Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gila Bend, Arizona


A few years ago we decided to stay in Arizona for the winter. It was an eye opening experience. We stayed at Fort Huachuca, Quartz site, Yuma Proving grounds and Lake Martinez. I think we also stayed in Tucson that year.


(Home of the Buffalo Soldier!)

I had always pictured deserts as sand, and sand dunes. The only place we saw that was at the White Plains National Monument. It looked like I thought a desert would be like.

whitepolains monument

But most of the desert is nowhere near that. We found the desert to have a lot of scrub bushes, cactus and rocks.

Rocks, ah, I love rocks. When we walked in the desert I would carry a day pack and fill it with rocks, interesting rocks. There are flat layered rocks, odd shaped rocks, angled chunk black rocks, and round smooth black rocks.

You could be walking along and see a round black spot from ten to 50 feet in diameter. It was like a Meteor or volcano splash of melted rock that hardened. There were paths worn where the mules, goats and deer went to water. We saw coyote, mules and mule deer. We also saw a large Bob Cat. One of the rangers said that was unusual to see, they were very stealthy.

Would take the rocks back to the RV Park and paint the rocks. I put them on a table marked FREE. I wrote the town or desert and state on the rock with the painting. Folks liked free souvenirs to take home and give away.

At Gila Bend we heard of the ‘Oatman Massacre’. A Mormon family was attacked after feeding some Indians. The Boy was clubbed in the head and threw over the Clift, and the two girls were taken captive (8 & 10 yrs old I think). The boy lived and escaped to tell about it. The girls were ran bare-footed thru the desert hundreds of miles.


(This is the terrain look of most deserts we hiked in, sorta rocky)

The girls were ransomed by a minister with some blankets and a horse I think. We searched and searched until we found the site. It was quite an adventure. It took us a week of desert hiking during the day to find it. But we did find the site.


(This is Olive, the oldest Oatman Girl. She was tattooed by the Indians to show she was a slave, her brother never stopped looking for her, the younger sister died in captivity, a book was written by the minister and Olive and her brother got all the profits it paid for their education.)

We fell in love with Gila Bend, we hope one day to return, but it is unlikely.

Anyway the real desert was quite a surprise to us in its make-up and texture. The ground is quite hard rather than sandy.

Thanks for coming this way to the LOG!

Nite Shipslog


An actual note to God from a child:



Jimmy's Journal said...

It's funny, but I like rocks as well. I especially enjoyed the Carolinas and Tennessee for the boundless supply.

As for the desert, keep an eye out for meteorite fragments. They're worth a lot of money.

Good post, Jack!


Paula said...

Interesting entry. I like rocks too.

Anonymous said...

A good mean to measure time and life. Interesting story as well. Please have you all a good Thursday.

betty said...

oh my gosh, the poor Oatman Family! How sad! Glad though that Olive was reunited with her brother and they were able to get an education!

too cute painting rocks; I bet that was a fun project to do!

Gila Bend in the summer is not fun indeed; even in the middle of the night it can be well over 100 degrees. We've driven through it a few times but never really stopped to check the town out.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Wintering in the dessert doesn't sound bad at all. The sand I love the most though is on a beach. Wintering on a beach sounds wonderful. But here I am in northern Ohio and the beaches along Lake Erie are quite snow covered and iced over for sure. I hope your Thursday is a wonderful one.

~mel said...

How horrible for the Oatman family to have to endure something like that ~ and to have that tattoo as a daily reminder.

I too have been a rock hound my whole life. I love picking up special rocks and setting them in the flower beds. They may seem like 'ordinary' rocks to others; but there's a lot of them out there that came from some place special.