We are about 3500 feet above sea level here so cooler temperatures are to be expected. And cooler temps it was this morning when we headed out on our morning hike. Had on my flannel lined winter pants, T-shirt, 2 long sleeved shirts, & my lined army jacket. Kelly had to wear mitts & a knitted woolen hat. We could see our breath & there was some steam coming off the San Pedro river. EARLY MORNING SUNRISE
Decided to head out & see if we could find the few remains of the old mining ghost town of Charleston. Found a path on the southwest side of the river that didn't look to overgrown so off we went. It was a beautiful looking morning with the rising sun low on the eastern horizon. The well worn path led through tall grasses as we followed the San Pedro north. There was evidence that cattle were in the area as well although we never did see any. We could hear the twittering of many birds in the cottonwoods but they were hard to see. I don't have a good bird lens for my camera, but maybe someday. We could only imagine how pretty this must be when all the leaves are on the trees & all the tall grasses, green. The river itself looked very clear & clean. We got into some heavy mesquite underbrush in places but the path was easy to follow for the most part. Occasionally we would see things dropped along the way by the illegal aliens that obviously use this path as well. Socks, an old shirt, & other paraphernalia. At one point we found a complete backpack with empty water & juice containers inside. Tire marks in the dry wash sand nearby suggested Border Patrol!! ON THE TRAIL OF A GHOST TOWN
We finally reached a point along the river where it narrowed & a log was across the water. A fellow on the RV Net had said when we reached the river narrows, to head up the bank & hill to our west. It was a short steep climb & Kelly waited with the dogs while I scooted up onto a plateau with a lot of mesquite trees & underbrush. The large hills were in front of me about a quarter mile away. I followed a path through the brush & then it ended. It was obvious from looking around me that I was not going to find a few old adobe foundations in the ground. I felt I was probably close to the old ghost town but there was no point in going any further so I headed back through the mesquite & down the steep bank where the gang was waiting. We re-traced our steps back along the trail & followed the river back to Charleston road & our rig. We had been gone about 2 hours, the temps had warmed up, & with all our winter clothes on we were doing some pretty good sweating by the time we got back. IT'S THE OLD GROUCH HIMSELF
Around 11 as we were relaxing in our chairs & soaking up some sun we heard a vehicle pull into the parking lot behind us & head our way. When we heard the "Wooop Wooop" of a siren we knew the jig was up & we were probably going to have to move. It was the BLM Ranger & another fellow who looked like a bonafide S.W.A.T. team member. These two guys were carrying more firepower than what the whole Canadian Army has in it's entire arsenal. Guns, ammo clips, clubs, etc. etc. These guys were loaded for bear!! (and drug smugglers) As Canadians, we're not used to being that close to & seeing all that artillery. They were both nice fellas & just informed us that overnight camping was not permitted in that parking lot & we would have to move on. The BLM guy told us of a spot just up the road towards Tombstone that we could re-locate too.....and that's just what we did. Took us about half an hour to get things squared away, waved good-bye to the Charleston road parking lot & headed up the road.
Wow, is this new spot ever great. We now have a spectacular view of the whole valley to our southwest. Sierra Vista is laid out below us about 10 miles on the far side of the valley & nestled under the Huachuca Mountains. We can see for miles & miles all the way down into Mexico. The town of Tombstone is only about 4 miles east of us & the area we are in right now is called, The Tombstone Hills. At this very moment as I'm typing this I can look straight out our window & see the long horizontal ribbon of shimmering lights in the distance that is the city of Sierra Vista. Almost as far as the eye can see from left to right the lights resemble a long thin gold twinkling chain with flecks of sparkling red rubies, glittering white diamonds & pinpoints of emerald green lights thrown in for good measure. Reminded me of driving down from the mountains into Las Vegas one night back in the mid 90's. And above all this in front of me is the black velvet sky with it's own awesome showcase of stars. You will never see things like this sitting in RV Parks!!
A MILLION DOLLAR VIEW
We spent the rest of the day doing some cleaning & just basically sitting outside soaking up the view in front of us. Last week, Kelly had posted some questions about this region on the RV Net Forum. Several people from the area responded & that is how we came to meet Sergeant John to-day. John lives over near Elfrida & works at the Fort Huachuca Army Base in Sierra Vista so he commutes the very road we're camped near, twice a day. He had given us his phone number & said to give him a call when we're in the area, so to-day, that is what we did & John stopped in to see us on his way home from Fort Huachuca this afternoon. Nice fellow, retired from the Army 20 years ago but still active on the base in another capacity. John & his wife are RV'ers also & said for us to come on over & stay a spell if we like, so we just may do that later on.
Around 4:30 a white pick-up truck pulled in with an ATV in the back & two young fellows in the cab. They were going hunting back up in the hills & just stopped to say hello. Nice fellas. Just before supper another pick-up truck approached & stopped. A well seasoned older couple got out to see how we were doing. Nice folks & we had quite a chat. Turns out they lease this land & have a lot of grazing cattle they look after. They also have another cattle ranch up around Benson. Their son has the place across the road here. Sure is a lot of friendly folks in these parts.
We received an email to-night from the folks we will be ranch sitting for next month & they said for us to come on down this Friday. So, if we don't get blowed off this big hilltop by a roaring Arizona wind by then, we'll head over to the McNeal area at the end of the week. And, I might add, as long as we don't get frozen to this hilltop as well. Temps are dipping to well below freezing to-night......................................:(( CHECKERS LOVES TO BE OUTSIDE
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