Faraway Ranch

Nothing like traveling to a National Monument and seeing a sign at the entrance telling you, "The road above the Visitor Center is closed.  We are sorry for the inconvenience."  Bummer!  OK, time for Plan B.  We drove up to the Visitor Center at Chiricahua National Monument to get the scoop.  The overnight storm and high winds had caused some vulnerable trees to fall onto the road beyond the Visitor Center.  The impact of the fire that ravaged the area three years ago was still being felt.

We could understand as the wind was still very strong and the clouds were threatening.  Plan B was to hike areas that were still accessible.  One of those was the Faraway Ranch. So, off we went.  Of course, we spread out like cats, each with our own photography interests, whatever drew our attention.  Enjoy.  I am offering some minimal explanations below the images.

I would really encourage you to do some research on this fabulous National Monument.  The ranch, located at the entrance to the Monument, was homesteaded by Neil Erickson and his wife.  The story, the site, the imagery . . . so worth more exploration.  Each of us wants to go back for the rest of that story.

Down the path to the tack house.

Ah!  Put your saddle on the inverted V holders.  Put your tack above your horse's name.

Rain drenched buildings and wood.

This is the last, and certainly most contemporary home that the Ericksons lived in.  Tours are offered daily at the house, letting visitors see what life was like for the family.

Taken in a brighter Golden Hour light.  

This image, taken before the "rich in light" Golden Hour, shows the difference light can make in an image.  So what does the house look like?  Depends on the light at the moment and how a photographer chooses to manipulate the image.

A simple storage shed . . . but look at that tree trunk!  That green lichen was everywhere.

Why are photographers drawn to old rusty buildings, tools and other 'old' stuff.

There is one old building with an old sign that simply says 'Exhibits'.  Hmmm . . . It is full of old treasures, photos, and stories.  I was immediately drawn to the area below.  An 'AHA' moment.  The stone camera at Painted Desert and now this old camera.  Next to both were stories about how photography was influential in moving a nation to preserve huge areas of precious land to be enjoyed by current and future generations.  Photography, then and now, shapes how we think about our world.  It influences events and calls to us to action.  In Painted Desert I wanted to purchase copies of the postcards that were produced using the images captured by the stone camera but there were none for sale.  At Chiricahua you can actually see some of the images, including one with Ed Riggs and Governor Hunt.  It is a bit challenging to get a shot through reflecting glass, but the result was worth it.

This explains why there were no cows in my image.  They had slid down and  fallen out . . . onto a new Chic-filet road sign!!!  My first thought was, "Don't ask.  You don't want to know."  Well, I do!  Greg tells me he is trying to prove the earth is round!  I can smile now.  The image proves that without any doubt.  No further comment needed.  Now I know.

The view from the property of the surrounding park is still awesome.  The grass is very tall.  The leaves are just beginning to wear their fall wardrobe.  I stopped many times just to look, not click.  Serene.

A balancing rock.  It is one of many in the park.

A closer look.  Threatening clouds and a sliver of gold light.  

To us, part of any photo trip is the getting to and returning to.  The images below were taken on the road from Wilcox to the entrance.  We stop often.

Tall grass and strong winds add interest.  Thank you Mr. Wind.  Now go away so we can go up the road tomorrow!

Just another look.

We photoggers are not without a sense of humor!  I just want to know how Greg talked Tom into this tomfoolery.  Oh, now that I think about it . . . tomfoolery comes natural to Tom!  Don't get that fedora wet! Love him so much. . . 

Back to Willcox for the night.  We ate dinner at a nearby truck stop.  We go back the next morning to see if the road had been cleared.  Sweet dreams all around.