Where have I been lately? Well, I’ve been to a few places since leaving Tucson a few weeks ago. Namely, I have been in Arizona visiting Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, Bisbee, and now I am at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
LAS CIENEGAS NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA
Las Cienegas was a gorgeous large open sweeping plain, surrounded by mountains, looking very similar to the location used for the show Little House On The Prairie.
It was so peaceful and QUIET. The birds were even quiet. The ringing in my ears has never sounded so loud. (What’s the deal with that, anyway?) The Girls LOVED it here!
The camping area is actually called Cieneguita Camping Area. You can find reviews on it and its coordinates on Campendium.com. There were only a few other boondockers at this camping area, but there are about 3 other designated camping areas within about 5 miles of where I stayed. Ranchers lease the land for their cattle, so every now and again I could see cattle from my rig.
The main roads (gravel and dirt) were very well kept, washboard was at a minimum. Cieneguita has to be one of my favorite places to boondock so far. That’s not really saying much as I have not boondocked much yet in my short 9 months on the road. The nice thing is that you are in an area where you see barely anything man-made. Just look at most of the photos in this blog. There are also miles of jeep trails to explore at Las Cienegas so if you have one, bring your four wheel drive!
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area was originally a large cattle ranch. The ranch began as a 160-acre parcel which originated in the 1860’s and it was named Empire Ranch.
At its largest, the ranch expanded to over 100,000 acres. The structures of the ranch have been preserved by the Empire Ranch Foundation. Visiting the ranch buildings was a neat walk back in time as the original building was built in the late 1800’s and as they expanded, the change in the materials used was evident as the years progressed.
The foundation offers a docent-led tour twice a month. I highly recommend taking it as it was very informative and you can ask any questions about the property.
The land was sold to a housing developer in 1969 with plans to build. Once it became apparent that there was not enough water to sustain a community, the land was eventually swapped with the Bureau of Land Management in 1988, and the ranch was preserved.
I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Bisbee, Az while staying at Las Cienegas. Bisbee was a mining town which came to be in 1880 for its rich deposits of copper, gold, and silver.
It’s a very interesting town if you look into its history. Built in a canyon, all the houses were built up the sides of the canyon walls, and they are STEEP.
Back then, there was no plumbing so they only had outhouses, which would flood over and drain into the streets when the monsoon rains came. Since the middle of town had a giant sewer puddle in it, (Ick!) the town struggled with diseases such as typhoid and yellow fever. For the wealthier of the mining workers, a short train system was constructed which led to a town that was built just for the wealthier employees. It was located just south of Bisbee and they named it Warren. Today the town of Bisbee is known for its quirkiness and many tall staircases which must be climbed to get to many of the homes. (Back in the day there were no stairs, and homeowners had to literally hike their way up to their homes.)
There are musicians in the streets, the houses are colorful and there is art all around the town.
Bisbee is also home to Arizona’s smallest bar, with only 4 stools. Don’t go on a Monday, it will be closed. I learned this factoid the hard way.
My stay at Las Cienegas lasted about 12 nights. It snowed a little the night before I left. It seems strange to have snow in the desert, but Las Cienegas is at about 4,500′ so it definitely snows. I like snow, but not when I failed to bring in my stuff that now had to be packed up wet! #liveandlearn
Still, I said bye to my friends, (a temporary bye) packed up and made my way to the next stop, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to hang with them for a few more days after venturing into Tucson to get supplies.
After only one night at Organ Pipe National monument, my stay was cut short as one of my Girls, Trixie, came down with pancreatitis again. I had to drive 2.5 hours back to Tucson to the veterinarian I used before. It was a two-night stay in Tucson before I could get back. I have not had any chance to explore Organ Pipe, so I will extend my stay for one or two more nights, or I will have to come back to this beautiful place!
I also visited The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve to see the bird migration. (Below) However, I went at high noon. Not the best birding practice, and it showed. Barely saw a bird.
That’s it for now. There’s more to talk about but I can only put so much in one blog. Thank you for following along with me on my journey, I hope you can live these experiences a little along with me. : )
Kelly and The Girls