Drop Your Weapons and Smell the Roses!
Twenty miles north of Bisbee, Arizona, as the buzzard flies, is the town of Tombstone, where Clay and I strolled the old boardwalks and watched the re-enacted gunfight at the OK corral.
It seems that Wyatt Earp, his brothers and Doc Holliday were not necessarily the good guys in this altercation. They just had badges at the time.
During the silver boom, the townsfolk wanted families to come settle so they downplayed the violence. If there was a hanging or a lynching, the local coroner sometimes wrote under cause of death, “Emphysema of the lungs due to high altitude, which may or may not have been caused by strangulation from a rope.”
There was also a lot of lead poisoning (one slug at at time).
The Good Enough Silver Mine was one of the original wealthy strikes and on an underground tour of that mine we were shown the remnant of the silver vein left behind when it closed down in the early 1900s. The mine shafts criss-crossed under the town itself, and miners would crawl up through air ducts into the basements of the saloons, saving an outside trip that went the long way around.
Although Tombstone has burned to the ground several times, it was the flooding of the mines that ended the silver boom. Tombstone has resurrected itself with tourism and become known as The Town Too Tough to Die.
The local newspaper is the Tombstone Epitaph and the middle school mascot is a Gravedigger.
A Rose in Bloom
Tombstone’s other claim to fame is the Rose Tree– a white Lady Banksia rosebush planted from a single cutting sent over from Scotland in 1885. When its canopy of roses was a quarter of its current size (8000 square feet) it was listed by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! as the world’s largest rosebush. Luckily, it was in bloom while we visited.
It was a fun-filled April 2018 — full of childhood memories, family history and old western towns, but also gettin’ a mite warm. Time to mosey on up to higher elevations and laze around in the soothing, cool Ponderosa pine forests of Show Low, Arizona.
Thanks for riding along with us for a spell.
See you down the trail.