Dear Miss Cartwheel,
When I first saw Reavis ranch I had hiked in from the north and the apple trees were loaded with apples and javelina and deer were in the orchard gorging themselves. The wire fences and gates were still in place and the wood and pole corral around the tack shed was still mostly intact.
There was a light rain at the time and as I approached the house I could see smoke curling out of the fireplace chimney.
But to my dismay when I entered the main room of the house the backpackers that were there had taken two of the long corral fence poles from the fence and had laid them on the floor with the smaller ends sticking into the fireplace. Thus I was introduced as to why the ranch was slowly being vandalized and destroyed by careless individuals who just did not care about this precious jewel in the wilderness.
Over the years that I coordinated the efforts of the Friends of Reavis to maintain the ranch hoping someday to see it registered as a historic place. I met and visited with many hikers, backpackers and horseman who years ago had worked, lived or somehow known the ranch firsthand. The barn, the well with its donkey engine, the above ground cistern with gravity flow water to the house. The ducks and geese swimming in the canal fed pond next to the house.
The man cutting hay in the north field with a Ford or Ferguson tractor that had a rifle in a scabbard attached along the side of the tractor. He invited a visiting Scout Troop backpacking in from the east to sleep in the hayloft of the barn that night and told them to gather eggs from under the hens in the hen house the next morning for their breakfast.
The late night drinking and poker parties in the kitchen and the banker that would visit old Hoolie Bacon every year to review the finances and how he hated to be driven in on that old road from Apache Trail. And how one time Hoolie Bacon stopped the car they were in, jumped out, picked up a big rock and hurled it at a rattlesnake along the side of the road and killed it with just one throw.
The baby’s footprint in the concrete as you entered the breezeway from the north, a daughter of a working cowboy and his wife who lived at the ranch at the time. Alice was her name and she was named after the wife of Hoolie Bacon or was it the wife of a previous owner? I just don't remember right now. I wonder if the concrete that holds that footprint in time is still there and just where is Alice now and does she know this story.
The stolen saddle and how the judge committed one of the young boys involved to a year of confinement with the Scout Troop sponsored by the downtown Methodist Church in Mesa, Arizona and how years later this boy became the Scoutmaster of the most successful Scout Troop in Mesa, Arizona in the 1980's and 90's. Hello Jim M.
The kitchen stove which at one time had been stolen from the ranch via helicopter and how law enforcement made the culprit return it to the ranch piece by piece via mule or horse pack. I could go on and on with stories that had been related to me but that is all history now. Unrecorded and lost as is the house, barn, cistern, corral and the tack shed.
One day while burning others trash, breaking up the glass and pounding flat the burnt metal cans so they could be packaged and horse packed out, we found hidden in the tack shed the previous trail sign that was on the trail sign post at the junction of the Fireline Trail and the Reavis Trail. I backpacked it out and for years it was above the entrance to my home. We eventually gave it to the Superstition Mountain Museum along with a number of other historic items and just maybe someday they will have it on display.
After the fire in 91 the stone and concrete walls were still standing but inside the ruin was a foot or two of ash, wire, plumbing, sand from the plastered walls and two layers of the corrugated metal roof and hundreds if not thousands of rusty nails. About a year later Troop 251 of Mesa supported Nathan Johnson and as an Eagle Project cleaned it all out and stacked the roofing material which has since been I assume airlifted out by the U.S. Forest Service.
We had hoped that the Forest Service would have left the walls and fireplace still standing but they considered it a hazard to anyone who would enter it or camp in it and tore it all down and dispersed the concrete and rock up the hillside. Now all you can see is the remains of the ranch floor.
But what is left of the orchard is still there along with the natural beauty of the valley and of course Reavis Spring will always flow and quench your thirst if you’re willing enough to find it. ;)
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
- Garth McCann from the movie Second Hand Lions
Another victim of Pixel Trivia.
Current avatar courtesy of Snakemarks