Archive for the ‘Doubtful Canyon’ Tag

Where Are We?   Leave a comment

Where Are We? (Doubtful Canyon) — Photo-Artistry by kenne

One hazel lost a leaf of gold
From a tuft at the tip, when the first voice told
The other he wished to know what ’twould be
To be sixty by this same post. “You shall see,”
He laughed—and I had to join his laughter—
“You shall see; but either before or after,
Whatever happens, it must befall,
A mouthful of earth to remedy all
Regrets and wishes shall freely be given;
And if there be a flaw in that heaven
’Twill be freedom to wish, and your wish may be
To be here or anywhere talking to me,
No matter what the weather, on earth,
At any age between death and birth,
To see what day or night can be,
The sun and the frost, the land and the sea,
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,—
With a poor man of any sort, down to a king,
Standing upright out in the air
Wondering where he shall journey, O where?”
 
— from The Sign-Post by Edward Thomas
 

No Passage   Leave a comment

No Passage (Doubtfull Pass In Doubtfull Canyon)– Image by kenne

At one time

a stagecoach route.

Now, no passage 

without a key —

private property,

keep out,

no hunting,

call this number —

really, out in the 

middle of nowhere.

— kenne

 

Twisted Wire In Doubtful Canyon   Leave a comment

Twisted Wire In Doubtful Canyon — Image by kenne

Southwest Ridge
 
When the sun rises over the mountains,
the air is still cool,
                   meaning that by the end of the day,
                                          when the sun has crossed
                         the main ridge and gives light to
                                    the other side the air is hot
                                                             ­    and dry.
                   This means that trees growing on the
                                         northeast face of any given
                         mountains flourish, while the southwest face
                                                        is generally left barren-

              there are, however, always a few brave
                                    tufts of foliage
                         who dare to challenge the
                                                       infernal heat
                                        and survive.

                                                       ­                                      so too,
                                                            ­                        with people.

— JC Lucas

Days Of Drought In April   Leave a comment

Coyote Fence — Photo-Artistry by kenne

  April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
 
— from The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot
 
 

Doubtful Canyon, 360   Leave a comment

Doubtful Canyon, 360 (12-08-12) — Photo-Artistry by kenne

Standing In The Eye

Look around
what do you see?

A bright sun
in a blue sky

above a desert
of rocks and sand

surrounded by
mountain ranges —

look again and
you will see life

you can only see
standing in the eye.

— kenne

Coyote Fence Corral   Leave a comment

Coyote Fence Corral In Doubtful Canyon — Images by kenne

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
                                           If there were water
   And no rock
   If there were rock
   And also water
   And water
   A spring
   A pool among the rock
   If there were the sound of water only
   Not the cicada
   And dry grass singing
   But sound of water over a rock
   Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
   Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
   But there is no water

— from The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot 

Doubtful Canyon Abstract   1 comment

Doubtful Canyon — Abstract by kenne

 

Sky above
Earth below
Peace within

Following The Old Stagecoach Route Though Doubtful Canyon   7 comments

Doubtful Canyon Ranch — Image by kenne

Today ranches exist along the narrow privative road through Doubtful Canyon.
In the 1860’s the Butterfield Overland Stage route went through the canyon.

Apache Raiders made passage through the canyon very ‘DOUBTFUL!’
In April 1861 the Giddings’ Party was ambush near Steins Peak stagecoach station.
Cochise and his Apaches killed nine men, but reserved the worst torture for those captured alive.  

Doubtful Canyon Ranch

In 2012, Tom, Steve, and I decided to follow the old stagecoach route through Doubtful Canyon, which we began in the small ranch town of San Simon. Once making it through the canyon, we planned to stay overnight in Lordsburg, New Mexico.
The old road, now used primarily by area ranchers, is very premature. There were some places. 
The road was so narrow that you could not pass through without the bushes scraping the sides of the truck.
Still, other places were wide-open rangeland having only an occasional gate we would have to stop and open.

Our goal was to find the Giddings Grave Marker, which was marked on our maps. We also knew the location was on the lowest northwest slope of Steins Peak. Even though we scattered out, crisscrossing the area, we were not able to find the marker. Here’s a picture of the area where the grave sits, which I found on the Internet.

John Giddings Marker

Doubtful Canyon Panorama

In A World Of Circles   2 comments

 

Doubtful Canyon Fisheye Art Oil Paint-blogDoubtful Canyon in the Peloncillo Mountains, Arizona — Image by kenne

The world is made of Circles
And we think in straight Lines

— Peter Senge

A Long Stretch of Highway in Southern New Mexico   Leave a comment

Interstate 10-1654 blogI-10 In southern New Mexico going into Arizona — Image by kenne

Dust devils come and go
across the flat land
of southern New Mexico
beneath a clear blue sky
with only a few white puffs
over distant mountains
providing a backdrop
for as long as the eye can see

on a long straight highway
with vultures circling above
and occasional overpasses
with towering signs near exits
tempting our stiffening bodies
by giving us a sense of home,
if your home is
McDonald’s golden arches.

We feel lonely even though
we are not alone
making us wish for
a bend in the road.
Instead, we are distracted
by counting vultures and old
railroad cars on tracks running
parallel to this lonely highway.
(Now we know what happens to beat-up old cars,
they are parked in the desert southwest.)

I with my Goldfish,
she with her sunflower seeds,
we try to settle down
for few hundred more miles
before crossing into Arizona
just south of the old
Butterfield Stagecoach route
through Doubtful Canyon.

Not complaining,
over 100 years ago
we would have been traveling
by stagecoach through
Doubtful Canyon rather
than a modern Interstate
escaping any chance of
being attack by Apaches.
(See a photo essay of Doubtful Canyon on Flickr. Enjoy!)

— kenne

Daughtful CanyonDoubtful Canyon — Image by kenne

 

Ecocide Arizona Style — The Cow That Ate The West   3 comments

(First Posted December 13, 2012)Peloncillo MountainsCattle Corral in the San Simon Valley — Images by kenne

Note: This posting came about as a result of a scheduled duck hunting trip that went a bust. For several years Tom and some of his hunting buddies have gone hunting in the San Simon Valley. The valley contains several small ponds, little known to most duck hunters. Again this year, they were planning to hunt the riparian area of the valley. Tom asked me if I would like to go duck hunting. I told him I hunt only with a camera — the hunt was on.

Two days before the scheduled hunt we got word that there were no ducks in the valley — there was no water. Tom and I discussed the situation and decided to make it a photo expedition.

This posting is about the disappearing water in the San Simon Valley, which serves a “poster child” of the west. Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued “a call to action”  a three-year study of the Colorado River and its ability to meet the future needs of city-dwellers, Native Americans, businesses, ranchers and farmers in the western states. 

“There is no one solution that is going to meet the needs of this challenge,” Salazar said. “We need to reduce our demand through conservation. We also need to augment supply with practical measures.” — Arizona Daily Star. December 13, 2012

Peloncillo Mountains

ECOCIDE ARIZONA STYLE

Tom Markey and Kenne G. Turner (November 2012)

PrintDuring its four years of operation (1857-1861), the Butterfield Overland Mail gave its passengers views of the some of the West’s most luxurious grasslands when its stagecoaches emerged from the Peloncillo Mountains, now a 19,440 acre wilderness area designated by Congress in 1990 along the Arizona – New Mexico border, and those stagecoaches descended through West Doubtful Canyon into the San Simon Valley in what became Cochise County, Arizona.

However, the graves of scalpers, such as that of John James Giddings (1821-1861), who was heading back east, attest to the pass’s prolonged perils at the hands of Apaches led by Cochise and Geronimo.

But a far worse peril than the Apaches could ever have imagined was soon to be visited upon the region.

In the fall of 1882, Will C. Barnes, former Medal of Honor awardee in the battle at Fort ApacheArizona Territory, wrote in “Herds In San Simon Valley – What Happen To The Promise Land of Arizona’s Oldtime Cattlemen?” of his personal experience in seeking a suitable location for raising a few cattle. He was advised by an old Army officer, having chased Apaches throughout the area, that the San Simon Valley might be a suitable location.

After spending ten days riding over the valley, Barnes decided he had found his “promised land.” The river, although an “intermittent affair,” provided for a riparian area as it quietly flowed through the lush grassland.

By 1885 or so those once lush grasslands (around Chaney Place … as one bearing point) in the San Simon Valley were already seriously overgrazed by an estimated 55,000 cattle and in danger of disastrous erosion and eventual desertification: an Arizona-style ecocide as the cow that ate the West and exhausted its fragile water sources was well on its way; see Lynn Jacobs’ classic, Waste of the West: Public Lands Ranching (1991).

Dry Riparian Area In The San Simon Valley

Dry Riparian Area In The San Simon Valley

The stunning classic account of this disaster is Marc Reisner‘s 1986 Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. A four-part television documentary based on a revised version of the book was produced by KTEH-TV, the PBS affiliate in San José, California, in 1996. The parts are entitled Mulholland’s Dream, An American Nile, The Mercy of Nature, and The Last Oasis.  

Ecocide is, by the way, a term used to refer to any large-scale destruction of a natural environment by over-consumption of critical non-renewable resources. The word’s fatal significance is repeatedly illustrated by Jared Diamond in his vastly successful Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005, with a revised edition from 2011) which chronicles a series of major environmental disasters such as Easter Island.

The San Simon Subbasin, some 1,930 square miles north and south of Interstate 10 in southeastern Arizona that extends into New Mexico is well on its way to becoming another ecocide success, and this is particularly true of the closed drainage basin of San Simon Valley that is north of Interstate 10 between Orange Butte (5,250 feet) on its eastern edge and Javelina Peak (5,592 feet) to the northwest. The surrounding area is an ancient volcanic eruptive hot spot primarily composed of basaltic to rhyolitic rocks from some 16 to 30 million years ago. Its tectonic underpinnings are still unstable; the San Simon Basin regularly experiences earthquakes of major magnitude about every 50 years or so. And surface water comes and goes with the rhythms of this geological instability. The earthquake of May 4th, 1887, had an estimated Richter magnitude of 7.2.

Peloncillo Mountains

Cattle Watering Pond

The water resources of the region have always been marginal. In 1934 Will C. Barnes wrote after revisiting the valley: “Many of the old valuable grasses and forage plants were gone. The green meadows were replaced by wide expanses of drifting sand. Of running water, except during the summer rains when floods occurred, there was almost none.”

Today, the San Simon and Whitlock Cienega are both dry, as is nearby Parks Lake. Only a few artesian wells in the area are still flowing, and artesian pressure has been steadily decreasing: windmills had long had to assist the water to reach the surface, and even these have failed recently, and dry tanks are increasingly abandoned.

Any significant groundwater resources are limited to a network of aquifers, and in-depth investigations of the economic aspects of aquifer water quality are, remarkably, a relatively young field. Increases in salinity from irrigation re-charge and undesirable mineral content in irrigation water from ambient groundwater and aquifers have, however, already been indicated in the San Simon Valley. According to an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ 2002) Baseline Study from 2004, groundwater in the lower or artesian aquifer rarely met health-based standards because of frequently elevated fluoride or arsenic concentrations. Then, too, groundwater in the upper aquifer often also did not meet health-based standards because of elevated fluoride or nitrate concentrations.

Peloncillo Mountains

Dry Water Detention Area

The Bowie pistachio plantation contact is Jim Cook of the Pistachio Corporation of Arizona, Bowie (520-847-2554).

Sky Island Alliance (SIA) is currently conducting a statewide “Spring’s Inventory” and reports that fifty springs will have been inventoried by the end of 2013. SIA should be encouraged to conduct a follow-up of the ADEQ 2002 Baseline Study of the San Simon Basin and note the changes during the past decade.

The now dry detention dam lakes, no matter how shallow they were (1-2 feet), in the San Simon Basin north of Bowie and San Simon were convenient stop-overs for numerous species of migratory ducks, but no more: no ducks were sighted in the area again this season, and one by one the ponds in the area have been going dry at a rapid rate over the past four years.

Dry Detention Dam Lake

Dry Detention Dam Lake

To make the ecological situation of this threatened area even worse, in the Sierra Club’s Rincon Group Newsletter (July – September 2012), Russell Lowes reports that Southwestern Power Group (SWPG) wants to build a large natural gas plant (SunZia) north of the Chiricahua Mountains near Bowie, and this would certainly be a major source of pollution, even as far west as Tucson. The start-up is now planned for 2015 after the local Board of Supervisors granted the developers a construction permit extension in November of 2009.

The agency that is controlling the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for the projected Bowie natural gas plant is, as you might suspect, the perennial rancher’s friend who continues to support a no longer economically viable way of cowboy life at taxpayer expense across the West, namely the federal Bureau of Land Management.

According to some environmentalists (Cascabel Working Group, July 17th, 2011), SWPG has “intentionally hidden its intended use of SunZia (Southwest Transmission Project) for the Bowie plant and appears to have misrepresented the project as delivering primarily renewable energy to gain the support of governmental, environmental and public interests to expedite the project’s construction.” 

Hydrographic declines (subsidence) in the Bowie area have been recorded since the 1980’s as part of surveys of pre-consolidation stress on aquifer systems, but there do not seem to be more recent post-plantation reports from the area; see Water Resources Research for June 1981 which cites a local decline of more than 278 feet since 1952 in a well five miles east of Bowie.

There seems to be a lack of up to date water demand estimate studies for the area, and, if this is the case, it is probably masking a serious case of Arizona-style ecocide.

The promised land that Will C. Barnes wrote about years ago was in the making for centuries and cannot be restored in just a few years: “The present emergency offers a vast field for true conservation. But remember this, it will not be accomplished in a year or a dozen years. And most of all, to succeed it will require conscientious cooperation by every stockman using these lands. In no other way will it be brought about,” wrote Barnes. He concluded that the valley was not an isolated or unusual area. “All over the West similar areas are now going through the same destructive process of erosion.”

Peloncillo MountainsImages by kenne

Click here to see a slideshow of Kenne Turner’s San Simon Valley images. 

Western Window On The Past   Leave a comment

Peloncillo MountainsWestern Window On the Past — Image by kenne

The wind moves unnoticed through the window
like the memory of forgotten times
punctuated by years of drought
where water no longer moves
atop the creek beds, and cattle no longer roam,
each not sustainable in the basin
below the Peloncillo Mountains
where desert bushes and cactus
have replaced the grasslands
near Doubtful Pass trail once used by
the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Company.

— kenne

 

Doubtful Canyon — Revisited   1 comment

Doubtful Canyon Fisheye Art Oil Paint-Recovered blogDoubtful Canyon in the Peloncillo Mountains (December 2012) — Fisheye Art by kenne

Riding the stagecoach
Days of Geronimo past
Through Doubtful Canyon.

kenne

(We will be driving through the Peloncillo’s today, May 12, 2015, on our way from Ft. Stockton to Tucson.
First posted December 8, 2012)

Doubtful Canyon II   2 comments

Doubtful Canyon Circle art blog

Doubtful Canyon II — Image by kenne

Doubtful Canyon I   4 comments

Doubtful Canyon Fisheye Art blog

Doubtful Canyon in the Peloncillo Mountains — Image by kenne

Riding the stagecoach
Days of Geronimo past
Through Doubtful canyon.

kenne

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