Friday, 6 February 2015

Welcome to Mexico – Huh?!

On a warm, sunny day we set off to Patagonia to drive along Harshaw Road and through the beautiful San Raphael Valley.   I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but do not speed through Patagonia, you will be caught.   It is the only place we’ve ever seen huge semi-trucks slow down to the posted speed limit.
Needless to say our first stop was at the Gathering Grounds in Patagonia.   DB had coffee and the most enormous chocolate chip cookie, I had a chocolate, decaff mocha with a scrumptious warm cranberry and apple muffin.   Obviously it was all totally calorie and fat free!   We wish!
Absolutely stuffed to the gills, we hauled ourselves back into the truck and followed Harshaw Road into the mountains.   We found a lovely spot with a small stream running beside it.
At an elevation of 4,850ft, we stopped at Harshaw Townsite, as far as we could see this is the only building left, no idea what it was used for.

Across the road the cemetery is well looked after,

there are always flowers on the graves.
The dirt road continues high into the mountains, with smaller dirt roads branching off to old mining camps.    Resisting the temptation to explore, we followed the road into the San Raphael valley
and the tiny border town of Lochiel.

As you drive into town a huge stone cross on the roadside commemorates the arrival into what is now Arizona, on 12 April 1539 of Fray Marcos De Niza, Vice Commissary of the Franciscan Order and Delegate of the Viceroy in Mexico; he was the first European to travel west of the Rockies.  

Known as La Noria during the Spanish and Mexican eras, the tiny town was renamed Lochiel, by the Cameron Brothers who managed the San Raphael Cattle Company in the valley and were descendants of the Campbell clan of Lochiel in Scotland.  
As we stopped under this huge cottonwood tree, my ‘phone suddenly beeped   “Welcome to Mexico!”   We must’ve been so close to the border it was picking up Mexican cell towers.

The Little Red Adobe School House was built sometime before 1905.
Continuing along the dirt road we headed towards San Raphael State Park, which
as far as we know, has never actually been open to the public.   The ranch house was used in the film McLintock, John Wayne used to throw his hat on the weathervane each time he came home.
Oklahoma was also filmed in the valley, although DB was not all impressed when I sang to him, can’t imagine why?!
The monsoon rains were good this year, so there was quite a lot of water in the valley.

Another view of the valley, we had a great drive through the beautiful San Raphael Valley.
Have fun, we are!

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