CLOUD SHADOWS DRIFT ACROSS THE SWISS HELM MOUNTAINS
I have always been in awe of the American southwest ever since my first venture to this great land in May of 1992. That trip was done in a small Mazda pickup truck with a topper on the back to sleep under at night. Frigid desert temperatures & all. No matter though because the beauty of Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, & northern Arizona far overcame any hardships along the way. For the next 12 years the mountains, rivers, valleys, canyons, deserts, & endless day & night skys simmered away in my mind. I longed to one day return to the land that I felt so comfortable & at home in.
CLOUDS SITTING ON THE MULE MOUNTAINS OVER BISBEE
In late December of 2004 a rare window of opportunity presented itself. I was driving school bus at the time & Christmas Holidays were coming up. With another driver filling in for me I was able to extend those holidays to 2 weeks. Kelly had that same time frame off as well. We had just purchased a small Class C (too small) about a month before so we quickly formulated a travel plan. Looking at our Wal-Mart atlas I figured the closest mountains & cactus to our place in southern Ontario would be in the south end of Texas. Big Bend National Park. To make a long story short we jumped into our Class C & with the pedal to the metal & Max sitting between us we made a bee line for Texas. I remember straining my eyes looking for mountain tops south of Stockton.
SOUTHERN END OF THE DRAGOON MOUNTAINS
We were only able to spend about 5 days in Big Bend & surrounding areas before we had to race back to Canada. But, those 5 short days clinched the deal for us in our desire to return once again to the land of mountains & canyons. It had been Kelly's first trip to the magic land of desert sand & towering mountains & she was hooked. As much as we loved Big Bend I knew that it wasn't enough though. Next trip we were going to have to head further west where the whole land is mountains & canyons & not just a small part of it. Texas is basically.......flat!! I knew that what we saw & experienced in Big Bend we would find a hundred times over once we headed west into New Mexico, Arizona, & California.
SNOW TIPPED & CLOUD SHROUDED CHIRICAHUA MOUNTAIN RANGE
Two years later we were able to fulfill our southwest dream as we rolled into Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, & California. We knew then that we had found our winter home & we have been returning to these States ever since. Wouldn't even remotely consider going anywhere east of New Mexico!! The reasons for coming to the southwest are too numerous to mention but to-day reminded me once again of why we love it so much here.
It was another fiery sunrise with tentacles of reds, gold, & pinks, splashing across the undersides of dark rolling clouds. Distant mountains silouetted against the rising sun on the eastern side of the valley with slivers of light highlighting rocky tips of the Mule mountains on the western side. As the sun climbed higher, clouds began casting their slowly moving shadows across the mountain faces & that continued for the rest of the day. Sun splashes crossed the valley floor lighting large & small areas alike with their passing. On our morning walk we saw clouds to the west sitting on the Mule Mountains over top Bisbee. To the south were the dark mountaintops of Mexico. A glance to the southeast brought into view the far distant mountain tops of the Pedregosa mountains & immedIately to the east was the Swiss Helm mountain range. Beyond the Swiss Helms loomed the mighty & legendary Chiricahua mountains with their high snow encrusted peaks. A hundred miles or so up the Sulphur Springs Valley to the north we could make out what was probably the southern tips of the Winchester mountains east of Tucson & to our northwest was the forboding & also legendary Dragoon mountain range with it's southern edge stretching all the way from I-10 down to the ghost town of Gleason about 20 miles from us. And, all this from just standing in one spot here at the ranch turning in a slow 360 degree circle. And, all this under a big beautiful cloud studded sunny Arizona sky. Is it any wonder we are in awe every single day of the majestic American southwest..............:))
GROANER'S CORNER:(( How is a man like the weather? Nothing can be done to change either one of them.
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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.