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Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog

Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Interns

Elisabeth Morales

Although I’ve lived in Arizona my whole life, the cacti and mountains that surround me never gets old.  The desert and all of its unique beauty fascinates me and I can’t wait to tap into some of Arizona’s hidden gems and share my experiences!

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It's a Jeep Thing
Jeep people are awesome, but we do have our idiosyncrasies. Join me as we look at the humorous side of owning and loving Jeeps.

Feature Adventures
Want to try something different? These stories showcase a wide varitey of unique adventures that allow you to experience them first hand!



Portrait Photography
A collection of photo galleries showcasing my portrait photography - typically portraits with a slight twist.

My first book. It's a mystery called Devil's Moon and has already received outstanding reviews. Set in Sedona, Devil's Moon offers anyone who enjoys a good mystery (or who just loves Arizona) a great read.

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Arizona N2O - The Lighter Side of Experience Arizona

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Disclaimer

Read the Experience Arizona Disclaimer before attempting any of our adventures. Check with local authorities (FS, BLM, etc.) before heading out on any adventures for updates road conditions, closures, etc.

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Road Closures

Trails and roads listed within this site may be closed at any time by the Forest Service, private property owners or other governmental agencies. It is your responsibility to verify state of trail prior to attempting to run it.

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Steam Pump Ranch

Nestled amidst the busy commercial developments along Oracle Road, sits the historic Steam Pump Ranch. Unimposing and easily passed by, most drivers don’t give the old buildings a second thought. Or their historical significance.   

The Steam Pump Ranch and the families who resided there significantly impacted not only Tucson, but all of southern Arizona. In 1874, two German immigrants – and Johann Zellweger  and George Pusch – arrived in Tucson and bought a portion of the Canada del Oro Ranch. They built a way-station for the large cattle companies driving their herds from the north to the Red Rock or Tucson shipping stations. The name of the ranch came from their ingenious use of a steam pump to draw plentiful water from the then shallow aquifer along the Canada del Oro wash, creating a desert oasis for the cattle ranchers in the area

They received 15 cents per head of cattle they watered. And the Steam Pump Ranch's location made them extremely busy. Cattle were bought by the pound a few miles down the road and ranchers were happy to fill their thirsty cattle up with water just before they were weighed.

Their business boomed and Pusch diversified into the butcher and ice industry. Within a few years, Pusch became wealthy (yes, he is the man Pusch Ridge is named after) and was active in politics and was an instrumental voice toward gaining Arizona’s statehood. Another rarity about Pusch was that he never carried a gun. He always treated the Indians well, giving them water, food, sugar and flour whenever they asked. A few of his daughters had long, blonde hair and this was an amazement to the Indians at that time and they would stop Pusch and his family as they rode to their ranches north of Tucson just so they could run their fingers through the girl's hair.

In 1933, Jack Proctor bought the Steam Pump Ranch from the Pusch estate and it was owned by members of his family until it was acquired by the Town of Oro Valley in 2007. The Town of Oro Valley has partnered with Pima County to restore and preserve the buildings, artifacts and landscape of Steam Pump Ranch.

Today, the public can enjoy experiencing the history of Steam Pump Ranch. The site is open for special occasions such as Settler’s Day, open houses and holiday events. These include tours of the Pusch family ranch house, guest speakers, food, entertainment and historical demonstrations. For information and dates on activities at Steam Pump Ranch, check Oro Valley’s Parks and Recreation calendar of events at: http://www.orovalleyaz.gov/town/departments/parks-and-recreation/calendar       

Another little known piece of information is that there is a large historical "trash dump" that has recently been discovered near the Steam Pump Ranch.

During my a recent open house, I was given a private tour of the trash dump and other historical foundations by one of the members of the Oro Valley Historical Society. He had "discovered" the foundations and trash dump while looking at Google Earth images, noting some of the more rectangular lines and unnatural piles of debris in the area. He found what appears to be a slaughtering station, remnants of old buildings and sheds from the early days of the ranch and possible prehistoric stone walls. The site has been surveyed by an archeologist and continues to be studied.

One of the coolest things he pointed out to me was a few pieces of native coal. He told me there used to be a coal mine at the base of A-mountain where they would get the coal to run the steam pump. I had no idea! What a cool find.

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