CAVES, KILLS, & CONFRONTATIONS: A (very) long history of thrilling times near Tombstone
Dates: Friday, January 10 to Sunday, January 12, 2020. This is a three-day, four-night trip.
Location: Tombstone/Sierra Vista environs
Download full trip itinerary HERE for a more complete description of the trip.
$225 per person includes all admission fees. NO CANCELLATIONS due to deposit requirements.
Day 1 Friday January 10: Kartchner Caverns State Park
Meet at the Discovery Center at Kartchner Caverns State Park at 10 AM.
The cave’s existence was discovered in 1974 by two cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, after hours of crawling revealed a remarkable cavern. Passionate that the extraordinary formations must be preserved, the cave’s existence was kept secret until 1988, when the Arizona State Parks purchase of it was approved. Many precautions have been put in place to preserve the cave’s near pristine condition. The tours are limited to 15 to 20 people maximum. We will learn about the importance of water, the cave fauna, the varied formations and the ongoing scientific research.
We start at 10:45 AM with a 1 ¾ hour guided tour of the Big Room, where we will see the world’s most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk, and the first reported occurrence of turnip-like structures.
After a break for lunch at the Bat Cave Café (open 10 AM to 3 PM), we assemble at 1:00 PM for a 1 ½ hour tour at 1:20 PM of the Rotunda/Throne Room, where we will see the Kubla Khan column, the tallest and most massive in Arizona, as well as one of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites.
We can return to our lodgings or hike some of the nearby trails after the caverns tours.
Day 2 Saturday January 11: Amerind Museum and Tombstone
Meet at 10:00 AM at the Amerind Museum, to explore for about 2 hours a collection of Native American ethnographic objects, from the Mimbres to the historic, view contemporary Native artistic works, see a film on chocolate, plus visit many interesting exhibits. Our very own Hopi VVAC Heritage Gardener, Gerry Quotskuyva, and Hopi potter friend, Rachel Sahmi, have current shows. The museum is about 50 miles from Sierra Vista, 40 miles from Tombstone.
After lunch at the nearby Triangle T Saloon, we will caravan about 40 miles to Tombstone, just in time to witness the confrontation between the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday and the outlaws, likely the most famous gunfight in the Old West! Afterwards, feel free to explore the old town on your own, book a silver mine tour, or have dinner there in Tombstone or Sierra Vista (20 miles away).
Day 3 January 12: Murray Springs/Lehner Mammoth Kill Clovis sites, Millville Ruins and Petroglyph Trail with Archaeologist Al Dart
Meet at 8:30 AM at the Walmart Supercenter, 500 N Highway 90 Bypass, in Sierra Vista, and caravan to Murray Springs site, the location of a Clovis hunting and processing camp, and one of about a dozen 13,000-year-old Clovis sites within a 50-mile radius within the San Pedro River valley. Archaeologist Allen Dart will guide us into the Murray Springs site and discuss how mammoth and other megafauna remains were excavated there, along with projectile points, other stone tools and tool-making debris. The largest number of Clovis artifacts in the entire Southwest have been found here. From Murray Springs, we will caravan to a roadside location where Al will point out and discuss the Lehner site, another Clovis mammoth and bison kill area.
We will then caravan to the Millville ghost town, where we will walk a 2-mile roundtrip trail to view ruins of historic buildings and minimg-related features, and to have Al point out and discuss the vicinity’s pre-European petroglyphs and archaeological features. The trail crosses a broad, shallow wash, which is usually dry, but be prepared to wade if it’s running. After this, you are free to continue on your own to visit Bisbee, explore Tubac or return home.
We suggest booking lodging in Tombstone or Sierra Vista. Best rates may be available via Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz.com, or Reservations.com rather than booking direct with the facility:
Tombstone— Tombstone Grand Hotel 520-457-9507
Sierra Vista— Days Inn Wyndham 520-458-8500
Fairfield Inn Marriott 520-439-5900
Gateway Studio Suites 520-458-5555