Arizona AdventuresVolume 3

Wapiti Crossing

By November 23, 2020No Comments

The gote post assembly was ready for installation. We determined that the best place to install the gate the would lead to our second back yard consisting of 100,000 acres was right in the middle of the pine tree stand above the hammock. The frame materials was purchased with the Home Depot gift cars that Chip and Teri Stauffer left on the kitchen table along with some other tokens of appreciation for using the cabin. The new cork screw was one essential kitchen utensil that was missing from our wares. How did they focus in on our needs for that instrument? I must say that Carol did scold them for leaving the gifts, but we will put everything to good use.

We had been planning a gate to go through the Sitgreaves National Forest, barbed wire fence for some time. Over the last forty years, family and friends have climbed over or through this fence 1,000 times and most of the time without drawing blood. It is about time to make it easy on everyone by putting in a gate. With the contribution of Chip & Teri, we were finally ready to move forward on this project. Since the gate will be installed near the area the elk use to jump over this fence to gain access to the tender grasses of the meadow along with the various neighbors delicious plants and young trees, we decided to call this place •wapiti Crossing”, the name Native Americans use for the North American Elk, which means •white rump” in Shawnee. In other words, get your white rump over this fence and enjoy God’s Creation. When the gate is complete, the sign with the words ·wapiti Crossing” engraved in a slab of wood, will hang over the Stauffer’s gate as a reminder to do just that. The wapiti will still have to go over the barbed wire and the cows will still have to graze on the other side of the fence.

My son Chad mentioned on several occasions when I had need for a particular thing for the cabin, it would come. This weekend we had need for a posthole digger to excavate two narrow holes of the legs of the gate frame. So early Saturday morning we set out to town to see what we could find, but it would have to be right after breakfast. We were open to looking in for this digging tool in the little swap meet near the Thai Food Restaurant which also served a great breakfast. Two weeks prior we spotted a nice pitch fork for Carol’s use in rounding up pine needles to keep them from building up around the cabin. But both the restaurant and the swap meet were not open, so we decided to go into Show Low seeing that we already passed our other favorite breakfast stops. Did I ever mention that breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out?

In Show Low, I wanted to treat the boy’s to Patrick’s Restaurant. Carol and I had a great lunch there when we were desperate to find a TV so that we could watch the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game a few years back. We had gone in and seated ourselves at a booth advantageous to seeing the big screen, but as luck would have it, they had on a Norte Dame game. I think they were playing Slippery Rock College or someone. The game was on NBC which is the Norte Dame Broadcasting Company. Nobody was paying any attention to that game as they were intently focused on doctoring up the short stack pancakes, salt & peppering the over easy eggs, and chomping down on the bacon, ham and hash brown potatoes, all being chased by hot coffee or orange juice. Since it was at the end of the breakfast call, we decided to be the first to go with the traditional hamburger lunch which was a treat in itself. The waitress notice our interest in see the football scores that were being marched across the bottom of the TV screen on what I thing the call the creeper . She went up near the cash register and return with the remote control in her hand and presented it to us. She didn’t think anyone would mine if we tuned into the game we were interested in. And so we did, and several others took interest in the game and they finished the last morsels on their breakfast plates. The coffee kept flowing thought.

Needless to say, we all enjoyed our breakfast as it tasted every bit as good as it looked the last time Carol and I were here. As we finished, I slipped over to the community message board to see if there were any calling cards of any services we needed. I did find a few, but the thing that was most productive on the bulletin board was a little news letter that also listed current events. The writers and story tellers fair in Springer Ville coming up the following weekend had some appeal to me. but I don’t know why. But the listing for the swap meet down the road a piece, was just the thing we were looking for. So we decided to head over and see what we could find.

There was all kind of interesting things there, all of which we did not need, but we bought anyway. Then Chad informed me that there was some yard tools leaning against the fence in the back of the lot, but they looked like they were used to construct the fence they were against. I took a look at the line up and spotted just the very thing I was looking for. It was an old fence post digger, once broken and then mended. I went over to what appeared to be the swap meet office and snack bar and ask if anybody new it those tools were for sale or if they were just resting. One elderly gentleman spoke up and offered to go with us to take a look. He asked what we were interested in. I told him a fence post digger. He asked how many holes so we have to dig? I told him two. I thought he was going to loan it to me, but he said five dollars and it’s yours. I took his deal and both of us were happy. He didn’t have to dig and more holes and made five dollars to boot and I was happy that I had a fence post digger and two sons to dig the holes. The boy’s would find out shortly more about the latter later.

Back at the cabin, we came up with a consensus where the best place to install the new gate. It would be in the small group of pine trees near the hammock. not far from Carol and Heidi’s new fire pit. With my Number 10 Vise Grips, I straighten out the damaged cutting edge of our recently acquired posthole digger and we were ready to go. With the holes dug as far as we could go, with the dirt more like hard clay, I realized it was time to show the boy’s a little trick. Putting the gate frame assembly in the freshly dug holes, we marked and then cut off the longest leg to make the frame fit just right. That saved another hour of digging and still be a good, sturdy installation. Armed with a level and little concrete mixed in the wheel barrel, we were ready to pour the holes full while holding the frame plumb. The boy’s decided to go for a bike ride wheel waiting for just the right opportunity to do the traditional •signing and dating” the fresh concrete for posterity. The neck step is to make or find a gate. We had looked at possible sources in our travels but to no avail. We would have to probably make from scratch or find one to modify to fit but it would have to meet certain criteria. Chad reminded us “it will come”.

Labor Day Weekend, two weeks later.

Carol and were going to spend the three day holiday weekend planning the next big project, a new metal roof. There were many things to consider, plan and execute before stripping the old cedar shakes and installing the new metal roof. And it was also a chance for us to unwind a little from the hurried pace we both have been in.

We left Mesa at our regular 5:00 P.M. get away time but this time with a surprise thunder storm. We were not the only ones surprised, but the weather forecasters were completely broadsided by the event. We had a few sprinkles on and off until we hit Globe. Got a little wet as Carol and I dashed into Irene’s Mexican Food Restaurant. After our traditional meal, we headed toward the Salt River Canyon. The closer we to the Canyon, the heavier the rain came along with a tremendous lightning display. I love a rainy night and driving in the rain. I even had been rightly accused of going out of my way to hit it. Must be the Native Arizona Blood that causes that kind of reaction. Just as we hit the safety pull out the rain really started coming down, so much so that many cars were pulling off the side of the road. I thought that as entered the canyon it would taper off a bite, but the rain kept coming. So much so, that at 30 MPH it was difficult to see the highway lines and the little reflectors set into there little divots were under water. Carol persuaded me to pull over and wait out the storm. We did at the next safe pull out. Other cars pulled off also, but none passed us and no cars were coming up out of the canyon. We only had to wait about ten minutes until the rain let up, and we were off and running again. We stopped at Carol’s favorite Chevron gas station on the Indian Reservation for hot chocolate and of course, another Navajo Indian Jewelry purchase. This time it was a sterling silver ring formed with a dainty bow. This time it only cost me $5.00. This is becoming my favorite place to buy this kind of thing . Must be my appreciation of the Native American Arts. Carol says its because I’m cheap. I resemble that statement! The rain did stay with us all the way to Show Low. I bet the weather forecasters were all planning their excuses for the next days news.

We hit the cabin in between the rain showers which made unloading the car a breeze. The cabin only had a few minor leaks where we had placed the temporary roofing, but we were high and dry. The rains impact against the metal and cedar shades was occasionally drowned out by the winds driving the showers against the glass. This chorus made for good sleeping weather. The clouds were also driven by the winds and were very low. You could see them scoot by the tall pine outside our high peak window.

The next morning was overcast with spurts of rain throughout the day. We headed to town for an early breakfast. and then a hardware run. We also stopped off at fencing companying to see if they added anymore stock that might fit our gate frame. In hindsight. planning the size of the gate frame, it probably would have been a good idea to consider what a standard purchased gate would require just incase I would change my mind about building or modifying a gate. As luck would have it. on my second trip to town for more hardware. I found the perfect gate that would fit exactly in my odd sized frame. It couldn’t have been any better. I bet even the boys would like it. Carol loved it! In an hours time it was installed and Carol stepped through the new “Stauffer’s Gate” with the sign over the top of the frame declaring it ·wapiti Crossing”. The rest of the weekend was spent sightseeing by car and boot with much relaxing intermingled with few maintenance type chores and a little planning scattered in between.