JoDo Chasing Rainbows

Chiricahua National Monument

Beauty. Awe. Wonder. Sensational story Geronimo’s last stand. All of that is encompassed in a visit to Chiricahua National Monument. There are many stories of the people who lived and worked in this area.

The Chiricahua Apache under the leadership of Geronimo held out in these mountains before the surrender in 1886. From this area he could lead attacks on the near by Fort Bowie. After surrender,the Chiricahua Apache were relocated to reservations in New Mexico and Oklahoma. This is the quick and dirty recap. You can read more at the National Park Site.

In 1888 the Erickson’s settled in this area. They built a ranch as the base of the mountains. They wanted to preserve the area. Upon their deaths of their children this ranch became part of the historic district.

The Civil Conservation Corps that was created to give employment during the Great Depression has a large impact on this part. The CCC built the hiking trails in this park. You can still see the results of their work today.

I personally think this park has some of the best rock formations that I have ever seen. The park is off the beaten path. It is about 35 miles southeast of Wilcox, AZ. This area driving to the park is prone to dust storms so be aware. You can also drive to the summit. I drove until the tree line disappeared then Donna took over. She made the descent until the tree line then I could drive again. That is par for the course when we drive up mountains. I am ever grateful for her nerves of steel.

There is a 26 site campground. It accepts RVs up to 29 feet. I would not recommend anything over 20 feet. The park has many low hanging trees. I would not bring my RV to this park due to that fact.

There are many different hiking trails from fully accessible to strenuous. You have plenty of options for everyone to have fun. I really enjoyed this park. It is in my top 10 of favorite places for 2019.

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

My favorite area in southeast Arizona. This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There is no extra cost beyond what we pay in taxes. When silver was found in Tombstone they needed somewhere to process the ore. Tombstone did not have water. Along the San Pedro River many towns sprout up to handle this production of the ore. Tombstone’s mine got deep enough they finally struck water effectively putting these little boom towns out of business.

There are many relics to see of these ghost towns. Some have more buildings than others. There is a hiking path that goes through this area. We hiked many miles to see what there was to offer. Here are two areas where we hiked the most.

Millville/Charleston/Petroglyph Trail

This was a 20 minute ride from our campground to this area. We found it by accident while we were driving to Tombstone. Millville and Charleston and towns on opposite sides of the river. You can walk through the remains of old Millville. Charleston has no hiking trail. You can see where it was but it is dangerous to walk over there. There is also a rock formation with many petroglyhs. The entire hike is about 3 miles. It is not hard but there is a lot of beauty.

Fairbanks

Fairbanks was also established during the silver boom in Tombstone. It had something that other towns did not have though. It had a train depot as well as it had a state route running through this town. It was able to hold on much longer than other boom towns along the San Pedro. There are several building still standing.

This town held on until 1972 when Fairbank Mercantile, post office and gas station closed. We walked around around the town thinking about the teachers who had to work in this town. The rules were very strict. Teachers could not be seen walking with a man that was not their father or brother. She could not marry. She could not be out alone at night. The school closed in the mid 1940s. You can also walk over to the towns cemetery. We found so many graves of children. The old west was very harsh. You were lucky to survive to adulthood.

There are so many options for hiking, biking or horse back riding in the San Pedro Conservation area. This is a place I highly recommend. Be on the lookout for wildlife. We saw javelina and deer. Also, be on the lookout for snakes. That is just good practice in this area.

Have you ever been to the San Pedro Conservation area? If so, what is your favorite part?

Tombstone, AZ

In 1877, the city of Tombstone was founded by Ed Schieffelin. At the time, there was a scouting voyage in Tombstone against the Chiricahua Apaches. Ed was on this mission and was staying at Camp Huachuca (later to become Fort Huachuca). Ed was in the bad habit of going out on his own to gather stones. The soldiers would tell him that the only stone he was going to find was his tombstone. Ed did find something. He found silver. Thinking of the soldiers he named his first mine Tombstone.

Word spread quickly and before long homesteaders, cowboys, speculators, prospectors, lawyers, business people and gunmen were headed there. It was originally called Goose Glats, but because it was so close to the mine it was renamed Tombstone in 1879.

Courthouse

Tombstone became the town of 100 saloons, a huge red-light district, newspapers and one of the original Arizona community swimming pools; which is still in use today.

It also had two theaters. Morgan Earp was killed at Scheiefflin Hall. That building is still used today.

Just walking down, the street feels like walking into a western. The reenactments at the OK Corral, the Boothill Graveyard and the Bird Cage Theater made me feel like I could have really fit in during the time.

If you are in the area, I highly recommend a visit, step back in time and enjoy the smell of gunpowder.

Information: www.tombstoneaz.net, Your Tombstone Arizona Travel Guide

This was written by Donna. I just typed it in.

Bisbee, AZ

We continue to make our grand tour of Southeast Arizona. Bisbee is a quaint town that is built into a mountain. From Sierra Vista we had to go through Mule Pass which is the tunnel which brings you from one side of the mountain to the other. I was driving. The tunnel was long but there was plenty of traffic so I was not afraid. I could only imagine what it was like when you had to go over the mountain before the tunnel was built. That would have made me nauseous. In fact, I would have had to pull over so that Donna could drive.

Bisbee started off as a mining town. Two former officers who fought in the Civil War but where trained as geologists saw potential when they saw the minerals in the town. They took their bounty off to California where they received enough money to start a mining operation. Mines were active in this town until 1975. Most towns die when their industry leaves. Not Bisbee. Due to cheap land in a beautiful location the town was reborn as a hippy community. Lots of free spirits and artists moved into town creating a wonderful, thriving location.

We started in the mine. I was concerned that I would get claustrophobic. This happened to me before in Nevada. I couldn’t go in due to closing walls. This did not happen this time. I am not sure if it was because of airflow or what. No matter. I was in the mine and enjoying the tour. It was so interesting. You could still see pockets of minerals in the walls.

We also walked around town. Bisbee is built into a hill. Be ready to walk. Some of the sidewalks were the old western type where the sidewalks are built much higher than the street. It is very hilly. We sure got our workout in walking around this town. This is one place I really liked and could see myself setting down. That won’t be anytime too soon. We are having too much fun traveling around and exploring the U.S.

Have you ever been to Bisbee? What did you like best?