Faraway Ranch

Faraway Ranch

A 35-mile detour from Willcox, Arizona allowed us the opportunity for a quick tour of the Chiricahua National Monument. We stopped at the Faraway Ranch which was established by two Swedish emigrants, Neil Erickson and Emma Peterson. Neil was 1st Sergeant in the 4th Cavalry at Fort Craig, New Mexico when he first met Emma, maid and companion to the wife of a colonel. They reunited at Fort Bowie in 1886 and married a year later after the surrender of Geronimo and other Chiricahua Apaches. After Neil’s discharge he and Emma came to Bonita Canyon. Neil became the first ranger of the Chiricahua Forest Reserve. The Erickson daughters started accommodating guests in 1917. The oldest daughter, Lillian, married Ed Riggs in 1923. The Chiricahua National Monument was established in 1924. We traveled on the Bonita Canyon Drive to the Monument’s farthest point, Massai Point, where we ate lunch in the sun but with a cool breeze. The short Massai Nature Trail at an elevation of 6,870 feet provided an opportunity to see some of the sculptured rock formations and nearby Sugarloaf Mountain at 7,310 feet above sea level. High levels of dust in the air reduced visibility. The Chiricahua Apaches referred to this area as “standing up rocks.” The Chiricahua National Monument is a sky island where four ecosystems meet. It includes 11,985 acres, 85% wilderness. The Chiricahua National Monument has several interesting trails that would be fun to explore on a future visit.

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