Apache Country

We’ve come across a few tribes of native Americans on our travels. The Hopi seem a generally helpful, informative bunch. We’ve seen a couple of videos in different places featuring Hopi elders explaining their beliefs, and numerous references to Hopi beliefs on information boards in other places. The Navajo seem to keep themselves busy selling “hand-made jewelry” from road-side stalls, always with additional signs stating “SALE” and “Mastercard and Visa accepted”. Only around one in ten of the stalls seemed to be occupied at this time of year; presumably everyone else is at home waiting for the next shipment from China…..

The Apache have been the most worrisome to date, not that we’ve actually seen an Apache you understand. We stayed on Apache land at Verde Camp almost a fortnight ago, not that we realised it at the time. We arrived at the campsite after the office closed, so stayed the night and went to pay the next morning, as usual. It was at this point that I was required to sign a lengthy declaration to the effect that should any misfortune befall us whilst on Apache Land, we wouldn’t hold the Apache responsible. The signed declaration was quickly whisked away into the till; no copy was provided. I recall being thankful that at least I’d only had to sign it on departure, not on arrival the night before….. (that could’ve made for some interesting dreams overnight…).

Anyway, we’re now in the Apache strongholds of old. We crossed Apache Pass yesterday. This pass was important during the gold rush and later for settlers heading West, so much so that a fort (Fort Bowie) had to be built to protect the pass from any trouble from the Apache.

We had a great time at Chiricahua National Monument. The campground was almost empty:

The mountains here are “sky islands”, mountain ranges separated by flat plains. The mountains in the distance in the next picture are the Dragoon Mountains, the last stronghold of the famous Apache Cochise:

As usual when you have rock columns, many had been given names and we struggled to identify them. We thought we’d done really well spotting “Sea Captain” as we drove up the road:

Wrong! Apparently this is what Sea Captain looks like:


Later in the day, Mark named Seal on a Rock:

There was some great scenery here and hardly anyone about. The weather was hot and sunny; if it’s like this in mid-December it must be unbearable here for most of the rest of the year.

It wasn’t hard to imagine how the Apache could very easily hide out around here……