(Chuck) This part of SouthEast Arizona is marginal ranch and mostly dedicated desert country. When the wind blows it keeps you inside. We spent two days holed up just outside of Safford waiting for the wind to subside. There is a little piece of BLM that we called home at (N32.79393 W109.59303) 3120’. Our goal was the Hot Well Dunes Recreation site which is about twenty miles south east of Safford. There is a hard surfaced road and it was a pleasant drive. We found a primitive place to park and we were fairly close to another couple who we had briefly met by Safford. We had happy hour with fellow Escapees, Stan and Debbie Van Kleeck. They also grew up in Iowa and we enjoyed their company for a day. Also next to us was Pearl Grissom. Pearl is from California and is also on a quest to see this country as her time allows.
We went to the Hot Well area to experience the Hot Springs that are relatively common in the SouthWest. We took a turn in the relatively small confines of the “tub.” I think it was not as we had imagined and the whole hot springs experience did not seem to excite us as we had thought. I imagine we will give it another try someday. While we had Pearl over to our rig for breakfast one morning, she described a neat place to us that caught our attention. It is called Black Hills Rockhound Area. It is only about 25 miles from where we were and it soom became our destination. This is our second night here and it fits the bill as one of the most quiet places we have found, There is not a person within several miles. There is no highway noise, and the stars in the night sky will overwhelm you with their beauty.
The primary source of excitement is the Fire Agate. We came in here without any knowledge of this mineral. What I know comes from two very helpful prospectors and what I have found on the web. At first it seemed that there were huge amounts of agate on the surface of the ground. It was beautiful and white. We were puzzeled and couldn’t figure why it seemed so easy. Then it seems the common white isn’t what we were looking for. After three hikes into the area we did find some interesting pieces. I need to get parked next to a serious rockhound to see if we have any keepers. I suspect we do, but I know we have several pounds of white agate that I think is beautiful, however probably worthless.
With or without the Fire Agate excitement this is a very beautiful place to spend a few days or lifetimes. We are so very fortunate to be able to live in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Today we hiked the area, and this afternoon we toured the 25 mile Black Hills Back Country Byway Road , It is a nice scenic drive through the local mountains to Clifton , AZ. We went to church in Clifton and then drove back down highway 191 to our rig. Tomorrow promises to be another great adventure for us. We can be rockhounds for a few days, and then once again go down the road for another adventure.