Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Echo Canyon

We had planned to hike up to one of the lookouts in Chiricahua National Monument but on what turned out to be a very windy day we opted instead to take the Echo Canyon Trail.

The trail wanders through rock pinnacles which the Chiricahua Apaches called the Land of the Standing Up Rocks. The pinnacles were formed 27 million years ago when the Turkey Creek Volcano sent ash over 1,200 square miles forming layers of gray rock called rhyolite. Eons of weathering and sculpting by wind and water formed the pinnacles and spires that exist today.
There are some very interesting rock formations. TThe grottoes.

We had a great day before driving home across the rolling grasslands.

Have fun, we are!

Fort Bowie

The 1½ mile trail to Fort Bowie (pronounced Booey) is accessed from Apache Pass road it’s a nice hike passing some interesting historical sites.

Including the remains of the Butterfield Stage Station, it took 25 days for the mail to travel the 2,800 miles from St Louis to SanFrancisco.

On this part of the trail, the celerity wagon was used as it was lighter and quicker than the concord wagon used on the other sections.

Further along are the remains of the Chiricahua Apache Indian Agency governed by Thomas Jeffords who was a friend of Cochise.

There is also an example of an Apache encampment further along the trail.

Apache spring is a perennial water source and was the cause of all the trouble between the Apache and the military and guarding both it and the pass was the reason for Fort Bowie’s existence.

The smaller Old Fort Bowie was established in 1862 and completed in under 3 weeks.

It was used for 4 years before a more substantial fort was built 300 yards away on a plateau in 1868.

A heliograph station used to relay messages by mirror was situated on the Bowie Peak overlooking the fort.

Once Geronimo surrendered in 1886 there was no longer the need for the fort, but it remained an active military post for another 8 years until it closed in 1894 when the last troops were withdrawn.

Have fun, we are!

Silver City & the Supermoon

Silver City is a mining town about an hour north of Deming, New Mexico and was once home to a young Billy the Kid. The cabin he called home for a couple of years burnt down in 1894. A replica 1870’s style cabin used in the movie ‘The Missing’ now stands in the original location.

We took a walk around the historic downtown district our first stop was the coffee shop in part of the historic Palace Hotel.

Fully refreshed we continued our stroll around historic downtown, stopping to look at The Big Ditch. The Big Ditch was once Main Street, but in July 1895 massive flood waters up to 12ft high swept through the town destroying Main Street and gouging out a channel 35 ft deep. Later floods scraped the ditch down even further to the bedrock at 55ft deep, the excavation ran for about 15 miles. The flood was caused by over grazing and deforestation on the mountains above the town.

The Big Ditch is now a park.

The Warren House overlooks The Big Ditch and was once owned by Elizabeth Warren, the first woman insurance agent in New Mexico the house was the only survivor of the Main Street floods.

After that we went home to enjoy the Supermoon.

Have fun, we are!

Catching up

Since my last post we've moved a few times, spending a few days in Deming, New Mexico, from where we visited Silver City. Wind advisories were forecast while we were in Deming and after experiencing a dust storm at Rusty's not long ago we really didn't want to be caught on the interstate in one, so we stayed put until the winds calmed down. From there we moved onto Willcox, Arizona for a few days where we visited Fort Bowie and Echo Canyon before arriving back in Tucson last weekend. Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fort Selden

Fort Selden is a not very far from where we’re staying. From the RV resort we took highway 28, turned left and then basically followed the road out of town through pecan groves and farm land with the Rio Grande on our left.

The fort was established in 1865 primarily to protect travellers and settlers from the Apache but saw little action. It was located on an ancient Indian campground and was also the place where Spanish caravans headed across the dreaded Jornado del Muerto section of the Camino Real.

Douglas MacArthur spent part of his childhood in the officers quarters at the fort when his father was stationed there between 1883 – 1886.

A heligraph station was established on nearby Mount Robledo to enable messages be sent to Fort Bliss 50 miles away in El Paso.

By 1890 bandits and Apache raiding parties were no longer considered a threat so the Fort was decommissioned and abandoned in 1891.

Have fun, we are!

Looks can be deceiving

No, we haven’t suddenly arrived in Alaska, this was the road in White Sands National Monument and the temperature was in the high 80’s!

The national monument lies in the Tularosa Basin and is surrounded by White Sands Missile base, both the monument and highway 70 are closed for a couple of hours twice a week while tests are carried out.

The beautiful adobe buildings that house the visitor centre were built in the 1930’s.

We followed Dunes Drive, one of the short hikes we took was the nature trail, it’s only a mile long, but really interesting. The park brochure tells you to wear eye protection, hats, sunscreen and take water, they are soooo right, it is hot out there and even with eye protection the glare is unbelievable.

Soap tree yucca grow in the park, as the dunes slowly move the yucca plants grow longer and longer to survive, then once the dune moves on they often collapse under their own weight.

Although it appears to be a waterless place, about 3 ft underground is a huge reservoir of water. Rio Grande cottonwood trees tap into the water and grow through the dunes, as long as their leaves are above the dune they can survive.

Dune sledding is a favourite pasttime and we thought about it - hey, it's the thought that counts right? - but decided against showing up the little kids. Well that's our excuse and we're sticking to it!

Following the orange markers we walked a short way along the 4.6 mile Alkali Flat trail.

We really enjoyed our visit and at some point, plan to go back and take the sunset stroll.

Have fun, we are!

Cowboy Days at New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum

As we arrived at the museum a red stagecoach drove past, a gunfight was in progress and the bad guy was on the wrong end of a hail of bullets!

We walked through the food vendors, corn dogs, funnel cake, big Texas taters, burritos, tacos, burgers and goodness knows what else. Yes we did try a burger later, especially after I discovered that the big Texas Taters I’d had my eye on were in fact deep fried potato crisps, not baked potatoes as I thought. Oh well!

Our route took us across a Historic Green Bridge.

The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and was once a fairly common sight in rural areas it was donated to the museum by the people of Lincoln County.

Our next stop was team roping, a steer is released from a pen, it is chased by two cowboys, one ropes its leg and the other ropes one of its horns and those that do it in the shortest time win; at least we think that’s how it works.

It was really fast and fascinating to watch.

At the round pen we watched Mexican style rodeo, Charros del Pedregal we really enjoyed this. Everyone in the family took part, from Father right down to grandchildren, the rules of the Mexican Rodeo Association (I forget the actual name) are followed and all the costumes are made in Mexico.

The next generation, he was really cute!

And so was she.

We had a great day the museum is really interesting, although having been a brought up on a farm, it’s a bit scary seeing machinery my Dad once used described as ‘antique’ or ‘historical’!

Have fun, we are!

Old Mesilla

Old Mesilla is only about a mile from where we were staying so on Saturday we strolled down to take a look around.

It’s a very historic place on 16 November 1854 a detachment from Fort Fillmore raised the US flag confirming the Gadsen Purchase recognising that the territory was now part of the United States.

La Posta, now a restaurant, has stood for over 150 years and has been visited by various famous and infamous people, Billy the Kid, Pancho Villa, General Douglas MacArthur to name but a few.

This store was once a courthouse that held Billy the Kid.

The main plaza.

Have fun, we are!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

On to Las Cruces

At the end of last week we left Rusty’s on our way to Las Cruces. We decided to take NM 9 across to Hachita then head north on 146 and join I10. It was a lovely sunny morning with clear blue skies and miles and miles of views.

So far so good, but, as we approached I10 we turned right onto what we thought was the on ramp and ended up on a two lane country road paralleling the interstate! Ooops! This wasn’t where we wanted to be especially as the sign said rough road. We followed it along expecting it to turn into a dirt road at any minute and wondering where on earth we were going to turn round.

The road continued to follow I10, no sign of anywhere to turn around and thankfully not turning to dirt. We thought we’d reached an exit point when we saw an interstate rest area ahead of us. No such luck, the country road went carefully around the fenced rest area, the only access being a locked gate. So on we went.

Not far after that we saw a sign for the Quincy exit, we looked at each other and thought, surely, we must be able to join the interstate there?

On we went, still wondering if we were just going to arrive at a dead end sign and give the truckers some afternoon entertainment as we tried to turn around.

Hurray! The Quincy exit did join the country road we were on, although where on earth Quincy is we still don’t know, so with huge sighs of relief we joined I10 about 5 miles later than we should of done. It was lucky we did as just after this exit the road did indeed dead end!

And you know, I’m a pretty good map reader and I still can’t see that pesky road on our map!

Have fun, we are!

Animas, New Mexico

Animas is a small ranching and agricultural town east of Rustys on NM 9 and was once a hideout for the infamous Clanton gang, which included Ike & Billy Clanton, Curly Bill and Old Man Clanton.

Smugglers also travelled the area and Old Man Clanton was ambushed in Mexico in retaliation for a massacre in Skeleton Canyon down on the border.

We had a great lunch in the Panther Tracks Café before following the old rail road tracks back to Rustys.

Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Scary Afternoon

Last Monday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise across the Peloncillo Mountains.

A wind advisory was in place for the afternoon, with the possibility of strong wind gusts. Boy was the weatherman right!

In the early afternoon the wind picked up, I took a couple of photographs out of the window, to start with it wasn’t too bad, the dust blew but you could still see across the campground.

A few minutes after that the wind really picked up, it became so strong that even inside you could taste the dust.

Cameras and computers were hastily zipped into their protective cases and we settled down to watch the dust storm as it rolled across the valley from one side to the other, obliterating the sun as it passed over us. We were head on into the dust storm and at times we were really rockin’ so how those who faced the dust storm side on felt I dread to think. Slowly the dust storm lost its fury although the winds remained high until quite late in the evening.

The dust storm was fascinating to watch, but if we never get stuck in another one that’ll be fine by us.

Have fun, we are!


Yes, there really is a place called Paradise. It’s a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains.

We drove into the mountains along Cave Creek, continuing past the South West Research station, onto Pinery Canyon road, surprising some mule deer ambling along the road.

The road climbs high up the side of the mountain, with fabulous views across the valley, more dirt roads and trails leading off into the trees. At our highest point we were at 6,200 ft and snow still lingered on the peaks.

Paradise is nestled among the trees and very pretty, we drove slowly through until we came to the Portal turning.

The road takes you past the cemetery; imagine spending forever in a place called Paradise! Not that I think you can as I seem to remember reading somewhere that you can only be buried in the cemetery if you actually live or have lived there, otherwise…………

Have fun, we are!

Friday, 11 March 2011


We have a new follower, welcome Etanton, we hope you enjoy following us on our travels.

South Fork of Cave Cree,

At the end of last week we drove into the Chiricahua Mountains to take a hike along the South Fork of Cave Creek. We tried to hike this trail several years ago, but unfortunately back then the trail had been washed out by floods so we didn’t get very far.

It’s a beautiful trail that takes you into the Chiricahua Wilderness area,
there are warning signs about bears, smugglers and illegals, so as usual I made plenty of noise hoping that if there was anything out there I’d frighten it away!

The trail crosses the creek about six times on its way up to its junction with the Burro trail.

We followed the Burro trail for a short way before deciding to head back, the return views were just as fabulous.

It was a very peaceful quiet day as there was no-one else on the trail. Arriving back at the trailhead we settled down for lunch on one of the picnic tables, it was very pretty, although as we ate we became aware of lots of crashing about in the trees, we couldn’t see anything but we, okay I, decided it might be a good idea to finish our lunch in the truck!

The drive back from the trailhead along the dirt road was just as scenic.
Have fun, we are!