This post is obviously not specifically about the building business but this adventure did include some old homes and structures that were very interesting!

We were at our place up north when picked up a large coffee table book that my Dad had given me 2 months before he passed away, called Ghost Towns of the West. My life was filled with adventure with my father. He loved Arizona and he was a walking historian on everything Arizona. We shared a love for outdoor experiences; such as, motorcycles, jeeps, desert trips, discovering remote Arizona places, harley rides, etc., etc. I was feeling sentimental and wanted to go on an adventure later that day to 2 ghost towns that weren’t too far from where we were; which was Heber, Arizona. I was intrigued by Aripine and Zeniff. Kevin and my Mama are always up for adventure so we set out!

Sidenote: On our way out of town, we stopped at a little drive through espresso place off Hwy 260 called Perky’s Espresso. One of the best latte’s I’ve ever had…chocolatey, strong, smokey and smooth. She uses espresso ice cubes so the iced lattes aren’t diluted- makes all the difference! I don’t do dairy and she didn’t have almond or coconut milk but she made it with Oat milk, which I’de never had but loved.

Then we headed for Aripine. Aripine is in Navajo County, Arizona. It was originally named Joppa and was settled by the Mormons in 1883. The name was, at some point, changed to Aripine; which was derived from the first 3 letters in Arizona and pine (because there are lots of pines in the area). From HWY 260, we hit the FS332, which was a dirt road, and about 30 minutes later we were there. What I would like to learn more about are the homes there that looked well cared for and possibly lived in but yet we didn’t see one soul…or ghost, I should say, not one car, etc. The most interesting structure here was a charming stone house with a metal roof and some silos.

Then we headed to Zeniff, located about 15 miles south of Holbrook. We inadvertently took a wrong turn and ended up in an area that was super remote with thick undergrowth. We were joking that people could go back there and never be found again when the most amazing property appeared right in front of us. It was a 25 acre ranch that was for sale for $1,450,000.00 – right in the middle of nowhere!

Then we got back on track and were on our way to Zeniff. We saw a grave marker off the road and stopped to pay our respects to Mr. Larry Grant.

The GPS said we had arrived in Zeniff but there wasn’t really anything to signify that we had in fact arrived anywhere. We started driving around and it ended up being very interesting. Zeniff was settled by the Preston Bushman family in 1911 with the goal of dry farming but they were continually flooded out and thus, their farming operation was abandoned. Preston’s father, John Bushman, had helped settle Heber and Preston had dreams of settling his own town…and that town was Zeniff. Zeniff’s location on the cattle trail made it an important stop for cattle drives to Holbrook. There were acres of corn, oats and clover for the livestock, as well as pastures that the cowboys could turn out their cattle and horses in. The only problem is that the wells all went dry. The story is like a crazy soap opera about the Bushman’s financial problems and of how they were swindled by Fred Turley, which led to their abandoning Zeniff and moving to Mesa, AZ. in 1938. In 1956 Southwest Forest Industries purchased the land built a paper mill on it with the intention of using the Dry Lakes as waste storage. Soon after, Zeniff became unlivable due to the horrific smell from the waste water. We actually met someone about a year ago who had a family member who had worked in the paper mill and he said that that family member had gotten cancer very early in life and it was attributed to his work there. Only 3 buildings remain today. You can see the old dams, pastures, crop fields and where large trees were planted in between sections, possibly to cut the wind. There appears to be an active ranch or farm operation in the area, though. I found it difficult to find information on Zeniff but this youtube was about the most helpful thing out there:

If anyone knows anything to add or correct my surmisings, please let me know in the comments!

As we drove around surveying abandoned crop fields and old corrals and fences, out in the distance we saw a horse. Being as we hadn’t seen a soul all day, we were feeling social so stopped and whistled to try to get him to come over. He held his distance. We got back in the car and just as we started to drive away, he started running towards us! We got back out and introduced ourselves. We picked what were some old crops still growing here and there to feed him but they stunk- not sure what they were. He turned his nose up at them and we promised to return with cold apples some day.