Monday, February 18, 2013

Almost Heaven: San Rafael Valley

San Rafael Valley Grasslands
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Spent a day shooting in paradise, a beautiful natural grassland surrounded by mountains in Southeast Arizona. In the heart of the San Rafael Valley you will find the Lazy J2 ranch, a ten section ranch enveloped by the most beautiful pastures and sensuous terrains. At the lower levels of the ranch are rolling expansive grasslands and at its higher elevations hillsides peppered with fragrant manzanita and juniper trees ill suited for grazing cattle. Most of this land remains under the protection of the USFDS and the proud stewardship of rancher Sidney Spencer.

The ranch literally went on for miles as we trekked on a four wheeled smooth riding Ranger. At each bend there was something different to behold as if God himself had placed it there for viewing. A piece of heaven in the high Arizona desert. The San Rafael Valley and the Lazy 2 Ranch act as the spiritual source of the Santa Cruz river fed by the summer monsoons and flowing creeks.

As I looked across the expanses, I imagined movies such as Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa complete with soundtracks. Yes for most of the day, as we traversed the winding and hilly gravel roads, with a friendly blue healer companion by my side, I was speechless. We stopped along the way, checking on black angus steers heartily fed by the 35 acres each has to graze and ample personal daily water supply of 35 gallons. We also checked to make sure the windmills were functioning and stopped those who water tanks were brimming.

For a city boy, this was all amazing to me, the decent life of steers in the San Rafael Valley grass fed all their lives and free to roam endless miles. It's easy to just dream in a place like this. This is undoubtedly must be what heaven is like. I certainly can't imagine a more perfect place.

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