(THIS IS THURSDAY’S MARCH 8TH POST)
WE ARE ALWAYS AMAZED AT WHAT WE STUMBLE UPON IN THE DESERTS & MOUNTAINS OF THE SOUTHWEST
If it hadn’t been so blasted cold & windy Wednesday night I would have enjoyed sitting outside under a big bright full moon flooding the desert floor with it’s magical Moonbeams.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S RISING MOON & THURSDAY MORNING’S SETTING MOON
Had myself one of those restless nights & ended up sitting bleary eyed in my chair before the clock even struck 3 a.m. Probably worrying about this whole house deal thing. Just so many variables & unknowns. So many, ‘what if’s’. As with any large purchase….there are always concerns. Back to bed at 4 & up again at 5:30 for the second start to my day.
SPOTTED A BLOOMING CACTUS ALONGSIDE THE ROAD TODAY
Now here’s something discouraging for a Snow Birder. Yesterday when checking temps back home I noticed it was warmer in Bayfield Ontario Canada at 58F than it was here in Congress, Arizona at 52F. And this morning….yep, 48F in Bayfield & 40F here in Congress. Geeeeezzzz, are we gonna have to spend our winters in the North now!! No, no, say it isn’t so. Perish the thought for sure!!
DESERT FLOWERS ARE BEGINNING TO BLOOM
Pheebs, Kelly & I piled into the Jeep & headed for Wickenburg at 9 a.m. to meet fellow Jeepsters Jim & Bev at McDonald’s. Jim’s gold prospecting has taken him through many back country Jeep roads these past 4 years so Bev dug up a little mining history on the area southeast of Wickenburg. We had the 2 Jeeps rolling about 9:30 & were soon off the pavement & out into the Arizona desert.
Let me say up front that this 6.5 hour Jeep tour on the Constellation Road all the way to the Williams Ranch was one of the best Jeep runs we have ever been on.
Roads were good with no sharp rocks or rock climbing. But, there are some hairpin turns, sharp corners & a fair number of drops off’s making for some truly great scenery. Focus on the scenery & don’t worry about the embankments.
Bev had printed out a lot of info from the internet on what we would see along the way. First stop was Sayer Springs which was a Stage Stop in the old west days. Walls & roof were gone long ago but some of the stone foundation still remains.
Most fascinating was what lay in the rocks just a short climb above the old stage station. Bev & Jim had been here before & knew of two water caves. First one contained a pool of stagnant algae infested water, but it was the second one that contained a surprising pool of crystal clear cold spring water. The water was so clear you actually had to stick your finger in it to see if it was really there.
INSIDE THIS CEMENTED CAVE ENTRANCE IS A CRYSTAL CLEAR POOL
Our second stop was alongside the road high atop the ruins of the old ‘No Name’ mine site. Stone foundations & steps could be seen where buildings once stood. Tailing piles scattered about indicated where men had once labored with picks & shovels digging deep into the earth for Gold.
FOUNDATIONS OF OLD MINING BUILDINGS CAN BE SEEN
More twisting turns, hills & grades brought us to the second mine site alongside the road. This was the Monte Cristo mine & much of it’s ruins still remain.
We believe the old mining town of CONSTELLATION was located somewhere in this area. Spent about 45 minutes here walking about looking at what was left of a once hard working sweat & toil lifestyle.
ONE OF 3 OLD REFRIGERATORS LYING ABOUT
Jim had his prospector eyes on the ground & was able to pick up rocks showing us bits of copper & what he believed were possible flecks of Gold. In Jim’s words, “there is Gold everywhere out here in these hills & mountains.”
JIM IS A MAN WITH HIS EYE’S ON THE GROUND:))
From the Monte Cristo mine we slowly traveled a tight winding road to a high overlook & pulled the Jeeps to the side of the road at what turned out to be a nice lookout point. It was time for lunch:))
Bev had brought roast beef from her slow cooker & soon had Bev’s Bistro set up alongside their Jeep. Sandwiches were made & much appreciated, especially by the Pheebs. We followed those great sandwiches with Bev’s great homemade Banana Bread with Cranberries. She had even baked an extra loaf for the Bayfield Bunch which we ate on the way home…..no, no, no, just kidding:))
Despite the many miles Jim has logged in these mountains we were now on some roads that were new to him as well. As mentioned before, these back country Jeep roads go on forever just like long sinewy Spider webs randomly scattered over the Mountains, through the Canyons & deep into the Valleys. And just about everywhere, the hand of man can be found.
It was at the bottom of a short steep curving turn to the left that an old wooden structure with a tin roof was spotted. Jim pulled over & I pulled in behind him. He was pointing to something off to our right. An old stone wall in a rock cut alongside a rough rocky lane. Upon further exploration & we saw an old stone building on higher ground behind the wall. Beyond that a larger second two story brick building. It was hard to tell if these buildings were occupied. But a third building farther back was definitely occupied so we didn’t go any further.
One has to be careful out here in these Gold laden hills. There are Prospectors here still working active claims & one has to be careful about nosing around. The old wild West is still very much alive in these rough & rugged mountains & hills. Shotguns & 6 shooters too!!
The scenery through these Canyons & River bottoms is so beautiful it is hard to describe. Around every corner Mother Nature presents a new canvas with an entirely new palette of colors for the Artist’s brush. It is a rugged land here in the west but it is a land of never ending enchantment.
AN OLD MINER’S LADDER I SUSPECT
It took us awhile, but after following a long greening wash through some amazing scenery with giant Saguaros towering over us we rounded a bend to see a large Ranch half a mile ahead perched on the banks of the waterless Hassayampa River.
THE DRY HASSAYAMPA RIVER BOTTOM ALONGSIDE THE WILLIAMS RANCH
Minutes later we were pulled up to the Williams Ranch House & shaking hands with Roy Williams himself. Roy’s one of those friendly old true western Rancher fellers who’s happy to meet you & entertain you with tales of the Ranch. He told us of trouble they had with a Mountain Lion taking all their Angora Sheep awhile back.
The Williams Ranch had been our point of destination today & with handshakes all round we bid farewell to Roy & his Ranch. Ranchers are busy folks & Roy was off to brand some young cattle when we left. Be sure to click on THE WILLIAMS RANCH website, because this Ranch is more than….just a Ranch:)) (the first part of the website is written in German so just scroll down to where English begins)
Wheeling the Jeeps around we pointed our noses for home & began the long dusty trek back out to civilization, somewhere to our northwest I think, but before leaving we signed a BLM book near the Ranch
BEV SIGNS THE VISITOR’S BOOK WHILE JIM TELLS US A TALE ABOUT HIS FISHING DAYS & THE SIZE OF ONE THAT GOT AWAY……..:))
Met some ATV & Jeep traffic along the narrow roads but we all managed to edge over & squeeze by each other.
Jim knew of a short side trip to a dry waterfall where he thought a little water might be left but the only thing we saw was a herd of bees buzzing about a damp spot on the ground at the base of the falls. Not wanting to get ourselves into a big mess with a bunch of bees we all headed back to the Jeeps parked a short distance away. This marked the end of our back roads journey with Jim & Bev because all that remained was to follow them back into Wickenburg. We said our farewells, talked about another Jeep tour soon & thanked Bev & Jim for showing us a great Jeeping day complete with roast beef sandwiches & Banana Bread……with Cranberries:))
JIM WAS HOPING THERE MIGHT BE SOME WATER HERE
BEV KEEPS A WARY EYE ON A BUNCH OF BEES ON THE SAND BELOW
Twenty minutes later, on solid pavement coming into Wickenburg our Jeeps diverged on different streets as we went our separate ways. McDonald’s was our target as we sailed through & grabbed a box of Chicken McBites to eat on the way home for supper. We sure had us a happy little Motormouse waiting for us…….:))
Thanks to Bev for the Constellation town site & Williams Ranch links.
BEV ON THE STAIRS TO NOWHERE AT THE MONTE CRISTO MINE
BEV READS ALOUD ABOUT THE RUINS BELOW WHILE JIM CHECKS HIS GPS AT THE ‘NO NAME’ MINE
And, just a quick note to say what a great little girl Pheebs was on our Jeep Safari today. She rides so quietly in the back of the Jeep we forget she is even there. At each stop she is out racing around exploring things in all directions. She comes when she is called, is always on her best behavior & never gives us any trouble. How truly fortunate we are to have such a beautiful, beautiful, dog.
GROANER’S CORNER:(( Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle drugs.
- Why do giraffes hate to play poker?
Because you can't shake a tree without a bunch of cheetahs falling out.
- A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
- What's the difference between a lawyer and a boxing referee?
A boxing referee doesn't get paid more for a longer fight.
- Old accountants never die, they just lose their balance.
- Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.