Friday, June 16, 2017
Summer in Tucson, Arizona, can be oppressive with temperatures over 100 degrees most days. To escape the heat the immediate destination for residents is Mount Lemmon where temperatures can be 30 degrees cooler. The downside is that once a driver is on the Catalina Highway it is 27 miles to the top. Today my wife and I are taking the kids to hike the Meadow Trail which is just over a two mile round trip we are also taking a detour to see the Mount Lemmon fire lookout which is still in use by the Forest Service. Most of the trail is shaded Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine making for a pleasant hike. The one change I would make is to hike the Mount Lemmon Trail first because it is uphill and gets hot later in the afternoon. If you stop at the dirt parking lot above the Mount Lemmon Ski Valley visitors do not have to fight for a spot at the main trailhead a little ways up the mountain.
Recently a friend of mine suggested that I visit Gammon's Gulch near Benson, Arizona. After reading positive reviews on Yelp I booked a Saturday tour at 11 pm. I printed off directions from MapQuest and they took me right to the old movie set. The Internet makes it seem like Gammon's Gulch is in Benson but it is actually north of town about 15 miles. When I arrived Jay Gammon's greeted me right away and led me into a building where I waited for the rest of the visitors to arrive. The tour itself was about one hour and interesting. Jay took us into each building and described how he had acquired most of the artifacts on sight. Mr. Gammons told many jokes including some at the expense of liberals and Mr. Obama. He also did not hide his utter contempt for Hollywood. Near the end of the tour Mr. Gammons even played a few songs on piano and banjo. If you visit the Gulch make sure to bring water, food and a hat because there is no restaurant on site. All in all this is an excellent location to spend part of a day and I will be back.
History: Jay Gammons bought property in the 1970s with the sole purpose of creating a vintage 1880s western town. Over the years Mr. Gammons has acquired over 20,000, artifacts from towns throughout Arizona including an old cell door from Tombstone. Over the years numerous actors and actresses have filmed movies at this location. Some of these movies include Illyushin, Three Tickets to Paradise, BlackWood, and Ride the Lightning. Jay Gammons has met and worked with many actors and actresses such as John Wayne and Barbara Streisand. Gammon's Gulch has not turned into an attraction like Tombstone or the Old Tucson so it feels like a true 1880s western town.