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  1. Here's some pictures from a camping trip a few weekends ago we took down near Tombstone and the Dragoon Mountains.
  2. Ever been to a ghost town and had a feeling you were being watched? But nothing was there. Ever wonder if some of the old places we venture to are haunted? Maybe there's more to some of the places than meets the eye. My intern, Emily Huddleston, recently went out to an old local ranch to meet up with some of Arizona's best paranormal investigators. Here's what she found out. http://www.experience-az.com/features/ghostsofsteampumpranch.html Make sure you listen to the audio recordings. Every time I listen to the audio they recorded and here the children's voices in the background (who were not physically there - at least on this plane), it gives me goose bumps.
  3. Located on a portion of the Navajo Reservation in Coconino County, just 37 miles east of Flagstaff, very little remains of this once thriving, lawless town, that during its heyday boasted about 2000 residents. First discovered in 1853 by a soldier named Lieutenant Whipple, who was part of the thirty-fifth parallel survey party, he aptly named it Devil’s Canyon because it presented such a major obstacle that the team had to go miles out of their way to continue the land survey. However, it did not originate as a town until 1880, when the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad decided to run tracks through the area, which required a bridge to traverse the canyon. Building of the bridge came to a halt when it was found that not enough materials had been provided to complete the project. As a result a ramshackle town was built and quickly gained notoriety as being a more dangerous place than Tombstone, Dodge City and Abilene, where more people were killed in one year than from the three other cities combined. This little outpost in the middle of nowhere sported fourteen saloons, ten gambling halls, four brothels, two dance halls, which may have also operated as brothels, and one or two places to buy food and dry goods. The main, and only street, was called Hell Street, which ran for about a mile and was lined mostly with tin and canvas buildings. Along this appropriately named street you would have come across businesses with names like the Road to Ruin, the Last Drink, Name Your Pizen and the Cootchy Klatch. Although the brothels were unnamed, the were operated by women with pretty colorful names, such as Bullshit Mary and Clabberfoot Annie. It has been reported that these two women, who operated their establishments directly across the street from one another, would often stand in their doorways hurling insults and threats at each other, which often lead to fistfights in the street and the ripping off of each other’s clothing, much to the amusement of the local men. On one occasion Annie became so incensed that she ran back to her house, grabbed a shotgun, and filled Mary’s rather large bottom full of buckshot. This was truly a lawless place, and anyone brave (or foolish) enough to put on a lawman’s badge soon found himself buried 6 feet deep in the local hard-scrabble graveyard, where thirty five unmarked graves, except for one, can be found. There are many other burials throughout the town, where victims were buried where they fell and died. Crime went completely unchecked and robberies were a constant problem. It has been said that robberies occurred hourly, and anyone passing through was sure to be robbed, and murder was just as common an occurrence. The town only lasted about two years, and with the completion of the bridge, most of the workers, prostitutes and shop owners packed up and left the town to slowly erode back into the dust from which it had sprung so quickly. Only a few hardy die-hards remained behind to continue life in this inhospitable region. As hard as they are to find, some people from this little town did make the news, allowing for further research into their histories. The Arizona Champion newspaper, dated March 16th, 1889, tells us of the sad passing of young Harry Marvin, son of Mrs. & Mrs. Harry Marvin… “The many friends of Harry Marvin will regret to learn that his little 7-year-old son, Harry, died at Canyon Diablo last Thursday of dropsy. He was buried at the Flagstaff cemetery yesterday afternoon.” Further down the page we find a more in depth account of the death of young Harry… Marvin – at Canyon Diablo, Friday, March 15th, Harry, son of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Marvin. “On Friday of this week the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Marvin died. This little fellow was five years of age. He was the first boy born on the mountains near here. Since two or three weeks since the child was taken ill and Canyon Diablo. A physician was called. Last week the mother and child came up to Flagstaff for the purpose of being near the doctor. Notwithstanding medical care and the kindest attentions of mother and friends, the little child grew worse and died on Thursday, March 14, and was buried on the following day. In spite of very severe weather many friends attended the funeral. Mr. & Mrs. Marvin have the sympathy of all their friends in this hour of sorrow.” The same page of this newspaper mentions a J.A. Dines… “J.A. Dines who had his leg broke recently near Canyon Diablo, is steadily improving and is now able to be out again.” James A. Dines was born in Missouri between 1845 and 1849. On June 2nd, 1897, at Maricopa County, he married Jennie B. Steele. He and wife Jennie are listed in the 1910, 1920 and 1930 census records for Tempe, Maricopa County, AZ. In 1919 James was listed in the Arizona State Roster as a registered pharmacist in Tempe. He died at Prescott, Arizona in 1935. So, according to the newspaper little Harry was born in either 1882 or 1884, near Canyon Diablo. A mention in the Arizona Champion, dated August 15th, 1885, tells us that Harry, Sr., had been a long-time employee of the railroad, making it very likely that he arrived at Canyon Diablo during the building of the railway bridge sometime between 1880 and 1883… “Harry Marvin, who for a long time has been in charge of the section house at Belmont, has removed with his family to his ranch near Belmont, and will henceforth be an honest granger. Harry is an old employee of the railroad company, and we wish him success in his new venture.” This same issue, on the same page, also mentions… “On Tuesday of this week, Miss Maggie Marvin, daughter of Harry Marvin, of Belmont, met with a very serious accident, which resulted in the breaking of a leg. The young lady was on the log wagon drawn by oxen, and when crossing the railroad track she was thrown off, the large heavy wheel passing over her limb, crushing the bone. Dr. Brannen was sent for, who splintered up the injuries, but he is not certain he can save the limb. The little girl was eleven years of age, which is in her favor, for if she was an adult there would be no other course but amputation. She is doing well at last reports.” A later account informs us that little Maggie’s leg healed just fine and amputation was not necessary. The May 12th, 1922 edition of the Coconino Sun also provides us with a photo of Harry Marvin, who was a member of the G.A.R. See attached .pdf. This indicates that he was a veteran of the Civil War. Henry “Harry” Marvin was born in the year 1844 in Illinois, and wife Hester W. Loman was born in the year 1852 in Missouri. In 1880 the family were listed in the census for Conway, Taylor County, Iowa, with the following children listed in the household…Anna, Lovel and Maggie. Anna was born in Kansas and Lovel and Maggie were born in Iowa. The Tombstone Epitaph Prospector, dated May 1st, 1882, tells us a very brief but informative account of a fatal shooting at Canyon Diablo… “A man named Brock shot and killed John Lee at Canyon Diablo recently. Cause, poker.” The May 5th edition of the Weekly Journal Miner (Prescott) states… “Ed Whipple, City Marshall of Winslow, Apache County, came in on the A.&P. coach Saturday night with a prisoner named John Layton, charged with killing John Lee at Canyon Diablo on April 21st. Mr. Whipple returned to Winslow this morning. Another article, this one from the May 26th, 1882 edition of The Weekly Arizona Miner gives us yet another name for John Lee’s killer… “The Grand Jury to-day found a true bill for murder against John Layden for the killing of John Lee at Canyon Diablo.” The June 3rd, 1882 edition of The Arizona Daily Miner tells us that John Layden was transported to the state penitentiary after being sentenced to 4 years and 10 months. John Lee, born in the year 1827 in Virginia, had been employed as a store clerk at Prescott, Arizona in 1880. He was listed as single. @ 2013 Cindy Nunn. All Rights Reserved. Marvin_GAR_May_1922.pdf
  4. Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:00 am By LORA NEU, Enterprise Staff Writer | 0 comments Searching for ghost towns might lead you anywhere in Arizona or Pinal County. My search came together with the ghost town of Pinal City and the Legends of Superior Trail, also known as the LOST trail. With my preference for hiking, this trip sounded like it would allow me to try out a new, interesting hiking trail and to explore a ghost town at the same time. The LOST Trail runs through Superior and heads west to intersect with the Arizona Trail, which bisects the entire state of Arizona, north/south, from Mexico to Utah. With the LOST trail, this helps make Superior a gateway town for the popular through trail. Already, many hikers from all over the United States and the world have stopped in Superior. Eco-tourism could be a big boost for this historic mining town, and Superior seems to understand that the LOST trail system is a great way to promote the town and get visitors walking, not only on desert trails, but through the town as well. In fact, there have been two annual Legends of Superior Eco-Tourism Festivals the last two years in February, where visitors can learn about all of the outdoor adventures that can be found in Superior. They have guided hikes to show off the trails, and numerous events in town. Check with the Chamber of Commerce for next year’s festival. Opened in 2011, the LOST trail ends at the Hewitt Station Road trailhead for the Arizona Trail. The Forest Service website for the Tonto National Forest has a brochure and map for the segment that links the ghost town of Pinal City with the Arizona Trail. Or you can get information about the trail at the Superior Visitor Center in the red caboose. Superior sits below the looming Apache Leap escarpment and the nearby imposing Picketpost Mountain. Queen Creek cuts through the area, and the ghost town that once housed the mill for the Silver King Mine are all part of the experience of the LOST trail. The mining history in the Superior area goes back to at least 1876 with the discovery of silver, which led to the development of the Silver King Mine. Milling of the silver was done along Queen Creek, in a town named Picketpost. That town became Pinal in 1878 and is now the site of the Pinal ghost town. At one time, more than 800 people called it home. The mine operated from 1875 to 1889. The town was eventually abandoned and most people moved to the small town of Hastings, which later became Superior. The nearby Silver Queen Mine was opened in 1880 and ran until 1893, when it was shut down. The Silver Queen, purchased in 1910 by Boyce Thompson, was renamed the Magma Mine, and it became one of the most productive copper mines in Arizona. The Magma finally shut down in 1995. Currently, Resolution Copper is located at the Magma Mine site with an exploration operation. The ghost town of Pinal is a testament to the ups and downs of the mining industry, and no doubt Superior residents have their own stories to tell of the boom-and-bust cycles of living in a mining town. However, another chapter is trying to be writ. And writ large. Resolution Copper has been in the process of trying to develop what would be one of the world’s largest copper deposits that could potentially supply the U.S. with more than 25 percent of its copper needs. But it remains to be seen whether they will be able to develop the body, which they found 7,000 feet below the Magma Mine in 1996. Environmental groups, Native American concerns, federal legislation and agreement with the residents of Superior are just some of the issues that have to be ironed out before it can happen. Besides mining, another significant piece of history involves the conflict with area Apache Indians. Apache Leap, the majestic escarpment that hangs above the town of Superior, is the focus of a well-known tale. Legend says that a band of Apaches were driven to the edge of the cliff by U.S. soldiers and, rather than be captured, they chose to jump to their deaths. The Apache women gathered at the base of the cliff, where they wept for their dead. Their tears were captured, the legend says, inside the translucent stones known as “Apache Tears,” which are obsidian, or volcanic glass. To learn more about the area, you can visit the Superior Visitor Center, located in the Red Caboose on the left just past the rest area, as soon as you get in town. If you’ve never seen an Apache Tear, they have examples in the caboose and can even give you directions as to how you can find them yourself. For my hike, I found that the visitor center had maps and brochures that provide directions and include an explanation of the interpretive stations you will find on the trail. Looking for a parking place I found a huge dirt area next to the giant Superior sign, adjacent to the Airport Road. I chose to park on the side of the Airport Road instead of the dirt lot off the highway. On this trail segment, which begins just off Airport Road, you’ll find the first interpretive station, which urges the hiker to gaze toward Apache Leap, which hangs over the town of Superior. And behind you the huge monument that is Picketpost Mountain looms above the site of what was once the city of Pinal. The trail does cross numerous dirt roads from beginning to end, which made me wonder why I was walkin’ if I could be drivin’, but it was an enjoyable walk. After about 35 minutes of walking, I was happy to see a very shady cottonwood grove and stopped to rest there in the clearing. This, then, was station two: Queen Creek. The brochure pointed out that the water was of course always an attraction and that the prehistoric Hohokam and later the Apache and the Yavapai Indians called the area home. It was very inviting and would make a great spot for a picnic. Even in the summer, it should provide a cool, beautiful rest spot or destination for a picnic lunch. As I sat there with a breeze cooling me down, I wished I had brought my binoculars as there were lots of tweets going on and I would have liked to get a closer look at some of the bird life there. Queen Creek flows through here, and there was still some water standing in a few deep pools. Though Queen Creek does flow year-round, it does so underground. So the pools may dry up in the summer. The weather was quite warm on a May afternoon and I reluctantly left the shaded copse. Station three points out the riparian forest made up of the creek and the cottonwood and mesquite trees that line its banks. Station four finally brings me to downtown Pinal. The trail comes up on a terraced area, which was the Main Street of the town. I have to admit, I’m more interested in hiking than in ghost towns. I knew before I came that there wasn’t much left of Pinal City. I had to look closely and walk around a bit before I could see the artifacts that were right in front of my face. Without the interpretive signs pointing out building foundations, I surely would not have recognized them for what they were. I’m sure I would have just seen them as some more rocks in the area. So the brochure is nice to have with you because of the brief description it gives, enabling you to locate the artifacts. Station six, however, was much more visually revealing of the past that once existed here, evidenced by the numerous building foundations located on a terraced hillside. Since it can be viewed from above, it is very easy to see the outlines of the foundations of buildings that once stood here. Continuing along the trail finally leads the hiker near where the trail crosses under U.S. 60. But one of the best sites, and what really makes it a worthwhile visit, are the wagon tracks cut into the rock. Station nine is a short jaunt to see the really amazing tracks that are on the old ore haul road. The wagon wheels, made of wood and rimmed in steel, cut deep grooves into the porous volcanic tuff rock. They are definitely something worth making a trip to see. Again, I have to admit, this site is very near to the highway and a dirt road goes very near it. I’m not sure where that road comes in off the highway, but again, the walk was enjoyable so I didn’t really mind the idea that I walked an hour to a place that someone could drive to. In fact, my car is low clearance, so I couldn’t have used most of the dirt roads anyway. From here, the trail goes through a culvert under the highway. I didn’t relish going into the very long, darkish culvert by myself. But I had another goal I was trying to reach on my ghost town hike, and it lay on the other side of the highway. While researching the ghost town of Pinal, I came across a tale of the Pinal City Cemetery. Word is that Mattie Blaylock is buried there. Celia “Mattie” Blaylock was the common-law wife of Wyatt Earp. Mattie had eventually moved to Pinal, where she allegedly committed suicide in 1888. Earlier, I had been given directions to the gravesite by the friendly people at the Superior Visitor Center. I had decided to maximize my hiking time and take the dirt road on the map they gave me and just drive to the cemetery. Having a low-profile car, I was a little nervous taking it on a dirt road. The main road was fine, but where the directions said “go to the top of a hill and take the first little dirt road to your left,” I backed out, literally, and decided to head back to the Airport Road and start my hike. Surely, anyone who has the foresight to plan a trip to a ghost town cemetery would have better luck than I. I tend to rush off, with my mind set on hiking — but this was supposed to be a ghost town exploration! Back to the hike: I contemplated the roughly 60-foot-long culvert that looked like a great snake haven, something from one of those Indiana Jones movies. Or some cave that might have held prehistoric bones. Got through the culvert okay, but it did give me goosebumps. I followed the trail until I crossed some modern-day railroad tracks and a large water pipe. The trail came out on a ridge and I could see the power lines very nearby. Now I had also read that the cemetery could be reached via this trail I had been hiking on, though it was a little out of the way. I thought I could reach it by hiking cross-country after crossing the highway, but I couldn’t find anything and preferred not to stray too far off the trail. I thought, OK, another way to find it, based on the directions I’d been given, was to just walk below the power lines until I found the cemetery. How hard could that be? There’s usually a road under a power line. There was a road, and I looked and looked (again wished I had my binos) and saw nothing that looked like a cemetery. I believed it was fenced and contained some actual headstones, so I thought it ought to stand out, but saw nothing of the kind. Being the lionhearted (chicken) hiker that I am, I had my eye on the thunderclouds that had been hanging over Apache Leap all afternoon and were heading my way and getting darker by the minute. So I headed back to the trail and retraced my steps back to the trailhead rather than continuing to the junction with the Arizona Trail. All told, the hike took about three hours. I had no clue how many miles I had hiked in spite of the brochures and instructions I carried in my pocket. All I know is I was hot and footsore when I finished. Be sure to drink plenty of water if you go. I carry 3 liters just for a short hike. You might want to bring at least a gallon of water or more if you plan to be out there more than two or three hours. Depending on your source and how you look at the trail, it is either 6 miles long (NFS) or looked at as three segments of 4.6 miles, 3 miles and 2 miles. I was on the Gateway segment. Of the other two segments, one takes you through historic Superior and one takes you on an uphill hike to the old Claypool tunnel. It actually only took me about 30 to 40 minutes to get back, so I must have lingered longer than I thought at the ruins and the cottonwood grove. My adventure nearly over, I didn’t want to leave the area without one more search for the gravesite. Who knew when I might next return to Superior? I drove back to the dirt road indicated and this time paid closer attention to the directions and also the little map attached that I hadn’t even noticed was there before! I believe I followed the directions most carefully and took my car up a couple of humps I was uncomfortable with, and finally I arrived at the power lines again, this time at a different point. The directions say “aim for the SW corner of Picketpost Mountain straight ahead of you. Go about 3⁄4 mile. When the power lines are above you, park and look for the graves. You are in Pinal Cemetery.” I think I was too far east. I should have been veering more southwest toward Picketpost Mountain. Well, I didn’t see any cemetery. Further research, after my hike (brother!) tells that the road is best taken in a high-clearance vehicle. I spoke to Paul Burghard with the National Forest Service Globe Ranger Station and he confirmed that, yes, the cemetery is there and I took a left on the dirt road when I should have veered right. He said the directions I got from the visitor center were good, just be sure to choose the right-hand road at the Y early on. “You kind of need to know how to get there,” he said. But again, he said the visitor center’s directions will get you there, but he did recommend a high-clearance vehicle. Depending on weather conditions you frequently don’t know what condition a dirt road might be in. Based on what has happened at the cemetery and to Mattie’s grave and those of the other pioneers buried there, some are loathe to give directions. Over the years there has been vandalism, lack of respect, building of memorials to Mattie, moving of rocks, etc. So I will leave out any further directions here. I couldn’t find it anyway! You just need to go to the red caboose visitor center for a map and directions. Burghard said that now there is a fence around the cemetery and there is a sign that says Historic Pinal Cemetery. “It looks real nice, and we were trying to protect it,” Burghard said of the fence that now surrounds the cemetery. I can tell you this much, though. Whether you are searching for the Pinal Cemetery and Mattie Earp’s grave, or you hike on one of the three segments of the LOST trail system, or visit the ghost town of Pinal, you will have a good time getting LOST in Superior. ——— The brochure with a map and the interpretive information can be downloaded from the National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5269665.pdf or picked up at the Superior Visitors Center.
  5. On the trail of a Spanish pioneer: the diary and itinerary of ..., Volume 1 By Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo Garcés On_the_trail_of_a_Spanish_pioneer.pdf
  6. Vanished Arizona: recollections of the Army life of a New England woman Vanished_Arizona.pdf
  7. Arizona and Sonora Arizona_and_Sonora.pdf
  8. Don’t you sometimes wish you would get some kind of sign that what you’re about to do isn’t a good idea? “Here’s your sign” I was thinking about signs last weekend as I was driving north out of Tucson, gnashing my teeth to ward off the pain in my neck and adjusting the heating pad I had hooked up to an inverter in my Jeep. About six weeks ago, due to increased back problems, my functional neurologist told me that if I wanted to have any hope at staying out of a wheelchair and not peeing in a bag when I reached 60, I had to stop all mountain biking, hiking (at least anything difficult) and of course four-wheeling. I guess all doctors have the right to their opinion. So I went to another to see if I liked his opinion better. My orthopedic surgeon did have a different view on things. It was something like, “Hey, it’s no problem. When you get in so much pain you can’t walk, feel your legs or pee anymore, stop by, I’ll put you under the knife and fix you right up. Go do what you want to do and give me a call when you break something.” I liked his opinion better than my first doctor, but I had to remember to put it into proper perspective. I’ve already had two back surgeries and I wasn’t sure I wanted another one (even if he did need a new BMW). Plus, this was the doctor who I went mountain biking with 6 weeks after my last surgery. He wanted me to show him and his friends The Chutes. I asked him if he thought it was too soon for me. “What could go wrong?” he said, “Besides, if something bad does happen, I’m your surgeon. I’ll be right there with you.” Anyway, back to the signs. We had a total of four signs that this camping trip may not be a good idea. Sign one: I had taken half the previous week off from work due to severe pain in my neck, back, shoulder and arm and wasn’t sure if I could (or should) go out four-wheeling and camping. Sign two: Friend 1 also hurt his back during the week. Sign three: Friend 2 got sick with a cold and possible strep throat during the week. Sign four: Friend 2’s young son was diagnosed with strep throat on Thursday (but was feeling better than Friend 2). And that was the crew going camping… That’s a lot of signs. Maybe it would be best to play it safe and pay attention to all the signs. Then again, no one has ever called me “smart” and when the weather showed it was going to be perfect, I just had to go. So, a sick and sore crew of four left Tucson not-so-early Saturday morning. Me driving with my heating pad on The drive up from Tucson to Lake Pleasant was uneventful, but not all that pleasant. I grimaced as I got out of my Jeep and filled up with $4 gas (not sure if it was the gas prices or the pain in my shoulder that was the worst). From there we headed up Castle Hot Springs road. It looked like it had recently been graded and was smooth and easy. We got out at Castle Hot Springs and looked around. What a wonderful place. It’s gated, fenced and “tank ditched” off as private property. But you can still get a decent view of the place. They were watering the lawn. Everything looked in great shape. I wish the state or county would buy the place and open it to the public. Just a short drive from there, we drove past JL Bar Ranch. Again, closed off, but some really cool buildings in the area. We kept driving down Castle Hot Springs Road. Everything in this area is closed off. I didn’t see one trail that was open to the public. I wanted to go see Big Hell’s Gate, but it was gated off. Sad. One road had a sign that read “Beware of Attack Dogs”. Yikes, more signs. Cat-dog stayed in the Jeep. Big Hell’s Gate from afar Finally, about lunch time, the area seemed to open up and we saw a scant road or two that didn’t have death dealing signs on them. Yes! I had seen some pictures on Big Reef Mill and was hoping we could get to it. We took a right on a two track and saw it up in the distance. Big Reef Mill The road that appeared to lead straight to it did not and we got out to watch a few other trucks go up a steep hill on another road (the one we should have been on). One was 2WD and he barely made it by shoving the gas pedal to the floor and bouncing and banging his way up. At this time, we heard automatic gunfire. Hmmmm. Could this be another sign? It was coming from the Big Reef Mill. We heard more gunfire, some semi-automatic, some full auto. It didn’t seem to be in anger and we decided to make the trek up to the mill. After a short backtrack, we found the right road and made it to the base of the mill. There were a few shooters up there and the people who came before us were setting up to do some shooting. Cat-dog stayed on her leash and we made a quick survey. It was a neat area, just not a lot of fun walking around when there are 5 people shooting within a hundred yards of you if you’re not the ones doing the actual shooting. We got out of their as even more shooters set up to do some shooting. We had a quick lunch at another spot that looked popular for shooting, then headed down Castle Hot Springs until it almost came out to highway 74. We took a right to head toward Anderson Mill and the area which was the main focus of our trip. After a short distance, we took another right down Little San Domingo Wash. This is an easy 4WD/2WD road that sometimes follows the wash, sometimes not. There are LOTS of mining claim markers on either side of the road, but the further you go, the less you see. Not a whole lot going on until you reach Anderson Mill. You will know when you get there by a tree and water line crossing the road. This place is just plain awesome! Someone called it the Rube Goldburg Mill. And when you look at it, it makes sense. The whole thing looks put together by scraps from other sites or whatever was lying around. They have rebar and railroad rails as structural members. We parked up at the bottom, but found out later you can drive all the way to the top. Some of the trail is super steep to the top if you want to give it a go. You can walk up the steel steps, but “bee” careful, there was a bee hive at the first corner of the steps when we went there. LOTS of bees in that area. We decided not to go up the first portion of the steps. You can also climb to the very top of the mill if you dare. The contraption seems very sturdy, but it was the height that made me chicken out. Friend 2 did it, but he was a little shaky at the end. It was getting a little late and headed out to find a place to camp. I thought there might be some nice spots near Pechan Camp, but first we stopped by the Underwood’s Graves and old camp. Not much there except the grave markers, collapsed building and outhouse, spring/well and boards. It did have some decent trees though. We kept going and found Pechan Camp. Not much left except some foundations, well, tank and lots of old cans. Also, not much of an area to camp. We could either turn around and find a place back toward Anderson Mill (maybe near the Underwood graves, but Friend 2’s young son didn’t like that idea … neither did I … eewww) or keep going forward. We decided to keep going. Looking at my topo map, there might be a way out to Buckhorn Road (which was another option for us). I wanted to try to get to Independence Mine if we could. We kept trying to find nice spots to camp as we traveled north, but we were either in a narrow wash or the vegetation was just too thick and prickly. It kept getting later and later and we kept going farther and farther. I was getting nervous we’d be setting up camp at night, though I was really glad I had my new Coleman Instant Tent, which would make it a breeze in the headlights. As we got near Independence Mine, we came to a four-way split, three ways were well-traveled. Hmmmm. What to do? We decided one truck would stay at the intersection, one would take the high road to the right and I would take the low road to the right. The vehicle at the intersection would relay messages via the CB if we all couldn’t talk to each other. Friend 1, who took the high road, called after a short time (I could barely hear him due to the large mountain between us). He had found an awesome spot on top of the mountain with 360 degree views. Okay, camping spot found. Now, I was on a narrow shelf road, I had to find a place to turn around. Two hundred yards later, I found Independence Mine and my own awesome camping spot. It was a large area next to the mine that was flat, smooth and not very rocky. It had a great view down to the valley. But I turned around and went up to the top of the mountain. Friend 1 was only partially right. It did have an awesome 360 degree view, but the camping spot was very rocky and we had a D8 dozer nearby leaking oil which was super smelly. The dozer was really cool though. It looked like it had been left there only a few years ago. It still had oil and seemed like it would just take a new battery and a few hoses and BAM it would come to life. As it was getting dark, we trekked back down to the mine and set up camp as quickly as we could. My tent was up in two minutes, much to the jealousy of the other two. I got out my trusty camping stove for a well-deserved hot meal of potatoes, onions and kielbasa (a camping favorite). It was starting to get chilly and the warm food was going to be great. I opened up my stove and …. no regulator or hose. WTF? I still don’t have any idea where that went. Friend 1 was laughing because on Friday he had asked me if I wanted him to bring his stove and I’d told him don’t bother because I had it handled. Besides, the last time he had brought his, he had forgotten his regulator and we didn’t want to go through that again. Well, we did. LUCKILY, Friend 2 had packed his backpacking stove, but no gas. Okay, I had gas (pun intended) and we were able to cook our food. Now we just needed to eat it. I look in my camping box to pull out a fork and … all I have is freakin’ spoons. WTF #2! Due to my back injury, I hadn’t done much preparation and just threw crap in my Jeep. Maybe this was the fifth sign?? And by now you may be wondering that I hadn’t mentioned much about my back during this trip. That’s the good news. It wasn’t too bad. In fact, four-wheeling was easier (less painful) than driving on the freeway. Take THAT functional neurologist doctor person! But … we still had actual sleeping on an air mattress (that I was now wondering would even hold air based on what setting up camp was like) and a second day of four-wheeling and exploring to do. Maybe the signs would catch up with me tomorrow? Part two coming soon…
  9. A history buff, Allen Armstrong once said to his wife, “Wouldn't it be cool to own a ghost town?” Later, at a gas station in 1993, he asked the attendant, “Know of any ghost towns around here?” The attendant pointed to a man sitting nearby. It turned out the man owned the property that is Castle Dome City, an abandoned mining town northeast of Yuma, off Highway 95. “Two weeks later, we had the title,” Armstrong noted. Why a ghost town? “We love history. We wanted something to do with history,” he explained. Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/dome-84626-town-castle.html#ixzz2KEhCZ7VN
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