“We want adventure! We want adventure! We want new Western scenes!”
Well, you have all been very patient with me the last two and a half weeks. I went on a trail ride and only gave you a single photo of the horse I rode, with no details of the ride! How could I? Finally now, the Artist and I explored a new-to-us mountain road, and I have the pictures to prove it.
If you remember last year’s expeditions along Turkey Creek, that should give you a point of reference. We begin south of Chiricahua National Monument, and at the relevant intersection we go straight ahead instead of turning left (east) to Turkey Creek.
Back in Leelanau County, Michigan, an unpaved road not regularly maintained by the county is called a “seasonal road.” Here in Cochise County, Arizona, they are known as “primitive.” By either name, they spell roads less travelled, and the signs advising us to “Watch for Animals” are entirely unnecessary in my case. Might we see a mountain lion today?
Along with all the other troubles and woes of the year 2020, the summer monsoons never arrived in southeast Arizona. Creeks and washes are dry, as are many of the seasonal ponds we have enjoyed seeing in previous years. The rocky streambed above is an example, but every wash and streambed we crossed, whether by “fording” (is it called that if there’s no water?) or bridge, was the same. It makes me hope for a very snowy winter in the weeks ahead.
Old, tall trees, however, have deep roots, and these giants tell us of a sometime-watercourse before we see the sign. The Kuykendall Cutoff and Rucker Canyon Road have many one-lane bridges, but we encountered only two other vehicles all day and were nowhere near a bridge when we had to squeeze past one another.
|Another dry wash|
Oh, the trees, the glorious trees! It isn’t so much Michigan lakes that I miss in Dos Cabezas but trees, and the happy note on that is that all we have to do is drive up higher into the mountains to find them. Aspen, sycamore, pines, junipers, and beautiful, beautiful spreading oaks!
We are climbing now. And as we climb, we begin to get the misty blue long views, looking through peaks to the San Simon Valley that lies to the east of the Chiricahua range. Below is my favorite photograph of the day -- I think....
Although looking back is also beautiful….
|Another cattle guard|
I see the cattle guards differently since my trail ride earlier in the week. Now I note that gate to the side of the road, a gate to be opened by a rider on horseback or by someone driving cattle through, as the animals cannot pass over the cattle guard (this is their whole point) as can wheeled vehicles. I like the thought, and every time we come to a cattle guard, I cast a fond glance at the gate to the side.
Besides the long mountain views and tree-lined streambeds, the Artist and I like the stretches of open, savannah-like ground dotted with trees. It looks African, we think (though neither of us has ever been to Africa), as our road opens out before us.
“This would be a great place to shoot a Western,” the Artist observes. “No gawking crowds getting in the way.”
At last we descend to the San Simon Valley (from about 7,000 feet above sea level to maybe 4500), and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Horses!
And beautiful cattle!
We had been "somewhere else" and were not home yet, by a long shot.
There were more mountains to view up close as we made our way north through the edge of New Mexico to the expressway and a long ride home into the sunset. Just now, however, we were back on pavement – and sharing the road with enormous trucks, so the sense of discovery was quickly dispelled.
The truth is that we hadn’t planned an adventure when we set out in the morning, and while I always make sure to have a bottle of water in the car, we had nothing else. No sandwiches, no granola bars, not even an apple or a carrot. Also, back at the cabin, when I looked online for Rucker Canyon, I learned that we had, somehow, completely missed seeing old Camp Rucker itself! Maybe if we’d taken that left-hand road with the sign that read DEAD END? Anyway, further adventures await. Not only Camp Rucker but maybe – if I can screw up my courage and if we don’t get snow too soon – Pinery Canyon and Onion Saddle itself! Stay tuned to find out --.
Meanwhile, back in the ghost town I repotted my Christmas cactus and followed the advice of blogger friend Cheri, out in Eastport, Maine, for rooting cuttings to make more plants. Cheri wrote such a touching post about my Sarah the other day, it caught me completely off-guard and made me cry again. But we do pull up our socks and go on, don’t we?