4. CLIMATE, RAINY SEASONS, HEALTH, ETC.


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THE climate of Arizona is varied, embracing every variety, from that of the northern States, to that of the extreme of the sunny south. On the highest mountain peaks, from ten thousand to thirteen thousand feet in height, snow falls to a great depth, and remains on the ground in places from six to ten months of the year. On the mountains, at an altitude of eight thousand feet, the snow fall is two to four feet, and remains from one to three months. At an altitude of six thousand feet,—that of Prescott,—there is a snow fall of a few inches to one foot or more, and the snow remains for a few days only, except in extreme cases, when it has remained for a few weeks only. At this altitude the seasons of spring, summer, and fall, are extremely pleasant, salubrious, and enjoyable, equal to any in the world. The nights are pleasantly cool and agreeable, and two pairs of blankets at night will ever be found to be a necessary covering. At an elevation of four thousand feet, which is that of Mineral Park, Cerbat,


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San Carlos, Pueblo Viejo Valley, Camp Grant, and many other places, there is but little snow fall, the winters are chilly, but not cold, and the summers pleasant and delightful, the nights moderately cool, sufficiently so to give to all a good and refreshing night's rest. At an altitude of fifteen hundred to two thousand feet, which is that of the great plains and valleys of the southern part of the Territory, Tucson, Florence, Phœnix, etc., snow is almost wholly unknown, the winters are extremely mild and pleasant, and the summers warm and dry, with continued warm weather for many months. At this altitude the climate in summer, though quite warm, is not oppressive, or debilitating, as in many other parts of our country with the same range of thermometer, 85° to 1057°. Owing to the pure and rarefied condition of the atmosphere, and the cool nights, the human system keeps in a healthy tone. At lower altitudes, especially at Yuma, which has an elevation of but one hundred and sixty feet above tide water, the thermometer often runs up to 110°, and in extreme cases to over 120°, yet at Yuma, cases of sunstroke are unknown, and its citizens enjoy most excellent health. From the foregoing, it will be noticed that the altitude of the country gives the different degrees and variety of temperature.

There is probably no country in the world with a purer, healthier climate than Arizona, and the sick,


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the debilitated, the worn out and enfeebled constitutions of other climes and countries, can here find a climate of exceeding purity, ranging through all the degrees from hot to cold, according to altitude, from which each and every one can select that locality in summer, or winter, that is required by their constitution or ailments. For consumptives and those having kindred diseases, the winter climate of Yuma, and thence east to Maricopa Wells, Phœnix, Florence, and Tucson, and especially at Yuma, there is no more favorable climate in the known world, and when the country is opened up, and traversed by railroads, Yuma and the other points named will of necessity become the centres of sanitariums of world-wide celebrity. In summer, the mountainous regions are equally favorable for like diseases, and also for all asthmatic and respiratory diseases. The worst cases of asthma are invariably cured by a residence in the mountains of Arizona of a few months.

There are two rainy seasons each year in the Territory, one of which is usually the months of February and March, and the other the months of July and August, but these rainy seasons sometimes come earlier and sometimes later. Occasionally they will continue for three and four months, and some years there is a rain-fall during every month, more especially in the mountains. The amount of rain-fall differs much in different localities of the Territory,


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being far greater in the mountains than in the great plains and valleys. In the mountains it ranges from twelve to thirty or more inches, and in the plains and valleys from one to twelve inches. At Yuma the rain-fall has in some years been less than one inch, but this is exceptional, the usual quantity being from three to five inches. The sky here during the whole year is almost invariably a clear, blue expanse of ether. The extreme purity of the atmosphere, and the almost continued and perpetual sunshine which pervades the Territory, has attracted the attention of every observing person who has been there either for a few months, or for years. The author made a special note of the fact, that during his residence there of over two years, there was never, not in all that time, in summer or winter, one single day without bright, beautiful sunshine. There is perhaps no other country which presents this peculiarity in so marked a manner, where there is any rain-fall at all. The rain clouds do not overspread the whole heavens as in the Atlantic States, but pass over in areas of narrow width, following up the mountain spurs and chains, and often, when the rain-fall upon a mountain top, or mountain plateau, is sufficient to transform the tiny rivulet, or mountain brooklet, into a raging torrent of waters, there will be in the valley below, only a few miles distant, continued sunshine, a balmy and fragrant


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atmosphere, and continued employment for man and beast.

It is a grand and glorious sight to witness a thunder-storm in the mountains of Arizona, to listen to the rolling, rumbling, almost deafening reverberations of the thunder, as the thunder-cloud passes over some lofty mountain plateau, or hangs along the crest of some jagged mountain cliff, and witness the vivid play of the forked lightning, as it flashes from cloud to cloud, or darts meteor like from crag to crag; while during this time, the observer is basking in the sunshine in some beautiful valley just outside the mountain range, where all nature is pleasant, quiet, and serene.

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