Monday, April 30, 2012

Going Home To Reavis Ranch

April 23, 2012 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Approaching the old Reavis Ranch. circa 1975.
A clap of thunder, a flash of lightning and the threat of rain made the old Reavis Ranch house a haven to weary hikers, horsemen and cattlemen who rode or walked the trails of the eastern portion of the
Superstition Mountains for more than a half of a century.

This old skeleton of a ranch house survived almost thirty years alone in the heart of the Superstition Wilderness Area with little or no maintenance. Many friends of the old Reavis Ranch house tried desperately to help the old house limp into the Twenty First Century.

The Friends of the Reavis Ranch cleaned, cleared, hauled trash off and repaired the old ranch house for more than a decade. Their effort was a labor of love, nothing more.

We all understood the character and spirit of this old house after spending a few days in it. The roar of the fire place, the clanging of the tin roof, the wind blowing through the breezeway and the attic, the squeaking of a door hinge were sounds all of us were familiar with. The house had plenty of mice and even an occasion family of racoons. The beauty and solitude of this valley has made the ranch house a popular destination for hikers and horseman.

Since 1956, I have traveled to and from the Reavis Ranch on foot, horseback and by vehicle on many different occasions.

I can recall the old road and how rough it was between Castle Dome Corral, up through Windy Gap and on to Plow Saddle. I can remember the friendly smile of Alice Stone and the strong handshake of Floyd Stone when welcomed to their mountain ranch. I can recall the closing of the road and Mary Leonard’s article in the Arizona Republic about the old ranch in 1967. Only those who have spent time at the old ranch in Reavis Valley know what we have lost. The Reavis Valley is a pristine ecological niche of the Upper Sonoran Desert with the old ranch serving as a window for humankind.

The Reavis Ranch house burned down sometime around Thanksgiving 1991. The old house was constructed about 1937 and the ranch was patented by the Clemans Cattle Company in 1919. William J. Clemans purchased the ranch from John J. Fraser in 1909. Fraser had acquired the ranch shortly after the death of the old hermit Elisha Marcus Reavis in 1896.

Clemans and his two sons, Earl and Mark Twain, ran the ranch from 1910-1946. Billy Martin Sr. served as foreman of the Clemans Cattle Company from 1915-1946. Prior to Martin, William “Billy” Knight served as foreman from 1891-1915.

To this day, there are old catch pens deep in the forest made entirely of wood, not one nail or a piece of wire was used in their construction. The range was so brushy the Clemans’ cowboys had to trap a lot of their cattle.

The Reavis Ranch road was started in 1910 by a group of  Mesa promoters who wanted to sell lots in the pines south of the Reavis Ranch. They never completed the road.

Bacon and Upton purchased the ranch from the Clemans Cattle Company around 1946.  The road was completed by Bacon and Upton in 1948. Floyd Stone, Bacon’s son-inlaw, and Kenneth Lockwood purchased the ranch in 1955. Stone and Lockwood sold the ranch to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1966 for $80,000 and twenty acres of patented land near the Apache Trail.

Shortly after the government purchased the Reavis Ranch, they closed the access corridor. The reason for the closure of the road was the extreme maintenance cost and the danger to vehicular travel. After the road was closed in 1967, only hikers and horseman were able to access the Reavis Valley and the ranch.

When news of the Reavis Ranch fire spread among those who had visited the old ranch over the years a sort of sadness prevailed. I suppose many of the wilderness purists believed the fire was a blessing to the wilderness concept.

Many hikers and backpackers were disappointed to find their severe weather haven destroyed by fire. Now outfitters and packers will have to carry more gear and take more animals to provide adequate service to their customers.

Many will miss the old ranch house because of the nostalgia associated with it. I must admit I really enjoyed being a part of this history. The destruction of the old Reavis Ranch house ended an era in the history of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Settlers and cattlemen have lived in the Reavis Valley since 1874.

The Reavis Valley had served as the first Camp Geronimo for the Boy Scouts in 1920, before the Spade Ranch north of Payson became their permanent home. Arizona’s Governor Thomas Campbell rode horseback to the Reavis Ranch in 1920’s to visit with the Boy Scouts at Camp Geronimo (Reavis Ranch) and tell them stories around a campfire. Even post cards told the story of the idyllic Reavis Valley.

I visited the Reavis Valley but to see the old ranch house once more. The walls were still standing and the chimney towered above the old house like a monument to the past.

I returned to the site of the old Reavis Ranch in October of 2000. None of the walls of the old ranch were standing. All that remained was the concrete slab the old ranch house was constructed on.
I was amazed how obliterated the site was. All human history had just about been eradicated and the valley had been almost returned to its pure natural state, this being the original concept of “wilderness.”

Like all man-made things, the Reavis Ranch was just a temporary fixture on the landscape, destined to be destroyed someday. Those who knew the old house undoubtedly had a better understanding of man’s mark on the wilderness and the value of this place.

Now the old ranch is only a memory in the minds of those who once lived there or visited.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two Soldiers' Lost Mine

April 16, 2012 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Castle Rock is located just east of the Soldier’s Grave.
The tale of the Two Soldiers’ Lost Mine has been around since the turn of the century and continues to appear in stories about the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Silver King Mine. Sims Ely mentioned the story in depth in his book The Lost Dutchman Mine by William Morrow & Company, New York, N.Y., 1953.

According to Ely and others, the story goes something like this. Two soldiers were mustered out of the Army at Fort McDowell in 1879. The young men decided to hike across the Salt River and through the mountains to the Silver King Mine were they hoped to gain employment. The reason they choose to hike across this country was to save money.

Somewhere south of the Salt River in a rugged canyon that was in view of a tall pointed peak, they found an old Mexican mine and dump. They believed it to be a Mexican mine because of the small tunnels that were only large enough for a man to crawl into on his hands and knees.

The young soldiers, fearing Apaches in the area, spent only enough time to fill their packs with what they thought was highgrade gold ore. They then departed the area and hiked up the drainage of Tortilla Creek then down into Randolph Canyon and eventually into what is known as Fraser Canyon today.

They eventually made their way to the southeast finally arriving at the Silver King Mine. The first person they talked to at the Silver King was Aaron Mason. Mason at the time operated the Silver King Commercial Mercantile Store. They told Mason their story and showed him samples of gold ore they had. Mason immediately suggested he would grubstake them if they would go back relocate the mine and claim it.

The two soldiers decided to rest and wait for a while before making any deal with Mason. After a couple of weeks they decided to take Mason up on his deal. They planned on returning to the site of gold ore and staking a claim with all three of their names on it. Mason grubstaked the soldiers and they left town. Mason never heard from them again.

There are many stories as to what happen to the soldiers. Some claim they never found a gold mine and used Mason grubstake to make it to California to prospect for gold along the American and Yuba Rivers. Others believe the soldiers were murdered before they found their way back to the old Mexican mine and dump.

Another story that associates itself with the Two Lost Soldier’s mine occurred just east of the old Bark Ranch (Quarter Circle U Ranch) in Pinal County. Matt Caveness built the old stone house (barn) at the Bark Ranch in 1877. The old stone house had rifle ports because Apaches still raided in those days. Caveness sold the ranch to a man name Marlowe in 1878 or 1879. Marlowe tried to make a living raising a few dairy cows and hauling the milk to the Silver King mine to sell it.

The Marlowe boy was bringing in some milk cows from about a half-mile east of the Bark Ranch in 1880 when he found a body along the trail. The man had been shot in the head. The boy said the man was dressed like a soldier.

The body was buried where it was found and, according to Gus Barkley, the grave was dug up in 1907 or 1908. The incident really upset Barkley and he ask Roy Bradford, who was working for him at the time, to rebury the soldier. This was one of the earliest references to the man being a soldier.

Some time in spring of 1954 my father and I were visiting with Gus Barkley at the old Quarter Circle W (Three R’s) just east of Dinosaur Mountain in what is now Gold Canyon. Gus insisted the victim that lay in that grave was a soldier because of military blouse he was wearing and the buttons on it. He further said the Marlowe boy had told him the military buttons were clear indicators of a mustered out military person. Anyone else would have been accused of being absent from duty.

Bill Finch, Arizona State Brand Inspector, told several stories about the grave along this trail across Bark’s Basin eastward toward Coffee Flat and Reid’s Water. This was the main trail through the mountains to the Silver King Mine. The entire trail was not suitable for a wagon once you entered Fraser Canyon just beyond Reid’s Water. A team could turn down Whitlow Canyon and make its way out through an area called the Milk Ranch and eventually to the Silver King Road. However, it was a much shorter route up Fraser Canyon and into Hewitt Canyon and eventually over the ridges to the Silver King mine on horseback. Prospectors, miners and horsemen often used this route in the 1880’s.

The story of this grave became a mystery in itself over the years. Eventually the grave returned to nature and was very difficult to recognize. William Thomas Barkley showed me the gravesite in 1959 while we were working cattle in the east pasture of the ranch. I doubt very much I could find site today, but I probably could come within two hundred feet.

To this day the missing soldiers are still a story that attracts interest and attention when it comes to tales about the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Uneasy Encounter

April 9, 2012 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

At left, Bill Billman, the main investor, Chuck Crawford and Tom Kollenborn, circa 1984.
Bob Corbin believed the Lost Dutchman mine existed
somewhere in this rugged region and he really enjoyed
getting into the mountains and looking around. Bob was also
a lawyer and a former Arizona Attorney General.
Bob Corbin and I were riding up La Barge Canyon toward the Upper Box in the fall of the year. Bob really enjoyed getting into the mountains and looking around. He believed the Lost Dutchman mine existed somewhere in this rugged mountain region. Our plan was to ride up through the Upper Box of La Barge Canyon and visit Roy Bradford’s old diggings.

Bradford lived in these mountains for many years digging prospect holes above the Upper Box of La Barge Canyon. He constructed a small cabin near a water seep just east of his diggings. This seep is known today as Brad’s Water.

Bradford had several oldtimers who helped him out. One man was Chuck Aylor. Aylor would occasionally bring “the curious” out to see Brad’s prospect in La Barge Canyon. An Easterner named Jim Butler thought he saw promise in Bradford’s prospect and decided to invest some money. Butler’s investment in Bradford’s claim and diggings kept him going for a few more years.

I had told Bob Corbin about the Bradford Claims and he wanted to see them. I knew Charles “Chuck” M. Crawford had claims in the Upper Box of La Barge Canyon. I told Bob the prospectors in the area might be a little hostile about our intrusion into their private domain; or at least they thought it was their private domain.

As Bob Corbin and I rode up the canyon we could see some activity ahead. There was a rifle pit high on a ledge above the trail. We couldn’t see anyone in the rifle pit, but it did make us a little uncomfortable. As we rode into a clump of Laurels we could see there had been a lot of activity in the area. We didn’t hear anyone even though we called out, “Anyone in camp?”

When you ride into a situation like this you have some concerns about what might lie ahead. I knew Chuck Crawford quite well and he had invited me to visit his camp in the mountains hoping I would write a column about his mining operations.

We were riding along a very brushy trail when we had to step off of a bank along a wash. As my horse stepped down he tripped a trip line that set off a buzzer and rodeo. I thought for a moment I was going to be dumped in a pile of rocks when my horse finally quit jumping. For a moment I thought I was riding a wild-eyed bronco. My faithful trail dog “Duke” just hopped over the trip line and never set it off. When my
horse broke the trip line the loud squealing buzzer spooked my ride. Just for an instant, I thought somebody would soon be shooting at us. Instead, I heard Chuck Crawford call out, “Is that you, Kollenborn?”

I let him know it was me and that I didn’t appreciate my horse being spooked out of his wits.

Once in the wash above the “box” we saw Crawford’s Camp on the left-hand side of La Barge Canyon. Crawford had three or four men in camp. Bob Ward was his security chief. His main investor was Bill Billman, a Peoria contractor.

Chuck’s camp was well supplied. They had an excellent water delivery system that kept large containers full of water. There were tents and cots for all of the crew. The crew had tarps stretched out to provide
shade and protection from precipitation.

Bob Ward, Crawford’s security chief, told us his guards had us covered ever since we entered the La Barge Upper Box. “The boys,” he said, are carrying 7.62 caliber sniper rifles with 10X scopes. Then Bob went on to say, “Nobody fires their weapon without direct orders from me.”

Corbin and I looked at each other and thought, how lucky we are. We sat around and visited with the group for about an hour and then told them we had to head back to the Quarter Circle U Ranch before they
sent out a search party.

Bob and I never actually felt threatened, but we also knew better than to confront this group and there was no reason to do so. When you think back, these guys were “the law” in this situation.

As we rode back to the Quarter Circle U Ranch, we thought about this uneasy encounter so far removed from urban America.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rattlesnakes & Common Sense

April 2, 2011 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Above, a“Sidewinder makes its way across the sand.”
Rattlesnakes are most commonly sighted in the Sonoran
Desert from the first of April until about the middle of October
 Spring is here and reptiles, meaning most cold-blooded animals, become very active when temperatures soar. When it warms up in the spring, it is wise to keep a keen eye open for rattlesnakes.

August and September are traditionally the most active months for rattlesnakes on the Sonoran Desert at elevations below 4,000 feet. But reptiles come out of hibernation begin the search for food as the weather warms in the spring of the year. In late fall, when temperatures drop below seventy-eight degrees, reptiles begin to prepare for hibernation.

I have lived in the Sonoran Desert for more than sixty years and have encountered hundreds of rattlesnakes. Under most conditions, a rattlesnake is very difficult to spot unless it is disturbed and it moves. Rattlesnakes generally rattle before they move, but if the truth were really known, most people who walk or hike in the desert will walk by ten snakes for everyone they see.

A rattlesnake can easily be identified by the triangular shape of its head and the rattle on its tail. A closer examination will reveal an elliptical-shaped pupil in its eye. This trait is common to poisonous snakes in the Sonoran Desert.

All rattlesnakes will have a pit organ near the nostril orifice. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. The snakes found in our area will have rings around their tails above the rattles. The color of these rings will alternate etween black and white in various shades. The visibility of these rings will depend on the species. The Western Diamond Back rattler’s rings are very pronounced and stand out, whereas the rings on an Arizona Black are not very visible because of the blending of the rings. Occasionally, a rattlesnake will lose it rattles. When this occurs, the difficulty of identification increases.

Rattlesnakes are ectothermic vertebrates (cold-blooded animals), meaning they lack an appropriate physiological mechanism for maintaining body temperature. All coldblooded animals are at the
mercy of their environment. Air and ground temperatures dramatically affect the environment of reptiles. This condition directly affects their daily rhythm of activity and their habitat.

There are six species of rattlesnakes in our area, including the Western Diamond Back (Crotalus atrox), Mohave (Crotalus scutulatus), Arizona Black (Crotalus vidiris), Black-Tailed (Crotalus molossos), Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes), and the Tiger (Crotalus tigris). These animals have a very highly developed mechanism of injecting venom, therefore making them very successful predators in the desert. A rattlesnake’s diet is composed of small rodents 82% to 85% of the time.

Reptiles, including rattlesnakes, like cool shady spots during the spring, summerand fall months. During the winter months, rattlesnakes generally go underground and hibernate.They usually choose caves or old mine tunnels. Occasionally dens of rattlesnakes have been accidentally uncovered by construction equipment and hundreds of rattlesnakes are found at one time.

Rattlesnakes have been known to come out of hibernation if temperatures warm to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The functioning temperature for a rattlesnake is 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and its effective temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit to 96 Degrees Fahrenheit. The effective temperature is the temperature at which the snake moves about and hunts for prey. Direct exposure to heat or sunlight will kill a rattlesnake in about 10 to 15 minutes.

You might say rattlesnake season is twelve months a year in the lower Sonoran Desert if temperatures rise above 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months. Rattlesnakes are most commonly sighted from the first of April until about the middle of October. These animals are primarily nocturnal and prefer the hours after sundown and before sunrise. Most victims bitten by rattlesnakes are generally bitten ½ hour before sundown and up to two hours after sundown. It is estimated that 72% of all bites occur during this period.

There are some interesting facts about rattlesnakes. The oldest known rattlesnake in captivity, a Western Diamond Back, was 30 years and 7 months of age. The largest rattlesnake officially recorded was an Eastern Diamond Back (Crotalus adamatus) at 7 feet 4 inches long. The largest Western Diamondback was measured live at 6 feet 8 inches. There have been many wild claims about ten to fifteen-foot rattlesnakes, but usually these are snakes that were measured after death and their skin had been stretched. The average distance a rattlesnake can strike and effectively inject venom is one-third of its body length.

Some 80% of all rattlesnake bites are the results of carelessness or the handling of rattlesnakes by older juveniles or young adults. It is now estimated some 20% of rattlesnake bites are accidental  or legitimate. About 15% of rattlesnake bites are dry socket bites, meaning no venom was injected into the victim. The Arizona Poison Control and other medical resources reported some 121 venomus bites for the year 1991. These numbers have been on the increase as our population continues to grow and more people head for the

How do you know a rattlesnake as actually bitten you and did it inject venom? There are several signs and symptoms of envenomization. First, there will be fang marks. These fang marks can be singular, dual or even a scratch. Fang marks are generally a very small puncture wound and a burning sensation usually follows the injection of venom by the reptile.

A metallic or rubbery taste in the mouth often follows a bite, but not always. The tingling of the tongue or numbness can also occur.  If a rattlesnake has injected venom into its victim, localing will occur within ten minutes. The amount of envenomization is generally indicated by the severity of edema or swelling at fang puncture site. Nausea and weakness is often associated with snakebite.

Black or blue discoloration will generally appear near the site of envenomization after three to six hours. Every snake bite victim should be treated for shock, which is a greater threat to the victim of
snakebite than the venom.

The following is the recommended first aid for a rattlesnake bite. Call 911 immediately; snakebite is a medical emergency. If medical help is several hours away, the following treatment is recommended. Calm and reassure the victim, decrease the movement of the limb. Identify the snake if it is possible without further risk of another bite. It is not recommended to use a constricting band or tourniquet unless you are a medical professional. Many snakebite victims have come into emergency rooms with a constricting band, such as shoelace, completely obliterated by edema or swelling. It is extremely important to move the victim to a medical facility without delay.

The following are some things we can do to prevent rattlesnake bite: When walking in the desert or in any area known for reptile habitation, always look where you step, or place your foot, or feet (caution should always be used at night, late evening, and early morning). Always look where you are placing your hands or fingers. Use extreme caution before placing your hands where you can not see what you are touching. Always look before sitting down, especially around or near boulders or brush. Think before defecating or urinating in the outdoors.

I have observed a variety of bites during the past fifty years that resulted from total lack of common sense. Small children must be closely supervised at all times in areas of possible snake infestation or inhabitation.

If you and your family observe these basic rules you should be safe from snakebite. As urbanization continues at the desert edge in Arizona, the threat if snakebite is always a reality.

Editor’s note: I would like to thank Jude McNally and his staff, Arizona Poison Control Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, and Dr. Findlay E. Russell and his enormously valuable resource “Snake Venom Poisoning” printed by Scholium International, Inc. Great Neck, New York 11021 Note: This book is a physician’s desk reference for snake venom poisoning.

For information, call Arizona Poison Control System 1-800-362-0101. For snake removal in Apache Junction, call Apache Junction Fire District at 982-4440.

Tom Kollenborn directed the Snake Alert program for the Apache Junction Unified School District for seventeen years. He attended workshops and worked closely with the University of Arizona Poison
Control Center and Medical Center.

Monday, April 2, 2012

School Memories

March 26, 2012 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

The Apache Junction Jr. High School Hiking Club in the Superstition
Mountains, circa 1974.
How many of you remember a very special teacher in your school experience? Almost everyone has had that special teacher who reached out and helped you in such a way you thought you were special. This assistance helped you succeed in school, in life or both.

Most of us have read about history and legends in my column, but for thirty-four years I was involved in education. I taught Jr. High School classes for fifteen years, and I would like to share some of these
experiences with you. Many of them were involved with the mountains and land that I love so much.

When I walked into my first class room with my lesson plans in August, 1973, I was a pure idealist. I sincerely believed I could make a difference and change the world and I planned on doing it. I also believed our children were this nation’s greatest resource and they were the future for our American way of life. Today, I still believe this philosophy, but with far more veracity.

I have always wanted to believe I made a difference. As I looked at my students that day, for the first time, I had a little anxiety about what would happen. This was my first day of school, but it was their seventh year of experience with a teacher. They were experienced at being students; however I wasn’t experienced at being a teacher. To teach them was one thing; to gain there respect another.

The first time I saw my isolated classroom sitting at the north end of Davis Field on the Apache Junction High School campus near Southern Avenue I felt like Robinson Crusoe on an abandoned island casted far away from society. I could look to the southeast and all I could see was Creosote, Bur Sage, and  an occasional Mesquite and a few Barrel cactus. I felt like I was in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Actually, I was!

To the north of my classroom was also desert. My classroom, an old military barracks, had been salvaged from Williams Air Force Base. There were no communications between my classroom and the office. The walk from the office to my classroom required a minimum of five minutes if you really hurried. I handled all of the emergencies in my classroom by myself. These emergencies ranged from accidents, irate parents, animal attacks, and seizures. I experienced all of these emergencies in my first year at the shop shack; as the students affectionately called our shop area. Please don’t let that bother you; the students called the snack wagon the “roach coach.”

A lot of parents would call my shop class the “sweat shop” and for good reason. We had no real cooling in the shop. I had a worn-out evaporative cooler that didn’t produce enough air to cool the shop. Students would stand in front of it to cool off. In desperation, I placed a beautiful scene of mountain glaciers and snowpack on the wall. This large photograph would hopefully psychological ease the hot conditions of our class room in those early days. Of course, I was always worried the glaciers and snowpack would melt in the picture during those hot humid August days in our classroom.

The Jr. High School principal, Dale Hancock, had very little budget money for the shop, but made every effort to help me secure enough tools and supplies to teach my first shop classes. Most of the tools and supplies were donation from the community. I was loaned a power plant to run the cooler until electricity was installed in the classroom. Hancock wanted me to round up as much equipment and supplies from the community as I could. This became my first community relations job with the school district. I had lived in the community off and on since 1955, and I knew many wonderful people in Apache Junction who would contribute to the shop program.

I taught a class titled “World of Work.” It was a basic wood shop class for junior high school students. I taught basic shop safety. I had a list of objectives that I included in my curriculum. These objectives included how to use a tape measure, how to cut a piece of wood, how to square a piece of wood, how to sand and finish a piece of wood, how to properly drive a nail and how to read a set of simple plans and how to draw a simple set of plans.

Teaching these objectives to a group of junior high students was certainly a challenge. However, I had a lot of interest and determination among my students that made my job easier and by all means more successful. My enthusiasm to teach and their determination to learn made a successful combination.

When I started teaching at the Jr. High School there were only two clubs for the  students. Mr. Jay Mitchell had a chess club and Mr. Tom Johnson had a math club.  A couple of my student expressed their interest in hiking. We soon formed a hiking club. The club provided me a great opportunity to get out into the mountains I loved so much and at the same time provided some recreation for my students on Saturdays.
The Apache Junction Jr. High School Hiking Club was formed and we hiked many of the trails of the Superstition Wilderness Area. I found an enormous amount of support among the parents. I had all the sponsors I needed to hike with us. Our hiking club covered close to five hundred miles in the Superstition Wilderness Area in the first four years it was organized.

Yes, I was teaching on the Arizona frontier in the early 1970’s whether I wanted to believe it or not. Most mornings when I arrived at the shop early I would watch the coyotes chasing the rabbits on Davis Field. Sometimes there would be four or five coyotes chasing a dozen or so Jack rabbits.

The coyotes chasing the rabbits reminded me of my high school days at Phoenix Union. What a metaphor! Our school was known as the Coyotes and Mesa was known as the Jackrabbits. You must realize the Apache Junction School  had the only patch of green grass east of the county line (Meridian Road). This grass attracted insects, rabbits, snakes and coyotes from out in the desert. There was nothing to the south of the school in those days. Almost all of the roads were dirt south of the Apache Trail.

Each morning it was quite entertaining watching the Coyotes versus the Jackrabbits in the open field. I never saw a coyote catch a rabbit. It was usually a tie between the two groups. When the sun was above the horizon, it warmed up and the rabbits and coyotes would retire for the day. The game was over and I prepared to meet my first period shop class.

Those wonderful days will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life. In those  early days, the community was inseparable from the school and the school was inseparable from the community. It certainly had been a long way from the back of an old Quarter Circle U Ranch horse to a classroom at Apache Junction Jr. High School.