I’m a native Arizonian, but it’s sometimes embarrassing at how many amazing “Arizony” things I have not experienced. My friend Christa and I have vowed to be better locals by venturing out and experiencing all that our great state has to offer. So that’s what led us to Johnny Ringo. We often see his beige jeeps driving around our area, usually filled with a group of tourists complete with really bad cowboy hats. Seemed right up our alley, so Christa called and investigated “Carefree Adventures” and booked their Gold Mine Tour.
Bright and early on Sunday morning, after an 8am super classy beer run to the Circle K across the street, our twelve person wolf pack met at the local Cave Creek watering hole Harold’s Corral. I must admit, I have only been to Harold’s one or two times in the daylight. Even though I have seen several very early Sunday mornings there-I’ve always made it home by sunrise. Johnny Ringo and crew were waiting for us, and we loaded up and headed out.
The first part of the trip involved a fun 45 minute jeep ride up a narrow, windy road to about 5,000 feet. Shadd, Christa, Cobey and I were in Johnny Ringo’s jeep, and we learned a lot about the history of the area on the way up. Of course we had to take care of the obligatory group shots, selfies, and mountain conqueror poses at the top of the mountain.
Conveniently, there is a full service gift shop up in the wilderness. Leather goods and rattlesnake paraphernalia were the hot items. We all found some fun souvenirs, including this beauty. Too bad I missed Coachella this year (and every year since it began). I think this rattlesnake head band would have really been a hit.
We then hiked down to the mine, donned the required head wear, and made our way in. Again, we learned a lot about the history of the mine, but thank goodness there was no quiz. A few things I do remember-my friend Amanda got claustrophobic and had to make a quick escape, Caycee Cooper asks a lot of questions about mining, it’s tough to pull off the hard hat look, and there were bats in that cave. And when I say bats, I mean one bat. It was between us and the exit, but no worries, I’m pretty sure it was temporarily paralyzed by my “12 year old girl at a One Direction concert” screams. Thankfully, we were able to escape with no injuries.
We were delivered back to Harold’s for a late lunch and a little Sunday Funday time. I can’t recommend Johnny Ringo’s Carefree Adventures enough. I’m a local and I was completely entertained and amazed at the beauty of the scenery and the history of the mine. If you live here and haven’t experienced this part of Arizona, it’s a must-do. And I will for sure recommend this tour to all my out-of-town guests from here on out. If these dorky locals loved it, I can only imagine how much some dorky tourists would love it.
One thing I know is that my group of friends is amazing. I think they would be game for just about anything. Dog catching seminar…We’re in! Synchronized knitting lessons….sure! We always seem to enjoy each other and laugh till our faces hurt. If you missed our last Sunday outing-the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course-you can read about it here! Until our next adventure…Cheers!
Bear “McKenzie P.”