Friday, November 14, 2008

Western Daze

Things here at the ranch are becoming somewhat routine. Like the herd of 30-some-odd javelina that come through daily, the skunk that comes to the door nightly and the occasional sighting of wild burros. However, last night and early this morning were definitely out of the ordinary.

Around 2 AM I awoke to the sounds of howling, squealing and barking. I grabbed a flashlight to investigate, opened my window and no more than thirty feet away was a pack of 12 or so coyote. Okay, its nothing more than a pack of coyotes having a feeding frenzy. A couple of them actually paused for a few seconds and stared into the light then returned to their feeding. This went on for about 20 minutes before they left my front yard to find other prey.

I went back to bed and, just as I was returning to my dream-state, I heard the yelping of a young pup, he had been left behind. Oh, boy. This pup carried on for, what seemed like, forever. I figured, with the pack just down the canyon, they would return to rescue the little fella. But, no! It was 6 AM when quietness finally returned to the canyon.

As soon as the sun was up, I went out to the front yard looking for whatever. Interestingly enough, the coyotes left no trace. No carcass, not a bone, nothing. Okay, at least they left the place clean. I went up to the porch swing to finish my coffee. I was watching a hawk hunt when I heard, "Hello to the house". Huh? Now, wait a minute, what in the hell is someone doing out here at this time of the morning? And, on foot?

I walked down the front steps and looked across the orchard towards the gate. I could see a young man dressed in cammies standing at the gate. So, I hollered back, "How can I help you?" He proceeded to tell me that he had high-centered his truck yesterday up in Walker's Gulch and had no cell signal to call for help. Well, no shit you don't have a cell signal; you are at least 45 minutes from the closest highway and you're surrounded by mountains. "Come on up", I invited him. As he approached the house, I knew he was harmless.

He was a clean cut guy in his mid-twenties; newly married, I figured, still wearing his wedding band. He told me it got dark on him fast and he had slept in his truck. I invited him in to use the phone to call his wife plus I gave him a cup of coffee. I offered to take him to his truck to give him the nudge he needed to start his way back home. He grabbed his backpack and, as he swung it over his shoulder, I noticed the .45 on his belt. Great, I thought! "I'll grab my gun and meet you outside." Once inside the truck he asked, "Seen many rattlesnakes?" Jeeeeeez!

We headed up the canyon and I played tour guide. "Yep, this ranch over here is 2460 acres and this one over here is 16,640 acres - largest operating ranch in Arizona." The road is single lane and winds through the main wash of the canyon. It's rocky and, in places, you hold your breath. We met up with a few cows along the way that were headed to the watering tanks. About a half hour later we arrived where his truck sat. I checked my odometer, good grief, this guy had walked 6.2 miles. We hooked a strap between our bumpers and jacked his truck up a bit to allow for clearance over the rocks. And, in a matter of minutes, he backed right out of the mess he was in. We then made our way back to the ranch without incident.

As I entered my drive, I honked and waved and he stopped to thank me once again. I came back up to the house, still a little dazed from the lack of sleep from the night before and this morning's adventure, I decided to rest. All-in-all, it was another beautiful, peaceful day.

Related Posts: Meanwhile Back At the Ranch and Call Me Ellie Mae!



  1. Sometimes I wish I was out in the middle of nowhere!

  2. Well, mad mad marge, you are describing my life within your blog. I have lived in Tucson for years but my mom's side of the family are cotton farmers from Deming which is where I spent my summers. Your life on the ranch mimics my child hood there and your visitor yesterday reminded me of my 30+ years of bowhunting in southern Arizona. Getting to know every nook and crannie. I have asked for help more then once from the friendly rancher.

    Great post

    Be safe tonight!

  3. I'm in the Castle Hot Springs area, ever hunt up here? I actually grew up hunting in Arkansas with situations more like the scenes from "Deliverance". Thanks for stoppin' by Ray.

  4. Sounds about like a typical day here at my farm!! I had a stray donkey wander into my yard last week, we see kye-otes all the time :)

    Any idea what happened to the pup?

  5. I can only assume he caught back up with the pack as they moved up canyon - no trace of him anywhere, and it's been quiet ever since.

  6. I just wanted to say thanks for dropping by my blog much appreciated. Love your blog never been to arizona but sounds like it would be very wild with the wild life and all. Great stories and great writing. I hope you drop by again.


  7. Sounds like fun! Thanks for stopping by. Come sign on as a follower..

  8. You are lucky to be what you are... it sound really fun.

  9. I live in suburban Australia. I will never complain about the dog next door making too much noise again! Ha Ha

  10. Hello,
    What you describe as everyday fare, some fantasise about --not the stranger-well maybe--but the location.

  11. Wow that almost reminds me of when I lived on the Marine Corp based in oceanside CA. There was a canyon directly behind my house. Unfortunately we didn't get any passersby you know cause it was a military base and off limits to anyone without a pass.

  12. very engaging and extremely well written; keep it up!

    Your life is so different from mine- it's lovely to see such a diverse range of people blogging their thoughts and stories =]

  13. Yes we certainly do not have this problem in the city. But stories like this make me miss being at my wife's parent's farm. It is always amazing what you see up there and it makes you appreciate life a little more.

  14. My brother lives outside Santa Fe, and he has stories just like yours. It's a toss-up whether he'll meet a bobcat or coyote on his way out to get the paper.

    I have a good friend who used to be my next door neighbor. She is native American from her mother's side. She always told me to be alert after seeing coyote -- they are tricksters. It may sound superstitious, but I have always been aware of that advice. After I see one, I am suspicious of strangers.

    So, as I read your story and the stranger appeared, I thought, uh-oh.

    It's good that you helped him, though. He obviously needed it (6.2 miles!) Yikes!

    - MM

  15. had never been to that place but loved the intresting description here, specially the way of expressing things was beautiful! a great blend of visual pictorial write up, keep up the good work! all the best for your next post

  16. Your life is so different from mine, living in the capital of Sweden :-)

    I'd have loved to hear the howling, at least when visiting... but a bit scary when a stranger walking up like that from nothing in the middle of no where! Though usually one can feel if they're harmless, but what if not? Would it be too late to do something or escape? A bit scary.

    Thanks for stopping by. Your next comment will be approved automatically at once, it's only the first time it goes into moderation.

    Warmth welcome back :-)

  17. Love your post. I felt like I was right there. What a wonderful place. I live back in the woods in Ohio, it's not remote here like where you live, But, I have my daily adventures too.


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