Rain Welcome, But Still Watching For Fires

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Rod Britain photo

Lew Kohl built this vertical log home when he and Grandma Kohl retired from ranching and the hospitality business at Kohl’s Ranch.

Christopher Creek finally got some rain ... several good ol’ big ones. Leo will tell you that we’ve had a little over five inches thus far and that’s a good start. The apples are plumping up from the rain and the trees are really loaded.

It’s campfire time, finally. Lots of tower chatter on the scanner as those manning the fire lookouts keep track of the ground strikes and the “smokes.” Sometimes these “smokes” can be fires in “snags” or old, dead trees. Now that fire restrictions have been lifted, a smoke sighting may be just a big campfire. Some “smokes” warrant attention, while others are relegated to a monitor status. At the height of the monsoon we can expect daily showers and rain totals which help to get us to a dozen inches or thereabouts. Our average of 25-plus inches of annual precipitation dictates that we get half of that or more in the eight or 10 wet weeks of summer. We’ll take all we get!

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 27, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be a celebration of life honoring Debbie Hamner at the Landmark. You may bring an appetizer.

We are saddened by news of the passing of Dave Lloyd this past week. Dave and his wife lived in Hunter Creek for the past 15 years or so. He was a longtime volunteer on the CKFD.

CKFD had a busy week answering 14 calls, eight walk-ins and nine citizen assists. One accident call, at FR300 and Highway 260, was to back-up Forest Lakes FD with a two-car crash, involving one ejection and one extrication. CKFD also handled six helicopter landings in the course of their duties. Chief Jarvis indicated that local representatives at Prescott were Debbie and Randy Dawson along with Dale Lee and that a Type-III engine and crew was sent for standby duty in support of Prescott firefighters.

Eight-month-old Felicity stopped for a visit. She’s quite a happy young lady with a big smile but not a lot to say, yet. Mom and Dad are Lana and Shem Banda who share the Christmas Tree Cabin on Columbine Road with the rest of the family. It was very nice to meet those young folks.

Dean Dodson was here all this week, spending some time with 17-year-old granddaughter, Kaylen. One of the week’s highlights was a ride to the OW Ranch. Most young gals her age wouldn’t be caught dead so far away from the mall!

He was standing on the old wooden bridge over the creek taking pictures of the water level as it rose swiftly. Just seconds later, as he strolled back toward the cabin, there was this terrible, loud noise as the bridge broke up and tore away, pushed downstream by a wall of water. Seconds from sure injury and possible death was how Larry Hannum described his experience on Sept. 5, 1970. Larry and many others will be on hand to relay their experiences coming up this Labor Day.

Perhaps you know of someone who has such a story to tell. Maybe you have some old flood photos to share. We know Cookie Sawyer may still have Heber and Blanche’s flood album and we would like to hear from her and brother, Larry White. Call Don Farmer at (480) 200-8687 and tell him about your experience.

Back in the day ...

Lew Kohl purchased a 320-acre cattle ranch at the base of Saddle Mountain on Tonto Creek in Rim Country back in 1917. He and his wife of 20 years, Necia, were suddenly ranchers. In the early years they hosted many local cowboys and visitors, including western author, Zane Grey and his wife Dolly. Thus begins a history of Kohl’s Ranch in a well-crafted, 2013 documentary by Legacy Media Productions, LLC, entitled, “More Than They Bargained For.”

Granddaughter Bettie Kohl Adams shares the stories, told and retold, of the experiences of life on the ranch. Mentioned in the story line were Meadow One, Meadow Two and Meadow Three, the latter being the location of the practice field at Camp Tontozona. The 77-minute film also touches on a number of related subjects such as traveling the Old Bush Highway (dirt), filming of western movies in Rim Country in the 1920s, a minute or two of folks swimming in the “Bathtub” back in the ’50s, how the Tonto-Horton School became the Cowboy Barn and showed many scenic panoramas. The documentary then takes a look at the present-day Kohl’s Ranch, the dining room, the stables and the nearby trout-fishing venue, Tonto Catch-a-Trout.

Interestingly, Henry Lucas was born Kohls with an “s,” however, he purchased the ranch as Lew Kohl and the film has a scene of an early overhead entry sign reading “Kohl Ranch.” Guess one might say he lost his “s” ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

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