Much to my dismay, I've inadvertently erased the rest of my pictures from Thailand. The visit to the elephant camp, poling down the river on a bamboo raft, an alms giving ceremony with monks, sending up a paper balloon in the moonlight to dismiss bad luck, our bus crash, the grand palace, a fish spa with fish nibbling at our feet, and so much more. I've contacted fellow travelers in hopes they can help me out with pictures. In the meantime, my partner Jim and I are now settled at Chiricahua National Monument in the motor home. I will proceed from here and when I get pictures, I'll continue the saga of Mason's and my trip to Thailand.
Chiricahua National Monument is a mountain Island in the middle of a grassland plain. It sits next to two deserts, the Sonoran and the Chihuahuan. This was notorious Apache Country where Cochise and Geronimo made their last stands against the armed battalions of U.S. Soldiers after a long fought war on settlers and all intruders onto their lands.
Jim and I visited the visitor center and hiked for several hours on the valley floor in the crisp, cold air. He saw two coatimundi and a ring tailed cat. Another escaped the camera while we ate breakfast. The picture below is a picture of a picture, on of the balancing rocks we hope to see as we hike the pinacles today.
Once Cochise and Geronimo were moved to reservations, settlers moved in. In this territory, notably, was Neil and Emma Erikson who first built a fort to fend off indians, then added a cabin, expanding and expanding until a modern looking house called Faraway Ranch remains, now part of the National Park.
President James Madison made it a National Monument. Roosevelt sent in CCC troup 858 to build trails and roads to the best sites.
The last descendant, Lillian Erikson Riggs, lived here until 1970. It was she and her husband who pushed to have the place made into a National Park.
This Erikson cabin was similar to one I lived in as a child.
The Erikson's daughter Lillian Riggs turned the ranch into a retreat for visitors who came to ride horseback, honeymoon, get married, and always, visit the rocks.
We hiked through dry washes and woods, rocky paths and grassland. The trail led us to site of the old CCC Camp where huge fireplaces still stand against time and weather.
Here are desert plants mixed with conifers, junipers, maples and oaks, seemingly and odd combination.
The distinctive bark of an alligator juniper.
This photo of H.O.Flipper, the first black cadet to graduate from West Point, was stationed here with a regiment of Buffalo Soldiers to provide the settlers protection from the Indians. Many of them carved their names in the rhyolite rocks on Madison's monument, built by the CCC. The monument fell into disrepair and the Erikson's used it as the mantel in their house. Flipper's story is a worthy read at: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia