Tag: Chiricahua Mountains (page 1 of 2)

The Drive to Fort Bowie

While it is only a few miles (by Arizona standards) from Faraway Ranch in the Chiricahua National Monument to Fort Bowie National Historic Site, it is arguably some of the prettiest landscape you will see in southeastern Arizona.

Looking southeast, In the distance are the Chiricahua Mountains and the Chiricahua National Monument and in the foreground cattle grazing lands as far as the eye can see.

A “zoomed-in” view of the grasslands with the Chiricahuas in the background.

Looking northeast towards the Dos Cabezas mountains and more grasslands. Where the Dos Cabazas and the Chiricahuas meet is the pass where Fort Bowie was built.

And here are some of the cattle using all that grazing land. We had earlier passed a road sign that said, “Loose Cattle” and we were quite puzzled over it and equally amused by the wording. Did they mean that the cattle were roaming wherever they wanted? Or were they “loose cattle” in the same context as “loose women”? Just a short bit down the road, though, we discovered these critters and, if you look closely, you will see that they are indeed loose, being on the road side of the fence rather than the pasture side of the fence!

As we drove on down the road, we soon saw why the cattle were “loose.” The monsoon waters had recently washed away the soil from around one of the fence posts (it was still muddy) and the fence post had tipped over, pulling the fence wire down and allowing the cows to just step over the wires and enjoy the greener grass on the other side. Obviously this occurs frequently enough to warrant an official road sign!

Faraway Ranch at Chiricahua National Monument

Bill and I have talked several times of visiting Fort Bowie, a National Historical Site in the Chiricahua Mountains, but since it entails hiking, which always seems like a lot of work, we had not done so. At least not until last Saturday! For some reason, we both decided that NOW was the time! But first we had to buy a new battery for the Neon and get that installed. And then we needed to find Bill a hat, as hiking in the Arizona sun without a hat is not smart. We didn’t find any in town that suited him, so he said he’d hike without, which I was uneasy about. As we got near the Chiricahuas, we decided to briefly visit the Chiricahua National Monument, see if there was a hat for sale at their visitor’s center, and maybe do a small hike around the lower area of the monument, an area that we’ve not visited before.

Lo and behold the Visitor’s Center did have a hat for Bill, although I had to promise not to take his picture in it! I don’t expect he’ll be wearing it anywhere that he thinks someone he knows might see him, but it did cover his head, so that was what mattered.

We were dismayed to discover that the Horseshoe Two wildfire last spring/summer burned through 100% of the Chiricahua National Monument. All areas pas the Visitor’s Center were closed to the public, due to safety reasons. While much was still green, you could see a lot of fire damage. Fortunately, no buildings were burned, which meant that the Faraway Ranch was intact and, since the Ranch is in the lower area of the Monument, we were able to spend some time there.

Faraway Ranch was the home of Swedish immigrants who settled in the canyon in the late 1880s. By the early 1900s they had a thriving guest house and gave tours of the Chiricahuas. The family (over several generations) was instrumental in gaining National Monument status for the area and their ranch is now a Historic District.

Wildfire Damage

Looking down the lane from the parking lot to Faraway Ranch, with the Chiricahua Mountains in the background.

Faraway Ranch lies in a valley on the edge of the Chiricahua Mountains, which here are just beginning their ascent.

Looking to the south from the front yard of Faraway Ranch

The main house of Faraway Ranch

The bridge leading from the main house to the bunk house

The view from the bridge. If you look closely, you can see brown pines in the distance, evidence of the wildfire.

More evidence of the wildfire.

We have visited Chiricahua National Monument a few times before. If you’d like to see pictures of the upper areas of the Monument, where most of the crazy rock formations are, please visit the following links:

Chiricahua National Monument

More of Chiricahua National Monument

Last of the Chiricahua Pictures

Organ Pipe Formation

Tree at Massai Point

Chiricahua National Monument Entrance

Horseshoe 2 Wildfire – 365 – 138

I mentioned on my May 9th More Wildfires post about the Horseshoe 2 wildfire that began on May 8th. Mostly our wind has been from the west, so we have not experienced much of the smoke from that fire. Yesterday I took these pictures looking off to the east.

Horseshoe 2 Wildfire smoke over the Chiricahua Mountains

You can see the Chiricahua Mountains in the center of the picture, far in the distance. It doesn’t show up so well in the picture, but you can actually see a smoke plume rising from those mountains. Notice the blue sky?

Horseshoe 2 wildfire smoke over the Chiricahua Mountains

When I zoom in as far as my camera will allow, the blue sky is gone and all you have is a smoky haze. Trying to see the area where the smoke is actually coming from is sort of like looking at the Pleiades, you can see it better if you look at it with your peripheral vision.

Horseshoe 2 wildfire smoke over the Chiricahua Mountains

The mountain range in the foreground is the Mule Mountains, with the town of Bisbee and the Mexico border on the southern end. The Horseshoe 2 wildfire is approximately 80 miles northeast of Sierra Vista. As of this morning, the news report said that it had consumed 32,000 acres and was 25% contained.

Here is a time-lapse video of the Horseshoe 2 fire and some more information from the JeffBeamish.com blog, a local (Tucson) blog pertaining to weather in Arizona.

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