Showing posts with label Charleston ghost town. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charleston ghost town. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 02, 2009




Heavy frost on everything this morning & I could still see snow on the Chiricahua mountains about 40 northeast of us.  I mix up the chicken feed at night now so that is all I have to do in the morning.  Just toss it out to the girls without freezing my hands up.  Might have to get some of you RV ladies to knit us up 8 toasty little warm chicken sweaters for the gals.


We have been to what's left of most ghost towns here in the Sulphur Springs valley & last Saturday on our way to Pearce's Heritage Days we came across the ruins of the once booming & bustling little mining town of Courtland.  As with all other true ghost towns there wasn't much left of anything compared to what was once originally there.  What is left of Courtland is stretched out over a mile or so along a dirt road.  A few remnants of a stone wall here, some concrete slabs there, & one heavily constructed & reinforced concrete building that once was a jail.  As with all ghost towns we have rambled around in it is hard for the mind to  imagination what actually took place at these sites.  Standing amidst rubble of tumbled walls I try to close my eyes & return to the towns heyday but all my imagination has to go on are old faded photos of ghost towns, some old Hollywood movies, pieces of pottery, crumbling walls, maybe a few weathered boards with rusting nails, & perhaps an old leather sole from an old boot long forgotten.   Underbrush overgrows what were once bustling streets filled with people.  All traces of former railroads are gone & it's difficult to look back into history across the desert landscape & see old steam engines pulling railroad cars loaded with merchandise, ore from the mines, cattle, & people.  Hard to imagine children playing in the streets, horses tied up alongside old wood sided building & folks dressed in their finery buying sugar & flour in the general store.  Miners whooped it up in the many saloons at nights.  Strangers arrived daily by horseback, stagecoach, or trains.  It is an era that is lost forever & it is only the winds in the mountains that whisper the tales of a life & times that none of us will ever know......or imagine:(( 


And below is Courtland to-day.


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We caught ourselves a break to-day when the local propane delivery truck from Wilcox brought a load of propane for Jeanie & Ray's large propane tank here at the ranch.  It's a once a year delivery & supplies the house with heat.  We had filled up our motorhome's propane tank in Douglas about a month ago & were down to about half a tank.  Normally at three quarters empty we would have to square everything away, bring in the slides, disconnect the water, sewer, electricity, & satellite dish lines & drive our house to a propane filling station either in Douglas or at the closer Double Adobe RV park about half way to Bisbee.  While the fellow was filling the ranch tank Kelly asked him if he could fill our tank as well......& he did.  Nice break & it sure saved us a disruptive hassle.



I have a habit of loosing camera lens caps & as of last Saturday my last lens cap had departed to the fair land far away where missing things somehow go.  Needed a lens hood for my smaller lens anyway plus both camera lenses were in need of UV filters.  Figured we might as well head on over to Sierra Vista where we had looked up a camera store that had all the aforementioned items.  The road to Sierra Vista is an easy wide open spaces drive that gently winds between the Dragoon & Mule mountains.  We drove through Tombstone at high noon & if I would have had my window down we might have heard some gunfire coming from the OK Corral gunfight site.  They do re-enactments there daily.  We have been to Tombstone a couple times before & it is very commercialized but I would recommend you do the BIRDCAGE THEATER if you go there.  Check out our TOMBSTONE PHOTOS.  This place has not been jazzed up & re-constructed.  It an eerie place to wander around in & it smells very, very, old.  If there are such things as ghosts I'm sure they are present in this old aging building.  Yes, there is a gift store at the back door exit but that doesn't have anything to do with what is inside that old building!!



The Charleston Road runs between Tombstone & Sierra Vista & for us to-day it was a trip down memory lane because we spent a few very enjoyable weeks boondocking in the area this past January.  It was at this time we did day trips to the ghost towns of Charleston, Millville, & Fairbank.  Took us 2 days to find the crumbling adobe walls of Charleston amidst the heavy mesquite underbrush.  If anyone is interested you can find our daily adventures in our archives.  Look back to late January of this year for our times in this area.  Also February & March for our times at the ranch & our escapades into the Dragoon & Chiricahua Mountains.



Sierra Vista is a fair sized city & easy to get around in.  Every kind of store, facility, or business you need is here stretched out along Fry Boulevard.  Big box stores like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, & Frys.  All the regular eating places are here too.  The driving force behind Sierra Vista is the large army base, Fort Huachuca.  We toured the Fort last March plus, Coronado Peak & Carr Canyon.  And of course it's all in our March archives.  



Hit a few thrift stores to-day & then the busiest grocery store I've ever seen.  Frys is a grocery chain found only in the southwest  & is very, very, popular.  It was our second trip to Frys this year & it must have been our lucky day because we caught ourselves another break.  Kelly had picked up a Fry's discount card last March & that saved us a few dollars but on the first Wednesday of every month it is an additional 10% off for Seniors.  We didn't know that but when Kelly went to pay, the cashier eyed me up & down with a wary eye, turned to Kelly & asked, "is he 65!!"  Guess my old torn shirt, dusty hat, & totally out of control beard must have scared her real good & she was afraid to ask me directly.  I like when that happens.  Don't ask me about the days an old girlfriend dressed me in white pleated pants, panama sneakers, pink polo shirts, & hung a gold chain around my neck. Made me wear a matching gold bracelet to my sparkly watch on my other wrist.  No, don't even go there!!  And no, the gold was not real.  It was just window dressing for her new boyfriend.  Is it any wonder I prefer to be a scruffy old sod busting cowboy these days:))  Maybe I'll do a blog on that era of my life sometime.  Maybe use some pink ink too!!


Anyway, I got kinda sidetracked again but I did find the camera accessories I needed & if your in Sierra Vista & need to do some wheeling & dealing be sure to drop in & see a friendly old guy by the name of Harvey Ross at LANDMARK PHOTO 400 W Fry Boulevard.   "Old guy' were Harvey's words not mine:))


We were back at the ranch by 4:15 just in time to get the chickens saddled up & the dog's fed.  Another fine day in the life & times of, The Bayfield Bunch:))


GROANER'S CORNER:))  Two cows standing next to each other in a field, Daisy says to Dolly "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," said Dolly. "It's true -- no bull!", exclaimed Daisy.



The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

MY SMUG MUG (I am finally working on updating this site)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009



We are about 3500 feet above sea level here so cooler temperatures are to be expected. And cooler temps it was this morning when we headed out on our morning hike. Had on my flannel lined winter pants, T-shirt, 2 long sleeved shirts, & my lined army jacket. Kelly had to wear mitts & a knitted woolen hat. We could see our breath & there was some steam coming off the San Pedro river. EARLY MORNING SUNRISE

Decided to head out & see if we could find the few remains of the old mining ghost town of Charleston. Found a path on the southwest side of the river that didn't look to overgrown so off we went. It was a beautiful looking morning with the rising sun low on the eastern horizon. The well worn path led through tall grasses as we followed the San Pedro north. There was evidence that cattle were in the area as well although we never did see any. We could hear the twittering of many birds in the cottonwoods but they were hard to see. I don't have a good bird lens for my camera, but maybe someday. We could only imagine how pretty this must be when all the leaves are on the trees & all the tall grasses, green. The river itself looked very clear & clean. We got into some heavy mesquite underbrush in places but the path was easy to follow for the most part. Occasionally we would see things dropped along the way by the illegal aliens that obviously use this path as well. Socks, an old shirt, & other paraphernalia. At one point we found a complete backpack with empty water & juice containers inside. Tire marks in the dry wash sand nearby suggested Border Patrol!! ON THE TRAIL OF A GHOST TOWN

We finally reached a point along the river where it narrowed & a log was across the water. A fellow on the RV Net had said when we reached the river narrows, to head up the bank & hill to our west. It was a short steep climb & Kelly waited with the dogs while I scooted up onto a plateau with a lot of mesquite trees & underbrush. The large hills were in front of me about a quarter mile away. I followed a path through the brush & then it ended. It was obvious from looking around me that I was not going to find a few old adobe foundations in the ground. I felt I was probably close to the old ghost town but there was no point in going any further so I headed back through the mesquite & down the steep bank where the gang was waiting. We re-traced our steps back along the trail & followed the river back to Charleston road & our rig. We had been gone about 2 hours, the temps had warmed up, & with all our winter clothes on we were doing some pretty good sweating by the time we got back. IT'S THE OLD GROUCH HIMSELF

Around 11 as we were relaxing in our chairs & soaking up some sun we heard a vehicle pull into the parking lot behind us & head our way. When we heard the "Wooop Wooop" of a siren we knew the jig was up & we were probably going to have to move. It was the BLM Ranger & another fellow who looked like a bonafide S.W.A.T. team member. These two guys were carrying more firepower than what the whole Canadian Army has in it's entire arsenal. Guns, ammo clips, clubs, etc. etc. These guys were loaded for bear!! (and drug smugglers) As Canadians, we're not used to being that close to & seeing all that artillery. They were both nice fellas & just informed us that overnight camping was not permitted in that parking lot & we would have to move on. The BLM guy told us of a spot just up the road towards Tombstone that we could re-locate too.....and that's just what we did. Took us about half an hour to get things squared away, waved good-bye to the Charleston road parking lot & headed up the road.

Wow, is this new spot ever great. We now have a spectacular view of the whole valley to our southwest. Sierra Vista is laid out below us about 10 miles on the far side of the valley & nestled under the Huachuca Mountains. We can see for miles & miles all the way down into Mexico. The town of Tombstone is only about 4 miles east of us & the area we are in right now is called, The Tombstone Hills. At this very moment as I'm typing this I can look straight out our window & see the long horizontal ribbon of shimmering lights in the distance that is the city of Sierra Vista. Almost as far as the eye can see from left to right the lights resemble a long thin gold twinkling chain with flecks of sparkling red rubies, glittering white diamonds & pinpoints of emerald green lights thrown in for good measure. Reminded me of driving down from the mountains into Las Vegas one night back in the mid 90's. And above all this in front of me is the black velvet sky with it's own awesome showcase of stars. You will never see things like this sitting in RV Parks!!


We spent the rest of the day doing some cleaning & just basically sitting outside soaking up the view in front of us. Last week, Kelly had posted some questions about this region on the RV Net Forum. Several people from the area responded & that is how we came to meet Sergeant John to-day. John lives over near Elfrida & works at the Fort Huachuca Army Base in Sierra Vista so he commutes the very road we're camped near, twice a day. He had given us his phone number & said to give him a call when we're in the area, so to-day, that is what we did & John stopped in to see us on his way home from Fort Huachuca this afternoon. Nice fellow, retired from the Army 20 years ago but still active on the base in another capacity. John & his wife are RV'ers also & said for us to come on over & stay a spell if we like, so we just may do that later on.

Around 4:30 a white pick-up truck pulled in with an ATV in the back & two young fellows in the cab. They were going hunting back up in the hills & just stopped to say hello. Nice fellas. Just before supper another pick-up truck approached & stopped. A well seasoned older couple got out to see how we were doing. Nice folks & we had quite a chat. Turns out they lease this land & have a lot of grazing cattle they look after. They also have another cattle ranch up around Benson. Their son has the place across the road here. Sure is a lot of friendly folks in these parts.

We received an email to-night from the folks we will be ranch sitting for next month & they said for us to come on down this Friday. So, if we don't get blowed off this big hilltop by a roaring Arizona wind by then, we'll head over to the McNeal area at the end of the week. And, I might add, as long as we don't get frozen to this hilltop as well. Temps are dipping to well below freezing to-night......................................:(( CHECKERS LOVES TO BE OUTSIDE