Monday, May 23, 2016

Arizona's Salt River Canyon: awesome

Highway through Salt River Canyon
Arizona’s Salt River Canyon isn’t as deep, wide or long as its cousin to the north, the Grand Canyon, but it still is mighty impressive.

The Salt River Canyon is awesome! The views are spectacular. The canyon ranges in depth from 2,200 to more than 4,000 feet deep. The canyon is located in the White Mountains of central Arizona, about midway between Globe and Showlow on the very scenic Highway 60/77.

As the car drives, it’s nine miles from the top of one rim to the top on the other side. As the crow flies, it’s a heckuva lot shorter because they don’t have to drive down/up steep switchbacks with tight curves. Nor will they want to stop in mid-air to admire the view, though motorists will want to stop at some of the many viewpoints on the route.  The road has a 6 percent grade, so you’ll want to make sure your vehicle brakes are in good working order.

View from the pedestrian bridge
There’s a rest area at the bottom of the hill, with plenty of parking for those who want to do more than just use the restrooms (there’s no water available to wash hands).  A pedestrian bridge runs parallel to the vehicular bridge crossing the Salt River. Steps lead down to the river and trails.

The Salt River Canyon is part of a wilderness area administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service says about 200 species of wildlife can be seen in the wilderness area; highway signs caution drivers to watch out for deer and elk.

Salt River Canyon

Thursday, May 12, 2016

American Flag Ranch: mine, post office, cattle ranch, museum

American Flag Ranch
territorial post office
The American Flag Ranch has a rich, varied history.  Located on a quiet road a few miles outside of Oracle, Arizona, it was founded in 1877 as the American Flag Mine.

The mine attracted hundreds of miners, not just to work at it, but alsothose who wanted to get rich with their own mines. This list included Buffalo Bill Cody who had a mine a couple of miles away at Campo Bonito.

A post office was established in 1880, back when Arizona was still a territory, Named the American Flag Post Office, it was located in a ranch building that is now the oldest territorial post office still standing in Arizona. The building was named to the National Register of Historical Buildings in 1979.

The mine eventually closed, and its founder, Isaac Lorraine, turned his property into a cattle ranch.

Owned today by the Oracle Historical Society, the ranch is now a museum. A key component is a central room filled with postal memorabilia, old photos and an exhibit on Oracle’s most famous miner, the Wild West showman, Buffalo Bill Cody.

The American Flag Ranch is open by appointment only. Call the Oracle Historical Society, (520) 896-9609 to make arrangements and get directions.