Inhabitants and Features of Castle Rock

Tombstone Canyon is a cleft in the Mule Mountains. It runs from the northwest to the southeast, and along the bottom of the canyon are the buildings and roads of Bisbee, Arizona. Houses perch on ledges blasted out of both canyon walls. People wanted to live close to the copper mines, back in an era when commuting was not an option.

Northwest of the downtown area two towers of limestone known as Castle Rock rise one hundred feet or so from Tombstone Canyon Road. This is the main drag which takes the place of a seasonal creek which presumably once carried off run-off from monsoon rains. A network of canals now handles that duty.

Castle Rock is an anomaly, a massive chunk of Martin limestone which somehow resisted the erosion which has carved and deepened Tombstone Canyon during the past few million years. The limestone towers are frustrating to this photographer, as there seems to be no really good vantage point from which to shoot photos. From down in the canyon the view is obscured by trees and power-lines, and foreshortening hides the details of the strata. A view from below:

A sidelong view from my back porch shows the layered structure of the higher of the two pillars, but the outline is indistinct due to the lack of contrast with the canyon-wall background.

Oh, well! It remains a pleasant and nearby destination for some of my walks. The rocks are also a popular party spot, judging by the broken beer bottles which unfortunately litter the site. If nobody picks up that detritus it will be there for millennia.

The rocks are easily climbed, as step-like ledges seem as if they were deliberately placed for easy ascension. This plant, a new one to me, caught my eye during my last visit. Roving Sailor (Maurandella antirrhiniflora), a charming vine in the Figwort Family, as far as I know isn’t normally found growing from a crack in a rock-face, but here it was, blithely blooming away and doubtless attracting hummingbirds.

A victim of local gossip was moved to paint this illustrated statement on a nearby rock-face:

I saw several examples of this modest flower, some species of Scuttellaria, I’m certain, but I haven’t identified it to species. Skullcaps are so-called due to a fancied resemblance of the humped blossoms to the crown of a skull.

The first time I walked over to Castle Rock I was drawn by curiosity. Something was sitting on the higher of the two pinnacles which looked like some some sort of furniture. I climbed to the top of the rock and found a sofa, of all things! It hadn’t been there long as it wasn’t weathered. Who could have put it there and why?

I shot this rather blurred telephoto shot from my front porch after I got home. A week later the sofa was gone.


7 comments on “Inhabitants and Features of Castle Rock

  1. bev says:

    The Maurandella is quite a little beauty. The sofa looks like one of those mysterious objects that moves around town like props on a stage set. Like the graffiti. It would seem that even Bisbee is not too different from most small towns when it comes to grapevines.

  2. Joan says:

    I can’t quite tell from the photo but it looks like the sofa is faced the wrong way for scenic view.

  3. Larry says:

    Perhaps viewing the scenery wasn’t the intent…

  4. Joan says:

    The intent being?

  5. bev says:

    People spend a lot of time outdoors in the evenings. Could have been up there for an evening party. That would not be too unusual. Stuff comes and goes around town as I wrote above.

  6. Joan says:

    It’s just so funny. One would expect a few folding chairs for a party, if you couldn’t rough-it by sitting on blankets, but a sofa is very heavy.. Who would tote an upholstered sofa up to a mountaintop look-out for a party?. It looks like a prank to me. .

  7. Emily B says:

    Aren’t walks the best? You never know what you’ll find around the next corner… literally! 🙂

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