Buck Springs

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Buck Springs is one of a number of old cabins littered around Mogollon Rim’s back dirt roads.  Tree Shadows

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There are two standing cabins on this site.  The smaller of the two was built in 1923, while the larger was built in 1946.

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The cabins found in this area were built by early Forest Service, ranchers and settlers while they worked the land.  The area is also home to animals looking for food, water, and shelter.

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Reflection Pond

The natural springs throughout the area provide vital water and pools for the wildlife that inhabit the area.

Morning Reflection

If you visit, remember leave it cleaner than you found it.  These are precious places that hold their own history and beauty.  Leave a lasting positive impression for future visitors…. not one of trash that one brings in and leaves as a poor testament to today’s mankind.

Chavez Pass

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Arizona is filled with many vast expanses and amazing viewpoints.  The landscape is diverse and varied, with cactus in the south and pine trees in the north.  The land has seen equally disparate travelers, from the Indians that roamed the land hundreds of years ago, to the early European / American settlers who risk life and limb to trek across her rugged peaks and valleys.

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Back 1000 years ago, tribes roamed this land having left abandoned ruins that leave only to our imagination life in another time.  From A.D. 1050 – 1425 the Sinagua lived, foraged, and hunted this land from this ancestral Hopi pueblo, now known as Chavez Pass.

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A large oval depression north of the pueblo is the remains of a prehistoric ball court.  It also served as a trade center for a network that reached from the Hopi Mesas and Zuni Pueblo to the Pacific and Northern Mexico.

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There is very little left of what once was.  The overgrown thistle and foxtails outnumber the petroglyphs and stacked rock walls, or what’s left of them.  Yet, the opportunity to wander through something so ancient and decaying into the land over time, allows us a glimpse of simpler times, when life really was rough.

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All Torn Up

What have you done during Quarantine?

It’s a popular question these days.  For us, we did what we do… and pursued our already scheduled project of adding water hydrants closer to the house.

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I know.. boring, right?!

Well we didn’t think so.  We were more upset by the rationing of ibuprofen for our aching backs, than lack of TP (let’s not even go there!).

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After taking 8 hours to jack hammer the first 10′ of ditch 3′ deep, we were already tired…. and had another 140′ to go!

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So we solicited help.  We hired a back hoe… and more importantly, a hammer hoe, to get through our all rock terrain.

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In 4 hours a Case 580 made short work of our ‘little job’.  But in doing so, it completely obliterated our previously well manicured road.

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Even with big machinery, it took nearly a month of hard physical labor – jack hammering, shoveling, digging and moving rock and dirt, to ready our 150′ of ditch to drop our water line (between snow falls and freezing temps).

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Once the line was all in, we covered it with sand, and backfilled the ditch.  We cleared rock, graded the road, and spread 22 ton of gravel.

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In the end, you would never even know what we did… except we don’t have to walk all the way out to the road to get water any more.

Whew!

What will we do next?!

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East Clear Creek

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If you’ve been to Mogollon Rim by way of Forest Road 95, you’ve passed over the bridge at East Clear Creek.

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The road itself is dusty, windy, and beautiful.  It’s kind of like a suspense thriller – and I don’t mean spooky guy at the end.  In fact, for me it’s a plot that thickens.  It starts with boring tall forest to pull you in.  It’s nice enough, but sorta drab.

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Then it sprinkles in some cool craggy oaks, and the occasional fir.  Then.. just as you turn the corner, it grabs you with more breathtaking views.

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It’s a suspense thriller with a happy ending.

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… and sometimes unexpected twists and turns.

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A trip to the Rim

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Life gets busy, but we should never be so busy that we don’t take time out to frequent our favorite spots and do the things that rock our individual boats … and for us that includes the Mogollon Rim.

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We actually got snow, sleet, hail, and rain during our short trip, which made for awesome scenery and elk wondering what we were doing there.

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It made me wonder what took us so long… oh, there was that project, and that chore, and that meeting, plus that snow storm, the roads were closed… well, okay.

Always find time to smell the roses, or in our case fresh forest air.

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Desert to Tall Pines

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This time of year the snow is melting up North…. and the sun is shining in the Valley.  We have become pretty acclimated to the cooler temps… so HOT HOT is just HOT, as it was when we went down this past week and experienced a whopping 87F.  Ok, I know we’re spoiled… but we’re toughened up by our winters.

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We went to see the flowers, but in truth, while we got into a couple small pockets, it was already late in the season, as most were already gone.

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We enjoyed those we did see, and soaked up the heat.  But enough is enough, so we took the appropriately named, Desert to Tall Pines Rd (SR 288) back to the snow.

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In a matter of hours we were back in our comfort zone, with snow on the ground, amidst the forest and Tall Pines.

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We ventured to Workmens Creek, outside of Young, and enjoyed the cascading water from their snow melt.

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Ahhhh….. how refreshing. : )

 

A Special Place

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Do you have a special place?

Maybe a restaurant you meet your one and only?  A place of solitude that elicits fond memories?  A spot you go to so that you might clear your head?

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We should all have such a place of tranquility and peaceful reconciliation.  Alas, many of the restaurant / bars that my husband and I remember fondly – where we met, where we danced to quiet music, etc.  – are now no longer there.  And I’m not talking just change in names… buildings gone, and unrecognizably landscapes have taken the place of long forgotten icons.

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But we still have our special place.  It’s not a restaurant or a bar… it’s an attitude of peaceful reflection.  My husband first went when he was a boy of 10 years old.  He went camping with his dad.  His dad felt he should know how to drive in case anything happened to him.  So it’s a place, he first learned to drive with his dad – gone now some 20 years.

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My husband took me there before we were married, some 30+ years ago now.  It was then that we discovered these ruins as we looked over this grand landscape and saw this structure tucked into the side of the hill… seemingly undiscovered all these years.

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We have been going back ever since, and deem it our special place.  It is magical, tranquil, and awe-inspiring.  We should all have such a special place.

 

 

SnowFall

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Before Fall Colors have even popped yet, we got our first snowfall.  Fall Colors dropped against the blanket of fresh snow made the maple leaves in their varying color stand out.

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I love the contrast of color Fall brings, with the green Pines, yellowing Oaks, and emerging reds amidst the scattered Maples.  It’s a potpourri of color and textures.

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The snow just adds another dimension in this already gorgeous time in our myriad of seasons we get to enjoy.

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For more of my fall color photos, check out my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2018/10/20/first-snow-2/

Fall is in the air

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We went out to check on Fall Colors, but it’s still a little early for this neck of the woods.  Maybe next week will yield more color.

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For now, we were happy to walk through the woods and take in the crisp air… as was this little squirrel we found.

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Winter is coming.  Storms are on the horizon, and we have already had our first snow.  We’ll take it.   Our burnt forest can certainly use a good soaking.

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We’ll make another trek next week to check on colors again.  It’s all good.

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Mossy Rock Wall

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If you have followed a number of the posts on this blog, you would find that we have been doing front yard ‘landscaping’.  We built a paver stone pad for our corn hole games… and then got completely carried away and built a pizza oven.  You can see the posts on that here (Part 1), here (Part 2) and here (Part 3).  If you take a look at these, make sure you click on the videos to see the videos – the best part 🙂

To complete this section of the yard we decided to build a little pony wall and ‘decorate’ it with solid rock face made from mossy rocks we would collect in the forest.  Little did we know when we took on this project how much work it would really be!

Once we dug and poured the footer, laid the block wall and filled it with concrete we were ready to begin the real work!

First we collected a number of trailers full of hand selected flat mossy rocks from the woods.

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Then we carefully put a large rock base layer along the bottom.

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We chiseled rocks that were too roundy or large, down to a more flat even size.

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And proceeded to build up the wall with stone.

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Because they were such large stones we used screws anchored in the wall to hold them in place, mortared the back side, and used large metal ‘sticks’ to clamp them in place while they dried.

We worked side to side every day, picking the perfect rock to fit into its given space, trying to maintain as small of grout lines as possible.

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When all the rocks were in place, we used die to color our grout and custom applied and finessed the grout between each rock.

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Finally we made a cardboard template for the rock top.  The rock top will be custom cut to our template from rock we pick from the rock quarry in Drake, AZ (about 3-4 hrs from our home).

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Whew!  A lot of hard work pays off with a beautiful detail wall.