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IMAGES OF ARIZONA

March 3, 2011

 

Song: "Call of the Canyon" composed and sung by Dick Goodman.

 

•  Tonto Natural Bridge

•  Motorcycle Graveyard

•  Zane Grey cabin

•  Tonto National Monument

•  Turkey Vulture

•  Cotton Gin

•  Pima Cotton

•  Sunset & Yucca near Willcox

•  Next page

                                            •  Home

 

The Tonto Basin covers the main drainage of Tonto Creek and its tributaries in central Arizona, at the southwest of the Mogollon Rim, the higher elevation transition zone across central and eastern Arizona. Tonto Basin is mostly north-south trending and outflows into the Salt River (Arizona) at the extensive canyon reservoir called Theodore Roosevelt Lake. Arizona Route 188 traverses the lower Tonto Basin on the southwest side of Theodore Roosevelt Lake; it then merges at the water divide northeast of the Mazatzals, with State route 87 which proceeds to Payson and further to Kohl's Ranch and Christopher Creek at the basin headwaters at the foot of the Mogollon Rim. The Tonto Basin is Y-shaped at its headwaters. East are the Sierra Ancha range, part of the Mogollon Rim, and Tonto Creek draining from the northeast. West lies the Mazatzal Mountains and a ridgeline of hills on the north, the Limestone Hills on the south-side of the East Verde River; this is the water divide at the west of the Y-shape, a much shorter drainage basin, dwarfing the major upper Tonto Creek drainage. (Wikipedia)

 

The Mogollon Rim was not what I expected from reading Zane Grey's books but now I was seeing it from a car. All we could see without taking to the back roads were forests. One thing Grey described perfectly - the pine-scented, crisp air. Everything smelled clean, energized.

        The Rim is an escarpment defining the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, and along its central and most spectacular portions is characterized by high limestone and sandstone cliffs, namely the Kaibab Limestone and Coconino Sandstone. It was formed by erosion and faulting, and dramatic canyons have been cut into it, including Fossil Creek Canyon and Pine Canyon. Much of the land south of the Mogollon Rim lies 4000 to 5000 feet (1,200 to 1,500 meters) above sea level, with the escarpment rising to about 7,000 ft (2,100 m). Extensive Ponderosa Pine forests are found both on the slopes of the Rim and on the Arizona Plateau north of it. The Mogollon Rim is a major floristic and faunal boundary, with species characteristic of the Rocky Mountains living on the top of the plateau, and species native to the Mexican Sierra Madre Occidental on the slopes below and in the Madrean sky islands (high, isolated mountain ranges) further south. Cities and towns near the Mogollon Rim include Payson, Sedona, Show Low, and Alpine, Arizona. The Mogollon Rim is practically bisected by Interstate 17 which runs north-to-south between Flagstaff and Phoenix.

        The eastern portion of the Mogollon Rim was the site of Arizona's largest-known wildfire, during June 2002, the 470,000 acre (1,900 km) Rodeo-Chediski fire. The Mogollon Rim was also the site of the "Dude Fire" that started on June 25, 1990. This fire grew to cover over 30,000 acres (120 km2), and it killed six wildland firemen. Other large fires have burned along the Mogollon Rim since 1990, and the area's ponderosa pine forests remain vulnerable because of past fire-suppression efforts and the build-up of available dry fuel.

        The western novel author, Zane Grey, built a hunting cabin on the actual slopes of the Mogollon Rim just northeast of Payson, above Tonto Creek. This cabin was restored by the Phoenix, Ariz., air-conditioning magnate William Goettl during the late 1960s, but it was destroyed by the Dude Fire in 1990. The novel-writer Louis L'Amour's novel "The Sackett Brand" was also set in the area of the Mogollon Rim, with the cliffs of the Rim being specifically described. If one stands at certain points on the Mogollon Rim (Milk Ranch Point near Strawberry, Arizona, is one example) at sunset, there is a grand view on clear days for about 50 miles (80 km) in three directions, south, west, and east. Some or all of the sweeping landscape may well appear to be a purple hue as the sunlight fades

 

Name History / Pronunciation:

• The Spanish conquistadores named the area "Tonto", meaning "stupid" or "foolish", after the resident Apaches whose language frustrated them.

•  "Mogollon", named after Spanish governor of New Mexico (from 1712-1715), Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollón, was originally pronounced "Mō-gho-yōn" by the Spanish, but is now locally pronounced a variety of ways: Mō-gy-yun, Mō-gy-yōn, Muggy-ŏn.

 

 

We are now back in the Coconino Forest at about 7400 feet. After driving down a 14% grade to the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, we walked into the old original hotel which is now a tourist information centre of sorts, very bare. There were two young javelinas cruising the vast lawns of a 5-acre farm. They are near-sighted so had to come close to us to see what we were.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake Photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park tourist information

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park javelinas

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park javelinas

(Drake Photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

First of all, I had to take too many pictures of everything for this is part of the Mogollon Rim country.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Everything that is not green is red; this is pavement.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake Photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

We walked all the trails. The first two were simple, that last simply beautiful. This is the trickle of water in Pine Creek which created the natural bridge for which this park is named. I wasted a lot of shots trying to get a good photograph of it but it was an extremely difficult subject because of bright sunlight and dark shadows. The travertine arch is 183 feet high and contains a number of caves where prehistoric Indians once lived, I'm told. We didn't explore the arch itself although it was tempting. It is the largest natural travertine bridge in the world, rising 183 feet above Pine Creek. It is 400 feet long. Remember that this is Winter's end, the deciduous trees are not yet in leaf and it's still pretty.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake Photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

On the first little trail on top of the bridge itself.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

There were very few people around - only one couple that I remember - so we had the park virtually to ourselves. Lovely!

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake Photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

There were warnings all around about the difficulty of the Gowan Trail but we had no problem. It was a delightful trail with beauty at every bend. I intended to video it all but a passing skunk changed my mind.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Agave

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park - rich color

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

A little wooden bridge spans Pine Creek and takes us right under the falls to the mouth of the tunnel.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Pine Creek is still working.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Prickly pear cactus. Nopal?

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

 

 

"Formation of the Tonto Natural Bridge: According to State Geologists, the formation of the Tonto Natural Bridge went through five stages of development:

Stage 1: The west side of Pine Creek was formed by the flow of lava in the form of Rhyolite, a red, coarse-grained volcanic rock. The older rock then eroded, leaving the purple quartz sandstone. The rock layers were then lithified, tilted, faulted and eroded.

Stage 2: The area was then covered by sea waters leaving a sediment of sand and mud comprised of lime deposits.

Stage 3: Following the erosion of the sedimentary layers, volcanic eruptions covered the rock layers with lava forming a basalt cap. This formation is evident on top of the hill prior to descending down into the park.

Stage 4: Over the years, by natural erosion methods, the basalt cap was eroded then shifted by faults creating the narrow Pine Creek Canyon.

Stage 5: Geologists estimate that over 5,000 years ago, precipitation began seeping underground through fractures and weak points in the rock resulting in limestone aquifers. Some of these aquifers emerged as springs carrying the dissolved limestone, depositing the calcium carbonate to forma travertine dam. Water began to erode through the travertine to eventually form Tonto Natural Bridge.

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Is this catclaw acacia (Acacia greggii)?

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

(Drake photo)

 

On the road again....to Payson.

 

All Bikes in Payson

(Drake photo)

 

All Bikes in Payson

(Drake photo)

 

All Bikes in Payson

(Drake photo)

 

All Bikes in Payson

(Drake photo)

 

All Bikes in Payson

(Drake photo)

 

Zane Grey's rebuilt cabin in Payson

 

Zane Grey's rebuilt cabin in Payson

 

Zane Grey's rebuilt cabin in Payson - the Docent

 

Zane Grey's rebuilt cabin in Payson

When I sent Calin this picture, he decided to go to Payson and see the Sons of the Pioneers concert.

 

 

Back on the road again on the say to the Tonto National Monument....

 

Mazatzal Mountains on the right

 

Great view from the back seat.

 

It's obvious that we're still in Zane Grey's country.

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

The National Monument is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest, which includes low plains, desert scrubland, and alpine pine forests. The Upper Sonoran ecosystem is known for saguaro cacti. Other common plants include: cholla, prickly pear, hedgehog, and barrel cactus (flowering from April to June); yucca, sotol, and agave; creosote bush and ocotillo; palo verde and mesquite trees, Arizona Walnut, Arizona Sycamore and hackberry trees. Established in 1907, the monument is 1,120 square acres.

 

Tonto National Monument

 

Tonto National Monument

 

        The well-preserved cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument were occupied during the 13th and 14th centuries by Salado Indians who farmed in the Salt River Valley. The Salado culture was named for the Salt River ("Rio Salado" in Spanish) that was central to their way of life. Considered a minor culture by archaeologists, the Salado culture's origins are still being debated. In fact, researchers can't agree on who these people were or where they came from. The best guess is that they lived here between A. D. 1150 and A. D. 1450. The main pueblo has 16 remaining rooms.

        We did not take the trail up to it but we saw many people walking it and it didn't look like a difficult climb. Such crumbling, cactus-ridden, desolate country. How could a people survive here among the rattlesnakes?

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

Is that a hawk or a vulture overhead?

 

Tonto National Monument

Check it out - hawk, eagle or vulture?

 

Tonto National Monument - a turkey vulture (Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Tonto National Monument

(Drake photo)

 

Glenbar Gin, Pima, Arizona

 

At Glenbar Gin, the season begins in March, when the growers begin purchasing seed from to plant in their fields. Planting generally occurs in late March and the entire month of April. There were bits of cotton on the roadside left over from last year's crop so Milton stopped the car for me and I found a bit as a keepsake - pima cotton from Pima! The first thing I did as I began to clean it was to prick my fingers. Picking cotton by hand must have been painful.

 

Pima Cotton from Pima, Arizona

 

Near Willcox. A yucca sunset.

(Drake photo)

 

Near Willcox. A yucca sunset.

(Drake photo)


 

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