We’re still at the Golden Sun RV Resort in Apache Junction, Arizona where we will remain hanging out and visiting with friends. See my Blog entry for more information about this place… http://wp.me/pDCku-3wM

The day before yesterday Mary and I went to this museum for an enjoyable two-hour visit.. The Superstition Mountains lie east of our current location in Apache Junction, Arizona. This is what they look like…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

To read about the Superstition Mountains…click this link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstition_Mountains

The legend of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine centers around the Superstition Mountains. Click the link to read about the legend.

The museum presents historical details about the Superstition Mountains. Here are some photos I took while there…

To see the other 20 photos I took, click this link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/SuperstitionMountainMuseum

Going to museums and understanding the history of the areas we visit is one of our very favorite things to do in our RVing lifestyle.

In other news…

Yesterday Mary visited a friend from the area. I spent two hours on the cellphone with Verizon troubleshooting our intermittent Internet signal, got the Bronco washed and spent a good part of the day reading.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

HIKING SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstition_Mountains

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.

This is Superstition Mountain, a range of sharp pinnacles that rises from the flat desert floor right here in Apache Junction. This is Apache territory, these mountains, and Geronimo ranged over this barely hospitable range that is now partly Tonto National Forest, and Lost Dutchman State Park. The Roosevelt dam, brought a string of lakes to the area and its a much valued recreation area, along with the privately owned town of Tortilla Flat.

We drove up the Apache Trail which is nicely paved, now. Much of the Apache Trail was inundated by the Roosevelt Dam, but we did see portions of the foot and horse paths used by the Indians. Its interesting terrain puts water and cactus in close proximity.

We enjoyed the drive to Tortilla Flat, basically a tourist town now. It was once a valuable stage stop. It served the builders of the dam with supplies and recreation in the 1940’s. It has a colorful history of the  many owners who basically went broke here. Each bought the whole town. Part of that history feeds upon the stories of the Lost Dutchman Mine. Stories, plural because there are so many tales one can count on it being a fake. Yet, in the years after the identified Dutchman, a German named Jacob Waltz (an American spelling) supposedly convinced some people there was a rich mine. No one has ever found it, though thousands have searched, some losing their lives in the process, which is how legends are built.

Tortilla Flat has a population of six people and about six buildings. A saloon, gift shop with books and souvenirs, a restaurant and small general store and a small school museum. Probably not the original school. We watched a band set up on the patio of the saloon.  The area is subject to flash floods and a man named John Cline, with some people from the Tonto Basin were stranded at this spot when the flood waters cut them off from the roads. With nothing but flour and water, they made tortillas to eat and Cline christened the place Tortilla Flat. That fact is fairly well documented unlike the Dutchman’s mine.

The restaurant and bar has wall after wall of dollar bills as wallpaper, a tradition that started in about 1950 or so. The building burned once with all of its dollars. It was robbed once of its dollars. But, the custom flourishes and it is estimated that approximately 160,000 dollars are stapled to the walls. Some get damaged as you brush by them; many have signatures or are accompanied with a business card.

The place has a number of murals suggestive of its more notorious past.

Plenty of old rusty relics decorate the grounds and buildings.

We drove past the town headed for Fish Camp. We got by this flooded section of road easily, but the road is under repair and closed ahead of this spot and we only ventured a few miles farther.
On the way out, we stopped at the State Camp Grounds and got close to some of the saguaro cactus, not very big ones, but fat and healthy looking.

We drove by forests of Cholla, some in bloom making a white dotted hillside. And, at the end of the day, we stopped by Jim’s home lodge of the VFW for a hamburger and a beer. Good stuff. And, here, they serve the beer COLD!

And, I always thought that indentation in the bottom of the mug was to give you the idea you had more than you actually got, kind of a “packaging” trick.

Jim says:

Yesterday Mary and I took the Bronco 20 miles northeast of Apache Junction, Arizona on the Apache Trail into Tonto National Forest in the Superstition Mountain Range to the old stagecoach stop of Tortilla Flat. Real pretty country. Here’s 10 photos that I took…

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To see the additional 32 photos I took, click this link…
http://picasaweb.google.com/jimjrver/TortillaFlatArizona011111#

To find out everything you could want to know about Tortilla Flat, click this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortilla_Flat,_Arizona

Here’s the official Tortilla Flat link…
http://www.tortillaflataz.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.panamaorbust.com

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