To Friends Of
Cave Creek Canyon

July in the Canyon

Lucifer Hummingbird
         [Maya Decker]         

                 Rufous Hummingbird                            Blue-throated Hummingbird
              [Steve Wolfe]

Joyas Voladoras
[Flying Jewels]
By Brian Doyle | June 12, 2012*

 Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird's heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird's heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird's heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.

Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour.
They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come close to death: on  frigid nights, or when they are starving, they retreat into torpor, their metabolic rate slowing to a fifteenth of their normal sleep rate, their hearts sludging nearly to a halt, barely beating, and if they are not soon warmed, if they do not soon find that which is sweet, their hearts grow cold, and they cease to be.............

Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles-anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer more heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures than any other living creature. It's expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old........

*[From American Scholar: to read the entire essay go here ]

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake
By Mike Jacobi

The Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) is the smallest American rattlesnake and occurs at the highest altitude. It is a protected species found in the United States only in Arizona's Chiricahua, Huachuca, Santa Rita and Pinaleno Mountains. Our western subspecies ranges south into Mexico (Sierra Madre Occidental) with an isolated subspecies being found in northeastern Mexico (Sierra Madre Oriental). Diminutive and slender, it is a silver, blue-grey or greyish-brown rattlesnake that only rarely reaches two feet in length. Its head is not as broad as that of most rattlesnakes, and with paired dorsal blotches that give it its name, limited range, specific habitat, and orange color of the newest rattle segments, it cannot be confused with any other snake. 
Twin-spotted Rattlesnake              
      The Twin-spotted Rattlesnake is primarily known from Petran Montane Conifer Forest at elevations of 7500-9000 feet where it is generally an inhabitant of expansive talus slopes and rocky outcrops, but this photo depicts an example of a snake found in adjacent alpine forest among rotting logs and rocks. I encountered this very large adult along a trail at 8500' while descending from one of Chiricahua's peaks. The Twin-spotted Rattlesnake is active during the daytime and primarily feeds on the Mountain Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii). Its young are born in summer when baby lizards are abundant in its rocky home. July and August is also the time when breeding takes place. Like other montane rattlesnakes, it delays fertilization of its ova and development takes place very slowly, resulting in birth of a handful of small live young the following summer.

Notice: The USFS has closed the prime habitat of this Arizona protected species in the Chiricahuas during its active season (south and west-facing talus slopes of Barfoot Park). Both Forest Service law enforcement and AZG&F will be enforcing this Order for Area Closure.

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

Black Bear in our Yard!
[Bud and Debb Johnson]

         Looking in the window!                     Checking the hose

Check out those claws

From Conferring With the Sky Observatory:

The Egg Nebula
By Rick Beno
When looking at this photo of the Egg Nebula, it is important to know that this is only a tiny fraction of the incompassing emission nebula, NGC 6604. Now, NGC 6604 is actually an open cluster of stars, engulfed with a large cloud of hydogen gas, glowing due to the interaction of the stars and cloud. This cloud can be considered the nest in which the Egg Nebula lies. At least that's what we see from our vantage point in space, about 6000 light years away from the nest. The egg actually sits nearly 2000 light years further away.
Egg Nebula
NGC 6604
[Near the center top the Egg Nebula can be seen]

To see more of Rick Beno's astro photography click here

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 

On December 23, 1957, we published a story in the Bullsheet in which we told all we knew or could find out at the moment about Galeyville, Arizona. We have recently received some additional data which might be of interest. Mr. Thomas M. Galey of Owensboro, Kentucky, read an article in the Saturday Evening Post under date of March 14, 1958, about Mrs. Lillian Riggs of Faraway Ranch, which is located here in the Chiricahuas. So he, in turn, wrote her a letter and submitted photographs of John H. Galey, the founder of Galeyville. She kindly sent it to us. If you are interested in knowing what that illustrious old gent looked like, drop in at the Bull Ranch and we will show your the pictures. 

The caption on the photographs read as follows: "John H. Galey, San Francisco, Cal., in the gold mining days soon after the Civil War. John H. Galey was born in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, February 4, 1840, and died in Joplin, Missouri, April 12, 1918. He entered the oil business at its inception. The Oil and Gas Journal referred to him as one  of the boldest of the early prospectors. His name is known and honored in every field where oil is produced throughout America. He was a persistent worker, fearless, original, the initiator of many ventures. After 1880, his operations were in association with Col. James M. Guffey, under the firm name of Guffey and Galey." 

One paragraph of Mr. Thomas Galey's letter to Lillian reads as follows: "It was in 1889 (evidently an error in typing, as JNG founded Galeyville in 1879) that Uncle John went to Arizona to pioneer in the mining of silver. I have traveled with him in a number of oil ventures in later years; I was born in Bradford oil field in 1884. In 1911, I was with him in an oil venture in Tampico area of old Mexico. And in 1912 I helped him to drill three wells at Seven Lakes, New Mexico, near Grants". In another paragraph: "He was pretty handy with the ladies and admired beautiful women. A very prominent lawyer in New York owes his mysterious origin to that admiration." 

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, 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!