What a beautiful day, We woke up at our camp spot out in the deserts about 35 miles south east of Phoenix AZ. The weather so far had been the best we have had that I recall for many years. It was supposed to be about 75 degrees during the day and in the 40’s at night for the next several days.
We had a long, 80 mile, scenic loop planned for the day. It may have been a bit ambitious but we were game. Our plan was to first head N/E of our camp about 25 miles over some rugged mountain terrain to the town of Superior for an early lunch. After lunch we would ride through Walnut Canyon and on to a short stop at some old coke ovens. We’d then cross through a river and head west to our last landmark, a diversion dam, before heading back to camp. We had just 3 rigs on this ride, Jim and Susie in their Polaris 800 RZR S, Art (my son) and his wife Janeen on their Can-Am 400 2-up and me on my Polaris Sportsman 500. We started early as the days are short this time of year.
I decided to lead as we headed over the rocky mountain terrain to the town of Superior. About 5 miles into our ride I happen to look over to my right and I saw a crowning saguaro very close to the trail. I could not believe it. I had been past this spot about 100 times and never seen it. They are a very rare sight and quite beautiful. Out of all my desert riding I have seen only seen maybe seven ever.
Most of the roads in this area were built for the gold, silver and copper mining that went on in the 1800’s through about 1950 from what I have read. Here is one of the larger mine remnants called Ajax Mine we pass on our way to Superior.
As we continued on over the rugged switchback roads I stopped at a side trail that leads to an old miners shack and mine shaft. I asked Jim if he had been down the trail or not. To my amazement he hadn’t so we decided to take the little detour. Jim has ridden this area for years so I was very happy to show him something new.
Here is the old building that probably housed some of the miners long ago. Jim and Susie look great in the front window of their new home. Very fitting.
Just around the corner is a mine shaft that goes almost straight down into the ground. When I was here the first time there was a metal header above the shaft. They used the header with a large pulley connected to a winch to pull the ore cars out of the mine. It's a shame that equipment is gone now.
Back on the trail the views as we go up one mountain and down the other are stunning. Here is a spectacular shot of a mountain that we are headed towards that is called Picket Post Mountain.
We made without incident to the old mining town of Superior where we stopped for an awesome Mexican food lunch. As we were heading to our machines I was amazed by all of the different people in the parking lot. It was a mixture of old and new with everything in between. I could have spent hours just sitting under a shade tree watching all the different types of people coming through town on this gorgeous day.
Here are a couple of photos to represent the old and new. The first one being a beautiful horse all saddled up ready to go round up some cattle and the others showing the mighty horsepower of today's motorcycles.
From here we take some neighborhood streets to a dirt road that goes towards the highway heading south of Superior. Most of the trails in the area are very rough and made of bedrock like this:
As we are taking a small trail beside the highway under the power lines Jim gets a flat on his RZR S. At first we could not find the leak, then as Jim was rolling the vehicle I look on the inside of his tire and see a split in the sidewall. It was a good size split and it took 10 plugs to hold air again.