To Friends Of
Cave Creek Canyon

10th  Annual Heritage Days
Save The Dates
Sept. 7-9
Geronimo Event Center

It's Butterfly Season With Lori Conrad
   Southern Dogface & White Angled-sulphur                         Painted Lady

             Great Purple Hairstreak                                    Variegated Fritillary

                Juniper Hairstreak                                                    Ceraunus Blue

                  Black Swallowtail                                                  Golden-banded Skipper

Black-tailed Rattlesnakes
By Mike Jacobi

The Western Black-tailed Rattlesnake is the most widespread rattlesnake in the Chiricahua Mountains, being found locally in the Cave Creek Canyon area from below 5000 ft at the transition from Semi-desert Grassland to Oak Woodland just west of Portal to the Mixed Conifer Forests above 8000 ft near Barfoot and Rustler Parks. Adults are three to four feet in length and females mature at about four years of age. Color can vary from olive and grey-brown to golden-yellow and black, with the brighter-colored, more vividly-marked snakes generally being representative of higher elevations, but this pair from Mike & Cecil's home at the mouth of the canyon shows that even specimens below 5000 ft can be quite striking and very yellow. The "blacktail" is particularly common from Pine-Oak to Madrean Evergreen Woodlands, and although having a strong affinity to rocky terrain is an adaptable habitat generalist. Often noted as a crepuscular or nocturnal hunter, it is not uncommon to see blacktails moving during the day in milder weather, and in August I have seen plenty crossing the forest road from 5200-7500 ft in the middle of the afternoon on very warm days.
[Taken by Cecil Williams in her driveway]

The Western Black-tailed Rattlesnake ( Crotalus molossus ) occurs in suitable habitat throughout the Madrean Archipelago of western and southern Arizona, in adjacent bootheel New Mexico (e.g., Peloncillo Mountains), and south into Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental. Farther south in Mexico there are two subspecies (Mexican and Oaxacan). Our blacktail was recently (2012) split from the blacktail of the northern Chihuahuan Desert of most of southern New Mexico and southwestern Texas (and the Edwards Plateau of central Texas) south into northeastern Mexico, a species that is now known  as Eastern Black-tailed Rattlesnake ( Crotalus ornatus ). The relation to this new American species to the east is why we call our blacktails "Western," but many people prefer the common name Northern for  C. molossus  when thinking of the snake in relation to its two southern Mexico subspecies.
The reproductive behavior of this species is poorly known. In some populations mating takes place in spring and the young are born in summer. The pair in Cecil's photograph, photographed on August 10, show that Western Black-tailed Rattlesnake mating and courtship may take place during the summer North American Monsoon season. It is believed that in much of southern Arizona mating usually takes place the first half of August, but can occur July to September. Most females breed only every other year (or every three) and males follow a pheromone scent trail left by receptive females. After copulation males are known to guard the mated female from pairing with other prospective males, and that may be what Mike and Cecil observed as none of the series of images I saw show actual copulation, or they may have been courting. Some studies suggest that blacktails have a monogamous mating system. Sperm can be retained over the winter with the live birth of 3-16 young occurring the following monsoon season. 

To enjoy a three-minute slideshow of Mike's 2018 images of "Chiricahua Wildlife" from insects & spiders to reptiles, birds & mammals click here

Why It's Called Cave Creek Canyon!

Friends of Cave Creek Canyon recently sponsored an archaeological survey of the caves and rock shelters in Cave Creek Canyon.  We received a generous anonymous  donation of $5000 to offset about half of the associated costs.

Friends of Cave Creek Canyon 2018 Cave Survey

Over the course of five weeks in June and July, Kelsey Hanson (University of Arizona) and Jonathan Patt conducted an FOCCC-sponsored archaeological survey of caves in South Fork Canyon and Cave Creek Canyon. Their survey was guided by photographs and notes produced by Kimrod Murphy (retired Game Warden for the Arizona Game and Fish Dept.) and some existing documentation from U.S. Forest Service archaeological surveys. 

Hanson and Patt produced updated sketch maps, photographs, and narrative descriptions for 32 caves, many of which contained archaeological features (e.g., hearths, masonry walls, and Mogollon Red and Apache pictographs) and   artifacts (e.g., pottery sherds and chipped stone or lithics). Despite some existing archaeological documentation, most of the artifacts and features documented by Hanson and Patt had never been recorded before! Of the 32 caves recorded, 6 contained both archaeological features and artifacts, 12 contained either features or artifacts, and 14 contained neither. This suggests that the caves that were used throughout history, were used for very specific reasons. Explanations for these reasons are pending the results of more detailed analyses but may be related to a combination of factors like elevation, aspect, bedrock stability, and access to resources.

Hanson and Patt's survey has demonstrated that caves have served as important focal points for hundreds of years of human history in the area.

Cave Creek Canyon
Visitor Information Center
(Operated by FOCCC)

[by Mike Jacobi]
Have You Been Here This Year?
New Walkways                           New Plants
New Signs                     Many New Displays
FOCCC T-shirts, Hats, Cards, Books, 
Maps & More For Sale
New Trails Display

Visit and Watch The Hummingbirds

Some of The Glories of Summer
Hooded Oriole & Worm-eating Warbler by Lori Conrad

                Lucifer Hummingbird                                Painted Redstart
                             by Tony Donaldson                         by Laura Paulson 

Painted Buntings by Steve Wolfe

Stories of the Past 

The Chiricahua Bullsheet, an entertaining and highly opinionated newsletter and journal of local history written by Carson Morrow
Courtesy of Dick Zweifel 
November 18, 1958 
"As plentiful as fiddlers in Hell" is an old simile that might well have been applied to Paradise, Arizona and all the surrounding country during it's balmy days and for several years thereafter. 
Back in the time we are talking about there were no radios, very few phonographs and only a very few Player Pianos which were usually located in a Honky tonk and therefore not available for general public entertainment. (If you don't know what a Player Piano is, ask your granddaddy), In other words there was no canned music. 
But never the less we had music and some singing on about every occasion and the occasions were frequent. Seldom a week passed that there wasn't one or more dances somewhere within horseback distance and in between dances it was not unusual for groups ranging from two or three to a couple of dozen in number to get together just about any where and fiddle and sing a little. 
Mark Chapman was the head fiddler around Paradise, except when Ira Scheley would drop in once in a while from up on Blue River. Mark was really good but Ira was in a class alone. He had won the title of Worlds Champion Fiddler at the Saint Louis Exposition in 1904. 
When he showed up it was something like the Pied Piper coming to town. All the male population would follow him from saloon to saloon to hear him play and by night fall Ira would drift down to the town dance hall where all the female population would join the males and the grand Rompin and Stompin would go on until day break the next morning. 
While Ira and Mark were conceded to be tops in the Fiddlin Business there were plenty of others who could get the job done too. The Bass brothers, Hon and Del who had a cabin down the creek near Old Dutch Arthur's place made their living by playing in saloons and for public dances. Hon played first fiddle and Del accompanied him on second fiddle. he had the Palsy or Saint Vitus dance as it was sometimes call pretty badly, so all of their music was timed Del's shakes which increased in tempo as fatigue and excitement abetted by a few shots of Red Eye began to take effect. So generally by the time the dance broke up the dancers were stepping pretty lively. 
Frank Botete and Bud (Big Nose) Sanders were another brother; that is half brother Fiddlin Team. Frank played the fiddle while Bud beat out the time on a Spanish Guitar which sometimes had all six strings and seldom had less than four. 
George (Scotty) Murry, an old prospector who lived down near the Rube Hadden Spring was about the only musician around who claimed to be a Violinist that could play classical music. Maybe he was right but it was very noticeable that no one ever listened to him play second time if it could be avoided. 
Bill and Willie Clark, a Cousin Combination team from Mogollon, New Mexico beat out a good many thousand Hill Billy tunes at dances and other gatherings around Paradise in later years. 
In addition to all those there were a good many other lads who could wield the Bow and make the Cat Guts scream or get some rhythm out of a guitar, among them were Bill Sanders, Ralph and Roy Morrow, George Coryell and Walter Reed. In fact just about everybody fiddle a little back in those times except your Cub Reporter and Bill Reed and it seems like Bill would play a Jews Harp but he couldn't sing very good but he would try by moaning about Billy Venero and the Old Oaken Bucket as long as he would get anyone to listen. 
There must have been at least half a dozen fiddlers in the Kennedy family and somewhere near the same number in the Amalong family.  As we remember the Kennedy family there were Frank, Dave, Carmen, Ambrose, Cicero, Weely, Clarence and a sister whose name has been forgotten (Tom Stafford would probably remember).  The Amalongs were Harvey, Joss, Virgil, Elmer, Walter George and two sisters, Ivy and Gerty. 
Those people all did their stuff with fiddles and guitars. Generally at the El Dorado School House or at the Ash Creek School House or at the long ago defunct City of Light, Arizona. 

Join Friends of 
Cave Creek Canyon

This issue is being sent to all members of the Portal-Rodeo community that are on the  community email lists.  

FOCCC provides many activities and events that benefit the entire community.  Please consider joining FOCCC and support your community and your mountains.


FOCCC 2018 Officers and Board

Reed Peters         President                                            Other Board Members  
Sheri Ashley        Vice President                           Bob Ashley     Wynne Brown  
Mike Williams      Vice President 
                       Alan Craig     Rene Donaldson
Rick Beno 
Rolf Koford         Kim Vacariu
Stevie Wayman    Secretary
  Cecil Williams

FOCCC Board of Directors meets on the first Wednesday morning each month  at the Chiricahua Desert Museum on Highway 80.  If you have interest in attending or putting something on the agenda, please contact President Reed Peters at 520-558-2334.  All members are welcome to attend.




Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon
PO Box 16126
Portal, Arizona 85632


Visit Our Website 

Thanks to our "Sustainer's Circle" members 
for their generous support:  
Tom Arny, Bob and Bettina Arrigoni, Nancy and Thomas Denney, Mary George, Renata Golden, Bill and Sally Hague, Paul Hirt and Linda Jakse, Don Hollister, Pi Irwin and Zsombor Zoltan, Ken Jenkins, Leuthold Family Foundation,  Barbara Lounsbery,  Patrick McNamara, John and Karin McQuillan, Barbara and Pete Miller, Patricia Parran, CeCe Raak, Tom Roseman and Paula Baldwin, Delia Scholes, Donald and Martha Squire and Bob and Sherry Zoellick.

Please support our Business Members  who  have given generously to Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon.  Without their assistance, we would be hard pressed to accomplish our goals. Click on their names to check out their websites.    
                 Cave Creek Ranch                           Chiricahua Desert Museum
             Naturalist Journeys, LLC                                   Orchid Davis   
                 Sky Island Rolfing                                           Wynne Brown 
                  Chiricahua Gallery                             Debbie's Cleaning Service
             Ed Newbold Wildlife Artist                              Painted Pony Resort
                     Quailway Cottage                                    Sky Island Lodge
            The George Walker House                      Portal Peak Store and Lodge
Business Memberships start at just $50.00!