Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Apache Trail

We are out nineteen days as of this morning and are having quite the experience as we search throughout central Arizona.  There is a lot of history in this region.  Yesterday we planned a trip to Apache Junction and on up to Roosevelt Dam.

It started early with a stop at the head of the Apache Trail just outside Apache Junction a suburb of Phoenix.  We went early this morning and decided to stop at the visitor center and museum.  We spent some time wandering around the property and took some pictures of the old buildings and a gallows.  They had what looked like a really neat old chapel on the property but when you entered the building there at the alter stood a likeness of Elvis with his guitar.  Photo op.

This was the start of the Apache Trail that winds up, down, around and through the Superstition Mountains.  Yep, the same place that the lost Dutchman’s mine is supposed to be lost.  We entered Tonto National Forest and went by Canyon Lake.  Here in the middle of the desert a lake full of water and it looks like it doesn’t quite have as much water this year as in years past.  When we passed Lake Shasta in California the levels were unbelievable low.  Here it is noticeable but nowhere near the loss of the lake and you wonder where the water is coming from for all the estuaries you see along the trail.   The Apache Trail was thought to have started as a path that the Anasazi Indians would travel from the Tonto Basin to trade with the Hohokam Indians in the Casa Grande area.   (See our previous post about the Hohokam Indians http://trailercamper.blogspot.com/2015/03/indian-ruins.html)  Later it was used as the main route for the materials and equipment necessary to build the Roosevelt Dam in 1902.  Although it is rough and stark compared to what we are used to, there is beauty at every turn.  High hills, mounds of rocks, cactus and the desert is alive with spring color.

Next up was Tortilla Flats a small outpost in the middle of nowhere with a population somewhere around six.  It is said to have been a stagecoach stop in the early years.  There is a saloon with food, cash only and two trinket stores.  

We left and headed up the trail, aware that soon it turns to a dirt road and remains such for twenty-two miles up to the dam.  What we didn’t know is the roadway is very often a single lane road.  Caution was the name of the game especially around the blind corners. We managed to do quite well although the road reminded us of our trip up to the outpost in Glacier National Park with ruts and washboard pretty much the whole way.    Twenty-two miles seems much longer under the conditions.  At one point during the trip we found a stand of cottonwood trees alongside the trail where you just wouldn't expect to find them.We arrived at the dam and it is small but manages to keep the Salt River backed up pretty good.

We left the dam and found paved road.  As we headed back towards home we saw a sign indicated that we were approaching the Tonto National Monument home to the early cliff dwellers in the region.  There is a beautiful park with a paved hiking trail up to the actual abodes.  It is very interesting to look down and see the view that was had by the early tribe, believed to be Salado.  These date back to the 1400’s and the craftsmanship is unbelievable.  Piling rocks on top of each other and then stuffing mud in between to hold them with their hands.  Their handprints still exist in the mud.  The wooden parts of the buildings are similar to our headers in our homes.  They used wood to support the rocks above to create door openings.  It is believed that as many as sixty people lived in this dwelling in the cliffs above the Salt River.   This place was amazing and the volunteer on site was very helpful with questions anyone had.  I was beat when I arrived back down to the car.

We started home to the trailer.  After dinner we went for a float in the pool and then came back and I worked on the Blog while Mia read her Kindle.  Honey is beat and dead to the world and I will soon follow her.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

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