Showing posts with label Rucker Canyon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rucker Canyon. Show all posts

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 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 don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water!!

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

Sunday, March 15, 2009



No improvement in the back & leg this morning but it was a nice day & I didn't want to sit around again. Kelly picked up a cane at the Thrift Store awhile back so I threw that in the car & we headed off for Rucker Canyon in search of old Fort Rucker. THIS WAS THE COMMISSARY

While at the Coronado National Park a few days I got to talking with a ranger who told me where the ruins of old Fort Rucker (formally Camp Supply) were in the Rucker Canyon. We had been through that area a week ago but didn't know about the Fort then. From the ranch we headed east about 9:30 through McNeal to Leslie Canyon. Skirted around the south end of the Swisshelm mountains into the sweeping picturesque hills of Leslie Canyon. The flat dirt road led us north until we intersected with Rucker Canyon road. We swung northeast into the Chiricahua mountains & drove until we reached the junction with Tex Canyon road. This is where we began our search. Parked the car beside a rock & boulder strewn creek bed & headed up the creek for a hundred yards or so then headed left through an area of trees & shrubs. I was glad I had the cane with me. Continued through the brush until we came to a road but still no sign of the fort. Kelly walked back to the car & brought it around to the road. We drove up a rocky narrow path into a grassy tree lined area but still no Fort. Drove back down to theTex Canyon road junction & headed south for a bit when I spotted what looked like an old adobe wall through a bunch of trees on the east side of a dry creek bed. Saw a clearing ahead & pulled over. There on a barbed wire fence hung a small faded sign that said, Camp Rucker U.S. Army 1872-1880. We had found the Fort!!

It was about a quarter mile walk from the road to the first building. An old log pole barn....with a new roof. There were cattle here as well. We could see some old adobe ruins farther on so we headed in that direction. I was surprised when we came across our first reader board. It was obvious no one had been here for a long time but I remembered the Ranger telling me there are plans afoot to restore this old Fort so I am assuming the reader boards are maybe the first step. Noticed later that a couple old buildings had new roofs on them to protect against further weather deterioration. Fort Rucker is actually in better shape than Fort Bowie because it has some buildings with actual walls still standing. One building like the officer's quarters still has glass in the windows & wooden doors . When Fort Bowie was decommissioned people came in & basically ripped the Fort to pieces for it's lumber, etc. That didn't happen here at Fort Rucker but Fort Rucker is only about a quarter the size of Fort Bowie. A much smaller outpost.


We spent the best part of a couple hours wandering around the grounds looking at the ruins. Once again, with the help of the reader boards I was able to take a lot of photos & you can follow the story of Fort Rucker through the story boards & my pictures in the web album. Standing there on the grounds it's hard to imagine what the day in a life of a trooper was like 135 years ago. There is an old water tank still standing, a bake shop, & officer's quarters still intact. Looking at the open door of the bakeshop I tried to imagine the soldiers coming & going through there. The smell of fresh bread baking in what's left of the large oven at one end of the old adobe building. Ruins of the original commissary are there & another adobe building with two rooms but no roof. No idea what that building was. The officer's quarters building is still in remarkably good shape & a person could move right in there. The tin roof has saved it from decay & the floor felt solid. A couple closet doors hung open where officer's uniforms once hung. A raised platform for the wood stove looked like it was waiting for another stove to be placed on it. It was as if the officer's had just stepped out for a moment. CATTLE BARN & CORRAL

But, the strangest building of all was the house. You will have to go to the web album & see the pictures because it's a bit hard to describe. It's an old adobe house but the interior looks like it's from about the 1930's or earlier. No reader board anywhere to tell anything about it. Might have been part of Fort Rucker & then renovated in the early 1900's or something. After the Fort was decommissioned the land was used for ranching so maybe it was built as a ranch house. Many small rooms inside & on different levels. Best have a look at the pictures. STRANGE OLD HOUSE

The temperature had dropped while we were there & a cloud cover moved in as we departed old Fort Rucker & headed back down the long dusty road through Rucker Canyon to civilization. I took a few pictures from the car window as the dark clouds moved in & before long it was raining. It was good to get back to the rig, crack on some heat, & grab ourselves a bite to eat. It had been another good day....sort of.
My leg had given me a lot of trouble for about the first 40 minutes of our hike but then the pain went away while we were walking around the old Fort's grounds. Felt so good I was bouncing around like a ping pong ball but by the time we got home & I tried to get out of the car, the pain was back full force on the outside thigh of my right leg. Seems that sitting bothers it the most. Oh well, not much I can do about it until that nerve decides to unpinch itself I guess. Maybe to-morrow I'll take Roger Miller's advice & try rollerskating in a Buffalo herd................................



Wednesday, March 04, 2009



Cooler this morning with a high light cloud cover. We knew the day was not going to be another cooker & that was a big relief. Weatherman is calling for temps to drop into the low 80's & mid 70's. I would say those mid 70's are just about totally perfect. A LOT OF FREE RANGING CATTLE IN THIS AREA

Been a month now since we settled into the ranch here & our propane level was down about the empty mark. Pretty good considering we didn't roll in here with a full tank to begin with. Packed things up, secured the coach about 9:30 & headed over to the Double Adobe Road RV Park near Bisbee to re-fill our propane tank. Came to about $55 dollars so we were pretty low. A word about the Park to other RV'ers. The park only accepts cheques or cash for propane. No credit cards. Also, if your thinking of staying there it would be good for you to know that they have a shotgun shooting range right beside the park. If you have pets that are scared of guns this would not be a good campground for you. While we were getting propane, shotguns were going off & poor Checkers & the little Motormouse were totally traumatized. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. Other than that, it looks like an OK campground.....if you like that campground thing that is.


We were back to the ranch & re-settled into our spot in less than an hour. Did some more tree watering & then loaded the cameras in the car & we were off for another day trip. On our drive through Leslie Canyon last week we noticed another road leading into the Chiricahua mountains so to-day we returned to that point & headed on up Rucker Canyon road. As soon as you start gaining altitude the environment begins to change from desert brown to jungle green. The cottonwood trees are beginning to leaf out now so the splotches of early spring green in the treetops is refreshing. Pine, & Ironwoods, mixed with Agaves & Prickly Pear Cactus make for roadside beauty. Valleys of yellow grasses appear between the mountains & forests of Mesquite trees dot the hillsides. Overhead, patches of blue sky between billowing clouds let through enough sunlight to highlight the high cliff faces of colored rock on the mountain sides. We are so fortunate to be here & to be a part of this beautiful American southwest. KELLY'S LOADING ROCKS IN THE CAR

A fork in the road led us on a 6 mile trip up to Rucker campground. No one there but the wind in the trees & the babbling of a mountain stream running down through the empty campground. Note to RV'ers...I wouldn't bring anything bigger than a small Class C, truck camper, or B class van up here. Not sure if I would feel comfortable tenting either because of the Bear population. The road ends at the campground. We noticed a lot of free ranging cattle in this area as well & had to stop & let a small herd cross the road on our way back down the road to the junction. A QUIET MOUNTAIN STREAM

When we reached the road junction we had to decide whether to return the way we had come & go back through Leslie Canyon or head east over the mountains on Tex Canyon Road & see if we could find highway 80 in the San Bernardino Valley. That highway would take us back down to Douglas. We needed some groceries anyway so headed east. Surprisingly, the road through the mountains was very good with only a few slow downs to cross some minor washes. The scenery was beautiful & around every corner was another panoramic view. We were wishing we had a portable GPS unit though because we had no idea how far the highway or Douglas was. We have one on our wish list because with the amount of hiking, car trips, & RVing we do on back roads it would certainly be a useful & safe thing for us. We have been looking at some Garmin Vista models with built in altimeter & compass. RUCKER CANYON

From atop a hill I finally spotted what looked like the San Bernardino Valley ahead, far off on the horizon. The dirt road was steadily leading down hill so I knew we had crested the mountains & were on our way down the east side of them. Seemed like a long time but we finally reached highway 80. Just a few words here about dirt roads. After to-day we probably have enough dust in the car to make up a whole 50 pound bag of topsoil. If you don't like dust & dirt the American southwest is probably not going to be your cup of tea unless you stay on the pavement & only move between them there fancy RV Parks. If you want to experience the mountains & the deserts you have to get off the Interstates, get off the pavement, & get yourself out onto the dust & the dirt of the back roads. The wild west for the most part is still the wild west & as far as I am concerned that's exactly what makes it one of the most interesting & best places in the whole country. LOOKING EAST TO THE SAN BERNARDINO VALLEY

Ok, getting back on track......... Once on highway 80 it was about a 40 mile scenic mountain vista drive through the Perilla mountains to Douglas. In that 40 or so miles we might have past 3 or 4 vehicles coming the other way. Just another thing I love about the southwest, endless miles of open roads & big wide open spaces. GREAT CLOUD PATTERNS TO-DAY

Popped into a little Mexican restaurant called Jaliscos for a bite to eat before grocery shopping. Kelly had something called a Chimi Changa or something. I learned a long time ago not to eat anything I couldn't spell or pronounce right so I had a hamburger & fries. Kelly did say her Chimi Jange thingy was very good though. Only about 5 blocks to Wally-World so we stocked up on some groceries & headed back to the ranch. Really nice overcast sky with eerie gray cloud patterns all the way back. Yep, ya just gotta love it out here alright....................................... ALIEN SPACE SHIP CLOUDS OVER THE MULE MOUNTAINS

To-morrow we are headed for the ghost town of Pearce........and beyond!!