Goodbye -Arizona

At Skyharbor today for the flight to Tampa and the Florida sunshine. It’s been an amazing 3 weeks travelling in our rental Toyota Rav4 from Nevadaand California into Utah then Arizona next New Mexico and finally back to Arizona. All in all around 3,000 miles of effortless driving along freeways, state roads and mountain tracks. Trying to top the three wonders we have visited and viewed has been hard beat for our last week here. Death Valley in California is a wonder of geology, the area reeks of history and wonderful landscapes. Monument Valley situated on the borders of Utah and Arizona, on a trip to the south west USA it’s a place not to be missed, a place of boyhood dreams and cowboys and indians in the back garden. The Bosque de Apache in New Mexico, a simple yet massive wildlife refuge where migrating birds stopover on there journey from Canada to Mexico every year, a spectacle where thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes arrive and take to the air in droves. White Sands monument New Mexico a vast desert of white sand where you can wander out on marked trails for miles with just your thoughts for company and the distant views of the mountains.

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Photographing Death Valley
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The ancestral home of the Timbisha Shoshone
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Monument Valley, no chuck wagon in this scene
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Snow geese arriving at the Bosque de Apache.. what a racket they make.
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White sands starting point, way out in the desert and the picnic places.

Apache

Apache Junction is bounded by the Superstition Mountains (a federal wilderness area and home of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine) on the east, the Goldfield Mountains with the Bulldog Recreation Area on the north and the city of Mesa on the west. Goldfield Ghost Town, a tourist location preserved from former prospecting days, lies near the western face of Superstition Mountain just off Highway 88 (Apache Trail). It is located just southwest of the site of the ghost town of Goldfield

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Superstition mountain just north of Apache Junction, Arizona

Sunset on the Apache trail on a clear cloudless evening, the landscape is covered with saguaro cactus which somehow grow evenly spaced over the terrain. The saguaro is an arborescent cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 70 feet tall.

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The mighty saguaro cactus at sunset on the Apache Trail
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The superstition mountains looking north.

The Lost Dutchman Mine, located in the Superstition Mountains was made famous by Jacob Waltz, who was also known as the “Dutchman”. Waltz never told anyone the location where he obtained his gold and took the secret of his “mine” to his grave in 1891. Even today, treasure hunters scout the mountains searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine.

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Near the entrance to the supposed Lost Dutchman Mine.

 

 

 

Jerome & Oak Creek

South of Sedona and Cottonwood and high up in the hills lies Jerome, a ghost town alive and well. From wickedly wild to wildly artistic. Located high atop Cleopatra Hill between Sedona and Prescott, this historic copper and gold mining town founded in 1876. When gold was discovered in Jerome, miners, gamblers and bad boys of the old west flocked here. Saloons and bawdy houses were the entertainment after a hard days work. At one time, Jerome was the fourth largest town in the Arizona Territory with a rowdy population that reached over 15,000.

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Jerome, high up in the Black Hills, Jerome Grand Hotel top left.
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Lazy and Arty Jerome, Old buildings everywhere
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Some Lawman History. This plaque is on the wall outside the Sheriffs Office

Oak Creek Canyon a river gorge located in northern Arizona between the cities of Flagstaff and Sedona. The canyon is often described as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its scenic beauty. A lovely drive through this canyon country from just south of Flagstaff to Sedona.

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Oak Creek on a calm day. Autumn has arrived and the trees are turning
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Oak Creek canyon from the car at the beginning of the descent on route 89A to Sedona

Camp Verde & Sedona

North of Phoenix up Interstate 17, Camp Verde a small cowboy town with history surrounded by Apache lands and reservations. Tourist attractions include Montezuma Castle National Monument, Fort Verde State Historic Park. Just a few street’s of stores and restaurants overlooking some stunning escarpments and valley’s.

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Camp Verde Trading Post, this place encapsulates the history of the area.
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Three pickup’s outside a barn – Camp Verde

Sedona, an Arizona desert town near Flagstaff that’s surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. It’s noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community. Uptown Sedona is dense with New Age shops, spas and art galleries. On the town’s outskirts, numerous trailheads access Red Rock State Park.

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Bell Rock and a striking butte, south of Sedona, Arizona
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Red Rock Buttes near Sedona, Arizona

Silver City to Tucson

Silver City, New Mexico

The cultural history of the Spanish and the later Anglo-American incursion and settlement of Southern New Mexico, Southern Arizona and the Northern Mexican States of Chihuahua and Sonora between the late 1600s and 1886 is inseparably linked and intertwined with that of the indigenous Native American Apache. At its core, this history has a common theme, one repeated countless times since the first European contact with New World in 1492. The theme, of course, is the familiar pattern of discovery, expansion, and exploitation, followed by conflict, defeat, and, ultimately, the domination, assimilation, or elimination of one culture by another.

However, unlike in much of the United States, where ever-expanding development and population has largely obliterated the scene of these events, the cultural history of Southwest New Mexico is still readily visible and waiting to be experienced first-hand by any visitors who find it of interest. The reason for this is two-fold: one, over half of the vast desert and mountainous landscape of Southwest New Mexico remains in Federal and State ownership, open to the public and essentially untouched by development; and two, most remaining private land of this area exists as undeveloped ranch land, little changed since territorial days. Consequently, for the person who enjoys being an up-close-and-personal witness to history, in the same environment of where, when, and how this epic cultural clash occurred, the trails and tales of the Southwestern New Mexico frontier are there for the reliving.

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Apache rancheria with two men holding rifles – Picture and Text Courtesy of : Casita De Gila Southwestern Guesthouses on 265 Acres near Silver City, New Mexico overlooking Bear Creek and the Gila Wilderness………………

Silver City today – Downtown historic area, a bustling few street’s with old hotels, restaurants and shops.

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Silver City

Butterfield rest area on Highway 180 from Silver City to Deming. A well tended and clean stop for travellers on this straight flat route through ranch and apache landscape.

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Landscape around Butterfield rest stop.
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Butterfield Guest register – So sweet!

Cochise was leader of the Chihuicahui local group of the Chokonen and principal chief of the Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache. The hills and rocks around Bowie, Arizona where Cochise lived and fought. A few miles west towards Tucson is place we all remember from boyhood watching westerns on TV and at the Cinema where the old west can be relived. TOMBSTONE ARIZONA. That name means many things to many people. It creates images of gunfights and dusty streets, whiskey and Farogames, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and a plethora of old western movie scenes. But what many folks don’t realize is that Tombstone Az is a living town with real inhabitants who have lived here throughout its history and still do today. That is part of the reason Tombstone has been called “The Town Too Tough to Die

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Rest stop i10, westbound near Bowie on-route to Tuscon

Tucson a city in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert surrounded by multiple mountain ranges, including the Santa Catalinas. Reflecting its 19th-century beginnings are the restored mansions of its El Presidio Historic District and the adobe row houses of Barrio Historico. Tuscon has many vintage shops, nightclubs and restaurants on Fourth Avenue. A Sunday morning drive up the twisting and in places precarious road up to Sentinel Peak where you get a great view of the city, the place reeks of history.

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Sentinel Peak, an Indian lookout position. Read the inscription on this rock
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The view over the valley from Sentinel Peak

 

 

 

 

White Sands

The White Sands National Monument is just 17 miles south of Alamogordo down Highway 70, a truly remarkable place where you can walk out into a snow white desert and hear yourself think. Situated in the northern Chihuahuan Desert in the U.S. State of New Mexico. It’s known for its dramatic landscape of rare white gypsum sand dunes. Trails through the dunes include the raised Interdune Boardwalk and the Dune Life Nature Trail, dotted with interpretive exhibits on wildlife and other features. Dunes Drive is a looped road from the White Sands Visitor Center to the dune field.

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Wild Grasses in the Desert
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Desert Plants – White Sands, New Mexico
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An evening walk in the heart of the desert
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Desert Sunset

Billy the Kid Country

The first part of the journey to Alamogordo takes you on a straight run of around 60 miles east from St.Antonio to Carrizozo (High Chaparel) this is Billy the Kid territory. Travelling from one range of mountains to another over a very flat plain on a road US highway 380 that is as straight as an arrow. Past a few ranches and an interesting black lava bed with ‘the Valley of Fires’ State Park. Carrizozo is at the junction of US.54 and US.380, straight on to Roswell and right to Tularosa and Mescalero.

Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty; also known as William H. Bonney (September 17, 1859 … His escape from jail two days later and flight from New Mexico Territory into Arizona Territory made him both an outlaw and a federal fugitive.

 

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The 4 Winds at Carrizozo and the Sheriff’s vehicle.

Freight train with 4 engines and approaching 200 containers travelling down beside the highway towards Alomagordo. These trains are incredibly long by our standards with nigh on 75 carriages it takes a fair time for them to go by if you are unlucky to be at crossing at the time.

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Freight train around Tulorosa heading south towards El-Paso
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The road to El Paso