By Georgie Wood
When I am with my two daughters and my son, and also when looking at family photos, I am reminded of so many things, especially of the years when we had lived on the Wood Brothers Panorama Ranch whose homesites had been along the western part of Aravaipa Creek in Pinal County, Arizona. Some years back, I made each of my “kids” an album that included photos which had been taken before and through their school years, and I recently scanned onto my computer some of their school class pictures and posted them on Facebook. What a good feeling it was when so many, who had gone to school when my kids had, enjoyed those photos and responded with their own fond memories.
So many memories came to me as I recently drove up the Aravaipa Creek road with my sister, Betty, who had come for a visit from her home in Washington. Although I hadn’t driven up there for a long time, I drove to the end of the road, and then turned up the hill that led to where the previous Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ranger station had been before the larger one had been built further downstream. There were only two parked cars there, no doubt belonging to hikers to the upstream Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness Area, but there was no person in sight as I turned around and parked my car, then walked to where I could look down to where the Wood Brothers Panorama Ranch headquarters had been before the ranch had been sold in 1970 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC). How sad it was to again see what was left after the June 17, 1995 fire had destroyed the long-neglected houses and bunkhouse, and some of the trees, and the damage of the August 1, 2006 Aravaipa Creek flood that had traveled through its fields.
I wasn’t feeling any better after getting back in my car and it wouldn’t start! There is no cell phone service in that area, so with some dread I decided I had better walk back to the nearest downstream property of Cathy Gorman and Phil Hedrick, which was quite a ways down the road. Luckily, I spotted a car coming our way before I had walked a short distance! A really nice couple drove Betty and I down the road, and after finding Cathy Gorman was home, I called my son, Neal, on her phone, then Neal called Larry Estrada’s Mammoth Towing and Service business, after which my car was very soon towed to Mammoth, and Neal drove Betty and I back to Kearny. My car’s fuel pump had to be replaced, but things could have been much worse!
My sometimes humorous brother, Bill Kishbaugh, who is not much younger than myself, later said something like two old women shouldn’t have been running around like that by themselves! Betty and I later had a few laughs about our experience that day, and that reminds me of the following George Bernard Shaw quote:
“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old; you grow old when you stop laughing.”