January 10th, 2018 Douglas, Arizona – Empresa Cojunita Subasta – Sonoran Livestock Market

Riding the United States/Mexico border fence line.

The United States/Mexico fence border near Palominas,AZ
The United States/Mexico fence border near Palominas, AZ.

Today I rode into Douglas, Arizona, mid- afternoon, a cool breeze in our face a warm sun on our right shoulders following the U.S./Mexico border fence from Palominas a 3 day ride. Horses needed water and the first building complex I came to is The Empresa Cojunita Subasta – livestock pens. Not one animal anywhere, very clean, no smell. Julio, the manager came out as I stepped down from my saddle. After I watered the horses we talked for a bit and Julio has been kind enough to furnish hay, water and pens for the night. Cattle are coming in from Mexico tomorrow. They will be purchased and shipped thru out the United States. Julio has been in the cattle business his whole life, he runs a very tidy stockyard here I must say.

It really has been quite the ride and I have been out less than two weeks.

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Spirit grabbing at a few bits of grass along the fence. This section was tall steel bars. There were many different kinds of fencing I was surprised.

I have a much different opinion about the border, about the wall, about the complicated mess that has evolved and the men and women whose job it is to secure the Mexico/U.S. Border. The country I have ridden, from Sonoita to Douglas is spectacular. It may be some of the most superb sweeping vista’s I have ever seen. The San Predro River Valley, Montezuma Pass, the San Rafael Valley and Patagonia Mountains are like nothing I have ever ridden through. I thought Eastern Montana or Saskatchewan were expansive but this has a quality all its own. Desert grasses and shrubs grow at low elevations. Forest of oak, pinyon pine and alligator juniper dominate most of the landscape. And then off in that elusive horizon jagged mountains outline the sky. And right smack thru this scene is a long black fence/wall slicing like some one had taken a big magic marker to the land.
A well maintained dirt road runs along the U.S. side with white and green pickup trucks patrolling back and forth in their designated sections. I have seen helicopters, a blimp with surveillance equipment, towers every so many miles with surveillance equipment and dozens of border patrols, BP’s as they call one another.

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Interesting signs on the fence, I never did find out what exactly they meant.
Interesting signs on the fence, I never did find out what exactly they meant.

The neigh-sayers said, “You’ll get shot riding down there.” Even I felt apprehensive after all I have heard about the Mexico border from the far reaches of our Montana border. And one must exercise caution it is a dangerous place at times and there are ruthless men running drugs etc. But with in all this I have found most of the people quite calm about the whole situation. The border patrols have been helpful, friendly and generous with time and questions I have. It’s not at all like our northern border. These mostly young men and women have given me a far better understanding of the situation than I once had and with it I think an appreciation that something does need to be done. It’s far more complicated than simply building a wall. Some are for it some say its not going to help until Mexico steps up and the economy is better, (as one on looker said,”when you get $10.00 a day in Mexico and $10.00 and hour in the U.S. , hell I’d risk it to.) and they no longer need or want to mass exodus. Until we Americans no longer need or want the drugs coming across the border the situation is not going to change as one patrol officer pointed out. These “BP”are men and women with families of their own working a very difficult, complicated situation down here as State Park Ranger Steve Mazur pointed out when he stopped in his truck for a chat. When I stopped at the Coronado National Memorial Visitor Center for information regarding road travel. Christopher Bentley the center’s manager also pointed out that it was safe to travel here that he hoped people would not stay away out of fear.

My Tucker Saddle and OutFitters Supply packs at the border with me.
My Tucker Saddle and OutFitters Supply packs at the border with me. Horse shoes by Roger Robinson at the Black Smith Shop.

So I say thank you to all of these men and women I have met over the course of this ride who serve our country in one way or another, I say thank you.

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As for me, I am loving the sunny, warm I hesitate to say “winter days” down here in Arizona and New Mexico but it is winter! I may never winter in Montana again!

Spirit and Liska are now back to work as we travel a 400 mile jaunt from Sonoita to Edgewood, New Mexico to see my sister. Rosie and Bella dog, her truck and trailer are back in Tennessee taking care of business. We, Spirit, Liska and I will meet up with her again at my sisters for more “Travels with Rosie.”

Photos from the last few days

These are the FOUR HORSEWOMEN FROM SONOITA! and they escorted me across a section of National Forest, I never would have found my way across. Thank you Ladies
These are the FOUR HORSEWOMEN OF SONOITA! – they escorted me across a section of National Forest, (just south of Sonoita) I never would have found my way across. Thank you Ladies! L to R. – Diane, Jeanie (responsible for this) Nancy and Gloria.
Next night out Corky Quiruga, manager of the Diamond C Ranch hosted my stay, Corky's dad worked on this ranch for 50 years now Corky has taken his Dads place. Corky said, "I don't have a job, I have a life."
Next night out Corky Quiruga, manager of the Diamond C Ranch hosted my stay, Corky’s dad worked on this ranch for 50 years now Corky has taken his Dads place. Corky said, “I don’t have a job, I have a life.” It was really a nice restful visit.
Parker Canyon Lake's winding road led me to Scott Kerr at Canyon Lake. He owns the store and I rode into hospitality. He said, " I saw you ride out of Sonoita and well you finally made it, welcome." He made the most delicious burritos I have ever eaten.
Parker Canyon Lake’s winding road led me to Scott Kerr at Canyon Lake. He owns the store just off the lake. I rode into hospitality. He said, ” I saw you ride out of Sonoita and well, you finally made it, welcome.” He made the most delicious burritos I have ever eaten. And Scott has been to Trego, Montana.
The next few photos are from The Coronado National Monument State Park
The next few photos are from The Coronado National Monument State Park.
Steve Mazur dashing young park ranger with a beautiful smile stopped to chat, the horses nearly ate him.
Steve Mazur, dashing young park ranger with a beautiful smile stopped to chat, the horses nearly ate him.
Stunning
Stunning
We camped here for the night, just getting started. Copper Canyon the horses had water AND green grass!
We camped here for the night, just getting started. Copper Canyon the horses had water AND green grass!
The next generation of Park Rangers!! the gal on teh R. gave me her lighter as mine was soaked when I spilled my tea on it.
The next generation of Park Rangers!! the gal on the R. gave me her lighter as mine was soaked when I spilled my tea on it.
Interesting Corral where I stopped for water and an afternoon break.
Interesting Corral where I stopped for water and an afternoon break.
And yes its break time for my girls when we stopped at Nancy Newmans lovely adobe home in the desert. Had a wonderful visit with a kindred spirit.
And yes its break time for my girls when we stopped at Nancy Newmans lovely adobe home in the desert. Had a wonderful visit with a kindred spirit. New friend indeed. Liska is having a grand new adventure everyday, its old hat stuff for Spirit girl.

Ok I think that’s it for now. I don’t think it’s to late to say, Happy New Year is it? Wishing you all the best.

Bernice


January 2nd, 2018 – Superior, Arizona

overlooking Roosevelt Lake north of Globe AZ.
Overlooking Roosevelt Lake north of Globe AZ.

Greetings and Happy New Year to all of you that follow my rides. How often are we gifted a full moon to open the new year with? AND a Super Moon at that rising ever so slowly bursting with moon light like a fat bulging bulb ready to give birth.

Rosie and I welcomed the new year in with a Native American Blessing at the incredibly beautiful Bryce Thompson Arboretum given by Arvel Bird (www.arvelbird.com)a talented speaker, song writer and musician. A moving performance reminding all that attended to be grateful, walk softly and love one another through out the year.

Most of last week Rosie and I spent at the Frasier horse camp-ground near Roosevelt Lake north of Globe, AZ. We discovered yet another picturesque area for riding and camping. We met and visited with several camp volunteers managing the site and trails – many from northern states where with friends and relatives suffering from fridge weather conditions so I should not tell you I swam in the lake but it was 74 degrees and felt hot.

Rosie heads home for Tennessee this week. I set out for a 400 mile ride from Sonoita, AZ. To Albuquerque, New Mexico, a one month ride. My travel will slow down considerably, back to our normal 4 or 5 mile per hour speed. We have had a great time of it traveling in a truck and trailer like most do. I have seen much more of the Southwest than I could have traveling by horseback. Arizona is spectacular and the state takes great pride in protecting and promoting its national treasure, public land. I now know why so many winter here. Many smiles welcomed us from volunteers managing our Parks and National Forest campgrounds wearing many hats from camp hosts, trails crews, clean up, guiding and instructing even some maintenance work. To all of you I can not thank you enough because without your effort our State Parks and National Forest lands would simply be closed due to the drastic funding cuts our country is facing.

Wishing all of you the very best through out the 2018 year.

Oval Bird at the Bryce Thompson Arboretum
Oval Bird at the Bryce Thompson Arboretum
Rosie on Spirit
Rosie on Spirit
 looks whose at the light of the tunnel
Looks whose at the light of the tunnel…Rosie and Spirit.
Everyone needs a drink at the end of a ride on the Arizona Trail.
Everyone needs a drink at the end of a ride on the Arizona Trail.
Superior, Az
Superior, AZ.

Apache Junction, Arizona – December 26th, 2017

Mount Picketpost, east of Apache Junction, AZ.
Mount Picketpost, east of Apache Junction, AZ. our front door view.

Winter Solstice has past, Christmas has pasted, days grow longer.

I was visiting with the camp host here at Picketpost trail head, part of the Tonto National Forest. She is from New York (upstate). I said,”Its funny, winter seems as if it doesn’t even exist down here, the snow the cold whipping winds and freezing rain. I mean I find it funny that I don’t even think about the winter I might be missing in Montana. But I sure remember wishing and longing for a winter in the south.”

It feels like “vacation time” here in Arizona. Most people I meet are for the most part “snowbirds,” with a more relaxed, casual out look on life. The harshness of weather and stress of work has been removed. More time for leisure. Yesterday I spoke with a lovely retired couple, as cute as could be, from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – spending 4 months in the Mesa, Az. area. They wore shorts, had backpacks on and were out hiking the Arizona Trail. But square dancing was their thing. If I am correct the fit looking older gentleman and his lithe wife of many, many years told me there were 100’s of square dances happening this winter in the Mesa/Apache Junction area. By the looks of it dancing was most certainly keeping this couple youthful with sparks in their eyes and a quickness in their steps.

A quick photo over view of the past couple of weeks as I continue my, “Travels with Rosie.”

After leaving the Sonotia area we traveled west to Tubac where we overnighted at "Freedom on the Go" horse motel. We visited the exhibit at the Presido State Park in Tubac.
After leaving the Sonotia area we traveled west to Tubac where we overnighted at “Freedom on the Go” horse motel. We visited the exhibit at the Presido State Park in Tubac.
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Rosie looking on with interest.
Rosie looking on with interest.
Then we drove to the near my National Park of Tumacacori. Fascinating!
Then we drove to the near my National Park of Tumacacori. Fascinating!
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Then we headed north for the Catalina State Park where we rode and overnighted two nights. One thing I am noticing more is that volunteers are picking up the slack where funding has been cut. This park as are many are being maintained with the sincere help of many volunteers and they are doing a not worthy job if it all.
Then we headed north for the Catalina State Park where we rode and overnighted two nights. One thing I am noticing more is that volunteers are picking up the slack where funding has been cut. This park as are many are being maintained with the sincere help of many volunteers and they are doing a not worthy job of it all.
Horses wanting their morning Source Micronutrients.
Rosie's guard dog and pal, Bella.
Rosie’s guard dog and pal, Bella.
From Catalina we went further north where Melissa Deaver-Rivera hosted a talk at her stable with friends from her riding club. Had a lovely evening. Melissa is a member of the BackCountry Horseman and knows my sister MaryAnn from the Pecos Chapter in Albuquerque, NM.
From Catalina we went further north where Melissa Deaver-Rivera hosted a talk at her stable with friends from her riding club in Apache Junction… Had a lovely evening. Melissa is a member of the BackCountry Horseman and knows my sister MaryAnn from the Pecos Chapter in Albuquerque, NM.
Now here we are..Rosie on Spirit with the Superstition Mountains in the background riding the Arizona Trail
Now here we are..Rosie on Spirit with the Superstition Mountains in the background riding the Arizona Trail.
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Christmas day 2017 in camp.
Christmas day 2017 in camp.

Sonoita, Arizona – December 17, 2017

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Las Cienegas and the Historic Empire Ranch

I am an advocate for public lands, a self proclaimed spokeswoman for our National Forest Service and Parks and the people who work in the service of these government departments.

Recently Rosie and I discovered the Las Cienegas National Conservation and Historic Empire Ranch, 5 miles north of Sonoita, Arizona. An expansive landscape of desert grasslands, rolling hills dotted with mesquite trees, dry auroras lined with giant cottonwood trees, antelope, deer, raptors, land that gives you the feel of freedom. When we arrived a couple of weeks ago, I stepped out of Rosie’s truck and said, “ I feel like I’m on the African Savanna.” I have never been on the African Savanna but I have seen photos…this is what the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area felt like to me, exotic, breathtaking vistas, wind, sky and grass.


When I see the volumes of people striking out for a weekend camping expedition, when I read about the record breaking attendance Glacier Park, Yellowstone Park and Yosemite support each year and when I see the struggle between differing land use managements ie: motorized 4-wheeler, non motorized – horseback riders, hikers, bicyclist, hunters, the logging and mineral interest, all grabbing, all vying for a peace of open space, natural beauty, a place to “get away from it all… I think, “ We need more public lands.”

It is impressive what a group of strong minded determined people did in saving this ranch land and the ,ambience it embraces. www.empireranchfoundation.org.  From the website……

The Empire Ranch Foundation (ERF) was established as a private non-profit organization in 1997 to work with the BLM to develop private support to preserve the ranch buildings and enhance the educational and recreational opportunities it offers to the general public. In the time since, ERF and BLM have completed significant emergency repairs to the main ranch house and to major outbuildings at the headquarters. Major long term permanent repairs to the Ranch House and Adobe Haybarn are being specified and undertaken as funding permits, while interpretation and education programs and a Discovery Trail and other visitor enhancements…

Between BLM and the Empire Ranch foundation the Las Cienegas has managed to blend a working ranch, 4-wheelers, hikers, horseback riders and hunters on to this 42,000 acre conservation area. It is clean, does not have roads everywhere and retains a sense of being alone with the land. Rosie felt it deserved a generous donation. In a time when our public lands are being threatened we must all pitch in and help and not rely so heavily on the government to save these national treasures.

My hat is off to the BLM and the Empire Ranch Foundation…and its a big hat!

THe Wetstone Mountains. These Mountains have been in many western movies.
The Mustang Mountains. These Mountains have been in many western movies such as Red River and EL Dorado the Shootist, Oklahoma, 3:10nto Yuma and Ride the High Country.
Rosie on Liska and Jeanetta Sturgeon (who led us here in the first place) riding her grey gelding Phoenix.
Rosie on Liska and Jeanetta Sturgeon (who led us here in the first place) riding her grey gelding Phoenix.
My Black Mountain Saddle from Tucker taking in the view.
My Black Mountain Saddle from Tucker taking in the view.
Inside the Historic Empire Ranch corrals.
Inside the Historic Empire Ranch corrals.
Rosie riding off into the sunset with her mount Liska Pearl.
Rosie riding off into the sunset with her mount Liska Pearl.

Patagonia

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Is a quaint, charming artist’s town. The streets are open and lovely and the people friendly. As Rosie, Bella and I strolled the town on a sunny afternoon I noticed this sign. I never did meet any of the women from the group but Rhonda the woman on the ladder said they were very influential in the community. One-hundred years ladies!!! goodness by the looks of your town you are doing something right.
 

Silver City, New Mexico – December 6th, 2017

Elkhorn cactus in bloom
Elkhorn cactus in bloom

South by Southwest

It hardly seems like winter when the temperature is in the 70’s, nice. We are part of the winter migration called “snowbirds.” How remarkably easy travel becomes with a truck and trailer!

Recapping the past two weeks:

From Pie Town we dropped due south into the Gila National Forest. Jeanetta Sturgeon knew Annie George and Susan Dent (horse-gals) who own property just outside the forest boundary. Anne makes saddles, Susan’s a vet in Alaska. Annie provided us with water other wise it would have been impossible to have stayed where we did. We enjoyed one full week of lively conversation, sunshine, shared meals and trail rides with two new friends.

Doug Dexter, president of Gila Back Country Horseman, Rosie and Pat Wolph who invited us in the first place. The setting was by far the most interesting of BCH meetings I have been to.
Doug Dexter, president of Gila Back Country Horseman, Rosie and Pat Wolph who invited us in the first place. The setting was by far the most interesting place for a BCH gathering I have been to.

Rosie, her dog Bella and I toured the unique historical Silver City, joined the Gila Back-Country Horseman’s Christmas party at the Buckhorn Saloon and Opera House in Pin’os Altos (north of Silver City) and watched the Super Moon rise and brilliantly illuminate the sky.

Silver City entrepreneur
Silver City entrepreneur

As the weather turns cooler we head further south for Arizona looking for more canyons to explore, more sun and perhaps more new friends to warm us.

Historic downtown Silver City
Historic downtown Silver City
Rosie and Bella at the O'Keefe gallery in Silver City
Rosie and Bella at the O’Keefe Gallery in Silver City
Susan Dent and Rosie out side the Buckhorn Saloon
Susan Dent and Rosie out side the Buckhorn Saloon
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we drove past this in Pin'os Altos just up from the Buckhorn Saloon
We drove past this in Pin’os Altos just up from the Buckhorn Saloon.
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Spirit with the morning Super Moon slowly settling down behind her
Spirit with the morning Super Moon slowly settling down behind her
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Pie Town, New Mexico – November 20th, 2017

Pies in Pie Town, New Mexico

Pie Town, New Mexico and look at the PIES!. The Gathering Place is relatively new, it has been in business for two years.

The Pie Town Cafe and The Pie-O-neer Cafe were both closed today. I tied the horses outside on an old grey weathered wooden fence. Smiles greeted me from three women with white floured hands baking pies. I could not resist. “Blueberry please,” I said – after a breakfast burrito.

I sat next to a couple from Young, Az. They were off to look at petroglyphs near Socorro, NM.

It was like this in 2006 when I rode through. I think its the pies. Its like home and friendly and welcoming where people have time to sit down and have a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. No, Pie Town has not changed much, thank goodness!

P.S. The pie was spectacular like the vista’s of New Mexico

Early Suffragettes

Our hostess Jeanetta Sturgeon took Rosie and I for a drive to Datil 20 miles east of Pie Town and we came across this sign. I have read “No Life For A Lady.” Jeanetta’s grandparents had historical ties to this area. These women in my humble opinion define courageous.