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.
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