University of Arizona

Sense of Place

Geos. 195D

Catalina State Park

Up on the lower northwest flank of the Catalinas lies Catalina State Park, one of the great state parks of Arizona.
Catalina State Park is famous for many things:

  • Excellent desert-foothills hiking
  • Neat geology
  • A nice bosque of mesquite
    • Click here for a short video on harvesting mesquite beans on campus
    • Click here for Desert Harvesters, an organization dedicated to appreciating native foods of the Sonoran Desert, including mesquite
  • Great birding, especially for owls
  • Very dark skies for star gazing
  • Classic sunsets, and pretty good moonsets as well
  • Spring wildflowers, during some years, anyway
  • Fun camping
  • An instructive Hohokam village, called Romero. Compare and contrast this Hohokam site with others we've seen in class

(click to enlarge)
Catalina sunset (above) and moonset (left), Oct. 25, 2014. Click to see bigger versions. Photos — Paul Sheppard
Paul's mesquite pancakes

1 cup (8 oz.) mesquite meal
1 cup (8 oz.) baking mix
1-2 cups milk
2 eggs
  Sift meal and mix together. Add eggs and milk and stir
batter well. Cook on hot griddle.

Makes 1.0 scads of 2-in.-diameter pancakes.

Serve with mesquite- and/or prickly pear-flavored jelly.

Enjoy on a sunny but cool afternoon within a tranquil
mesquite bosque, in the shadow of a majestic mountain
range, in the neighborhood of a long-lasting but myster-
iously abandoned Hohokam village, in the presence of
a bold male Vermillion Flycatcher flashing his very very
redness, all the while contemplating the essence of sense
of place.

Eat Mesquite! A Cookbook
Desert Harvesters
The Pancake Tree
Jacky Turchick & Laurie Melrood
Mesquite in literature and cuisine

Sutherland Wash

2009: Stream discharge calculations.
Photo — Paul Sheppard

2010: Flowing this year.
Photo — Colleen Mathis
Romero Ruin Hohokam
Click here for a pdf of this booklet
(password protected, ask Paul)

2015: Romero saguaro, backlit.
Photo — Nina Kolodij

2014: Francisco & Victoriana Romero's house.
Photo — Paul Sheppard

2018: Upslope from Romero Ruin: Desperate landscape, or microsites of opportunity?

Oblique aerial view of Romero, facing south.

The mighty Romero Ruin saguaro, in panorama. Photo — Paul Sheppard, 2017

Hohokam Ballcourts

  • Community structures
  • Associated with the Hohokam culture
  • Dating from AD 750 to 1200
  • Athletic competitions, social gatherings
  • Click here for more reading

Artistic depiction of a Hohokam ballcourt,
possibly in Tucson. Artist: Rob Ciaccio.

2011: Romero Ballcourt.
Extra Team Photo this year.

Mesquite Bosque

2017: Vermillion Flycatcher. Photo — Robin Williams

2014: Mesquite poetry. Photo — Gary Huckleberry

Team Photo

2018: Catalina State Park walnut tree
on Sutherland Wash. Photo — Paul Sheppard

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Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA
Comments to Paul Sheppard: sheppard @