Sunday, April 26, 2009

View from diggins at Rockhound

Treasure hunting

Balmorhea State Park pool

The round part of the pool

Clear, clear water

Left arm of the pool

Right arm of the poolFt. Lancaster barracs

Parade ground

Just a little late for work

Desert beauty

We're back with more wonderful adventures. Starting with the picture at the top is our trip to Rockhound State Park. We were looking for geodes, jasper, and anything else interesting. After some casting about we found the diggins--the place where people have been finding geodes. Duane found a little one, prolly the one the previous diggers missed. I found some little pieces of pink jasper. Mostly we found a lot of exercise, some great views, and a nice day out together. Next stop was Balmorhea State Park. The swimming pool was build by the CCC from the original spring and wetlands. The wetlands were rebuilt next to the campground. The pool consists of a large round pool 25' deep and two arms 25'x300'. It's the largest swimming pool in the USA. The water, which still comes from the spring, has fish and algae in it, but is very clear. At a constant 72-76 d. f. it was very nice even on an overcast day. I enjoyed it very much. We spent a very restful quiet night there, then went on to Kerrville. On the way we detoured down scenic rt. 290 and stopped to tour the reconstructed ruins of historic Ft. Lancaster. This is one of a series of forts built just before the Civil War (Ft. Bowie was one). As the war got into full swing, the forts were vacated with everything anyone could carry so it wouldn't fall into the hands of the Confederates. All in all an interesting little side trip. Now we are in Kerrville at the Guadalupe RV Resort. We will be here all week while Duane attends carving classes. I plan on completing my latest quilt and making good use of the adults only pool. No doubt there will be new carvings on our next posting!
More later.
Louise and Duane

Thursday, April 16, 2009

View from the top
From in the caves
View from below
Building in caves
Inside caves

Down the ladder
White water valley
Cat walk
Water falling in the palm
I was there!
One day of touring, two different sites, 350 miles! This was a long day. We left Deming at 9:30, later than we wanted, but we are still adjusting to the time change. We drove to Silver City (no time to visit this historic town), turned right and drove 2 hours through the Gila National Forest to the end of the road. After a quick visit to the visitors' center and another stamp in my national parks passport, we hiked 1/2 mile up to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The neat thing about these rooms is that they are unique to this area. Most of the time the people lived in tempory shelters or in the open caves. The walls here were built during a 20 year time frame and then abandoned. We got to the top in time for the tour. The guide had a lot of info about the area formation, and the peoples that lived there. Back in the car we ate lunch--the day was chilly with a cold wind blowing. We drove 20 mph up and in because we were rubbernecking. We drove 40 mph out because we were in a hurry, so the out time was only 1 hour. We drove back to Silver City and turned right for The Catwalk, a national site run by the National Forest Service (no visitors' center, no stamp). This is a 250 ft. metal causeway that clings to the sides of the Whitewater Canyon (20 ft wide at the narrowest, 250 ft deep). The 2 mile round trip walk follows the old route of the water pipeline that supplied water to the mill and town of Graham, both gone now, but originally located at the parking lot. Back at Silver City we toured the local Burger King, then headed home arriving after 8 pm. We only managed to walk about 3 miles. Most of the time we spent driving and viewing some wonderful scenery on the scenic route. We saw a few birds, some ground squirrels, a peccary, and a herd of pronghorns. All in all a wonderful day.
Enough for now!
Louise and Duane

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moved to New Mexico

Tonight has found us in Deming, New Mexico. We will be here for about a week. Tomorrow we are going to Gila National Monument for the day. It is about 90 miles from where we are. There is another place up that way we want to visit. Not sure if we can get both done the same day, so I think we will take a change of clothes in case we need to spend to the night up there. Maybe we should take the house with us, will see how it turns out.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ft. Bowie National Historic Site

The second Ft. Bowie, then
Ft. Bowie ruins, same view, today

Horned lizard

Apache pass

Original Ft. Bowie

2 deer

Apache springs

Foundation of Tom Jeffers house

Sorry, Murder She Wrote fans!
Notable grave in ft cemetery

Butterfield stage station
As promised here we are at the Ft. Bowie National Historic Site. This fort was built to curtail raiding Chiricahua under the leadership of Cochise and Geronimo after peace efforts failed. The stage station was built here simply to take advantage of the spring. The next stop was the cemetery. Most of the graves had been removed to San Francisco when the fort was abandoned. The cemetery still has about 30 graves of civilians, plus three Apache children who probably died of dysentery. Tom Jeffers was a well respected Indian agent who won the respect of Cochise. Apache springs was the whole reason anyone went to this valley. It was the only water around for 50 miles. We happened to see the two deer below the ruins of the original fort which was built on the hill to the left of the new fort. The whole area looks much the same as it did 100 years ago. The last two pix are taken on the hill overlooking both areas on both sides of the pass. Awsome.
This is a little 3 mile round trip hike from the parking lot, but it took us 4 hours. We stopped to take pix and to read all the signs. The area has significant historical value as the westward movement in southern AZ went through here. Geronimo surrendered formally at this fort and was escorted into exhile. It was weird hiking through this area. Really easy to imagine Apaches living here. A very interesting hike well worth the time.
Enough for now
Louise and Duane

Monday, April 13, 2009

Balancing pinacle rock
Thor's hammer

A view of a pinacle valley

Duck on a rock

Banded lizard

Kissing rocks

Big balancing rock

Duane with a view

One of Duane's many favs

Hiking fools

Somebody has to do it!

Mushroom rock

One more awsome view
Happy birthday to me! In honor of the day, the 13th, we posted 13 pix. When we first visited the Chiricahua National Monument in 07 the weather and time weren't right for more than a quick visit. The weather and time were perfect today. We took the van to the top of the mountain and took 7 hours to hike the 7 3/4 miles back down to the bottom. Needless to say, since we are old people, we did more stopping for ogling than we actually walked. But with so many awsome sites to see, who can blame us? We have posted some of the well known ones--duck on a rock, kissing rocks etc. plus a few of us to balance things out--he he. At 8pm I was ready to hit the sack but managed to stay awake til 9. Hurray for the old people! Tomorrow, to loosen up our poor tight muscles we are planning on taking the little 3 mile romp to visit the ruins of Ft. Bowie with more pix to follow on the blog. What can I say, when we tour we blog.
Enough for now
Louise and Duane

Saturday, April 11, 2009

More Bisbee

Our ride


All decked out
Well here we are in the copper boom town of Bisbee, named for a prominate local judge. We spent a couple of nights dry camping in the SKP park in Benson. On Friday we toured Bisbee. We took the Queen Mine tour. After the copper played out the mine decided to mine tourists. We each got a hard hat, a raincoat--not wet but damp and cold in there--and a battery pack attached at the back of the belt with snake flash light. The tour was very interesting and informative. We took it on a whim and were glad we did. After the tour was lunch in the car and then a tour of the local mining museum. Also very interesting. We learned all about the big Copper Queen Mine and other mines, and about how the town survived after the copper gave out. All in all a very fun day.
On Friday we moved to Wilcox to be near the Chiricahua National Monument and the Ft. Bowie National Historic Site for some hiking. Today we wanted to tour the local museum, but the volunteer we talked to failed show up to open up for us. O well. Tomorrow we will celebrate Easter together eating the traditional Wegley ham and homemade mac-n-cheese and lots of candy. You know, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we hike!
Enough for now
Louise and Duane