Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Wild Wild West

Last weekend my older daughter and I traveled with a group of MFA students and faculty, including Richard Shelton, author of the enjoyable Going Back to Bisbee, to Bisbee, Arizona. Along the way we trekked through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Murray Springs Clovis Site, Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate, and the adobe ruins of Charleston.

A quick, though not all-inclusive photo recap:

The San Pedro River runs north out of Mexico, and is one of the best and last desert riparian ecosystems in the U.S. Some among us with keener eyes (which apparently isn't me) saw vermilion flycatchers and the elusive gray hawk among these cottonwoods.

We had to ford the shallow river to find the Charleston ruins, a highlight of the hike, at least for my daughter and me.

At the San Pedro House I saw what I think may be the largest tree in Arizona; certainly southern Arizona. This cottonwood is 175 years old and simply enormous. But it's difficult to tell from this perspective, so...

Here's a shot of my daughter against the tree's massive trunk, which extends another couple feet (at least) left of the photo frame.

And here's a wee little cottonwood leaf, with one of its thick, hanging branches and an old water tower in the background.

On to Bisbee, which is the southernmost mile-high city in the U.S. It is the site of the enormous Copper Queen Mine, closed since the late 1970s. The Bisbee district produced more gold and silver than any district in Arizona, and has produced 8 billion pounds of copper.

It reminds me very much of a Colorado mountain town (minus the ski slopes), yet has a real paradoxical feel because of all the agaves and cactus lining the hills.

This is the view from our haunted bed and breakfast, Oliver House.

And here's one of the kinked roads leading from downtown to the Oliver House. Bisbee is so cool, in part, because it's so vertical.

The front porch of Oliver House. The only ghosts I heard were the vampiric forms of MFAers returning at 3 a.m.

Bisbee has a wonderful array of architecture, Victorian and otherwise, like this church. There are a number of small churches, and each have a distinct architectural style.

Flowers were just starting to bloom here at 5,400 feet.

So much for the feel of a Colorado mountain town. Eclectic, though, which I admire.

My daughter and I snuck out early to take some photos, but I admit that dad tried her patience, which explains why she eventually walked away from dear old pop.

Heading out of town. We split from the group to spend a little solo dad and daughter time. On the way to Bisbee, which at one time with a population of 20,000 was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco, we drove through Tombstone, and decided to head back.

Perhaps the most famous building in Tombstone, "the town too tough to die," is its courthouse, which is now a state park since the official courthouse moved to Bisbee quite a while back. Beyind the courthouse are the gallos, which were used.

Looking down Tombstone's main tourist trap, er... street.

We opted for a trolley ride instead of hopping on a stagecoach, but next time we visit Tombstone, with both daughters, we'll try the coach.

Texas Kate, with her rescued horses and comical sidekick, convinced us to watch the Wild West Show at Helldorado, which was cheap, silly, and fairly good fun.

A parting shot: The Tombstone Epitaph & Prospector building, where its newspaper once (maybe still?) printed. I just realized I didn't get any shots of Tombstone's most famous location: the OK Corral. Ah well.


Lauren said...

omg I'm so jealous. I had to go to dumb Pennsylvania instead. I wish I coulda been therrrrree!!!! :whine whine whine:

Suzanne said...

WOW. Thanks for the trip.

Fenton said...

Thanks, Simmons, for being our unofficial archivist and photographer. I'll forward these to my family.


jd said...

What a cool looking town. Ive added itto my list of places to visit.

Speaking of AZ, at your suggestion I started reading The Devil's Highway. Very good so far.

Boodaddy said...

Thanks for virtual tour..nice pics too! We were just there on April 30th for a ghost hunt. We'll be posting the findings on our website soon so check it out.

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