Last weekend we decided to spread our wings and check out some nearby towns. We had a great time!
First up was Empire Ranch -Cowboy Festival
Empire Ranch Cowboy festival
We ran across this during our search. What a great place! We normally are not down here during this time. We drove to the festival early on Saturday and easily got to it and parking was close by. They even had horse drawn wagons to take you to the entrance if the distance was too far walking. It was a sunny beautiful day!
Our first stop was a cowboy in a horse ring talking about how they train horses. Explained that gentle touches are felt by horses (reins) and they learn what is expected by them by the rider. So interesting and never really thought about it before. They train them on riding tails, avoiding rocks and other issues. Very knowledgeable cowboy.
We traveled to a nearby tent where four cowboys were telling cowboy stories. We kind of missed most of this show. We walked and saw a lot of booths selling various items.
Next up was a ring featuring “Tombstone Vigilantes” doing several skits about people in Tombstone. Very entertaining and informative.
Well we were getting a little hungry so off to the two food trucks, Mexican or chicken/pork barbecue sandwiches. Grabbed a soda and a cowboy cookie for desert. Nice place to sit and eat along with some Cowboy music. They also were very good. We walked thru the actual ranch house which had several items to view.
Additional entertainment was a Calvary division demonstration on a cannon gun. We ended up grabbing some kettle corn and listen to a rancher 80 yrs old talk about ranching when he was you and cattle drives. Also very informative and interesting. We arrived around 10 am and left around 3pm. We learned it was record attendance it did not feel crowed. Seemed even better than places like Old Tucson.
Many years ago we went to a winery on way to Nogales. But now there are many around Elgin AZ. We had picked out one, went in but were basically ignored. Attention to others who were wine tasting. So we left and headed down the road to another. We decided on Kief-Joshua.
We had read a little about this place. We got wine tumblers instead of traditional goblets. Tasted 5 wines but they were a little too dry for our taste. Very nice area to drink wines and again beautiful day.
We then headed to Tombstone were we planned to stay the night. Beautiful view from our hilltop hotel.
Sunday-Tombstone & Kartchner Cave
So first up we saw Boot-hill Cemetery were many outlaws and famous Tombstone people are buried. Was interesting but $3.00. Seemed anything you might want to see cost some money. Walking Tombstone was ok, thinking about all the things that happened here, but we were not that impressed and felt it was too commercialized. We spend maybe an hour and then decided to head to Kartchner Cave State Park about 30 minutes away.
We made reservations for cave tour of Big room for 245pm, so we were very early. We asked about some hiking trails and decided to walk the one around the top of the he caves.
It was about a 3 mile hike, we had left items in car as you cannot take anything into the caves. So we were without water. Luckily it was a bit windy. We made it, but it certainly was not any easy hike. I always need a lot of water, so I was a bit tired. We rehydrated and watched a ranger movie about the caves. Then had a great lunch! I love wraps and prickly pear lemonade. Now I was ready for the cave tour.
James was our guide. We learned about the discovery of the caves as you can read about it per the link. We boarded the tram to take us to the entrance and went thru about 3 steel doors. They are so proactive to keep caves same humidity and temperature. It was about 77 degrees and very humid. We had about 12 in our group. If we touched anything other than the rails it was tagged for clean up latter in the day. We were in the cave about 1hr 45 minutes. No pictures are allowed, but I found a few online. Also a very cool place and wonderful guide. Definitely worthwhile visit.
We had a wonderful time.