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Southern AZ Trails near Patagonia & Sonoita

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We had a wonderful few days exploring around Patagonia and Sonoita with Ladybug in the lead! Here are some pictures to get this thread started:












From Kentucky Camp:






This is Johnny Ringo, the camp host's companion




Camp host gave us a wonderful tour












Nogalas in the background




Cemetery near Harshaw ghost-town








World's Fair Mine








All my photos >>>> Click Here

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Nice Diane. I'll add some later and I am stealing some for my FB album. :)



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What has 15 deer, 2 roadrunners, turkeys, hawks, western tangers, squirrels, jackrabbits, 3 rattlesnakes, and 3 coatimundies?!


Plus 4 jeeps, 7 willing participants, and fun and great company?!


A trip to awesome southern AZ!


I'll post pics hopefully tomorrow, but thanks to Di for such great pics!!

smiles, ladybug

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Nice pics, looked like fun. Seems like everytime I go down around that area exploring I get pulled over by the Border Patrol. Go figure.

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We had a nice time, our first time in that area. After meeting up with the group in Sonoita, we headed off to our first trail, a little spur that ran along a section of the Az trail. While there we checked out an old dam and some natural pools.







A family of lizards near the pools.



We saw lots of mines and mine openings as well as several ghost towns.





Ghost town ruins.





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Day 2 we went to visit an old mining/cattle operation called Kentucky camp. A volunteer lives on site and she gave us a tour.

A cabin you can rent from the Forest Service--- Bed and NO breakfast!



Restored room



Water cannon used to strip the hillsides to mine for gold.



Gas station in Patagonia



Checking the maps



Lots of sulpher in the rocks



Trail side stop



The trails ranged from high desert grassland to pine forests. Lots and lots of Deer.




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Such great pics Di and Tim!! Here's a few more.....sorry it took me awhile....I had to clean out my photobucket account...

7 trails in 3 days, and the Titan Missile Museum on Saturday morning....What a great trip we had!


We started on Wednesday, and after meeting in Sonoita after lunch, we went out to Temporal Gulch, with 2 objectives...to see the natural pools in Walker Basin at the end of the trail, and to find a camp site. This trail is a spur, in and out, as it abuts the Mt Wrightson Wilderness area....But oh how cool to end up in the pines and a higher elevation!






The pools at the end of this trail are pretty darn cool looking! Just one quick pic, as Di and Curly have better pics of this area. This is where we heard a strange noise coming from the rocks....I think it was a coatimundi, but none of us went to close to check it out....




The Temporal Gulch trail is noted as one of the prettiest canyons in the area, and I think we'd all agree with that. We saw Anaconda Spring and 2 mines...one an adit where a big ol bat came flying at me and scared the bejeebers out of me, plus a bunch of flies or bees down in there that kept us from exploring it any further...And then the Armada Mine....The one with the large vertical cut which Tim and Di's pictures show so well.


We were on the western side of the Santa Rita Mountains, where silver was the king here. There was also gold, lead, and copper, but silver was the most prominent.

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After breaking camp on Thursday morning, we headed to Kentucky Camp. This was the office area for the Santa Rita Water and Mining Company. You see, initially when the miners found placer gold here, they would carry bags of soil to the water in the area...and sometimes that water was few and far between. So this guy got the idea of taking the water to one area, and then use water cannons to strip the mountains of their gold. Well it was a bust, but thanks to many of the volunteers in this country, some of the buildings of Kentucky Camp have been restored.


You can actually rent this cabin from the forest service for $75 per night...sleeps 5.




More relics.....




The main office was their largest restoration; it had been a home for ranchers after the demise of the water and mining company. This water cannon out back was a great place for our group shot...




As Tim mentioned, the water collection system was about 8.5 miles and consisted of a combination of pipes, open trench ditches, tunnels, and dams. The whole system used gravity, so pipes were used to transport water across the canyons and up to the next ridge. It is said that if you hike the Arizona Trail in this area, you can see remnants of this massive water system.


I forgot to mention, some of the trails we were on were actually part of the Arizona Trail.


After Kentucky Camp, we finished the loop trail, which was well worth the time. It took us back into the low foothills of the Santa Ritas, and back to bigger trees. We lunched at the Snyder Mine.






As we exited onto Gardner Canyon Road, we began seeing all kinds of deer. Overall, I think we saw about 15 deer on this trip. And we found a great camp site at the end of the loop...





From there we went south of Patagonia and ran the Cumero Trail, sometimes referred to as the 3 R Canyon Trail.

On our way to the Tres de Mayo Mine and Well, we found this guy on the trail....This was our 2nd rattler...George saw the first at Kentucky Camp....




From the mine and well, we could see Nogales in the distance....And this is where we found our 3rd rattlesnake of the trip....


And this pic actually looks back to the Santa Rita Mountains. Mount Wrightson is the peak on the right side of the water windmill, and Mount Hopkins on the left. These are 2 of the tallest mountains in the area...Mount Wrightson over 9600 feet elevation, and Mount Hopkins is home to the Whipple Observatory.




Awww....It should be noted that I have 3 pics which include 2 of guys bent over trying to read this....This is the best picture of the 3, but I shall cherish the others!




From our campsite that evening. It was a great evening....We had cherry cobbler dessert (Thanks Devon and Tim!!), and a toast to our friend Sam White....



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Friday morning we stopped in Patagonia and checked out the old railroad depot. Railroad was big here...at one time the train had 3 daily stops in Patagonia. The railroad allowed as many as 3,000 head of cattle a day to be shipped to the east. It was also used to ship ore; the last ore was shipped to the smelter in 1960. While about 4 miles of railroad track were washed out near Patagonia in 1929, the last of the original railroad line was removed in 1962. This building is now their Town Hall.




And this fun and only gas station in Patagonia...




From there we took the Harshaw Trail and went out to the ghost town of Harshaw, named after a prospector who first successfully located silver in the area.


Checking out the cemetary...




One remaining ruin which is accessible...




Most of the town is located on private property, as are the ghost towns of Washington Camp and Dusquense. We did not complete the Harshaw Trail, but cut off onto the Flux Canyon Trail. This is where we startled 3 coatimundies on the trail....


This trail first encounters the steep Alum Canyon and the Worlds Fair Mine. This mine was purchased in 1884 for $100 and yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of minerals. Unfortunately, the canyon was too steep to get down to the remains of the mine....




WE do have to try to get back to this pretty trail; we all liked it the best. The Worlds Fair Mine consisted of 15,000 feet of drifts, shafts, tunnels, stopes, and winzes. It was dug to a depth of more than 450 feet, and included a 10-stamp mill and several concentrators to process the ore. The mine was accessed by wagon road due to its challenging topography.


After the Alum Canyon on the north, the Flux Canyon was on the south side of the trail. Very cool trail, although no room to really park and explore. It had great views...another of the Santa Ritas and Mount Wrightson and Mount Hopkins, with Red Mountain in the front. (on the side)




From there we went over to the Bull Springs Trail. Right at the beginning, we cross the Patagonia River...




The first 9 miles of this trail (from the Patagonia side) are on private property, but provide good driving and awesome views...




Within a quarter mile of crossing onto Coronado National Forest, is the ghost town of Alto. It was first settled in the early 1900s...although the area was first found in the 1690s by the Spanish Jesuits...Missionaries from Tumacacori discovered the rich silver veins of Alto while out exploring. Because of Apache raids, a town didn't take hold here until the early 1900s'. One of its claims to fame was the post office was first opened in 1907 in the home of a local pioneer named Josiah Bond. Josiah was a mining engineer, the local JP, school teacher, and poet. His wife Minnie became the first female postmaster in American History.


The only remaining ruin is that of their home and post office.




We did check out a spur on this trail, but with only the 2 jeeps left, did not wander far, and chose instead to continue along the Bull Springs Trail.




While this trail is not difficult, the section through the Coronado National Forest is definitely rougher than that of the private land! It was full of such beautiful cacti!




Towards the end, we can clearly see the Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins. We have seen this observatory from 3 sides on this venture!




Right before finding a camp site (to be noted, no places along this trail for large group campsite)....



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On Saturday morning, we went over to the Titan Missile Museum. For $10, one gets an awesome tour of the last remaining Titan II missile silo. There were 54 of these silos, each manned by 4 Air Force personnel, during the Cold War. They explained the procedure, initiated by the President of the US, should these missiles be authorized for deployment.






While you can't see it well, the last remaining Titan II missile, minus its engines, sits underground in this 9 story silo, just as it did in the Cold War. They have removed part of the roof covering so you can peer down into the silo....

This pic is from inside....




If you are ever in Green Valley, we recommend this tour...well worth the visit.


Ending conclusion of this exploratory trip?!- We must go back!! While some of these trails will be hard pressed to find camping for more than a few, we did find some camping to use as a base camp....Such a beautiful part of Arizona and full of mines and ghost towns and wildlife....We had a great time, and thanks to Tim and Devon and George and Diane and Jim for joining our venture!!

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