SWISS HELM MOUNTAINS EAST OF THE LAZY W RANCH NEAR ELFRIDA ARIZONA
A short sharp & intense storm thundered in off the lake Sunday night bringing with it a Tornado watch for areas about about an hour south of us. Storm passed & all was well but we sure got a lot of rain in a short period of time. Our eyes were on the radar weather map first thing this morning to see if we could make a quick run to London Ontario about an hour or so away between storm fronts & pick up a section of carpet for our porch. If & when it will ever dry up enough for me to stain our front deck adjoining the porch is anybody’s guess.
RUCKER CANYON ROAD IN THE CHIRICAHUAS
Ray from my TUMBLEWEED PHOTO GROUP in Arizona sent me the following update on the Chiricahua Mountain fires. “ It’s still going strong, less than 25% under control (how do you control a wild fire???). So far the fire fighters have saved Portal and Paradise. Latest estimates put the burned acreage at close to 60,000 acres. Today is typical: hot, very dry and (using weather bug) highest gust so far 46 mph. We can see the fire from home, mainly very thick smoke but at night we see the glow as the fire has topped the mountains and is trying to head for the Sulphur Springs Valley.” Of course Ray’s email got me to thinking about the Sulphur Springs Valley again.
HIKING IN THE CHIRICAHUA MOUNTAINS
MULE MOUNTAINS ON THE VALLEY’S SOUTHWEST SIDE
All Full Timers know that at some point they will have to make the decision to come in off the road & re-establish a home base again. But, where to do that. As Kelly & I have Snow Birded back & forth to the Southwest from Ontario I have often thought of where to settle down & establish a home base if we did not have one here in Bayfield Ontario. The easy part of that thought is knowing what section of the country we would prefer & for us that is the Southwest. But, where in the Southwest?
THE TURKEY CREEK AREA AT THE BASE OF THE CHIRICAHUA MOUNTAINS ON THE VALLEY’S NORTHEAST SIDE
We have traveled around these past few years to a fair few locations & seen many things. The thought is always in the back of my mind as we travel through different areas about whether I would want to live there or not. Both Arizona & New Mexico would be high on the priority list. Sometimes you just drive through a place & keep on going & other times something reaches out & tugs at your feelings . And, so it has been with southeastern Arizona & the Sulphur Springs Valley. We have spent more time here in the last 3 years than anywhere else in our travels & the area has kind of grown on us. The valley was not exactly love at first site though. It is a very dry valley & has fallen on hard times over the years & it took us awhile to make the mental switch from green lush summer Ontario to this valley of yellowed winter grass & small bare trees. The hard times of the valley is reflected by some of the dusty little towns & tired looking ranches, but that only added to our interest & growing fondness for the valley. It took us awhile to see & appreciate the beauty between the mountain ranges. Once I traded in my baseball hat for a cowboy hat the valley began to feel like home to me. I should also add that it was the late 1800’s history of the Sulphur Springs Valley & surrounding areas that intrigued me as well. And, I should throw something else in here. We have only ever seen the valley in the dry winter months & never when it has had it’s best foot forward during the greens of Spring & Summer.
SWISS HELM MOUNTAINS ON THE VALLEY’S CENTRAL EAST SIDE
The valley is sparsely populated in comparison to many other areas & traffic on the roads is light, if any sometimes. There is a lot of history in Cochise County & that is still reflected in the way of life there. Some ranches still look much they way they did back at the turn of the Century. You will not find any four lane highways here loaded with 18 wheelers or on & off ramps although Interstate 10 does cut through the Valley’s northern edge from East to West. In fact, the only traffic lights in the whole valley are in one city/town which happens to be Douglas at the southern end of Cochise County. Wait a minute, I think Wilcox & Benson might have a light or two but that is about it. You will not find swanky suburbs with gated communities & streets lined with Palm trees. Nor will you find manicured Malls & rows upon rows of big box stores & fancy restaurants. Nope, the Sulphur Springs Valley still remains with one foot in the past & the other foot on a lonesome dusty back road somewhere. And, that is just the kind of place & pace that appeals to us. Just the kind of place we could easily hang our hats & set a spell:))
EAST OF ELFRIDA IN ARIZONA’S COCHISE COUNTY
I will always remember the Lazy W Ranch we boon docked at for a few weeks this past winter & how it had such a large impact & pull on me while we were there. If there was no border between these 2 countries & the price of the Ranch could have been negotiated we might still be there. Last time I checked about a week ago the secluded 40 acre Ranch was still for sale. Not a fancy place by any means but it’s small one floor adobe brick ranch house with big front porch looking across to the Swiss Helm Mountains had everything we would have called home. A starry night sky from mountain top to mountain top with fiery sunrises every morning & fiery sunsets at the end of every day. And lots of sunny days in between:)) We knew the Sister of the man who came to the west from New York City years ago & built the house by hand. Yep, it was our kinda digs alright. Just the kind of place where a feller could get himself good & dusty enough each day to make himself feel real darn good about where he was……………..10-4:))
AND THIS IS THE DUSTY LITTLE RANCH WE FELL IN LOVE WITH……THE LAZY W
No rain soaked weather fronts came through Bayfield today & as a matter of fact it turned out to be hot, humid & sunny with temps hitting the 80F mark. I was too cheap to turn on the A/C so blasted myself with a big fan beside my chair. Did we get to London…..Nope. Kelly ended up with a heavy work schedule at Deer Park Lodge today & never made it home until mid afternoon.
WE FOUND POSSIBLE EVIDENCE OF AN OLD INDIAN VILLAGE AT THE BASE OF THOSE GRANITE ROCKS ON THE RIGHT
Little Cora & I did make to the TSC store in Goderich this morning to buy a battery operated Black & Decker grass trimmer they had on sale though. Couldn’t get my noisy fume belching gas lawn mower fired up a month ago so decided at that time to reduce our grass area again & just use my hand push mower. Besides, with my new age thinking that, ‘quieter is better,’ a hand pusher & battery operated trimmer was much more to my liking. I especially liked the idea that the Black & Decker grass trimmer battery charger will fit all other B&D re-chargeable tools too. Do I have any other Black & Decker re-chargeable tools? Nope!! Am I ever likely to get some? Probably not, but I liked the concept:))
DRAGOON MOUNTAINS ON THE VALLEY’S NORTHWEST SIDE
If tonight’s blog looks a little different it’s because I’m using our Win 7 laptop with Live Writer’s latest version. Usually I do the blog on Win XP with Live Writer’s older version while home for the summer.
SUNSET OVER THE MULE MOUNTAINS
GROANER’S CORNER:(( ‘Ode To Arizona’…..author unknown
The Devil wanted a place on earth.
Sort of a summer home:
A place to spend his vacation
Whenever he wanted to roam.
So he picked out Arizona.
A place both wretched and rough.
Here the climate was to his liking
And the cowboys were hardened and tough.
He dried up the streams in the canyons
and ordered no rain to fall:
He dried up the lakes in the valleys,
Then baked and scorched it all.
Then over his barren desert
He transplanted shrubs from Hell.
The cactus, thistle and prickly pear --
The climate suited them well.
Now, the home was much to his liking.
But animal life, he had none:
So he created crawling creatures
That all mankind would shun.
First he made the rattlesnake.
With its forked poisonous tongue:
Taught it to strike and rattle
And how to swallow its young.
Then he made Scorpions and Lizards
And the ugly old Horned Toad.
He placed spiders of every description
Under rocks by the side of the road.
Then he ordered the sun to shine hotter.
Hotter and hotter still.
Until even the cactus wilted
And the old Horned Toad looked ill.
Then he gazed on his earthly kingdom.
As any creator would:
He chuckled a little up his sleeve
And admitted that it was good.
'Twas summer now and Satan lay
By a prickly pear to rest.
The sweat rolled off his wearthy brow.
So he took off his coat and vest.
"By Golly," he finally panted
"I did my job too well.
I'm going back where I came from
Arizona is hotter than Hell!"
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