After several years of intermittent research, in September of 2014, I finally found an area that was both affordable and close enough to home to reach in a three hour or so drive. About ten miles from the town of Ash Fork, in northern Arizona up a very rough and bumpy dirt road.
I have added pages just for the small town of Ash Fork, Seligman and surrounding areas of interest
just click above link or
New page underway
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2016-2017: During the quiet nights, I have found time to write and publish six new books including a story featuring and located mostly in Ash Fork:
The others books are
included in this link:
THE BEARAZONA BEARS
A family of bears learns what giving is really all about.
THE LAST GUNFIGHT IN ASH FORK
Young Jordie Conboy learns from his grandfather that legends and heroes are seldom what they seem.
FEETIE PAJAMAS IN OLD ARIZONA
A little boy’s love for his sister reaps an unusual reward with consequences that are unforeseen.
THE LITTLEST SNOWMAN ON ROUTE 66
When her family moves from Ash Fork to Flagstaff,
little Wendee Goldman has a hard time adjusting until she accidently applies a little magic and finds a true friend.
STOWAWAY SUZI FROM SELIGMAN
Jonnie Halloran, a widower raising his 12 year old son Luke gets a big surprise when he returns to their ranch in Ash Fork.
LOLA, SAM AND THE JACKALOPE
Two dogs who are best friends help a mother jackrabbit and have an unexpected meeting with the mythical Jackalope.
A brief history of Ash Fork
Notes on story telling
Following the premature death of his wife,
Earl Garnett, a professional writer, decides to drive across America. Along the way, he discovers the country, as he never imagined it.
Soon, cryptic writings appear on his laptop, often coinciding with roadside memorials that lead him into the darker sides of the road. Ultimately, he must decide whether or not to follow the prompting of these haunting passages and accept the consequences.
See website for more:
Heartwarming tales of adventure, deep friendships and courage. For young and young-at-heart readers. (AGES 11-12 AND UP) Two dogs, one from the city, the other from the wilds of Northern Arizona become best friends and share countless adventures.After helping a mother jackrabbit they face grave danger and have an unexpected meeting with the mythical Jackalope. As told from the dog Lola's point of view - Illustrated with real-life photos.
Also contains a brief history of Ash Fork Arizona - "The other town too tough to die."
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Science fiction or
Adam Barthold is a deeply flawed man haunted by the mysterious Arahm Tuit. He travels from upstate New York to the hills of Ash Fork, Arizona where he hopes to start a new life but instead finds love, danger and watches the world come tumbling down in red ruin, little knowing he has an important part to play in the future of human kind.
Years later, the survivors are again threatened from the east across “the waters that never end” by a civilization that didn’t learn from the cause of the fall. Oneonta must pick up where Barthold, Tibbs and others left off in a life and death struggle.
Above all, it is a story of failure, recovery, struggle, courage, sacrifice, profound love, inter-racial relationships and loss, laced with a tinge of mysticism and the unknown across the void of countless years.
348 PAGES / ILLUSTRATED
Every town has one and every one has a story. This is just one of them, with a “Twilight Zone” style twist thrown-in for good measure. “Up ahead at the sign post...” They say you can never go back and maybe you shouldn’t. Thirty two years after he left his hometown, Jonathan Moran returns to visit his dying father and spends a long afternoon driving down “memory lane” only to find a portal to the past and maybe a date with destiny.
This is a story of a town the way it was and never will be again. And a tavern like thousands of others across America that shaped many a memory and many a life.
Ash Fork - Seligman, Arizona
I love these old metal posters. Colt firearms "the arm o fthe law in the west"
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• RUGGED WOOD CONSTRUCTION
• MADE IN ARIZONA, USA
for more information
Kevin Hill and I reviewed the property in September 2014 before I purchased it, and the photos below show how it appeared that day.
Since then it has been a work in progress. A collaboration partnership between John and Wendy Green and Kevin and Suzanne Hill. Myself and Wendy put up the finance and Kevin and Suzanne the expertise and sweat equity.
Matt Green, Alex Hill and Will Cox have also lent a willing hand in the work.
We hope to make the property into a great getaway for ourselves, family and friends wanting to escape from city hustle and smog and enjoy nature and quiet. Also a place that fits in well with it's surroundings and has minimal impact on the environment.
Job one was cleaning up the place which was strewn with trash of all sorts and the inside reeking of propane from ill fitted and poorly thought out use.
Much material was left in the interior of the main rooms but both bedrooms were completely unfinished. Both are now finished and furnished, and a bathroom and shower are well under way. In time we will add a water tank and solar power to augment the propane heat and power generator.
Temeratures range widely during fall and winter. Coldest I have been there was 18 degrees (and that before we got a heater) but ranges in February March have been high 60's to low 70's in the day and 30-35 at night.
Security is always a concern when we are away for brief periods but there are security cameras in place and nothing of real monetary value is in the rusic little cabin or out buildings. On top of that all is well buttoned up and secured heavily.
April 2015 was pretty nice but May hit with steady rain and unseasonably low temeratures. June however made up for it with brutally high temps from the mid 90's during the day to mid 60's at night. I find that I have to reverse my winter activities. Outside hiking in the early morning and evening instead of waiting for it to warm up and not freeze. We continue to make improvements and adapt to the changing needs of the seasons.
July continued the trend of higher temperatures, but spending time exploring nearby areas in the jeep instead of on foot has been rewarding. Ash Fork and Seligman are nearby, as well as other off road wilderness developments like Juniper Woods Ranch South and Westwood Ranch to the northwest and the Kaibab National forest to the northeast.
August and September were wonderful in terms of weather. 80's day and 50's - 60's nights. Thunderstorms are awsome but brief. Sometimes they sweep all around the hill but miss all together. Fun to watch the light and thunder shows. Often however, they make the roads muddy and hard to drive. It is a great base for exploring of the surrounding area. Have been also geting to know our "neighbors" better.
The new year 2016 brought some new additions, new aquaintences, friends and new opportunities. Also a few losses. Daniel Harding died on April 1st. He was a fixture in Juniper Woods Ranch north for many years. An old style close to the vest rancher who had travelled world wide and had many careers. He raised horses, goats, chickens, donkeys, peacocks and was also very good outdoorsman, well liked my many in town and myself as well. He will be missed.
I added another 10 acres to the place and started a second cabin which I call "The Bunkhouse." When I am alone, I now hang my hat there. It is very rustic with few modern conveniences except for a few solar batteries and collectors and a propane heater which I hope to supplement with a wood stove by this fall. We don't lack for firewood on the hill.
2016 started very dry and most of the stock tanks are low or damn near empty. Winter snow was light and the steady rains of spring have been absorbed into the ground so here has been little runoff.
February and March were consumed finishing the inside of the Bunkhouse. By April I was starting to base myself there while doing some writing in addition to hiking and exploring. I have mostly finished "The Elephant in the Room", an apocolyptic yarn in which Ash Fork plays a central role. Nowadays I am spending about two weeks of every month up here.
Much has changed but the land stays the same. The weather changes frequently but is by-in-large mild. Wind, rain or snow followed by clear sunny skies or big western floating clouds. Quiet is the norm, interupted mostly my mooing cows, coyotes singing, owls and other birds adding their calls with the occasional faint sounds of distant trains from the Santa Fe line.
2017 Started with heavy weather. Snow, HIGH winds, rain and corresponding mud made roads impassable for days and weeks at a time. This, coupled with a leg injury restricted my time to visit.
April had it's pleasant days and the water made for the beginning of spring flowers. The stock tanks are more full than I have ever seen them.
I was side-tracked by injury and a cross-country road trip in the early part of 2017. The summer and early fall brought some major changes. George Fernand, our long-time friend and neighbor, moved up to the property to act as caretaker. He and Matt have made some significant improvements to the land including gardens and more water collection.
I will update this web page as time permits and further photos and updates are made.
Please e-mail any comments
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Ash Fork - Seligman, Arizona
Below is how we found it.
Run down and littered with trash in September 2014;
December 2017 - returning from Williams at sunset. - this is at exit 139 five miles below the ranch.
August 2017 - One of my favorite photo subjects - Picacho Mountain to the southwest. Now used for a calendar - CLICK HERE
Enroute - on SR 89 near Hell Canyon.
October 2017 - Roundup time - this was less than a quarter mile from the property on 10 Tank Road.
Heading west on Route 66.
I took a day trip out Historic route 66 to Hackberry and back in September 2107. Above is Valentine. See more on this page: click here
ABOVE: Some wild and not-so-wild animals. Cows at J.D. Tank, cotton tails, antelope, a lizard, a morning bird and... Lola
ABOVE: A view of a norhern storm from the Bunkhouse - And below it, a view from state route 89 looking at an isolated cloud burst to the east towards Williams. It is typical of the nature of storms in the West.
Frosty morning in early April 2017 - Mt. Picacho in the clouds.
April 2017 - a rainy & snowy winter yielded plenty of green for the calves and cows.
A BIG javelina crosses "Bunkhouse Road" - the first one I have seen at the property - April 2017
Mount McKenna in Flagstaff seen facing east from the main cabin 2017. Lola is unimpressed.
"Solar selfie" taken in April 2017 - note the cane. Sheesh.
Sunrise in September. Warm days. Cool nights. Looking east from the main cabin.
Dramatic sunset in October 2016 looking west from the Bunkhouse.
Mount McKenna near Flagstaff in May 2016
One of a small herd of Antelope in May, 2016 about halfway up the road to the hill.
September 2016 deer near Ten Tank Road
All I could catch on camera of a herd of elk crossing the hill in October 2016
A blue heron in JD tank - about a half mile south of the hill.
Twin stumps frame acabin in the distance on state trust land adjacent to our place.
Prickly pear cactus that abound in the area.
Indian paint brushes
Above: Cactus and flowers along Bunkhouse Road in May 2016.
June 2016 - Hot days for the cows!
Above: Lichen and moss formations on the volcanic rocks are a sign of low air pollution levels.
Sam, Lola and snow dusted Picacho in January 2016.
View from the cabin overlooking the fog and mist shrouded I40 valley
5 miles away. January 2016.
Took a six mile hike one day east to a high hill in Kaibab Knolls in August 2015. Probable elevation 6,400 feet. Magnificent 360 degree views. Top photo is Picacho Peak to the southwest. Middle photo is Mount Floyd to the northwest. Directly above is from a ridge looking back due west on the cabin.
JD Tank got pretty low in August but September storms brought it back some. Some thirsty cows are pretty happy about it.
This big boy showed up one September morning about 50 yards from the cabin. "Don't mess with me feller"
Traffic Jam Ash Fork style. Curious cows on 10 Tank Road.
Above the dam of number 10 tank a dead tree stands watch.
Viewing the lunar eclipse with George from the deck. 2016
My old 2001 Jeep Wrangler has a new berth - Fall of 2015. A 8' x 20' shipping container. Keeps the weather and the rats from wrecking "Nellie Belle,"
How true...or not... depending on what I put on this dang web site :)
sunset in June
the remains of a very large Juniper - note Lola here for scale.
An unusual site - a cottonwood standing in a dry wash. The area is loaded with washes that are dry most of the time. But when they fill up - head for higher ground!
A very deep wash cut... note Lola for scale on the far edge. The two photos below show the bottom of this bugger and the layers of soil and rock.
Looking east at sunrise over the valley below.
An early morning in February 2015 - a visitor about 50 yards from the north cabin window. A buck Elk!
Chareulet cows abound on the range...
two youngsters grazing near sunset...
Lola enjoying February 2015 snow.
walking south on Ten Tank Road - October 2014.
Number 10 Tank - the brown earthen dam in the middle. Northern Arizona is filled with these dammed up washes that serve as stock tanks.
this is looking down and away from the dam.
number 10 stock tank
October 2014 - an old cattle chute below number 10 tank.
Bluff along the road north.
Picacho Peak is the most prominent landmark and lies to the southwest. Above is day and sunset. I have been referring to this previously as "Capacho" based on what a local dude told me. Confering with an old timer in June in Seligman and his maps, it is Picacho Mountain. One of three such named in Arizona.
The white peaks in the distance are the San Francisco Mountains in Flagstaff - about 40 miles away. Mt McKenna is the nearest.
Much old equipment sits rusting away. Here an old rock separator is the backdrop to some fresh flowers.
Old Bossy here gave me the eye but never moved as I drove by as much to say: "what? Me worry?" She was laying about 15 feet from the road.
I spent one day and about 60 miles driving through Westwood Ranch which is west and above where we are. Drove up Ranch Road from halfway to Seligman north about 11 miles to Six Shooter Trail NE to Seven Ranch Road south to forest route 42 south into the Kaibab National Forest and then finally Double A Ranch Road into Ash Fork.
Below are some photos of the July 2015 trip through Westwood Ranch:
Heading up the road with Mount Floyd in the distance. It is quite a bit higher than where we are and better watered too.
The jeep came in handy because some of the roads get pretty rough and dusty.
Garrett tank about 3 miles up.
a little further came Homestead Tank and the old cattle trailer next to it.
Near the base of Mount Floyd is Floyd Tank - Photo below is Mount Floyd. Elevation 7,400 feet. As clear a landmark as Picacho and can be seen for miles.
Mt. Floyd from a distance as I was going over Six Shooter Trail.
Different cows at Westwood Ranch... here are a few resting on the top of a stock tank along Six Shooter Trail.
ABOVE- December 2017 - The new greenhouse nears completion. 10' x 20' faced with poly carbonate. When is was 40 degrees outside - it was 95 degrees inside! Our friend and caretaker George will make good use of it for sustainable food. Matt designed it and Avi and George helped him build it. The foundation is volcanic rock with lime based mortar. No shortage of rocks on the ranch!
My old 2001 Wrangler - pressed into service with a trailer hitch fo rhauling supplies, and sometimes rocks!
Sam and Lola exploring... September 2017
August 2017 - Sam and Lola (under the tree) prowling the hill in search of ... ?
The summer and early fall of 2017 brought some major changes. George Fernand, our long-time friend and neighbor, moved up to the property to act as caretaker. He and Matt have made some significant improvements to the land including gardens and more water collection. His modest home is about 100 yards west of the main cabin.
above - Matt digging the foundation for a new greenhouse - September 2017
Matt and Lola enjoying the morning on the deck of the main cabin.
A rare vistit by Tyler. Here, he is sitting in the Bunkhouse in the "reading nook."
A visit from our friend Jim "Cowboy" Noe who lives about a mile south of us. He is a great guy and despite his 77 years, always willing to lend a hand. I wonder what Sam is smelling on his shoe?
An "artsy" shot of the wagon wheel in front of the Bunkhouse.
April 2017 - Greening up in the spring. Added some chicken wire around the base rocks to keep the critters out and fixed up some winter damage.
Some new artwork for the kitchen. Marlin, Winchester, Smith & Wesson and Colt. April 2017.
Sam & Lola - frequently "bunkmates" - I manage to squeeze in at night.
Above: The Bunkhouse as it sits in late 2016 - April 2017. Below are updated interiors.
Functional wood stove in the alcove at left, side table and reading corner. The kitchen counter and shelves hold handy supplies. My Grandmother's old Napanee Dutch Kitchenette holds even more. 2107
I have added a lot of interior improvements. In the corner behind the panel is a composting potty (click here for details), lots of vintage art and photos, bookshelves and my now frequent companion - a laptop computer on which I often write books. Lola is, of course, crapped out in the bunk bed! Electric is provided by solar panels, 12 volt batteries and ac/dc inverters. 2017
I started the "Bunkhouse" in January 2016. It sits on the "new 10" acre parcel we bought in December 2015. Twelve by 32 feet it is very rustic and western.
Near completion in June 2106. Lola "stands guard" in the foreground
and the 2001 Jeep Wrangler stands by for a "road trip."
Lola & Sam catching some sun in November 2016
Lola behind the bunkhouse on an early October morn.
Sunrise in the dooryard - November 2016
The bunkouse started as a used Weather King building that I finished inside.
The "kitchen area" features my grandmother's old Napanee Dutch Kitchenette and many antique or old style items. Except for the butane camp stoves of course!
The east end has bunks, fold out chair, writing desk and an alcove for the composting potty. The only modern things are fire extinguishers and the propane wall mount heater. 2016
Bunkhouse Fire Pit and driveway rock liners to keep folks from driving over plants
I am trying to preserve. 2016
Spring 2016 has brought a lot of Jackrabbits out across the dooryard heading down to meadows below to feed.
Driving into town one September 2015 morning, I finally found the other sink hole. Had stopped short and turned about 1/8 of a mile from this when on foot in July. Here is where I met some new neighbors....
Below is Jungle George, Sam his dog who wanted to drive my Jeep, and Mormon Mary. Seems like most folks on the hill go by nicknames. There is also Cowboy Jim, Crazy woman Pam, Preacher man - and now - the old gringo as they have named me.
George is caretaking 80 acres for an owner in Phoenix. In the meantime he is doing land management and doing permaculture agriculture. His campsite is next to the crater.
I would have let Sam drive, but all he had was his dog license.
Above: George's camp when I first met him in September 2015 and
directly under it his camp, garden, tent and shed as it is in January 2016.
He has come a LONG way. I helped him buy the shed and he pays me back by helping me with projects and keeping an eye on my place when I am away.
His faithful and very playful companion Sam!
April 2017 - Neighbors, Bob, George and J.D. have a "conversation."
George was joined by his friends Matt and Leslie with their dog Jack in April 2016. They could not hack the winter but are coming back in the spring of '17 - they did nad it didn't work out well... (see top of this column).
George in a pensive mood sitting on the tailgate of my truck. He bucks wood up at my place. - a win - win for both of us. He gets wood for his stove and I get dead trees cleared away.
Mormon Mary cares for severely disabled children.
"Cowboy Jim" - one of our good neighbors.
Matt getting a wake up call from Lola in August 2015.
Where I end up at the end of a long day... 2015
A common sight. Jack rabbits abound. Here I shot one in a tranquil moment
in May of 2015.
A blue heron perched on top of a Mathis tank with Picacho mountain in the background. Apparently just passing through! I have seen several in May and June.
May showers brought: May flowers! The variety and abundance of plants never ceases to amaze me.
Even the cacti got into the act.
Rain showers falling to the southwest. Unlike the east, weather here in the west is more spotty. Often raining all around you but not on you.
Wendy and Suzanne in their best foot gear. 2015
Above and below are inside views. 2015
sunset in glowing on the Jeep
A rock outcropping under the junipers is an ideal place to sit and relax.
Death on the range. This bull died in November 2015 - this was all that was left of him in January 2016. Snowy Picacho mountain is in the background.
the "guest bathroom"
Greening up in May 2015
Kevin brought up his dune buggy for the day in May 2015 and we all got a ride - Wendy behind the wheel does not look too confident. Kevin's motto is: "I ain't scared!"
Work in progress - fresh paint, the start of a rock base, steps and hand rail. - September- November 2014.
Both bedrooms are panelled and the floors were laid by Alex Hill.
... and here with furniture
the bathroom is almost done behind this door.
more work in progress: a deck on the east side and the start of a water collection and storage system. 2015 - In 2016 - the deck and water storage system is complete.
Matt and Kevin cutting pipes.
The "Matt hatter" taking a break.
Lola the perfect camp dog resting in the rocks after a fruitless chase of a fleet footed rabbit.
Lola lovin' up to Alex in the morning.
Muddy road = muddy truck! The camper shell was very useful.
Usually I am behind the camera - this one of the few pics of me and Lola sitting 'round.
The truck wasmore utilitarian BUT my old jeep comes in handy too.
Wendy and Charlie coming back to camp.
I have been experimenting with growing various plants. Here are some potatoes growing next to the main shed... and below the orange beetles that seem to like muching on the leaves. Later on something dug them up and ate them!
Mama bird perches often on a small juniper right outside the east window while waiting to fly up to her nest under the eaves of the cabin.
One day I drove the Jeep up a VERY rough road named Grand Vista Ranch Road.... well named. There was no structure on top but a grand vista indeed to the south and southwest. The small dot in the distance is a truck on I-40 about 6 miles away.
Can you see the well camoflaged butterflies?