March 31, 2015

Shiprock Mountain Congress, Az

   March 30th We drove out to Hwy 93 heading west on Mile Marker 163 1/2 we turned in to a staging area.  We drove out and shortly we could see the large mountain  called Shiprock, elevation 2288 which rises of the desert floor. Surrounding it are several mountains which dwarf it. We drove down the wash and up the hill to get close to hike to a plateau on Shiprock.

IMG_0009 IMG_0022
IMG_0017 IMG_0032
IMG_0037 IMG_0073

On the way we heard some noise, which turned out to be two large wild burrows standing in the shade of the palo verde tree. They were keeping an eye on us.

IMG_0053 IMG_0072

  After we left the wash and headed toward the Santa Marie River, where we crossed it with some water in it. We came to a Y not going to the right where you will find mines, but went to the left where we found forgotten mining equipment,  ground core samples and machinery. We drove into the river and had lunch on the shaded river bank as the temps were in the hight 80's. The trail continued but we could not see it.

IMG_0085 IMG_0094
IMG_0139 IMG_0132
IMG_0122 IMG_0011
IMG_0122 IMG_0060
IMG_0114 IMG_0084

  We returned to the river and went on the SW side of the river on a trail which winds thru the rocky mountains coming to a overlook of the river and rock outcroppings. We returned the same trail riding 17 miles, but it took 5 hours including lunch and scenic breaks.

March 14, 2015

Salome, Az

   Once again we visited this area because there are so many new trails and interesting thing to see.  Salome was established in 1904 and named after Grace Salome, Charles Pratt's wife.
"Salome, Where She Danced " signs in Salome refer to a 1945 American romance film.
   On March 11th, some of us went exploring north of the highway 60 for 40 miles. We saw a desert big horn sheep,  the Queen Mine and other areas of mine tailings. Tom walked into the vertical shaft of the Queen mine with a flash light. He came upon a vertical shaft.

IMG_5958-001 IMG_5978-001
IMG_6009 IMG_5974
IMG_5968Queen Mine shaft IMG_5982-001

March 12, 2015, We took a short 20 miles ride to the petroglyphs, which are on the shoulder of Highway 60. Maybe they were carved by the Mojave or Pima Indians.  ( N 33*44'56 W 113*40'19) We enjoyed the Loopdy loop trail to the Zoo Tree and Bra Tree. N33*42'37 W 113*43'33@ and found an unusual 4 ft high pyramid built of stones.@  It was a hot day 85* but there was a nice breeze once we got away from the mountains. We enjoyed a good meal at the Cactus Cafe with great friends.

IMG_5986 IMG_5988-001
IMG_5987 IMG_5992-001

March 13th 33mi we went north of the Hwy 60.  I told the group to watch out for the Bee Cactus, in 2014 it was dripping wet and full of bees. This year all that was left was the skeleton.@ We went to the big rock pile on the desert floor, where there were more petroglyphs @.N33*48'13  W 113*40'57 

IMG_6072 IMG_6087-001P10302702015/2014
IMG_6089 IMG_6115-001

Off we went to Prison Rock/Cave.  Where the prisoners were housed while they were mining granite stones for building the Yuma Courthouse in 1909@  .33*50'46N 113*42'10W The area is full of huge boulders. This year we went around the mountain to the left, to see the cave. GPS # 33*50'43N 113*42'08W It is actually a tumbled area of boulders, large  enough for people to walk into the mountain. The interior was 10-30ft tall and 100ft long. Cool temperatures and a maze of rocks!@

IMG_6129-001 IMG_6138-001
IMG_6144 IMG_6141-001IMG_6140-001
IMG_6151 IMG_6147-001

March 13th 40 miles we rode south thru a cool wash to a Hope Lookout and Picnic point. This is a great spot to cook over a fire and have a panoramic view of the valley below. We went cross country, enjoying the trails and views. We came to a large hill, Hot dog hill- one of our men called it. Some found the courage to climb it and some went around! We regrouped at the flat hill top with the valley and Hope in a distance. We drove thru the canyon over to the Harquahala Mine to have lunch. This mine was one of the richest mines gold mines in Arizona. Back in 1888 there were 4,000 men working at the mine. They mined gold, silver and ore. They used cyanide to remove the gold from the ore. You can't miss the pink rhyolite tailing piles and cyanide leach pits  and outbuildings  Operations stopped in 1907 Stopped in at the the Chinese cemetery 33*40'29N 113*35'30W There 500 residents during the peak years of production. The cemetery graves are of 40 males, 7 children. One large cement grave for someone of importance, but there is no identification who this is. 

IMG_6176 IMG_6276
IMG_6288 IMG_6285

March 7, 2015

Waterfall / Hole in the Wall- near Tres Alamos Spring-Congress, Az

64.5 miles                                                                                                                                                    


   The Half Fast Group- Tom and Sandy, Fred and Nancy, Joe, Mike and Janna, Larry and Geri left Congress, Arizona, and headed past Indian Rock toward Hwy 93 thru the BLM land.

IMG_5636 IMG_5641
IMG_5642 IMG_5637

There were a few gates along the way to open and shut. Obeying the West rule: If the gate is shut, go thru, and shut it again!  We passed near some private land, being respectful to slowdown.

IMG_5673 IMG_5664

Once we crossed Hwy 93, we followed the Alamo Lake dirt Road (This road did not have markings on it) After 2  miles and at GPS 34*10'22N 113*03'46W, we turned right and ended up following a trail under the huge power lines.  this was interesting since the Joshua Trees were thick in this stretch.  These Joshua Trees were blooming, it gets a football size flower, similar to a lilac with a rubber feel,  no aroma,  but the bees were on it and some places birds have eaten the flower petals. In a grassy bottom area, one of our group saw a javelina.

IMG_5720 IMG_5689
IMG_5704 IMG_5727

  The banks of the wash consisted of round rocks from small to five foot large and thirty feet high. I always wonder what is under the surface of the desert floor.  Then we came down in to a large wash, where you could see a hillside blooming with orange and yellow poppies.  The mountains in this area have amazing colors, black volcanic stones, almost light purple, yellow and red rock.

IMG_5741 IMG_5777
IMG_5798 IMG_5811

We picked a shaded corner of the wash, to have lunch.  There was a 80ft high bank of solid rock. Geri had wrapped apples and cinnamon, in foil and placed it on her muffler at the beginning of the ride, after 3 hours, it was cooked to perfection and smelled delicious.

IMG_5813 IMG_5827
IMG_5823 IMG_5833

We drove a little further to the end of the trail and our destination, 28 miles from Congress. Using your GPS, Map Datum WGS84  N34 12' 50* W113 09' 00W* 
This is a unique sight to see in the Senora desert. First you will see the natural stone arch, also known as hole in the wall, 30 ft high and 40ft long opening. Right next to it is a short 5 ft waterfall drop, with water flowing into a small pond with algae growing in it which gives off a neon glow. This area had receive a lot of rain in the last week, so I am not sure if water is running year round.

IMG_5859 IMG_5901
As we walked back into the canyon, up stream, you sense the feeling of an oasis. Rock walls all around you. We did notice a placket up the rock wall, a metal cutout of a buck and doe, "In memory of  John and Charlene Wilson", this must of been a special place for them.  As we reach at the end, you notice it is quite large, 60x60ft and 15 ft. deep pond. There is a rock over hang which is dripping with water into the pond. Then you notice the wet waterfall, which drops 50 ft from the top. Lush plants are growing on the banks and on the rock cliff because it is in the shade all day.
IMG_5892 IMG_5902
IMG_5918 IMG_5882
When we were walking out we noticed a small area to the left, we walked back to find stone pillars and deep grass. Oh what a special place it is.

IMG_5908 IMG_5911
IMG_5903 IMG_5889

Video of Honey Bee Spring on YouTube at                                 

IMG_5927 IMG_5941
IMG_5951 IMG_5948

For our return trip, we took a different trail to the Alamo Road. There are numerous trails in this area, but our group didn't know where they all lead to!
Back on the trail, we came across a 3 ft.  rattle snake, sunning itself in the sun on the trail.  We backed up to give it room, and admired him from a distance. He was rattling and coiled up under a palo verde tree.  He is called a coon rattle, for the black and white stripes on his rattle.
The trip took 6 hours, for the 60 miles, including gate openings, picture taking,  stops to visit, lunch break and touring the canyon. It is a easy smooth drive, one of the best rides we have been on in Arizona!

I found a interesting topo map internet site-TopoQuest. It shows the terrain and GPS coordinates in any area.

Rattle Snake on the trail

LOCATION>   NEAREST CITY= Congress, Az  DIRECTIONS=Off of Hwy 93, Alamo Lk rd.
AREA >   TYPE OF LAND=-desert  , OWNER=  BLM, QUALITY >  Pro  great destination/ Con flat ride to it /  Length of stay 1 / Rating-stars-5 the pond and waterfall and hole in the wall are great
TERRAIN>  MILES OF TRAILS,30 mi one way- desert & dust                                                               TRAIL MAINTENCE no  / SQ. MILE AREA -/  NEAR BY TRAILS- Yes
KEY SERVICES> Camping Boondocking or North Ranch, Congress / Gasoline / Diesel / First Aid /  Water /  Dump / Food=Congress or Wickenburg
SIDE TRIPS> Numerous trails in this area