Archive for January, 2014

Jan. 20 – Hidden Valley Tank

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Today we decided to stick closer to camp. On the simple map you can pick up at any of the 3 entrance kiosks into the wildlife refuge, the roads and water sources are marked with little accuracy. There is a symbol for ‘Hidden Valley Tank’ within walking distance of our campsite, but looking out at the mountains, how could we find it?

It's like looking for a needle in a haystack, a water source in the arid mountains of Arizona!

It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, a water source in the arid mountains of Arizona!

I started with an internet search for GPS coordinates for water sources in Kofa Wildlife Refuge. Maybe the Fish & Wildlife Service doesn’t want to make it that easy! I couldn’t find any information pinpointing water sources here. Next I checked Google Earth and found what looked like a corrugated metal roof in a nearby narrow canyon. The ‘old style’ of water source enhancements usually consists of a dam holding water in a natural depression with a roof over it to minimize evaporation.

From the Kofa Nat'l. Wildlife Refuge website.

From the Kofa Nat’l. Wildlife Refuge website.

This must be it! Now I had to find the latitude and longitude to pinpoint the spot so we could walk right to it with our handheld GPS. I used a website; http://www.latlong.net/ ,which I use to pinpoint our location for the map “Where are Robert and Mary Jo now?” on our website. I found the telltale roof on the map and scrolled over the spot to get the coordinates. I put those into our handheld GPS hoping they are correct because sometimes the coordinates I get for our website puts us many miles away, sometimes into Mexico! Off we headed to the northeast, walking cross country.

We reached a wash we believed to be the outflow of Hidden Valley and followed it up.

We reached a wash we believed to be the outflow of Hidden Valley and followed it up.

There it is! The valley is more narrow and steeper than we imagined!

There it is! The valley is more narrow and steeper than we imagined!

We found a path through the wash to the base of the tank.

We found a path through the wash to the base of the tank.

A climb up the ladder afforded us a view of the tank itself, rather empty now.

A climb up the ladder afforded us a view of the tank itself, rather empty now.

Mission accomplished. We were wondering how they got all the equipment, metal, cement, etc. to the site and when they did the enhancements?

We found the chassis of an old truck, maybe it had been used for the tank construction.

As we hiked out we found the chassis of an old truck, maybe it had been used for the tank construction.

Hiking further out we found evidence of an old road leading to Hidden Valley. It wasn't going our way so we hiked cross country back to our campsite.

Hiking further out we found evidence of an old road leading to Hidden Valley. It wasn’t going our way so we hiked cross country back to our campsite.

Jan. 18 – Big Eye Mine

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

We finally made it to the parking area for the Big Eye Mine. We had some hiking to do now!

The road was closed, but you might see the faint line of it in the upper right.

The road was closed, but you might see the faint line of it in the upper right.

As we hiked up the road some old buildings came into view.

As we hiked up the road some old buildings came into view.

It's the Big Eye Mine Cabin.

It’s the Big Eye Mine Cabin.

The cabin has been restored somewhat and is available to stay in if you would like.

The cabin has been restored somewhat and is available to stay in if you would like.

The interior is clean and has a few amenities, a guest book to sign, 2 bed frames, two red chairs and assorted artifacts.

The interior is clean and has a few amenities, a guest book to sign, 2 bed frames, two red chairs and assorted artifacts.

Looking out the back door window you can see what we figured was the bath house, a clothes line, wash basin and various household tools.

Looking out the back door window you can see what we figured was the bath house, a clothes line, wash basin and various household tools.

We had to continue hiking up to the actual site of the mine. It was a lot smaller than we anticipated, but then it only operated for a few years in the early 1900’s.

This we assume is where the ore was loaded onto trucks at the bottom of the scaffolding, to be hauled to a railroad and shipped to a smelter.

This we assume is where the ore was loaded onto trucks at the bottom of the scaffolding, to be hauled to a railroad and shipped to a smelter.

We climbed above this point to the mine tunnel. All caves and tunnels are closed to protect wildlife.

We peeked inside, but didn't venture in!

We peeked inside, but didn’t venture in!

We had to conclude our exploration to head back to the Jeepster for the 15 miles of dirt road, 10 miles of gravel road and 22 miles of pavement back to our campsite!

We had to conclude our exploration to head back to the Jeepster for the 15 miles of dirt road, 10 miles of gravel road and 22 miles of pavement back to our campsite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 18 – The Road to Big Eye Mine

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

This morning we got an early start, we had a long trip planned! We turned the Jeepster south on the pavement and east onto the gravel Castle Dome Road. We were headed to the Big Eye Mine on a 15 mile one-way dirt road meandering around mountains, saguaro forests, in and out of washes and finally into a canyon where the mine is located.

Castle Dome Peak dominates the skyline as you drive up the road.

Castle Dome Peak dominates the skyline as you drive up the road.

When we turned onto the Big Eye Mine Road, Thumb Butte eventually dominates the horizon.

When we turned onto the Big Eye Mine Road, Thumb Butte eventually dominates the horizon.

The road continues up to Thumb Butte.

The road continues up to Thumb Butte.

We took a break to stretch our legs.

We took a break to stretch our legs.

We continued all the way around Thumb Butte, no discernible 'thumb' from this angle!

We continued all the way around Thumb Butte, no discernible ‘thumb’ from this angle!

 

 

 

 

 

Jan. 17 – ‘A Day Off’

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

We took a day off from exploring and concentrated on domestic chores. I did some baking, including biscotti and a new recipe; doggie biscuits for Mavrik!

It was a package mix a friend gave me that included a tiny little shamrock shaped cookie cutter. I made LOTS of cookies, good thing Mavrik likes them!

It was a package mix a friend gave me that included a tiny little shamrock shaped cookie cutter. I made LOTS of cookies, good thing Mavrik likes them!

Jan. 16 – Kofa Queen Canyon

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Today is the full moon! Before we saw the sun rise we had a beautiful view of the moon setting!

The moon setting in the west, behind the mountains flanking the Colorado River on the Yuma Proving Grounds.

The moon setting in the west, behind the mountains flanking the Colorado River on the Yuma Proving Grounds.

After a good breakfast we headed north to the Palm Canyon Road and took a spur off of that into the Kofa Queen Canyon. Basically we were following a wash into this fantastic canyon . We bounced slowly along the road until we reached the end, the “Road Closed to Motor Vehicles to Protect Wilderness Values” sign. We continued on foot up a deeply rutted wash, apparently the road had continued on in the far distant past. We reached a hillside where the faint jeep tracks ran up, we followed them and looked down at the end of another road, the “Road Closed…” sign with its back to us!

The view from the top of the hill.

The view from the top of the hill.

On our way out of the canyon we stopped at the ‘arch’ along the wash.

The 'arch' looks pretty small, but the boulder is huge! We had to hike up to it, and had great views through the gap.

The ‘arch’ looks pretty small, but the boulder is huge! We had to hike up to it, and had great views through the gap.

Mavrik in the arch.

Mavrik in the arch.

 

Jan. 15 – White Tanks

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Today we rode a little further out on King Valley Road, the major road into the interior of Kofa, which eventually takes you to The King of Arizona Mine, the namesake of the refuge. We turned south on a dirt road toward the White Tanks.

Looking back at King Valley and the road that brought us to the tanks. The Kofa mountains are in the distance.

Looking back at King Valley and the road that brought us to the tanks. The Kofa mountains are in the distance.

We had to climb above the first tank and follow the wash up to this beautiful spot!

We had to climb above the first tank and follow the wash up to this beautiful spot!

Heading back down we had this view of the reflection in one of the upper pools.

Heading back down we had this view of the reflection in one of the upper pools.

Mavrik enjoyed clambering around on the rocks.

Mavrik enjoyed clambering around on the rocks.

 

 

 

 

Jan. 14 -Horse Tanks

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

We left the hustle and bustle of Tucson behind and headed back to the peace and quiet of the desert at Kofa Wildlife Refuge! The Jeepster earned it’s keep in the next few days as we explored the area in the south section of the refuge. This area has a concentration of water sources, enhanced natural tinajas or tanks, that are highlights to visit. The closest to our campsite are the Horse and Grey Tanks. A short bumpy ride in the Jeepster got us to the site and we hiked to several of the tanks, the first of which was fairly full and relatively clear!

The reflections scared Mavrik, but he got a drink anyway!

The reflections scared Mavrik, but he got a drink anyway!

This tank reflected the rock wall surrounding it.

This tank reflected the rock wall surrounding it.

 

 

 

 

Jan. 8 – Nasher Art Museum

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

I’m visiting my Mom in North Carolina and we took in a few exhibits at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. A very interesting exhibit “Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space“, focusing mainly on the border between India and Pakistan, was very thought provoking.

Mom.

Mom. In the Antiquities Exhibit (I know that sounds terrible, but that’s where we were!).

From the Medieval Collection:

Patron Saint of Big Hands!

Patron Saint of Big Hands!

 

Patron Saint of Huge Feet!

Patron Saint of Huge Feet!

 

Patron Saint of Emergency Bathroom Visits!

Patron Saint of Emergency Bathroom Visits!

 

Jan. 1, 2014 – Map Recap

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Our route around the country in 2013. Nineteen states and a short sojourn into Mexico!

Our route around the country in 2013. Nineteen states and a short sojourn into Mexico!

Dec. 31- Hike in the Santa Catalina Mtns.

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

We took a New Year’s Eve day hike up into the mountains not far from where we’re staying. We were surprised to find snow and ice on the trail, even as we were hiking in shirt sleeves. Mavrik sure likes the snow, especially to eat!

White on white!

White on white!

We started at the big red arrow and tried to make it to Maverick Spring but were turned back by snow right before the junction.

We started at the big red arrow and tried to make it to Maverick Spring but were turned back by snow right before the junction.

At the saddle between Green Mtn. and Guthrie Mtn. the trail descended on the north side and the snow was relatively undisturbed. We left it that way!

At the saddle between Green Mtn. and Guthrie Mtn. the trail descended on the north side and the snow was relatively undisturbed. We left it that way!

On our descent back to the trailhead we had great views of natural formations.

A huge boulder cracked by natural elements.

A huge boulder cracked by natural elements.

A gnarled tree framing a distant peak.

A gnarled tree framing a distant peak.

Ice formed in the stream bed, frozen drops under the icy crust.

Ice formed in the stream bed, frozen drops under the icy crust.