We were unable to explore the tunnels under Casa Malpais and one person even informed us that there are no tunnels and the whole thing is a “myth.” So I guess the archaeologists who found and explored the catacombs lied? I don’t think they did frankly but I think that the person that told us it was all a myth wanted to keep us out of there for whatever reason. So we went on to explore some other things in the area.
One thing we explored was an old wagon road that ran from Holbrook, Arizona to Ft. Apache in the White Mountains. This road was used to haul freight and passengers from Holbrook to the Fort and it was also used by the US Cavalry. The road runs from Holbrook to Shumway then up through the east side of Show Low and on to Ft Apache. In some places you can see ruts in the rocks from the wagon wheels and in other places the road has been turned into a modern dirt road. Many people who have explored the route have found artifacts from the US Cavalry soldiers such as uniform buttons, a few medals/insignia, etc.
Today Ft Apache is a historic park that includes the Kinishba Ruins and it belongs to the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The oldest structure at the Fort is a log cabin built in 1871 called the “General Crook’s Cabin.” In the mid-1870s the Fort was considered a remote outpost kind of like Siberia from what I hear. The Fort’s cemetery is also located about one-fourth mile to the east of the Fort.
The Kinishba Ruins are located about 4 miles west of the Fort. They were once occupied by the Zuni and Hopi ancestors until around 1400 A.D. The Native village was excavated in the 1930s by Archaeologist Byron Cummings and it was also partially reconstructed.
The Fort was established in 1870 and was occupied until the capture of Geronimo in 1886. It was normally involved in the Indian Wars of the area. It’s original name was Ft Ord and then a few months later the name was changed to Camp Mogollon and later Camp Thomas. Finally it was named Ft Apache after that. The Fort sits at the end of a military road that once joined it to the San Carlos Apache lands.
We didn’t find any artifacts ourselves unfortunately but it was an interesting exploration as we learned a lot about the history of the region.
Not sure what the “powers that be” have against people exploring Arizona’s underground catacombs but one thing I do know is that if the TRUTH were known it would change our understanding and concept of Native Americans who lived in the region long ago. Obviously, these people knew the catacombs well and used them to escape from the Cavalry and for travel and hideouts. I’m sure some of the outlaws of days gone by used them too!
Oh one other thing…………………..Barb snapped this pic of a beautiful elk very close to us as we were exploring 🙂