equine Voices volunteers take care of have been rescued from the pharmaceutical industry’s Premarin production mills in Canada. Others have been purchased at auction to prevent their export and slaughter for human consumption. Still others have been rescued from abandonment or horrendous abuse. One such horse had been used by drug traffickers in our nearby mountains to carry heavy loads of drugs, was shot and left alone with a 300 pound pack on his back.

Operated on private Jumpin’ Jack Ranch, Equine Voices is managed by two paid staff members and close to 100 well-trained and dedicated volunteers. The public is invited to take morning tours on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 11:00 a.m. but reservations are necessary. Contact [email protected] or call 398-2814 to schedule and get directions. A recent addition to the endeavor is Gulliver & Friends Boutique and Thrift Shop located on the East Frontage Road, between Tubac and Tumacacori, across from Wisdom’s Restaurant.

After a hearty lunch in Tubac, the group proceeded to Tumacacori Historic Park, location of the Father Kino’s first visit to an O’odham village in 1692. Ranger Rick Collins led the tour through the grounds, telling stories about daily life at the mission and pointing out the most historic sites, including the historic adobe Visitor Center, the church and cemetery.

Admission to Tumacacori is $5 but senior citizens, 62 years and over, can get in free if they hold a lifetime National Park Service senior pass. These passes can be purchased currently at Tumacacori for only $10, but the price will increase in just a few months to $80. The pass is a great deal; it is valid for your lifetime and it admits you and everyone in your vehicle to any National Park Service property, including all the National Parks.

Ranger Rick also serves as a volunteer at the Tubac Presidio State Park, so he joined the group later in Tubac and led a tour of the oldest Spanish Presidio in Arizona. This was also the first European settlement, established by the Spanish Army in 1752. Many cultures are represented here and the museum on the premises showcases over 2000 years of history of Native American peoples as well as Spanish, pioneer and Arizonan cultures. Visitors can see Arizona’s oldest printing press and tour the original 1885 schoolhouse.