Tombstone

Tombstone Stage Coach 3When you hear the word Tombstone, what comes to mind?

To me, the first thought was where one is buried and an inscription over the site is written in stone.

Next, I think of Tombstone, Arizona.  Have you been there?

Also, my mind goes to the movie “Tombstone.”  According to Wikipedia: “Tombstone is a 1993 American Western film directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin Jarre (who was also the original director, but was replaced early in production[4][5]), and starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, with Sam ElliottBill PaxtonPowers BootheMichael Biehn, and Dana Delany in supporting roles, as well as narration by Robert Mitchum.

The film is based on events in Tombstone, Arizona, including the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Earp Vendetta Ride, during the 1880s. It depicts a number of Western outlaws and lawmen, such as Wyatt EarpWilliam BrociusJohnny Ringo, and Doc Holliday.”  Here is a YouTube link to a short clip of the movie.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTWYKf5hXIg

Well, this post is primarily about Tombstone, Arizona.

During our travels through Arizona we ventured south through Tucson. I had previously been to Tucson and enjoyed the area then so due to time constraints we decided to visit Tombstone.

According to Wikipedia, Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States.  It was founded in 1879 by prospector Ed Schieffelin, who was briefly a scout for the U. S. Army headquartered at Camp Huachuca. He frequently searched wilderness areas looking for valuable ore samples.  Before the Tombstone name was developed the area was called Pima County, Arizona Territory.

In 1877, Schieffelin used Brunckow’s Cabin as a base of operations and began surveying the area.  After many months he found pieces of silver ore.  It took months to find the source.  According to reports, Schieffelin’s legal mining claim was sited near a grave site.  In September 1877 he filed his first claim and named the stake Tombstone.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombstone,_Arizona for details.)Tombstone StreetThe town was established on a mesa (flat-topped hill) above the Goodenough Mine. Within two years of its founding Tombstone had a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dance halls and brothels. I’m sure the ice cream parlor was the favorite.

Tombstone Longhorn Restaurant
Longhorn Restaurant that provides a good menu of food at a fair price.  It provides a realistic western town feel.

 

Tombstone became one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier.

Tombstone bird cage entertainment signThe businesses were situated among, and on top of a large number of silver mines. The gentlemen and ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house.  Miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre and brothel.

The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced millions in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years.

At the Santa Rita mines in nearby Santa Cruz Valley, three superintendents had been killed by Indians. When friend and fellow Army Scout Al Sieber learned what Schieffelin was up to, he is quoted as telling him, “The only rock you will find out there will be your own tombstone”,[7] or, according to another version of the story, “Better take your coffin with you, Ed; you will only find your tombstone there, and nothing else.” [8][9] [references through Wikepedia)

Tombstone CourthouseTombstone’s Courthouse today provides a good collection of authentic interpretive exhibits, including: the period Sheriff’s Office, artist drawings and interpretations of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp, mining exhibit area, saloon and gaming room, period lawyers office and courtroom, ranching, and residents of Tombstone. (More information at https://tombstonecourthouse.com/history-of-the-courthouse/)

Tombstone Courthouse Gallows
Outside the courthouse in the courtyard is a reproduction gallows, the site where many convicted murderers met their fate.

 

Tombstone Courthouse Jail Door
Original jail doors being held up with modern framework.  One has to think of the types of criminals who passed through these doors.
Tomstone Courthouse Chair and Desk
Much of the original furniture is still in the courthouse – parts of the sheriff’s office as well as the lawyer’s office.  There is an old courtroom there as well.

Life was similar to what one would think as reflected in the western movies.  I imagine Tombstone was pretty rough with the mix of the rowdy, criminal, mischievous and law-abiding guests and residents.  Additionally, the town was far removed from larger towns where the “rule of law” prevailed.

Tombstone Stage Coach
Guests can ride on the era stagecoaches and receive excellent information about the town.

Tombstone - Bronco Trading sign

Tombstone street art
Street art reflects life in the 1800s.

Tombstone street art 2

Tombstone - OK Corral
Photo of gunfight near the O.K. Corral.

Eventually, with the wildness of the territory, there becomes a showdown.  The next post will highlight that historical event.  

Love and blessings,

Ron

  1. Beebe, Lucius Morris; Clegg, Charles. The American West: the Pictorial Epic of a Continent.
  2. “Across Arizona”. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 66 (364). March 1883.
  3. Bishop, William Henry (1888). Mexico, California and Arizona. New York and London: Harper and Brothers. p. 468. Retrieved May 29, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Giant

Saguaro 3

Saguaro!

Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation’s largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants (or could they be considered trees), found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park.  They are primarily to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson, where you can see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset. (National Park Service – https://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm)

Saguaro 4As we traveled through southern Arizona we saw these majestic cacti slowly reaching toward the sky over the years, inch-by-inch.  It seems like they just stand still, reaching upward with outstretched hands, towering over those who would ponder their beauty and age.

Saguaro 1Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall (12-18m). When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds. (https://www.desertmuseum.org)

  • The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
  • Most of the saguaros roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There is one deep root, or tap root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.
  • After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture. The holes that birds nested in or “saguaro boots” can be found among the dead saguaros. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.

Saguaro 2Since the saguaro is a symbol of the American west, I plan to highlight Tombstone, Arizona in my next two posts.  Stay tuned.

Red Rock Country

Sedona Rocks 1Is that what you think when you hear of Sedona, Arizona?  Red Rock Country

I believe it is true.  The area is amazing!

Sedona signAfter coming from the Grand Canyon I wonder what could compare.  Well, I’m impressed with the red rock formations – that’s for sure.

Sedona Rocks 2VisitSedona tells us:  “Multi-hued stone formations jut upwards from the high desert floor creating a vivid, mesmerizing setting that changes hourly with the light. When USA Weekend compiled their Most Beautiful Places in America list, Sedona claimed the top spot.”

Sedona Rocks 6More information is available at http://visitsedona.com.  Check out their list of 100 things to do in Sedona.  I didn’t experience most of them but maybe you have already.  I just enjoyed visiting and photographing some of the area.  That’s what happens when one is on a traveling schedule trying to drive as much as possible to highlight as much as possible. 🙂

Sedona Rocks 4I’m a pretty simple person and enjoyed just walking through the little shops as well, taking in as much of the culture and interesting information that time would allow.  I love the native American displays and history there.

According to Wikipedia the Paleo-Indians, who were big game hunters, were the first documented humans in the Sedona area, possibly between 11,500 and 9000 B.C.

Sedona Rocks 3“The red rocks of Sedona are formed by a unique layer of rock known as the Schnebly Hill Formation. The Schnebly Hill Formation is a thick layer of red to orange-colored sandstone found only in the Sedona vicinity. The sandstone, a member of the Supai Group, was deposited during the Permian Period.”  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedona,_Arizona)

Sedona Rocks 5I recalled some of the picturesque images I’ve seen in movies as I drove through Sedona.  That was pretty neat to see the sites firsthand.

Sedona is certainly another place to revisit – with more time to take it all in.

Love and Blessings,

Ron

Grand Canyon – beyond words

Grand Canyon 11I really appreciate each of you traveling with me along Route 66 toward the Grand Canyon in Arizona, U.S.A.  Our journey continues as I highlight just a few things.  There is so much to post but I’ll let this website provide the details.  https://grandcanyon.com/

Grand Canyon 14There is no doubt some people disagree with the origin and timeline of the Grand Canyon.  However, I’m not here to argue the point.  Let’s just enjoy the beauty and learn a little about it based on what the National Park Service states, and our own eyes.

Grand Canyon 12You can review the archeological information and photos by the Grand Canyon Association at https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/historyculture/adhigrca.htm.

Grand Canyon 8The Colorado River looks like a stream from observation points.  It appears so peaceful from above but it can be a raging, wild thing at times.

There are some amazing photos showcasing the river.  One photo, along with information, is on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River.

“The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (the other being the Rio Grande). The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the ArizonaNevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.”


Grand Canyon 15While we were riding back and forth to the various observation points, we saw clouds developing in the distance – and then they opened.

Grand Canyon 16We were miles away from the developing storm and were able to capture a few of the weather moments.

Grand Canyon 18

Grand Canyon 17It’s amazing seeing the Canyon’s grandeur highlighted by the lightning.

I respect the lightning and at this time we determined it was best to depart the area.  Wouldn’t you?

Love and Blessings,

Ron

 

Arizona’s Greatest Canyon

Grand Canyon 9For those who have not seen the Grand Canyon in Arizona firsthand, you will be amazed and will stand there in awe.

Grand Canyon 10How can one take in such beauty and peacefulness?  It’s certainly worth a trip.

NPS Map
National Park Service Map

We drove from Flagstaff, Arizona to the South Rim of the Canyon.  One can catch the tour train dedicated for the canyon as well.  I think the drive itself was fairly peaceful and picturesque – sort of like driving on the plains and wondering where the Canyon begins.  You won’t notice it until arriving and then you see the beauty unfold below you.

 

Grand Canyon 6The National Park Service mentions a “unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.  Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.” The park service has excellent information at https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm.

Grand Canyon 5

Grand Canyon 4

Grand Canyon 7
Sign posted on one of the rocks along the walkway.  

The South Rim is open all year but the North Rim is seasonal.

There are many other sites to explore while in the Grand Canyon region so if one has time it’s a great opportunity.

I appreciate your riding along.  I’ll provide more photos in my next post.

Love and Blessings,

Ron

Arizona’s open terrain

Arizona's open roadsWhile continuing to drive westward in Arizona toward the Grand Canyon it becomes obvious the open terrain that is combined with the natural beauty.

Trains tracks along I-40 in ArizonaComing from a populated area in Florida, along with the heavy foliage, I enjoyed seeing the openness where you can see for miles.

The long trains looked so lonely as they regularly covered their routes going west and east.  I’m sure the train engineers appreciate the rails where they can “cruise” and not encounter so many crossings in metropolitan and rural locations.

Trains along I-40 in Arizona - 2

I didn’t research the impact of rail to the rural towns as compared to the Interstates but I think the rail actually helped the smaller towns.

Trains along I-40 in ArizonaI published an earlier post about a town in Louisiana and the impact of Interstate 10.  The train’s running through the town were eventually negatively affected by the Interstate expansion as well as the town.

Trains along I-40 in Arizona - 3Even as the trains continue to run through rural routes I doubt you’ll find one stopping in the towns as compared to years past when passengers would travel on them.  Many towns now don’t rely on trains for their individual supplies neither.

What about Native Americans?  We still don’t recognize the impact of our progress and growth to their lives.

19805336192_fa349d872d_oProgress happens.  It’s what we do with it that makes the major difference.

I still enjoy the remaining beauty though; and I’m thankful for efforts of our society to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.

Love and Blessings!

Ron

Petrified

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-2Forest that is!

Just as we traveled west of Holbrook, Arizona along Interstate 40 (and along old Route 66) we came upon the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest.

Wow! It was surprising and quite amazing.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-4

I did a little review of the history of this forest (although it’s like a desert) while on location but I think it’s better to use some previous, documented research to provide some background.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-1

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-3

How Petrified Wood Was Formed

Petrified Tree at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-5According to ArizonaLeisure.com, when trees were toppled by volcanic eruptions, they were swept away by flowing water and deposited in marshes and covered with mud and volcanic ash. Buried under layers of sediment, the logs remained buried for millions of years undergoing a extremely slow process of petrification which essentially turned the logs to colorful stone. (How does this compare to eruptions in Hawaii and elsewhere?)

Petrified Tree -1 at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

The logs were also covered with even more sediment from the ocean. Millions of years ago the ocean disappeared and was replaced with flowing rivers that gradually eroded over 2,600 feet of sediment depth slowly exposing the petrified wood that litters the landscape at the Petrified Forest National Park.

“There is no doubt that millions of pounds of petrified logs still remain buried deep into the ground. Eventually gradual and continuing erosion will expose even more stone logs that are still entombed.” https://www.arizona-leisure.com/petrified-forest.html

The petrification process began with tree burial. The volcanic ash and mud released chemicals during decomposition. The chemicals reacted with wood to form quartz crystals which by themselves are colorless. Minerals in the water such as iron or manganese gave the quartz red and pinkish hues. Over millions of years, the quartz crystals “cocooned” the logs slowly turning them to stone.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-6 - Petrified Trunk with jewels

National Geographic: See the Enchanting, Ancient Forest in the Middle of a Desert

“Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is a can’t-miss destination for those looking for otherworldly landscapes.”

According to National Geographic the Painted Desert (part of the Petrified Forest National Park) draws more than 600,000 visitors each year. “While most come to see one of the world’s largest concentrations of brilliantly colored petrified wood, many leave having glimpsed something more.” The current 346 square miles of Petrified Forest open a window on an environment that was once far more drastic than today’s grassland.  more than 200 million years old, one radically different from today’s grassland.

 

Where you now see ravens soaring over a stark landscape, leathery-winged pterosaurs once glided over rivers teeming with armor-scaled fish and giant, spatula-headed amphibians. Nearby ran herds of some of the earliest dinosaurs. Scientists have identified several hundred species of fossil plants and animals in Petrified Forest.

Much of the quartz that replaced the wood tissue 200 million years ago is tinted in rainbow hues. Many visitors cannot resist taking rocks, despite strict regulations and stiff fines against removing any material. To see if the petrified wood was actually disappearing at an alarming rate, resource managers established survey plots with a specific number of pieces of wood; some were nearly barren in less than a week.

The problem is not new. Military survey parties passing through the region in the 1850s filled their saddlebags with the petrified wood. As word of these remarkable deposits spread, fossil logs were hauled off by the wagonload for tabletops, lamps, and mantels. In the 1890s gem collectors began dynamiting logs searching for amethyst and quartz crystals. To prevent further destruction of its unique bounty, the area was designated a national monument in 1906 and a national park more than a half century later.  (More details are at https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/petrified-forest-national-park/

Isn’t it interesting that humans can’t resist leaving beauty behind for others to behold.  This aspect of history doesn’t change.  We all want to take a little piece with us.  You’ll even notice some local businesses selling pieces of the artifacts.  I resisted though and rely on photography along with memories.  Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-5 - Petrified Trunk with jewels

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona-5

USA Today tips for visiting the Petrified Forest

One of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world is found at Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona, about 110 miles east of Flagstaff and 210 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Add to that dramatic, colorful geological formations and ancient art and you’ll quickly see why Petrified Forest National Park is a must-visit.

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Stop along the way
  3. Visit the museum
  4. Take a hike
  5. Go old school – really old (archeology style)
  6. Watch for birds
  7. Go wild
  8. Stop by the inn (Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark)
  9. Join a range

See tip details at https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/national-parks/2018/03/28/petrified-forest-national-park-10-tips-your-visit/463822002/.

Love and Blessings,

Ron