Even more so as this is an intermittent flow, dry boulders offer no solace in dry seasons. In the distance, beyond a Black Mesa ridge studded with Saguaro cactus, is Malpais Mountain (Spanish, “Bad Country”). Closer, on the right, is the ridge of Palamino Mountain.
Fourteen years later, using GoogleEarth, I deduce the location to be 33°27’19.39″N , 111°24’38.58″W. After the horse party proceeded, I stayed behind to record them.
….as well as the surroundings. The geological formation is the escarpment of Black Mesa above O’Grady Canyon.
The name O’Grady Canyon piqued my interest, so I poked around the internet and found this posting from Tom Kollenborn, a well-known authority on the Superstitions.
“I was told Tim O’Grady prospected the area for about twenty-five years before moving to Washington. He was a well known character around Apache Junction from about 1945 – 1980. There are other interesting stories about Tim. I visited with him several times on the old First Water – Charlebois Trail in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when I worked for the Barkley Cattle Company.
Tim’s Saddle was named after “Rattlesnake” Tim O’Grady a prospector who searched the Superstition for the Dutchman’s Lost Mine in the 1950’s and 1960’s. O’Grady Canyon is also named after him. The story goes something like this. A USGS map crew was working in the area around Parker Pass in the early 1950’s and came across this old white bearded prospector. They ask him about several landmarks in the area and their names. He pointed to a saddle and said that is Tim’s Saddle and the canyon on the right is O’Grady Canyon. They talked for a while about other landmarks and finally ask the old prospector for his name. He looked at them politely and said he was Tim O’Grady. The last I ever heard of “Rattlesnake” Tim O’Grady was he moved to Washington. He was 87 at the time.
My party is out of sight, Parker Pass seems no closer, Weaver’s Needle looms 3.1 miles away over several ridges.
A sole day hiker is on the trail ahead. I carried a gallon of water with a siphon pipe, so was taking sips every so often and becoming dehydrated anyway. Ahead is the ridge of Parker Pass, the pass is the green slant of land on right.
This is a capture from Google Earth of our route to Parker Pass, with a chart of the elevation changes. I am on that last hump with a few more up and down climbs before the pass.
Our expedition party on Dutchman Trail. Ahead is Parker Pass. Look carefully to pick out two horsemen and three horses packing equipment and supplies. They travelled much faster than my 3 – 4 miles per hour on foot.
Ahead is Parker Pass, the opening between the two hills in the middle distance. Weaver’s Needle, 3.7 miles distant, at left above the Parker Pass ridge. You can still see my party, ahead. I “zoomed” in for a better view of the party, rapidly pulling ahead and out of sight.
As I top a rise my party is out of sight, more of Weaver’s Needle is visible on the right. The trail falls here before rising again to achieve Parker Pass. Distances on the Lost Dutchman trail are difficult to estimate, visible objectives are much farther then they appear. Constant sun, clear air, difficult terrain conspires against the unprepared leading many into overextending their luck. As a case in point, 37 minutes transpired between the second and third photographs.
We were a party of three with five horses: two mounts and three pack. I was on foot, unencumbered by the usual backpack loaded with 80+ pounds of equipment and supplies for an extended wilderness expedition.
Our expedition party on First Water Trail. That is Parker Pass, the opening between the two hills in the middle distance. Look carefully to pick out two horsemen and three horses packing equipment and supplied. They travelled much faster than my 3 – 4 miles per hour on foot.
From 2004 through 2011 I visited Arizona every Autumn, October or November. As a University of Arizona Alumni Board member for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences we had a meeting during “homecoming” and a fund raising event. I’d come early or stay later for getting acquainted with Arizona, more than was possible as an undergraduate. In 2007 I camped for several days Chiricahua National Monument of the remote south eastern corner of the state.
The park empties out this time of year, for some reason. The weather is perfection with clear skies, moderate daytime temperatures, cool nights. This time of year the Arizona White Oak acorns ripen and fall. The campground has aluminum picnic tables, the falling acorns made a loud plunks throughout the night. This would annoy some people. Me, it is a great memory.
The following two images are great memories from my first morning.
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I experimented this trip with a breakfast of granola with dried whole milk. It was delicious (for me) and got me out on the trail quickly. This first morning I clicked my hiking poles together to scare away bears as I walked in the pre-dawn dark. The preparation and extra effort paid off with this photograph.
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I met one hiker who was a harbor pilot from Hamburg, Germany. He came just to view a particular rock formation that was, literally, the rubber bath duck. It is several miles to the site, a moderate hike with significant elevation gain. He took his snapshot with a little camera and was on his way.
The following is my masterpiece from the trip. Imaging the effect of seeing this image on settlers. That same first day I turned a corner and there this was…it took a few minutes to comprehend what I saw, it was so incredible and, for me, unexpected. It first, the only perception is a huge rock dome of rough rock, then, slowly, the image of a native American profile forms in the mind. Cochise Dawn
During the session for Cochise Dawn I turned the camera for the view northwest and did a self portrait. In the distance are the Galiuro Mountains and Wilderness. Tucked alongside is the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, hosting one of the few perennial streams of Arizona.
Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved