The morning started off with overcast skies that looked like it would rain at any moment.
Fortunately the rain never happened and by afternoon the temps were in the high 70’s
As always the road goes through the Saguaro forest.
After several miles we came to the 96 Ranch. This used to be a fairly large ranch. Total acreage 56,926.55; 640 acres of deeded land the rest is leased grazing land. The ranch covers over 88 square miles of Sonoran Desert. Was for sale for $4,000,000 but is no longer on the market
There are several buildings still standing but unfortunately they have been heavily vandalized. I couldn’t find anything on the history of the ranch. The main house is an impressive structure that looks like it might be made from adobe covered with stucco. The outer walls are about a foot thick.
The interior must have been very nice in its day.
This looks like an addition to the back of the house.
Here is what’s left of the kitchen.
Here is the fireplace in the livingroom.
One interesting feature of the ranch is the underground storage area behind the main house. It is accessed via a rock lined stair case.
The entrance has two doors that acted as an airlock.
Some people call this the bomb shelter or the bunker but I think it is a cold storage area probably for hanging meet and storing vegetables.
In the above picture you can see a bar connected to the ceiling where I think they may have hung sides of beef.
Another interesting feature of the ranch are the rectangular water tanks.
Here is another one near the barn.
It is connected to a small building that at first thought might be a milk room.
The barn has a concrete floor. At first, thought that it might be a milking barn but I am not quite sure.
There are several other buildings in the area. This one is across the road from the main house.
I think this structure may have been where they hung beefs during the butchering process. Notice the pulley on the cross beam at the top. The roofed structure at the left had water pipes and was probably screened in at one time.
While we were checking the place out a fellow pulled up in a newer car.
He told us that he had just punched a big hole in the (plastic) oil-pan while trying to go around a grader that was working on the road.
He tried to make a phone call from here but couldn’t get a cell lock. Everyone else who had a cell phone also tried to get a lock with no luck. Finally Dave told him that he heard that even without a lock he could dial 911 and tell them that it was not an emergency, explain the situation and they would call a tow truck for him. He tried that and it worked. A little while later a couple of guys came by in a four seater ATV. They were going toward the highway so he hitched a ride with them.
By the time we were ready to leave the ranch and do some exploring the grader had come down the road and turned around; we followed the grader for a while and came to a small trail going south from the road.
We turned onto this trail and followed it. After a short distance we came to a wildlife water catchment. We stopped to check it out.
We left there and continued south on the trail.
We climbed the hills and wandered around taking different trails, mostly the ones heading southeast.
We passed several cattle tanks (Ponds).
I got to wondering why with all the cattle tanks in the area why does the Fish and Wildlife Service have so many wildlife water catchment places. It seems kind of redundant but who can guess the motives of government agencies. I know that the wildlife water systems are fenced off to keep cattle, horses, and burros out. ???
After wandering around for a couple of hours
we came to one particularly large and scenic tank. There were even ducks paddling around in the water.
We decided to stop here for lunch.
There was an ancient cable operated bulldozer parked near our lunch spot.
I wouldn’t doubt that this was what they used to make the tank in the first place.
As we were leaving the lunch spot we stopped to check out this old cow skeleton.
I was hoping to find the scull but no luck there.
We followed a pipeline road for a few miles
but I got board with that and turned off into wash.
This old cow was reluctant to leave. She was probably the boss and with horns like that was pretty confident of her power.
Eventually she relented and slowly wandered off.
We continued in the wash for a ways.
Eventually we came to a wide graded road. We turned onto it and followed it for a while. We passed a Saguaro with a hawk perched on top.
It is a wonder how they do that with all those spines clustered on the top of the cactus.
This would be tricky country to hike or ride a horse through.
Eventually we came back to Highway 79 where we turned north toward Florence. We stopped to harass Suzanne and Roy at their place.
They were gracious as usual and gave us cold beer and drinks.
It was another fun day playing in the beautiful Sonoran Desert.
Saguaro trivia. (Carnegiea gigantea)
We were discussing saguaro’s the other day so Patti did a little research.
Did you know Saguaro’s are one of the largest cactus in the world and the largest in the US.
They can grow up to 60 feet tall.
They live to be at least two hundred years old and don’t get their first arm until they are 95 to 100 years old.
Some never grow an arm at all. A saguaro without arms is called a spear.
Here are possibly a couple spears on the right side of this photo.
Of course they could just be too young to have grown a arm yet. We will just have to come back in another 50 years or so to find out.
Here is a rare “crested” Saguaro that Patti photographed off Florence/Kelvin Road east of Florence, AZ.
Some Saguaro’s have many arms but I couldn’t find how long it takes for the Saguaro to develop the subsequent arms after the first one appears.
If you are interested, there is a lot more information on Saguaro’s on the internet.