Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Our beautiful warm sunny weather continues here in southwestern Ontario & what a treat that is for everyone as we head into the finest time of the year. A month from now we should be peaking with our splendid autumn colors. Two months from now it will probably be dull, depressing, drizzly, wet, & cold, with long gray days back to back. Three months from now Christmas will be just around the corner so who cares & four months from now if you go outside without being all bundled up.......you will probably freeze up & die!! Some of you may remember this past winter that we had ourselves a cushy little 7 week ranch sitting job in southeastern Arizona. We were located in a great area rich with western history & were able to take many interesting day trips in the car. Located just a couple short miles from McNeal, Arizona we were about twenty minutes to Bisbee or 25 to Douglas. Tombstone was about half an hour & another 15 minutes took us to Sierra Vista. The Chiricahua Mountain range started about a half hour's drive to the northeast of the ranch & that's where we headed off one sunny wild west morning in search of the elusive & hard to find old Fort/Camp Rucker. BUILDING RUINS
Before we had ever heard anything of a Fort Rucker though we had taken a drive one day along a scenic winding road up into RUCKER CANYON. We told some folks later about that drive & they said, "did you find the Fort??" We were lucky to find our way back to the main road let alone a Fort but our interest was peaked at the thoughts of finding an old army camp somewhere in the Chiricahuas. Looked on the internet for information regarding Fort Rucker's location but it was vague. FRONT DOOR TO FORT RUCKER'S BAKERY
It was a couple weeks later while touring around Coronado National Memorial (OUR CORONADO BLOG) (OUR CORONADO PHOTOS) south of Sierra Vista on the Mexican border that a chance encounter with a park ranger shed some light on the exact whereabouts of old Fort Rucker. RUINS OF THE COMMISSARY WITH BAKERY BUILDING IN THE BACKGROUND
Click on this FORT RUCKER BLOG for our search in the Chiricahua Mountains & FORT RUCKER PHOTOS for our web album of pictures that day. OLD BARN IS STILL USED TO HOUSE CATTLE
Shortly we'll have us a look at the ghost towns of Gleeson, Pearce, & Fairbank.
GROANER'S CORNER:(( A woman is like a tea bag......you don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water!!
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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
http://usparks.about.com/library/miniplanner/blcoronadonmemTHE SAN PEDRO VALLEY BELOW
Fired up the car & headed southwest about 9:30. Rolled up & out of the Sulphur Springs Valley, over the Mule Mountains, through Bisbee & down into the San Pedro Valley on the other side. Ahead of us in the morning sun lay the mighty Huachuca Mountain Range. We were surprised at how green & full the cottonwood trees along the San Pedro River looked. Just last week we had crossed the San Pedro west of Tombstone & they were still stark & bare of leaves. Large puffy white clouds cast moving shadow patterns on the mountains as we drew closer. Morning is my favorite time of day because it is when I have the most energy. I like to do the day trips or the hiking in the cooler morning hours, cruise through the afternoons, & crash onto my bed in a crumpled heap about mid evening. How can ya tell I'm over 64 huh. LOOKING SOUTHWEST FROM CORONADO PEAK
We always like to stop at visitor centers first when visiting parks because they have maps & advice on where to go & what to see. Talked to a park ranger outside for awhile & he was full of ideas for us about the surrounding area. Told us where to find Fort Rucker's ruins so looks like we'll be heading back to Rucker Canyon again shortly. That's the road where we picked up about 45 pounds of dust inside the car & unfortunately, inside my cameras too.
The drive from the visitor's center up to the parking lot at Coronado Peak is a graveled road with twisting winding switchbacks wide enough for only one vehicle in many spots. It's not a drive you want to make in a hurry. There are no guardrails & the drop offs are sudden & dramatic. Kelly refused to look over the edge as we made our way up. Big parking lot at the top as the road continues on by & down the other side of the mountain into Mexico. The views were spectacular from the parking lot & we noticed a trail heading higher in the direction of a peak to the south. This was Coronado Peak. Kelly went about half way & I continued on up to the peak despite an increasing pain the last few days in my right hip. Pain doesn't count when your doing something you really enjoy though.
THE HUACHUCA MOUNTAIN RANGE
The view from the peak was totally awesome & I was so happy that there were no people there to destroy the quiet tranquility of the moment. The view into Mexico extended maybe a hundred miles. I could see the wall between Mexico & the United States extending from the foot of the mountain east to the horizon over near Bisbee. To the west was a vast flat plain ending in mountain ranges in all directions. Same thing looking south into the heart of Mexico. Once again as I stood there in the morning sun with the big fluffy white clouds overhead & the blue hazy mountains on the horizon I thought to myself how lucky I was to be there seeing all this beauty before me. There were no human sounds up there, just the wind in the grasses & the tiny flitting birds in the cactus. But my time alone on the peak was precious as I scurried around taking photos here & there. I knew I didn't have much time because I could already hear the clatter & clamor of people approaching on the trail below. Nothing like a bunch of chattering people to destroy one's quiet thoughts & reflections. I bid a final adieu to a place I will not likely see again & began the descent down the scenic stone step pathway, all the time snapping pictures to my left & right of the valleys & mountains on both sides of the ridge. The group of people coming up the trail were all busy twittering away as they went by & I was reminded once again of why I avoid groups of people. There is a feeling of peace to be had in the outdoors but it's not possible to attain when surrounded with domestic blusterings of politics, economic issues, health concerns, bitching & complaining & just downright dumb stuff. Heavens knows I can do all that by myself without having to have people around to add more bull to my own blusters!! LOOKING SOUTH INTO THE HEART OF MEXICO
Kelly was seated on a bench in the parking lot enjoying the views when I got back. We rustled up the binoculars & had us a good look down into the sweeping countryside of Mexico far below to the southwest. Chatted with a fellow from Michigan & watched a young border patrol officer scanning the roads below with his binoculars as well. This is a very busy area with a lot of illegal aliens moving across the border below. THE HUACHUCA MOUNTAIN RANGELOOKING EAST TO BISBEE & THE DISTANT MULE MOUNTAINS ON THE LEFT HORIZON
The drive down the mountain was just as hairy as the drive up but before long we were out of the mountains & heading back across the San Pedro Valley for the little Alpine town of Bisbee. First stop was Jimmy's Hot Dog Company & then across the road for groceries at Safeway. Grabbed a cup of expensive burnt tasting coffee at Charbucks again & then it was off to the Bisbee Library to return some DVD's & pick up a few more. We were back to the ranch by 3 & cruised through the rest of the afternoon rather quietly. Kelly got a campfire going later on & I slipped out to watch the full moon pull itself out of a heavy cloud bank over the Swisshelm Mountains. All our dogs are fine, the ranch animals are in good shape & aside from 7 donkey eggs to-day it was another fine day for the Bayfield Bunch.....................:)) THIS MORNINGS SETTING MOON OVER THE MULE MOUNTAINS
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