Monday, February 02, 2009



Not much to say about the weather here because everyday is the same. Lots of sunshine & warm daytime temps. That's it, all day every day. We love Arizona:))

Back in the mid to late 1800's this area we are camped in was a bee hive of mining activity. There are hundreds of small open pit mines scattered throughout these hills. We can look out our window & see mounds of stones among the mesquite where men have dug down into the rocks & gravel looking for silver. It was many of these rough tough miners with their picks & shovels who made the town of Tombstone as notorious as it was. It's hard to believe when standing at the top of one of these open pits that all the work in those days was done by hand. Shovels & picks to get through the solid rocks & layers of sand & gravel. All that stuff had to be hauled back up to the surface with ropes & buckets. Add to that, hundred degree temperatures in the summer with no trees for shade, rattlesnakes, scorpions, Apache Indian attacks, sparse water resources, & a multitude of other hazards & you have the makings of some very tough & hardened people. Being camped right in the middle of this environment these past few days has been a good eye into the past for us.


Gwen & Jack, the folks who cattle ranch here told us about the many open pit mines nearby so this morning we took the car & headed up some of the old rock strewn bumpy roads in the hills behind us. Didn't take long to find the mines. Always a tell tale sign of rocks & gravel shoveled up in a pile amongst the prickly mesquite. Some of the pits are simply a black hole leading down into an abyss. Jack says some pits are as deep as 200 feet. Rumors & legends abound about bodies at the bottom of some pits. One pit in particular was suspicious so Jack said his son one time brought over a piece of farm machinery, some ropes & pulleys, & lowered himself down the suspect pit to the bottom, but no bodies or bones were found. (maybe the ghosts heard him coming) Some pits still have what's left of wooden frameworks around the entrances. Old weather beaten boards & rusted nails. One pit still had an old hand made ladder descending down into it. (web album photo) A BIG WAVE ON THE TRAIL FROM CATTLEMAN JACK

Jack also told us that Tombstone's waterline runs across the property from the Huachuca mountains about 20 miles to the west. Yesterday on the road to Ramsey Canyon we saw a sign beside the road for the Tombstone Aquaduct. To-day we actually found part of that exposed water pipe itself nearby with a sign beside it saying Tombstone Aquaduct. (picture) The black pipe looked pretty old & we were surprised to see a section of it running across the rocky surface exposed to the elements.

Gwen & Jack have another watering station for their cattle a little higher up in the hills so we drove as far as we could to find it. Road got a little rough so we walked the last section & found the water corral. No hydro up there but the 2 water lines we saw were tapped into the Tombstone Aqueduct. Some old flannel shirts were wrapped around the water pipes coming out of the ground to prevent them from freezing up. Didn't see any of the cattle to-day but there was lots of evidence on the ground of them having been there.


We followed the old road back to the Charleston highway & decided to head down the road a few miles & see if we could find the ruins of an old cabin that 3 miners had been robbed & murdered at in 1858. Turned off the highway onto an old road but didn't have any luck. We may go back again to-morrow & have another look for Brunknow's Cabin. It is said to be haunted. But, then again, doesn't everything have a sense of haunting in the old wild west. It's the thing legends are made of!! THESE MINING PITS DATE BACK TO THE MID TO LATE 1800'S

We were back to the rig by noon & spent the rest of the afternoon just simply enjoying our peaceful surroundings. Kelly had computer things to do for her Deer Park Lodge job & I had things to do like relaxing in my lounge chair working hard on my afternoon siesta. At one point though I actually wound up getting a haircut. Kelly said I was starting to look like the wild old man of Borneo with potatoes growing out his ears. Well, I guess she was right so out came the scissors & off came my hair. Well, some of it anyway. I'm sure glad I met Kelly back in 93 because that's the last time I ever paid for a haircut. Oh the perks, oh the perks:)) OUR LOVELY LADY GATEKEEPER

Beautiful half moon lighting up the desert landscape to-night. When I took Max out a few minutes ago I stood quietly for awhile listening. They say you can still hear the sounds of the Indians in the hills & the miners shovels & hammers striking the hardened rocks in the pit mines. I stood very quietly facing the hills, & I listened & I listened and........................................ CHARLESTON HILLS IN FOREGROUND & HUACHUCA MOUNTAINS IN THE BACKGROUND

No, I'm not a writer........I'm just a simple guy who likes to write.


1 comment:

  1. Al, you may not have heard the sounds in the night, but your camera most definately has captured the very same sights those miners and indaians saw so many years ago.

    the hermit