Archive for October, 2011

Today we left flagstaff to head towards rock art ranch, seeing lots of fasinating sights along the way including a 50 carrage cargo train. Once we got to rock art ranch we were greeted by Brantley and Torrey who took us down into the canyon, they showed us all of petroglyphs which were fascinating. All of the petroglyphs had stories behind. After we looked at the canyon we went to a different part of the ranch to eat our lunch, we ate our lunch in a barn with all different artifacts which were from the 5000 acre plot. Once we ate our lunch we learnt about the artifacts and also took a little bit of the ranch (petrified wood).


Today we left Flagstaff to travel to the Rock Art Ranch and Canyon, a glorious pocket of ancient beauty hidden from the public eye. As we climbed down the rocks into the canyon we were struck by the walls' petroglyphs. Everywhere we looked new images jumped out at us. Herds of deer, hunting parties, and some things we could only guess at. It was a truly beautiful place. We left for the ranch, just up the road. We had our lunch, and looked at the interesting artifacts that the owners had collected. After taking a look at the large selection of petrified wood on the ranch, we hit the road again, heading for Fort Defiance!



Day 3 PM – Fort Defiance

Posted: October 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
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This afternoon we tried to visit the remains of Fort Defiance just outside Window Rock on the Navajo reservation. It transpires that the fort has since been removed. The army fort was established in 1851 with the aim to protect US interests in the still unformed West. The fort itself had a more painful history four the Navajo. During the Civil War, 1864, General Carleton instructed Kit Carson to round up the “hostile” Navajo at Fort Defiance. From here they we’re force marched over 450 miles Eastwards on an 18 day journey to a government defined reservation. The horrific journey, involving nearly 9000 Navajo, claimed over 200 lives and became known as the Long Walk of the Navajo. On arrival at their new destination, the Navajo were given scant resources and poor access to good land and water. In a few years, hundreds had perished. By 1868, thanks to Red Cloud’s war  where the US army was defeated in Montana, as well as the refusal of the Navajo to plant crops; the Navajo were allowed to return to Arizona. Life for the Navajo returned (briefly) to normal, but the scars of this event have however been slow to heal!

Recounting the events of the Long Walk, Howard Gorman concluded:

“As I have said, our ancestors were taken captive and driven to Hwéeldifor no reason at all. They were harmless people, and, even to date, we are the same, holding no harm for anybody…Many Navajos who know our history and the story of Hwéeldisay the same.” (Navajo Stories of the Long Walk)

Mr F


It transpires that the history of dude ranches such as White Stallion goes back to the late ninteenth century. Cattle ranching boomed with the growth of the railroads in the 1860s but but the 1880s the bubble was beginning to burst thanks to over grazing and declining eastern demand for beef and hides. After the harsh winter of 1887 which decimated castle stocks, many ranchers were liking for new ways of staying afloat. The idea of dude ranching was to give paying customers a flavour of the Old West. It was so popular that a certain Edward Roosevelt spent a year working on one, arguably giving him the credibility to run for presidential office.

By 1928 a professional dude ranching body had been set up. The history of White Stallion ranch apparently begins in the 1940s as a place specifically designed for visitors. The current family bought the ranch in the 1960s and the operation grew from there. The ranch had always aimed to offer a true western experience and the place is full of western iconography from hats and horses to buffalo skulls and Remington paintings. There is also a real focus on cowboy skills classes and the redeem style of riding (as it was in the Wild West). Ironically the dude ranches have easily employed more cowboys than the original ranches ever did and the line between the "real" and "created" experience had become decidedly blurred. None the less, it has certainly been fascinating to experience a cultural recreation of the past, imagined or otherwise and there can be no doubting the hospitality of our hosts our the skills of the wranglers… Whatever the truth of the matter, there is still time here for a breakfast cook out in the desert! Yeee haw

Mr F

Day 2 PM – Sedona

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Uncategorized
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As we came through the mountain either side of us, we came from the prickly cacti terrian to a beautiful bushy one, our mouths dropped at the sheer beauty of this natural, untouched place. The bright red rock screamed for attention and it got it, as soon as we jumped off the bus we whipped out our cameras and found it hard to put them away.



Hey y'all! (sorry I just had to). Back on the coach again now heading to the living heritige museum. Had the best time this morning on the final trek with the 'bad-ass americans' (sic) and Mr Ford has definately improved on the riding front. The entire time at the ranch has been absolutely amazing, a day and a half is nowhere near long enough!! The people are the best, so friendly, and this morning we had the cookout. It was fantastic, and pretty weird, potatoes and pancakes have never tasted so good. The magic show last night was awesome…have you seen any ladybirds jenny??? And yesterday we got the chance to have a go at cattle penning, words cannot describe how much fun that was. Today I feel like a real cowgirl (don't worry the i'm sure mr ford will display all the embarrassing pictures) and am happy to say we pretty much all have the hats to prove it, some of us are even picking up an accent. But hey it's only day 2, so we'll keep you updated on the rest of our adventure. 🙂




Today, we visited the Living Heritage Museum, where we witnessed a re,enactment of a shootout between the Union and the Mexican Army. Also, many students volunteered to hold the rifles used by both armies. Around the museum, we visited a wheel maker, a Union camp (Where Renal volunteered to wear the heavy wool uniform!) and listened to the very friendly and interesting tour guides. It was well worth it, apart from the sweltering heat!



Arrived at the ranch today. Everyone tired but excited. Had a morning ride out into the desert followed by lunch at the ranch. We have practiced some roping skills… Top marks to Pip. In the afternoon one group rounded up cattle (pictures pending) whilst the other went out on another desert trek. Cowboy magic still to come.

Mr F

Day 1 AM Tucson

Posted: October 22, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Omg the weather is amzing were on our way to the ranch is fun and everyones.look ok ng cowboyyyie! LLOVE RENAL AND SAV AND.LOU