MULE MOUNTAINS IN BACKGROUND WITH THE HUACHUCA MOUNTAINS ON THE FAR DISTANT HORIZON
For the past few years while staying in the Sulphur Springs Valley of southeastern Arizona we have always noticed a couple clusters of communication towers high atop the Mule Mountains just north of Bisbee. These towers are visible for many miles around. Although we did not set out Friday morning to find these towers, we did find ourselves standing directly underneath them by noon.
<<< KELLY STANDS ON THE EDGE OF TOMBSTONE CANYON LOOKING TOWARDS BISBEE, ARIZONA
Needed a few groceries so decided to head for the Safeway store in southwest Bisbee. Figured it was a good opportunity to look for a road north of Bisbee that appeared to be a good 4 wheeling drive so we headed out in search of that road.
BISBEE IS SNUGLY NESTLED IN THOSE MOUNTAINS & HILLS
Old Divide road turns off highway 80 just north of the Bisbee tunnel. This is the highway coming from Tombstone. Within a few hundred yards of turning off the highway we hung a left onto Juniper Flats Road & began to make our way up a winding hard packed gravely road into steep hills & increasing greenery. As so often happens, we were enveloped by the beauty & scenic views around us. Stopped by what looked like a small lane & walked in to what appeared to be a breathtaking spot for a new house under construction. We could look south down into Tombstone Canyon & see parts of Bisbee far below. To the north & much higher up we could see that cluster of communications towers I mentioned earlier & it dawned on me that this could possibly be the road leading to those towers. So, it was onwards & upwards.
SOMEBODY IS CARVING THEMSELVES OUT A SPOT WITH A GREAT VIEW
OUR DESTINATION IS ATOP THAT COMMUNICATION HILL
I was glad we had the sure footed 4 wheel drive Jeep because of a couple steep grades but I do believe a 2 wheel drive vehicle could make the same journey. The road has to be maintained because there are a few houses up there plus service personnel have to have access to those big towers at the top.
Saw a few architecturally interesting houses clinging to the steep canyon hillsides & it’s hard to imagine how people come up with the ingenuity of building these places. We later found out one of them was a well known architect himself. No electricity in the area so this fellow runs his whole property complex with solar power.
THIS IS THE SOLAR POWERED HOME OF ARCHITECT TODD BOGATAY & YOU CAN READ ABOUT THIS CURIOUS PLACE ON HIS SITE AT ECOMMUNITY
With a bit of bumping, grunting & oh oh’s we drove up through what is scenically called, Juniper Flats. Finally crested the mountain top & entered the big communication tower compound.
No gates or signs saying no trespassing. Just pulled up alongside a big tower, got out & began enjoying the magnificent views all the way around us.
KELLY POINTS DOWN TOMBSTONE CANYON TO BISBEE BELOW
THAT’S BISBEE BELOW THROUGH THE GIRDERS
Cars looked like toys on the highway far below as it headed into Bisbee a few miles to the East.
HIGHWAY 80 HEADING INTO BISBEE FROM SIERRA VISTA & TOMBSTONE
PHOTO TAKEN WITH A 300mm LENS…. IT’S A LONG WAY DOWN
NORTH SIDE OF THE BISBEE TUNNEL
To the west we could see Sierra Vista nestled in the lee of the Huachuca Mountains. Could even see the large white hot air blimp sitting on the ground near Fort Huachuca about 20 miles away. Huachuca City was clearly visible to the north with the Whetstone Mountains perched on the horizon about 50 miles away.
HUACHUCA CITY WITH THE WHETSTONE MTS IN THE BACKGROUND
SIERRA VISTA WITH GROUNDED AIR BLIMP VISIBLE
THE HUACHUCA MTS TOWER OVER SIERRA VISTA (300MM)
Standing at this scenic point we were once again reminded of why we so much prefer to travel in the southwest. The scenery is forever changing with every turn of the road. We can be standing on the brown dry desert floor one minute & literally be walking through green forests a short time later. This land is never boring for those of us who seek the outdoors, the adventure, the roads less traveled & the curiosity to go have a look around the next corner, into the next canyon or atop the next hill or mountain.
The communication towers stretched high into the clear blue Arizona sky. Large round pods packed with electronic gear festooned the towers from bottom to top. Wires, cables, bolts, fencing, whirring air conditioners in small buildings cooling electronic wizardry inside. Large steel guide wires bolted into steel plates in turn bolted straight into hardened granite rock. New cement pads alongside old cement pads where older towers have previously been removed. And, all the time around us lay the forested hills & mountains, desert floors & distant valleys of southeastern Arizona. And, of course to our east at the other end of Tombstone Canyon lay our favorite little town of anywhere…..Bisbee:))
We walked & climbed around the rocks under the towers for about half an hour before moving off along the dusty road heading for a second hill of tours over a half mile to the north. These were a smaller set of structures but seemed to have more pods on them. And it was also here that we saw the warning signs. No trespassing, private property, radio frequency environment area, etc. We honored those signs, took a few pics, turned around & began backtracking our trek downwards.
Hadn’t gone far when Kelly noticed what appeared to be some colored fabric in the shrubbery just off the road. This is just the kind of thing that always catches our attention so it was out of the Jeep & off to see what could see. As in so many cases like this that we have come across before, this once again appeared to be the remains of a homeless persons refuge. Litter scattered about, pieces of trash, plastic containers, ripped tarps, food cans, torn magazines, bits & pieces of clothing etc. What was disconcerting about this site was a pair of paraplegic type crutches leaning against a shrub. We always wonder about the stories behind these places we come across from time to time. Always sad to think what troubled roads a person has traveled to somehow end up living under a tarpaulin beneath a cluster of shrubs.
COMMUNICATIONS TOWERS ATOP HILL IN BACKGROUND, HOMELESS SITE WAS TO LEFT
We continued our downward journey stopping at a clearing to look at a large ‘Peace’ sign laid out with stones. Broken glass once again told us this was a party area for local kids. This is not unusual for out of the way areas near towns or cities anywhere & it always angers me to no end whenever I see the carelessness & total disregard for nature by local teenagers!!!!
WE WONDERED IF MAYBE SOMEONE’S ASHES WERE HERE
More photos on the way down as I let the Jeep idle it’s way along in 4 wheel drive & first gear in some spots. I avoid using the brakes as much as I can on steep descents.
We were soon back to the highway, made a left turn, rolled through the Bisbee tunnel & headed for the High Desert Café in Bisbee for a bite to eat. I could go on & on about how much we like this magical Bisbee town but this blog is already waaaaay too long. Let me just say that if I had to pick a small town to live in someday it would be Bisbee Arizona hands down. Lunch was good at the High Desert & with a quick stop at the Chocolate Shoppe for Kelly we were on our way to the Safeway grocery store & home.
SMOOCHES AT BISBEE’S HIGH DESERT CAFE
Check out a brief history of Bisbee at GYM CLUB SUITES & I liked the way the ‘Retire To Bisbee’ article was written on their site & how it states, ‘Bisbee may not be for you.’ That article is here, BISBEE MAY NOT BE FOR YOU
INSIDE THE HIGH DESERT CAFE
I have managed to write this entire post without using the scroll bar but in order to now add photos I will once again have to try using it. OK, everything worked perfectly tonight but I noticed blog reader Vera has been having the same problem for quite awhile so I do suspect it is a Live Writer glitch of sorts.
THE CHOCOLATE SHOPPE
By the way, we did perfectly nothing today so that I would absolutely have nothing to write about allowing me to get caught up today with Friday’s scenic drive to the communication towers. More new Bisbee pics Sunday:))