Thursday, December 31, 2009

TOMBSTONE TO PEARCE THROUGH THE DRAGOON MOUNTAINS

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NEW YEAR’S EVE FULL MOON ………………from the ranch:))

No frost on anything this morning so I was outside at dawn running around in my pajamas taking some photos of the Moon setting in the west somewhere over in the direction of Tombstone.

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THE MOON SETTING IN THE WEST THIS MORNING

Kelly had an exercise class at 9 so we loaded the computer in the car & off we went.  While Kelly was pumping iron I uploaded a bunch of updates that we had been getting behind on because of our Verizon megabyte limit.  What a big pain in the assparagus that Verizon 5 Gig cap is!!!!

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From the Elfrida library we headed up the highway & turned west heading for the little old ghost town of Gleeson.  We had never traveled the dirt road from Gleeson to Tombstone before so figured to-day was a good day to do that.  Always so nice to see new scenery.  Rolled right through Tombstone & headed north a couple miles before turning east onto the rough & washboardy MIDDLEMARCH ROAD.  Our destination was another little ghost town on the other side of the DRAGOON MOUNTAINS.  Wanted to see the route Tombstone residents took over a hundred years ago to Pearce after gold was discovered there.

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The Dragoon mountains ahead of us stood majestically in the high noon sun & I was reminded of our hike to the COCHISE STRONGHOLD this past March from the east side of the mountains.  (OUR COCHISE STRONGHOLD PHOTOS)  The Dragoons ahead marked the very spot where Cochise's many Apache lookouts took up posts on high rocks scanning the valley we were currently driving through.  Troops from Fort Huachuca on the west side of the San Pedro valley would set out across the desert floor in force to chase Cochise & his men down.  The Indians could see the troops coming for miles & miles & always had the advantage in any battles that took place & Cochise was never captured.  Thought about all that as we approached the natural rugged mountain fortress ahead.

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Turned off the Middlemarch Road onto a smaller dirt road & headed north past a sign saying, Coronado Forest.  Road was a bit rough for a short distance then smoothed out reasonably well.  We had gained some altitude so Agave, Yucca, Prickly Pear began appearing along with a lot of trees that we couldn't identify.  These trees stand about 15 feet high with a spreading canopy but we just don't know what they are.  Alongside the road we saw campfire rings where people have pulled in & set up camp.  Saw a windmill slowly turning in the breeze amongst a cluster of trees.  A road led in that direction so we followed it stopping to take some windmill photos.  A cluster of tents marked the end of that road but we didn't see anyone around.  Could have been a group of rock climbers.  We backtracked to the main dirt road & headed a little further north before taking another road which led us a short distance right to the very foot of the beautiful Dragoon Mountains. 

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CAN YOU SEE THE INDIAN HEAD PROFILE LOOKING TO THE LEFT IN THE LARGER PHOTO?

Parked the car & looked up at the large rounded rocks climbing into the sky.  It was so beautiful here that you just wanted to jump out of the car & run right up those huge boulders into the canyons beyond & the towering heights above.  It was a perfect place for rock scrambling because the rocks had a sandpapery surface & with good hiking boots the traction was phenomenal & I just felt like I could walk straight up the mountain.  Didn't take us long to scramble up a hundred feet or so just reveling in our great fortune to have found such a perfect camping spot for future days.  We could see the darkened Huachuca mountains probably 40 miles to the southwest & Bisbee's Mule mountains as many miles to the south.  Sunlight glinted off distant rooftops in Tombstone.  The towering Whetstone mountains led north to Benson which we could also see at the far end of the valley.  Beyond Benson the Rincon mountains spread across the horizon.  Just wanted to stay at this place forever.  It is days like these & places like this that remind me of how truly fortunate Kelly & I are.

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We continued our journey back to Middlemarch Road & wended our way along the bumpy dirt trail winding it's way up & over the summit of Middlemarch Pass.  Patches of snow & cooler temperatures marked the highest point but overall it wasn't that high & it wasn't that cold.  Nice views of the Sulphur Springs Valley far below as we began our descent & I could see the town of Sunizona way out on the valley floor to the northeast.  Finally rolled through sleepy little Pearce east of the Dragoons around 3, picked up highway 191 & headed for home with a quick stop in Sunsites for a very late 2 o'clock coffee.   Awwwww, my kinda day:)))))))

(click on photos below for captions)

A BIT OF SNOW AHEAD  DESCENDING DOWN THE EAST SIDE OF THE DRAGOONS ROAD BLOCK MOOOOOVE ROAD WAS GOOD THROUGH THE PASSACROSS THE SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY RISE THE MIGHTY CHIRICAHUA MOUNTAINS   SCENIC ROADTHE SUMMIT OF THE MIDDLEMARCH PASS DINOSAUR MOUNTAIN GOAT 

ALIEN DINOSAUR MOUNTAIN GOAT

Well, it's New Year's Eve & the thing I am most happiest about to-night is that I don't have to do all that silly New Year's Eve stuff anymore!!  I have now been over 30 years free from New Year's Eve's parties.........yaaaaaaay:)) 

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JUST HAVING A LAZY AFTERNOON IN THE DRAGOONS

BELLE’S UPDATE

Emails have been rolling in again to-day with questions, suggestions, & offers.  We plan to go over to the Silverado Ranch in the morning & have us a sit down with Belle & talk about all the positive things that have been happening the past couple of days & her vision for the ranch.  Some decisions will have to be made & a direction forward found.  Emails have to be answered & work has to be started.  Again, Kelly & I thank everyone for their encouragement & support & I will post updates as they happen............................:))

GROANER'S CORNER:((  A man was telling his neighbor, "I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect." "Really," answered the neighbor. "What kind is it?" "Twelve thirty."

BLOGGER WEBSITE http://thebayfieldbunch.com/

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS  http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

ALL THE BEST TO EVERYONE IN THE NEW YEAR FROM THE BAYFIELD BUNCH:))

9 comments:

Rick and Paulette said...

Al, you've outdone yourself with today's pics - they are stunning shots, well done. I agree with you about New Year's Eve. We are currently at the KOA in Willits, CA and there is a big old live band party going on in the "barn". We were invited to attend, but it's 10:30pm and I'm off to bed to continue my current streak of sleeping in the new year.

But, I can still wish you and Kelly a happy and healthy new year!

Gypsy said...

There are many places in the west where I think about Indians watching from the high rocks, and I swear I can feel them still up there watching me! It must have struck terror in the hearts of the pioneers.

The moon photo is stunning! Happy new year to you, Kelly, and the doggies.

Sandra said...

I second Rick's comment, beautiful photos! I just love Arizona. There's a photo everywhere you look!

Happy New Year to you and Kelly and all the furry folks!

Vera said...

Happy New Year, Al and Kelly. Great photos as usual. Let's us follow your interesting travels.

Jerry and Suzy said...

We've been wanting to take Middlemarch Road ever since we first saw it heading east above Tombstone. You have made it now a necessity!
Mike will love your windmill photos, as we do. We were going to put up a post about a full moon (from years ago) but you sure beat that! Happy New Year -- keep on exploring and telling us about our own backyard!

Laurie, Odel, and Luna said...

What a fun post! We've traveled Middlemarch Road many times on our way to exploring various parts of the Dragoons and Cochise's Stronghold. We've never found a good map of the trails there, but have found some VERY interesting places. It is one of our very favorite places to hike, for all the reasons your articulated so well.

We drove by your place yesterday (the gate was closed, so I think you were gone), making a short visit to WW Draw on our way home from a hike with Rosanna at Chiricahua NM (snowy and icy). Thought fond thoughts of you as we zipped past. Bayfield Bunch, you are doing a great thing for Belle Starr. We salute you!

Mike McFall said...

And a HAPPY NEW YEAR to you guys!!!! neat pictures and ESPECIALLY the WINDMILL....I love it!!
I with you all, I'm done my share new year partying over the years. I now take a couple shots of good whiskey and it mellow's me out and I'm asleep by 10......my way of enjoying it..
Great Blog Al!

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great pictures, we love that area.

Janna and Mike said...

Loved the moon photos, Al!

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