Apache Death Cave

There is nothing but an endless, flat high desert landscape surrounding me as I pull off the Interstate. Two Guns isn’t a town per se but a place for sagebrush to tumble along in the dirt when the wind picks up. Abandoned and desolate, but with an interesting story from over a century ago. The massacre in the Apache Death Cave.

As I walk towards the ruins, the story rattles around my skull….

A group of Apaches had hid in a cave at Two Guns to avoid detection, but were discovered by the Navajos, who lit sagebrush fires at the cave’s exit and shot any Apaches trying to escape. The fire asphyxiated 42 Apaches, after which they were stripped of their valuables. The murder site is referred to as the “death cave”.

Of course, with any good murder mystery from decades ago, there are rumors about the origins and accuracy of this sad tale. Some debunk the story as the architectural remains don’t fall in line with how Apache’s constructed dwellings back then, in comparison to other Apache ruins. Others claim a White man made up the story to attract tourists and newcomers to the West back in the day….

As I check out the area for myself, the sense of loss that I feel whenever I’m on any Native American land overwhelms me. Whether or not this particular story is true doesn’t really seem to matter.

Blood is soaked deep into the earth everywhere out here, going back to when man first lived on these lands.

I head further North into Reservation land. It’s mid-summer in Arizona, but early monsoon rains and the generally cooler temperatures up here have the valleys covered in green, with the bluest of skies and cloud formations that one could sleep on for years.

After a day of exploring, I head on over to the small town of Holbrook. I find a KOA campground for the night, and to my surprise and delight, they offer small one room cabins to rent. I unpack my gear, whip up a quick meal, and sit in the porch swing watching the sunset.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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