I drove up from the south with a brief detour through the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, but don’t worry, I didn’t lose my shirt at Apache Gold, the tribe’s casino.
This photo was taken from the Lower Cliff Ruin in the Tonto National Forest. Beyond the Saguaro cactus you can see the turquoise water of Roosevelt Lake. We hiked up to the top and I had an idea that I’ll be using in the second book in my upcoming Apache Protectors: Tribal Thunder series.
In Globe, AZ there is a really terrific trading post & store that features many native art and jewelry and the raw material for making camp dresses and regalia, which can be purchased on time.
Just inside the reservation I met two Apache women selling jewelry. I purchased a pair of peridot earrings because I know that San Carlos Reservation as some of the finest peridot in the world. They asked were we were from and I told them from New York. As we were leaving I heard one woman say to the other, “Why would anyone come all the way from New York to see this?” Funny world, isn’t it?
Certain parts of the reservation are open to the public. You can even rent your own lake or hire a guide for some hunting. We visited the museum, Kinishba ruins and bummed around. The ruins are spectacular and had me wondering about the people who once lived there.
The drive up to the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation was full of hairpin turns and steep grades. The Salt River gorge is spectacular.
General George Cook lead Apache scouts in the Apache Wars in a series of bloody conflicts. Many recognize Apache Warriors by their iconic red headbands. Why did they wear them. Some say they were order to wear them others say they chose to wear them. Either way they were chosen to distinguish them from unfriendly Native Americans.
We parked our car and walked in. We were the only humans here but we did meet a few free range cows. Maybe I should call Clay Cosin to come round them up!
The ruins are extensive with many rooms, windows and floor structures still in place. It was hard to imagine three floors, but that was apparently what was once here.
My imagination ran wild at seeing the tribal police SUVs that I had only seen before in photos and YouTube videos. I kept wanting to go up and ask someone if I could speak to Tribal Police Chief Gabe Cosen. We only spent a day in San Carlos and White Mountain Indian Reservations. But the trip really helped me feel and smell and experience a place that until that day, I had only ever imagined. I’m taking that frybread off on my taxes!