February 9, 2012
CeeCee and Aaron Canvasser, long time friends of Jim’s, came to visit for a couple of hours. We went to breakfast and returned to the motor home where I gave Aaron a haircut while Jim coached CeeCee how to buy a car at the price you want, from a car dealer. The haircut is looking to become a tradition because the very first time I met Aaron, he offered to cut my hair. I repaid the favor and here we are at:
Aaron and CeeCee hail from Oregon State. They follow a challenge ballroom dance circuit here in Apache Junction.
In the afternoon we visited Superstition Mountain Museum. Apache Junction has thrived on the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s mine and other strange tales because of it, which are fully covered in this museum. The story and setting attracted Hollywood and the museum includes Apache Land, a movie set from the 1960′s. It burned down twice and only a few buildings remain.
There is no known photo of Jacob Waltz, the Dutchman, but there is a collection of drawings and purported photos of him. The drawings are as varied as the many maps attributed to him.
It even looks fake. Why anyone would pay money for it is beyond my comprehension.
This one in Spanish must have been sold to a Spanish speaking miner. Jacob Waltz did not speak and write Spanish.
A letter from a friend is considered authentic proof that Waltz found gold and assayed it. Other miners found gold of a specific type as well. The map of his buried treasure was left with the woman who owned the boarding house where he lived and died. In the museum are 28 paper maps. The maps are crude, unreadable and amusing unless you consider that men fought and died for gold that was never found.
Six stone maps of an equally obscure Peralta Mine qualify as works of art,another mystery.
A really good site about the mystery and deaths that occurred in this area is this one:
We were without a signal for two hours this morning, so I’ll continue this blog tomorrow.
February 8, 2012
The Superstition Mountains are a range of Mountains covering three counties in Arizona. The Lost Dutchman’s Mine is supposedly located near this major peak in the range accessible from Apache Junction. You can barely see some Hohokam cave dwellings in the far left node of the mountain in the picture above. The whole range is now a designated wilderness area and the Lost Dutchman Mine is supposedly located below this peak near Weavers Needle. The name of mystery, and the legend of the Lost Dutchman can be read on the Arizona State Parks site at the bottom of their page at this address: http://azstateparks.com/Parks/LODU/index.html
And Wikipedia also has information about the Superstitions at this address:
Many hikers choose this area for recreation. Avid hikers easily name off ten or more trails they’ve hiked in to Superstition. Today’s goal is a spire near the base of the main promontory at 2000 foot elevation.
There were sixteen of us and we started at this spot which very gently leads up.
Here the trail splits into two. Our leader, Bob, knows the way because he has lead hikers into this wilderness for many years and has hiked 72 different trails. Here the ground is smooth and easy.
When you turn around and take in the view, the landscape is rugged. Overcast and cool, the Superstition Range off in the distance is looking toward Phoenix.
After a steep section, everyone stops for a few minutes to catch their breath and rest for a minute or two and enjoy the views.
Our goal gets closer. The signature cave dwellings are much easier to see in this close up.
At this shady spot our leader suggests that anyone who doesn’t feel capable of making it all the way up, to stay and rest here and join the group on the way back down. None want to stay and no one appears to me to be having any difficulty. It is a wise and cautionary practice in group hikes to encourage people not to push themselves beyond their abilities.
We pass the Miner’s Needle and then when we turn back for a look we can see the valley far below us in miniature.
As we approach the crest, we feel like we are walking into a cloud. The trail is extremely steep and people stop to rest on the final push.
At the top, we all set and enjoy a snack and a long awaited rest. It took two hours to hike up and one hour to hike back. Total distance, four miles.
On the way back, the views are magnificent but the trail is rough and it is important to watch your steps. Stopping frequently to gaze is part of the joy. Some hikers camp primitively off these trails for a night or two and enjoy the quiet and the stars.