Sunday, May 10, 2020

T-Bar Ranch - Mother's Day!

AZBackRoadsGirl at the T-Bar Ranch on Mother's Day

So today is Mother's Day.  Bailey and I decided to go on our own little adventure up north to escape the heat, the people, and the house!  Just me and my kid - spending a little quality time on Mother's Day.

We were debating on where we wanted to go - one adventure would have been 13 hours long and 600+ miles of driving, but we would have taken her 4-Runner.  The other one was 300 miles of driving, and still took us 8 hours - because we found the coolest cabin up North!

Desert Phlox
Up off of Stoneman Lake Road are a ton of old "tanks" for cattle ranching - tanks meaning watering holes. And occasionally, one will find an old cabin.  This area was heavily used by early Arizona families as cattle ranching land.  The most popular of these cabins is the Apache Maid Cabin - right at the foot of Apache Maid Mountain.  The Apache Maid Cabin was built by Charles Babbitt (of Arizona pioneer history fame) as a lineman cabin - and is now rented out by the Forest Service (although it is closed now due to the COVID-19 pandemic).  This is NOT the cabin Bailey and I explored, although we tried.  The gate was locked and we didn't want to trespass.  

But I've gotten ahead of myself.  Bailey and I drove up I-17, refueled at Camp Verde, and got off at Stoneman Lake Road.  We drove in until the pavement ended, and instead of turning left to continue on Stoneman Lake Road, we turned right to start hitting the "primitive" forest roads.  I had no idea what we were getting in to - and there was rain up there yesterday, and rain in the Valley this morning - so I was just hoping we didn't run into any mud.

What we did run into immediately was a shock of desert flowers!  Everywhere - stunning and beautiful!  Bailey and I spent probably an hour photographing flowers - so many bright and beautiful colors!  

Tidy Fleabane
Desert Hyacinth or Bluedicks
Wholeleaf Indian Paintbrush

There were tons of other flowers too - no way to photograph them all - these are just the brightly colored ones that stood out!

The Dam-Ish
After we finished photographing the flowers in this huge field, we jumped back in the FJ and headed down towards some of the "pins" I had from Google Earth.  The first one being a "white" object - and I had no idea what it was.  

Funny thing - I still don't.  Ha - So Bailey and I are calling it the Dam-ish.  It's not really a dam, but it's clearly some kind of water control thing - we just don't know.  So Dam-ish it is.  

Inside the little hut at
the Dam-Ish

So we poked around at the Dam-ish for a bit trying to figure out what it was - the little "hut" is built over a block well of some kind that goes down and under the Dam-ish.  There were bees there.  So we left.  Everyone knows how much we love bees.  

The lack of knowledge on the dam-ish was an omen for things to come today - because I have almost NO information about anything we saw today - but we had SO much fun!  And it was COOOOOOOOL - high 60's, low 70's - windows down on the truck - music playing - two girls bouncing around up north!

So after musing about the purpose of the dam-ish, we left and started to head towards the T-Bar Ranch homestead.  Now, I know the name of this place.  And that's it.  I literally know nothing else - which is unlike me, but I've spent several hours researching it, and have found nothing.  I will likely need to spend some time at the Sharlot Hall museum in Prescott to see what I can find...but that's a trip for another day.  

T-Bar Ranch Homestead on approach
So we followed my GaiaGPS app and decided to leave the truck and approach on foot.  There were a bunch of wet and deep ruts in the road, and I had no idea what the road was going to be like.  It wasn't even a quarter of a mile in, so we walked (we totally could have driven).  But the approach while walking - oh my goodness - amazing!  Bailey and I were both really excited when we saw what was coming up - and we had the place all to ourselves!  

2nd Cabin at T-Bar Ranch
After about 15 minutes, a couple of very polite, older gentlemen showed up on quads, but not 5 minutes after that, 4 trucks full of people came and stayed for what seemed like an eternity - at least 20 people.  Ugh.  Bailey and I took a few photos, then walked over to the second cabin where the older gentlemen were having lunch.  They wished me a happy Mother's Day and Bailey and I poked around the second cabin a bit.  The second cabin had plumbing of some kind and electrical, but I have no idea where the electricity came from - perhaps a generator?

Dove tailed timbers

As we waited patiently for the large group of people to leave, we wandered around the back of the main homestead.  Bailey climbed up towards the large water tower, and I examined the timbers in the different sections of the homestead.  It was clear it was built in stages - but well crafted in its entirety.  There was running water, a sink and bathroom, and linoleum in the kitchen.  

Side wing - front appears to be a living room
while the back portion appears to be a kitchen

Bailey and I noted the Archaeological Site sign on the side of the homestead, and I had hoped to find some information on the homestead inside, but no such luck.  There are a few old photographs inside plastic sleeves, but with no indication of who or when.  Again - I will need to spend more time researching...but I love that!

Bailey in the doorway between
the living room and kitchen
Bailey and I spent nearly two hours at the T-Bar Ranch Homestead.  It was a beautiful place, in a beautiful setting, and we were thrilled to be spending our day outside in the cool, pine-scented air of northern Arizona.  

 One end of the homestead - I love the wood textures!

View of the homestead from the back

View of the Homestead from the Front

Looking out a window through
another window...

After we decided to depart the T-Bar Ranch Homestead, we went down to see the Apache Maid Cabin, which, as I stated above, was locked off and so we didn't go in - we could see the Cabin from the gate, and it is, of course, fully restored and livable - the Forest Service rents it out.  For information on renting the Apache Maid Cabin, click HERE.  It looks like it could be a cute little place to stay if you don't have access to an RV or a tent!  And it can sleep up to 6 people.

Bailey and I then decided to keep going on our "loop" back to Stoneman Lake Road - the road immediately got a little rougher.  And what I mean by rougher is that occasionally there was a small rock of about 5 inches in the road.  Gasp - how was I ever going to boulder-crawl that?  

The old garage in Payson

We came out on Stoneman Lake Road without a hitch, and took the 87 down through Strawberry (don't blink, you'll miss it), through Pine (again, don't blink) and in to Payson, where we drove down by the old Oxbow Saloon (a haunt of mine in the 90's) and to look for the old filling station with the purple FJ-40.  The filling station is still there.  The FJ-40 is not.  The old International is still there - but the purple FJ-40 - the ancestor of my beautiful Calamity Jane, was no longer there.  

The old garage where the old FJ once was...

It was a beautiful drive - lots of stops to look at things and surmise what they might have been.  I'm not going to post them all on here because I literally know NOTHING about them.  And I don't care - It was a fun day with me and my kid - which is what Mothers Day is all about!  I hope all of you out there had fun on Mother's Day!

AZBackRoadsGirl with Calamity Jane - May 10, 2020

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