I was a member of an expedition to Peter’s Mesa March 2008, a place central to Superstition Wilderness treasure legends. This is a sunset view, looking south, southwest. Light raking across the desolation and Miner’s Needle creates a fascinating spectacle. Ancient volcanism, apparent throughout the Superstition Wilderness, is here seen in the texture, form and type of rock as well as the mineral deposits. Miner’s Needle, like Weaver’s Needle (not seen in this view), are eroded volcanic summits. Look closely for the “eye” of Miner’s Needle, easier seen in the cropped heading photograph. To this day, hopeful prospectors search for gold nuggets.
There is one form of volcanism present today as an eerie rumble or hiss, similar to an enormous distant jet engine heard now and then during our two days on the mesa, louder and closer than an overhead plane could produce. The view includes many notable Sonoran Desert plants. Many young Saguaro cactus are in the form of green poles. Catching the dramatic light, on the ridge is a tall single flower of an Agave, known as the “Century Plant” it flowers once in a long life and dies.
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Peters Mesa is named after “Old Pete” Gottfried Petrasch, father of Hermann and Rhiney Petrasch. Old Pete worked for Jim Bark for awhile in the 1890s doing odd jobs. Irregular employment gave Pete and Sons time to s searched for the Lost Dutchman Mine in the years following the death of the source of the legend, the “Dutchman” Jacob Waltz. The Petrasches were one of the first groups to search for the mine, and gold in general. They covered almost the entire Superstition range in their combined searches.
On our first day on the mesa, we came across the remains of one of these camps, on the top of Squaw Canyon, a deplorable junk pile discarded by searchers, presumably disappointed, too lazy to cart it out. That March, we were lucky to find the remnants of winter rains in the form of a meager trickle at the bottom of a shallow draw off Peter’s Mesa trail up from La Barge canyon. We had a good time of it until the trip was cut short by a storm front and torrential rains. We were back in Apache Junction before they hit.
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