Our outside thermometer probe told us we dropped to 7F just before sunrise this morning so it didn’t take me long to climb into my warm Canadian winter clothes before going outside. By the time we headed out with the Jeep a couple hours later we were up to a balmy 25F.
Cochise Stronghold dead ahead & then left to the Grapevine Canyon Ranch.
Another clear blue Arizona sky overhead as we headed north up the Sulphur Springs Valley this morning in search of, THE GRAPEVINE CANYON RANCH. The ranch first came across our desktop early this past summer. An email arrived from the ranch’s webmaster Ben Hill asking permission for the ranch’s owner, Eve Searle to use one of my Rucker Canyon photos in her websites blog, which Eve masterfully writes.
Kelly & I made a note at that time to stop in at the ranch & meet Eve next time we were in the Southwest. Well, today was that day. Kelly had emailed Eve a few weeks ago & we arranged to be at the ranch this morning at 9:30. It was not our first time in that area just a few miles west of Pearce, Arizona. The ranch is tucked snuggly into the foothills of the Dragoon Mountains not far from the Cochise Stronghold. We loved this area right from the time we hiked into the Stronghold a couple years ago. This morning, as we rolled west out of Sunsights Arizona & approached the Stronghold we again expressed our thoughts of how nice it would be to live in this beautiful area. Coming over a small hill we saw a treed canyon ahead & caught a glimpse of a building through the distant trees. A gate at the bottom of the hill told us we had reached the Grapevine Canyon Ranch.
Kelly opened the main gate to the Ranch about 9:20 & minutes later we were making our way along a winding sandy road to the main building. All the time driving in, the scenic Dragoon Mountains rose higher in the background. We were soon surrounded by trees as we rolled into the dusty parking lot at the main reception building & office.
LEAVE YOUR TROUBLES AT THE GATE & BE SURE TO CLOSE THE GATE BEHIND YOU…..OR ELSE!!
Right from the beginning you know you are at a special place. You know you have just set foot on a real working Arizona ranch as the sounds & smells of horses & working wranglers drift through the trees. Cozy reception area & minutes later we met Eve herself.
COZY RECEPTION AREA
We didn’t realize it at the time but we were in the presence of a very great woman. It wasn’t until we arrived home later in the afternoon & Kelly got on the computer & did a search for Eve Searle that we realized just who we had spent nearly 3 hours with this morning. I will include the links about this ladies life & many accomplishments including medical school & a flight instructor in Australia. Sally Middleton writes about her visit to the ranch & Eve Searle in CONNECTIONS FOR WOMEN. A New Zealand magazine’s Art Director spent time at the ranch & wrote the following article about her experiences there as well. HOW THE WEST WAS ONCE.
KELLY & EVE HEADING FOR THE COOKHOUSE
Let me say right off the bat that this is a beautiful Dude ranch, well organized & operated. Staffed by fourteen on site staff members who are all of the West & know of the West. In true western style, Eve led us the short distance along a stoned lined pathway under a canopy of trees to the Cookhouse. Minutes later with coffee in hand, cookies in a cookie jar & home made Tortilla chips with Salsa, we sat down at a large round table right next to a warming pot bellied stove.
EVE ANSWERS SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT RUCKER CANYON
KELLY FINDS THE FRIDGE
Eve was able to answer some questions I had about the FORT RUCKER RANCH HOUSE I had photographed up in the Chiricahua Mountain’s Rucker Canyon a few years ago. That ranch house is the very one author Mary Kidder Rak writes about in her book that I am reading right now entitled, ‘A Cowman’s Wife.’
EVE EXPLAINS HOW THIS COLORED GLASS WINDOW WAS MADE FROM OLD BOTTLES & IS NOW A PART OF THE RANCH’S BAR AREA
We also talked about the current problems along the Mexican border & we all agreed about how the media has portrayed the situation to be much worse than it is. Eve told us how that fear the media has generated has affected their Dude Ranch business this past year. There have been cancellations & bookings have dropped off. Kelly & I have been coming to & boondocking in this southwest area for the past 3 years & feel far safer in this region than we would in any Canadian or American city.
Following coffee, Eve gave us a tour of the ranch & all it’s facilities reminiscing about past times & how along with her late husband Gerry, worked hard to make the Grapevine Canyon Ranch what it is today. Gerry was a true cowboy, rancher & Stuntman with scenes & parts in the old TV series, ‘High Chaparral.’ Gerry also played parts in other movies & was in, ‘Monty Walsh’ with Lee Marvin. Check out GERRY SEARLE'S bio. I feel Gerry’s passing a few years ago still weighs heavy on Eve & I also sensed the sadness in her Australian accent as she talked of the devastating fire in December of 2007 that burned their original Cookhouse to the ground. I also sensed the pride she has in the newly constructed bigger, brighter, & better Cookhouse lounge.
THIS IS THE NEW LOUNGE ROOM AFTER THE FIRST ONE WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED BY FIRE
EVE’S LATE HUSBAND GERRY & LOOKING AT THE GUEST BOOK
I won’t attempt to describe how impressed Kelly & I were with everything we saw today & I hope my photos will at least convey a basic idea of how truly nice this ranch really is. The staff members we encountered were all friendly & it was plain to see how they all truly love & care for the many horses there. And, we met some mighty fine ranch doggy guys too with one of them bandaged from a recent run in with a COATIMUNDI. More about that in a later blog. In Wednesday or Thursday’s blog I will post more pics of the ranch including the Tac Room, horses, guest cabins, pool area, the Games Room & Library.
I will let the Grapevine Canyons website answer questions about the Dude Ranch in regards to trail rides, lengths of stay, cost, etc. I can tell you that a lot of folks who come to experience the true west ranch experience at Grapevine are from European Countries & especially Germany. And, on that website, Eve writes a well written blog about the life & times around the ranch & the many guests that stay there. You can always find Eve’s blog on our sidebar under, ‘Blogs We Follow.’
A big thank you Eve for taking time out of your busy day to spend some time with a couple Dudes from Bayfield, Ontario Canada. Your hospitality was much appreciated & who knows, maybe it will be Kelly & I showing up one day to spend a few days at the ranch riding the Dragoon & Chiricahua Mountain trails with you.
THAT’S RIDING COUNTRY OUT THERE
We were back to the rig shortly after 1 this afternoon & I spent the rest of the day working on the 200+ photos I had taken. Over the next number of days I will add more photos & eventually include them all in a Picasa Web Album.
Wednesday morning we will head out once again to the area near where we were today as we team up with some Jeeping friends for a 3 Jeep bumpity tour somewhere through the historic Dragoon Mountains. At least I think that is where we’re going. Guess we’ll find out in the morning………………10-4:))
GROANER’S CORNER:(( The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
EMAIL THE BAYFIELD BUNCH:))
Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.