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Hummingbird Springs Cherry Stem!

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Holy Hare, what a fun trip with a great group of people!! It will take me another day to post pics, but figured that I'd start a thread, so that those people who have their acts together (better than me) can start posting!



Lots of fun time, first day rattlers, best camp site in the state, scrumptious beef stew in the dutch oven, second day lunch in the shade, and I can go on and on! And I am sure others can tell some good stories too! THANKS to everyone who came along for the fun! Pics are coming!

smiles, ladybug

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Well as I mentioned, this was such a fun trip! And we only saw 2 other people, 5 burros, 4 rattlesnakes and 1 dead snake, hawks, quail, doves, jackrabbits....so we pretty much had the place to ourselves!


We started at the McDonalds in Wickenburg on Thursday morning. Everyone was early, so we left right on time! Quite a cool thing, in and of itself!! Thanks to Curly and Devon, Jim, Gearhead Mike, Saltman Mike and Marianne, Larry K, Allen and Reagan, Roy and Sherry for coming along on this adventure!


We headed south on Vulture Mine Road for just a short ways, before heading eastbound on dirt, out to the east of Vulture Peak. First stop was the Big Spar Mine.




There's not much left at this mine. The government backfilled all these shafts awhile back, especially after 2 deaths by "mine explorers" out at the Belmont Mine. But we looked for some rocks here and there, and after a short visit, moved on.


Roy and Sherry look like they are having fun!



Next stop, the old stone house along the trail....Not much of this one left...




Before leaving, it seemed like a good time for a nature call....I moved off into the bushes, did my thing, stood up and zipped up my pants, and hollered out to Devon, who was maybe 100 feet from me?....That's when I heard the rattle....Holy Hare!!! Talk about waiting til I was all done before scaring the piss right out of me! This guy was only about 6 feet from me, and he was not happy....




As I moved away from this guy, that's when Devon hollered out that she had one by her too!




I don't have pics of the others, but we ended up seeing 5 snakes all that first morning! - And thankfully none other the rest of the trip....but don't you know I carried my walking stick every time I went into the desert from then on!


The desert was perfect! After the rain of the weekend before, the desert was green, and although wildflowers are scarcer, they are out there...


And the good news is, we managed to get back out to Vulture MIne Road, and exactly where we were supposed to be!!



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Next stop was the little cemetary out past the Vulture Mine. Thanks to Larry K for this stop...all the times that I have been by there, I never knew it was there...Only one grave had any info, but lots of burial sites in this cemetary.... I am sure others have better pics...




Next stop...Tonopah-Belmont Mine. This mine has a vertical shaft of 500 feet, with many adits (horizontal entrances)...And while there were no fatalities during its operation, it had 2 fatalities since then,....one in 1990 and the other in 2002...as guys fell 350 feet down the shaft. All entrances now are closed with some heavy duty rod iron fencing, but its still cool to see the remains of the old stamp mill here....




Mike and Marianne are ready to head to our camp site! Happy Hour is calling! And our dutch oven beef stew!




We had the very best camp site ever!!! No rocks, big space...perfect!




The morning sun hits the mountains....




We head out, Friday morning, back across the trail to the Belmont Mine, and continue south....Looking south...




Looking back at the mine, it gave us a better perspective of how big this mine had been....




Continuing southward, we headed towards the CAP....



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And that's when the adventure really began! Oh don't get me wrong! - 5 snakes, 2 mines, good food....we had already had lots of fun. And considering that I had left my way points for the trip at home and spent the night before grabbing a few more points to help, AND I think I forgot to mention how the Air Force had buzzed us the night before! - But anyways, back to our trip....


And I HAD google-earthed and done all the maps ahead of time...The plan was to travel the CAP (canal) westbound to our trail with would lead us through the 2 wilderness areas. Well lo and behold, fricking gates all over the place! Thanks to Jim who found a trail along side the old fence line which lead us further west. And thanks to those behind me that found ways around the 2 big gulley washouts! While we were working with rocks and shovels, others helped by finding a bypass!....And we got to a canal crossing, and had further yet to go, probably 3-4 miles, when we could not find a trail along the canal the rest of the way.


And not for a lack of trying. Thanks to Jim and Larry for their efforts, and a big thanks to Jim for helping Larry change his flat tire. Meanwhile the rest of us patiently waited, ate cookies, and I studied maps. Once Larry and Jim returned, we headed south, and ended up in Tonopah. By then we were all HOT, (from the warm temperature) so we ate lunch at this gas station.


So What's Wrong with this Picture?!




After lunch, Allen and Reagan headed home, and the rest of us decided to continue on! We followed Indian School Road on the south side of I-10 and crossed under the interstate to get to our trail.....But look! We made it!!!




Big Horn Wilderness area on the left, Hummingbird Spring Wilderness area on the right. Sugar Loaf Mountain dead ahead.




But did we find the Hummingbird Spring? My bad. We found a big wilderness sign, and my gps said we were at the end of the trail, and although there was a trail in front of us, it had no tracks on it, so we stopped and walked. And walked. And walked. And after the heat of the lunch hour, waiting while Jim and Larry had searched for a trail and changed a flat tire, we were all even warmer in the afternoon sun. So we turned back without finding the spring. We will need to return!


After the long day we had already had, we finally broke camp....Enjoyed a great campfire and each other's company in the awesome sunset!




And that night, I darn near floated to heaven. The wind kicked up just awful....just barrelling down that wash! At 2 am, I was up and kicking tent stakes back in the ground. By 2:30 I was up double checking that the fire was actually totally out, and adding some dirt over it just in case. By 3 am, my tent had knocked over my lantern and was darn near on top of me....so I was out collecting big rocks to hold down all my tent stakes and line stakes....What a night! But the good news, or at least I think so, is that I was still on earth in the morning, had not blown to Kansas, and was ready to lead us out of this area!

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Saturday morning, we head onto the Evening STar Mine. Kudos to Larry who spotted the burros, and to Tim and/or Jim who may be convinced to post their pictures! - and we found the mine!!!


There was this old Buick here to help with the mine. And although there were locks on this door, the hinges were attached to rotted wood which allowed us to peak inside....






We did talk about next year returning with Adventurous George, and lowering him down this shaft with our winches...There is a decent looking ladder George and we think you will be ok!


And Tim and Larry and Roy all worked together and actually found a geocache here too!




We head out, over to Eagle Eye Road. The Harquahala Peak is in the distance.




We lunch before getting on the road and heading out! And for the record, we were never lost! It was just a grand adventure wandering around in such a pretty desert with such good friends and seeing such cool places! Until the next one.....!

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Well, I'm glad we're not the only ones to ever run into a gate or two requiring Plan B or C mid-adventure! People think this route planning is cut and dried; but it's certainly NOT! Lucky for us Karen - most ORP folks are pretty patient and just out to have a good time with some friends. Too bad about that awful wind! There is definitely nothing worse while camping - and the real reason I sleep in Clifford. :) I laughed out loud when you said we're going back so George can go down that shaft - NOT! :D


Thanks for planning and organizing what sounds like it was STILL a really fun trip. Awesome trip report pictures!

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I will do it!



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Here are some pics from the trip.

Prepping the Beef Stew/Dutch oven dinner.



Serving Dinner:



Thursday night camp, waiting for dinner to cook.:



A look inside the Belmont mine. The shadow in the foreground is a vertical shaft.



The snake that rattled at Devon:




A forest of Saguaros, looking towards Harquahala peak





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Some more pics from the trip.


Burros along the trail:



Evening star mine, guarded by a locked door.........not!



A look inside:



The trail we walked trying to find Hummingbird springs. The desert was really green!



Cemetery gate:



Trail repair before we found a go around:





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1st pic is of Karen & Jim at the Vulture City Cemetery, located approx. 1/2 mile south of the Vulture mine on the west side of the road. Jim is taking a pic of the only marked grave at this site - that of a 6 year old girl. There are probably 40 - 50 grave sites here, which is being maintained by the Verde Valley Cemetery Assoc., and is in much better condition than when I first observed it several years ago.



2nd pic is at dawn of our 2nd nights camp in an un-named wash a few miles west of Hummingbird Springs. About 3:00 AM I peeked out the window of my TJ to see what looked like Karen flying a kite, I thought that a bit strange, but rolled over and went back to sleep. The wash had now been named Windy Wash.



Last pic is of an improvised bed in my TJ. Back seat removed some time ago & replaced with a storage compartment. Just recently removed the front passenger seat & built a storage /support area which allows for a 6'X 34" sleeping area.

This trip was my first opportunity to give this Rube Goldberg creation a test. Worked great! Sure beats rasslin' with a tent.



A special thanks to Karen for all her hard work organizing the trip, and to others who made it very enjoyable.





Larry K.




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