The story behind the Faraway Ranch and pioneer couple who triumphed!

For many years, I have been coming to the Chiricahua Mountains, passing an important piece of history! Until, just recently when my husband pulled over at a small graveyard on the side after entering freely.

See, Sometimes we pass a great story, but this time, I knew I had a great one. It has a love story between two Swedish immigrants searching for a dream, a dream to achieve and succeed.

They were the Ericsson’s, Neil and Emma. It all started when Neil became a stowaway on a ship to America. He came from a Swedish farming family. During the Apache wars, he enlisted in the Army.

Neil Erickson

He then met his future wife, Emma at the Ft. Craig in New Mexico.

Emma Erickson

After they got married, they moved into a cabin on Bonita in 1888.

They had a daughter, Lilian. Neil has a hard time finding work, so he had to travel to Bisbee where he got into construction, building homes. He also worked at the Queen mine in the smelter. Emma came out to Bisbee, but was having trouble and always got sick. Emma really loved the Chiricahua landscape, (who can blame her, it’s gorgeous) Neil visited her at the cabin as much as possible. They had a son and daughter named Helen Hildegard. President Roosevelt established Chiricahua Federal reserve and Neil became one of the first Forest rangers. He worked at the Cochise stronghold in the Dragoon Mts. For seven years, building houses and lookout towers and also both Neil and Emma worked at Walnut Canyon, but in their hearts, they loved Chiricahua so much!

Front row, Neil and Emma, back row, Ben, Lillian (Riggs) and Hildegard
Neil on his horse George exploring Chiricahua, Erickson Peak is named after Neil!

The Faraway ranch began in 1886 for the couple and became a guest ranch in the 1920’s inviting people to stay there and explore the Chiricahua area. Even Buffalo soldiers stayed and many others!

Back side entrance into the Faraway guest house
The dining area, complete with a plastic thanksgiving dinner!
Pretty realistic to me, Wow! Deviled eggs, lol 😂
Engraved names are inside the houses fireplace, some from Buffalo soldiers who frequented the ranch, because of the threat of Apaches! Neil, originally came to avenge his fathers death by Apache Indians!
The upstairs was blocked off, so I could not go up.
Old wheelchair, used by Emma after a sprain in her knee
A cozy living room for the family
Check out the awesome radio! They must’ve had some wonderful times here!
Originally, the Faraway ranch is on 400 acres!
Horse stable
Inside the stable, the names of each horse they had is engraved in each of the white circles on top.
Original outhouse
The Forest Ranger mysteriously vanished and was said that he vanished on the property walking from the Faraway building out into the over 400 acres of land, no one knows what happened to him!!!! strange!!!

The Faraway ranch was sold for a whopping five hundred thousand-to the National park service. Neil and Emma’s kids all died within an 18 month time frame in 1977-78. But the legacy goes on and you can walk the many trails, just be aware, as bears, jaguars and many other animals live there as well! Check it out sometime!

Snow melting , November 30, 2019

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Adventure off-roading in Patagonia, az!

We decided to go check out the Patagonia-Sonoita creek preserve, but ended up following the Road it was on 150 Blue Heaven. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed and like many of you, our pets are family and go with us on trips. Usually, we have no clue where we will be exploring and always end up in crazy but exciting situations! We followed the paved road, west up onto the dirt road and started seeing stunning landscape! That is after passing the conservancy.

No dogs, except service animals allowed here!

Here, in this article I will show you what’s out there, but advise that if you do go, make sure you use high clearance vehicles only as it is very rocky and can raise your blood pressure!

You will pass a locked gate with this Asarco mining sign
Asarco sign, they have three copper mining properties in Arizona
You will see these ruins off to the left of the dirt road
Remains of ancient Papago, now called Tohono’odham, home, but It May also be from a different tribe that lived in the Patagonia area
Up the dirt road, we almost pass this, so we stopped and I took these pics
Looks like a flooded mineshaft, it goes pretty far back too!
We went on to Amado, then to I-19, Green Valley and back to our home
At the end, it gets a little scary as the road narrows
This area scared me, going around this rock! Be very cautious!

On this off-road, we did see people riding bikes and a man riding his atv, he was excited to see us and told us The ghost town trail was open, but we saw the gates with chains, so we did not go in or near it. This is a very fun, yet tough trail, but well worth it, if you seek adventure and excitement! Be cautious and always bring water and be prepared for anything!

Thanks for reading and follow me for more exciting articles! Have a great holiday season!

The lost loot at Gillett ghost town!

People being robbed next to the stagecoach, at gunpoint

Arizona’s Wild West was full of violence and lawlessness. And there are many, many tales of millions and millions of loot missing in the great Az. In fact, this is just one story in the amount of $68,000 still remaining in the Gillett ghost town! Unfortunately, it is on private land and you can’t just go on somebody’s private property! Unless, you get permission to!

What is left of the mining town called Gillett, what is left of the Burfind hotel

This is a true story that you are reading. It happened in the county of Yavapai in a town that is usually miss spelled, named Gillett, but often called Gillette. Like the razor used to shave a man’s face.Gillett was founded in 1878 and named after Dan B. Gillett, the developer of the Tip top mine. Founded by the superintendent of the Tip Top mine, where the mill was located.

Tip top mine
The shaft of Tip top mine

Gillett had six streets, a mill, post office, bank, Assay office, Hotel, lumberyard, dairy warehouse, two blacksmiths, two stagecoach stations, four stores, nine saloons, four stores and houses for gambling.

There was a blacksmith named Henry Seymour. He also had a side job called robbing the Wells Fargo wagon. He was super fast at it, so he was called “Ghost bandit” Why? Because he would go rob the stagecoach and head back to his blacksmith job before the stagecoach got back into Town! No one suspected him!

In 1882, Seymour robbed three of them and had accumulated $68,000. That’s a lot of money back then. A deputy by the name of Henry Garfia, a Mexican American was hired to investigate the case. He was very good at his job!

Henry Garfia was the first Mexican-American to become first Marshall of Phoenix

Garfia was told by witnesses that they saw Seymour on the last robbery, holding a rifle under his arm and carrying a bunch of sacs. Garfia decided to go to the Agua Frida river to catch Seymour.

Agua Frida river in Gillett

Garfia saw Henry Seymour walking up to this area and arrested him on the spot!Seymour was arrested and sent to prison, never to return to Gillett, Az.! So what happened to the loot? Where did he hide it? Well no one knows exactly and it remains a mystery! There is not much left of Gillett ghost town except the hotel ruins. A place in our desert that remains a mystery! Maybe one day, someone will find it, or maybe not.

Thanks for reading and may you share this with others! Many blessings to you and your family this Holiday Season! Push the follow button for more educational articles and thank you all!

The Sobaipuri & Papago of Patagonia Lake

The Sobaipuri & Papago of Patagonia Lake
— Read on

The Sobaipuri & Papago of Patagonia Lake

This site of petroglyphs is considered sacred and can only be viewed once a month by tour only
A Sobaipuri Native American
Lake Patagonia in November of 2019

Between 1400-1900, The Sobaipuri (Soba’s) “spotted”. They had large white dots all over them. These native’s were a subgroup of O’odam or Pima along with Papago Indians lived in The Patagonia lake/Sonoita creek area.

The Sobaipuri where around when the Europeans first entered the southwest. They are the most studied protohistoric (late prehistoric and early historic) are less studied than most other time periods, especially in that area. The Sobaipuri were said to be very muscular and very honorable peaceful people. The pottery made by them was very simple. It was Eusebio Kino, a.k.a Father Kino, in 1691 was traveling along the Santa Cruz river, when he met the leaders of the Sobaipuri tribe.

Eusebio Kino A.k.a Father Kino, he explores the region and worked with the Papago (desert people, also known as Tohono O’odham ,

An archaeologist by the name of Deni Seymour has studied the Sobaipuri for the last thirty years and has documented over 80 sites by them.

Archaeologist, Deni Seymour

In 1994, 3 sites were found in the Santa Rita Mts., that may have been used as getaway sites, since the Apache Indians were “bullies” and they wanted to getaway from the Spanish. Also may have been used for hunting and gathering. The houses they made were small dome shaped elongate and oval, 6-7 ft long and about 5 ft. Tall.

It is believed the Apaches drove the Sobaipuri out of the region. The Pima Indians referred to the Papago, as “bean eaters”as they were highly competitive.

Here is a Tohono O’dham lady in 1890, they are known as highly skilled basket weavers, very beautifully crafted!

Tohono O’dham lady circa 1890

The petroglyphs found near Lake Patagonia are of deer, snakes, some represent gods or humans and is a 3 mile hike.

Here is one of the petroglyphs found near Lake Patagonia

You can only access these by a representative.

Up on the bridge at the lake

So, if you go exploring and find an arrowhead that is serrated with a distinctive basal notch, it’s from the Sobaipuri!

The entrance fee at Lake Patagonia is $15 during weekday and $20 on weekends, a great place to fish, walk the birding trail and camp out!. The number to call for questions is #520-287-6965. Also, there are Great off-road trails there, you can find them on or use the resources I wrote in my article on where to find off-road trails! Have fun!

Thank you so much for reading this, hope you liked it! Have a great weekend and stay safe! Tell your friends about this site!