Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bear Canyon Seven Falls Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Tucson, Arizona April 4, 2013

                                     Sabino Canyon trailmap (From Google)

Location and General Information: From the University of Arizona take Speedway Blvd. to N. Campbell. Turn left and follow until you reach Skyline Drive (it will be awhile). Turn right onto Skyline Drive which becomes Sunrise Drive. Sunrise Drive actually ends at the Visitor's Center. It costs $5 for a day pass and $10 for a week. This area gets very busy during the weekend so I suggest hiking here during the week.From the visitors center shuttles take visitors to the Bear Canyon Overlook and into Sabino Canyon.

The hike: Today I am hiking from the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center into Bear Canyon to Seven Falls. If you do not ride the shuttle the hike is approximately 9 miles round trip with minimal elevation change. The shuttle takes off about 4 miles from the hike. It advisable to carry lots of water in the canyon even during the spring. When hiking in the desert if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated so continually drink water on the trail. This trail is hotter than the Powerline Trail because it is at the bottom of Bear Canyon. The trail is easy to follow. Be careful crossing the creek. At the falls be careful if you climb to the upper falls. Rescue is not cheap if you get hurt. Vegetation in the canyon is a classic Bajada mixture including Mesquite, Saguaros, Prickly Pear, and Ocotillo.Flowers seen on the hike include Mariposa Lilly, Ocotillo, and Prickly Pear. (Information from the Sabino Canyon Visitor's Center and the Sierra Club).

                            Pool in Bear Canyon

                         Mariposa lilly

                             Gambel's Quail

                                   One of the Seven Falls

                                    The falls with a beautiful pool at the base.

                             Saguaros in the canyon

                       Another beautiful pool

                            Blooming Ocotillo                                  

                                        Saguaro with surrounding vegetation

                          Looking into Bear Canyon

                    Blooming Prickly Pear cactus

Brown Canyon and Ramsey Canyon Huachuca Mountains of Arizona April 2, 2013

                   Upper part of Brown Canyon looking toward Ramsey Canyon

General Information and location: The trailhead for the Brown Canyon and Ramsey Canyon is located at the lower part of  Ramsey Canyon Road. if you are coming from Sierra Vista take Highway 92 south until you see Ramsey Canyon Road on the right. The loop is about 8 miles with approximately 2,000 feet in elevation gain. If you park here you do not have to pay but the Nature Conservancy does charge you to park at the Preserve. These mountains do have Mountain lions as well as the possibility of meeting drug runners. I talked to a Forest Service employee who told me the chances of seeing a smuggler is close to zero. It does pay to practice caution and hike during the daylight hours.. During the summer temperatures are hot and there is no water in the canyons. Bring plenty of water and wear a hat during the day.

The hike: The first part of the is parallel to the canyons until you reach Brown canyon Trail #115. This is approximately 0.7 miles long. At this point you enter Brown Canyon where you hike under Manzanita and Oaks. The trail is well grated and easy to follow. In the upper part of Brown Canyon  trail #116 to Ponoma Mine branches off. Keep following the trail into the wilderness to trail #122 in Ramsey Canyon. Follow the road back to the trail head. (Some information from and

         Map from the US Forest Service showing Brown Canyon, Ramsey Canyon and Carr Canyon in         the Hachuca Mountains of southern Arizona.

                        Trail in Brown Canyon

                           Miller Peak Wilderness

Bisbee, Arizona Lavender Pit April 1, 2013

                             Looking across the Lavender Pit

Location: The Lavender Pit is located on your right as you leave Old Bisbee going toward Lowell, Arizona. There is a pulloff with information a couple of miles from Old Bisbee. This post is a history post as well as a warning to the scars that mining leaves behind once operations have ended. This pit looks huge but it is small compared with the Bingham Canyon Pit owned by Kennecot Copper outside of Salt Lake City.

History: Prior to 1951, the Copper Queen Company mined copper in underground tunnels and shafts. (Before 1879 the Copper Queen was its own company after 1879 Phelps Dodge Corporation ran mining operations in the Bisbee area).  With an increase in copper prices, Harrison Lavender (manager of Western Operations for Phelps Dodge), determined an open pit mine would be economical and it would produce copper ore at a faster rate. Everyday at 3:30 pm 1200 pounds of powder charge broke up approximately 75,000 tons of rock. The ore was then transported out of the pit to a crusher next to the pit. The ore was then transported to Douglas, Arizona. Mining in the pit ceased in 1974 because of a decline in copper prices. Mining ceased with the Copper Queen Company in 1975. There is speculation that mining will begin again in the area if copper prices remain high. The pit is 4,000 feet wide, 5,000 feet long and 850 feet deep. (Information from  The center for Land Use Interpretation and roadside kiosk)

 Looking toward Lowell, Arizona. On the left hand side you can see the circular concrete remains of the crusher.

                          Mining head frame

                     Picture showing the permanent scars left over from mining

Bisbee, Arizona Evergreen Cemetery April 1, 2013

                                        Memorial to a Veteran of the forgotten Korean War

Location: Evergreen cemetery is located in Lowell, Arizona, (a couple of miles from old Bisbee), off of Douglas Road. The small town became seperated from Bisbee when miners excavated the Lavender Pit. The cemetery is located across from the high school. It is a big cemetery and easy to find when you turn onto Douglas Road.

Wondering among the graves I was surprised at what I found. Bisbee had many immigrants from England and Wales as well as Eastern Europe who came to work in the copper mines. I did not find many of these gravesites. I did find dozens of war veteran graves. I found graves of veterans from the Spanish American War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War and Korean War.  I always enjoy visiting cemeteries because they augment local and national history. Included in this post are some of my favorite pictures from the visit.

                             Veteran of the Vietnam War

                          Veteran of the Civil War

                              Memorial to those who died off Guadalcanal in 1942

                                 Immigrant from Ireland. As noted above immigrants were instrumental in working mines throughout the west

                           Grave for Clarence Warner

                     Memorial to James H. Brew who was shot in his home in Bisbee, Arizona, after he shot one of four guys who came to force him back to work during the labor unrest of 1917.

                               Immigrant of Aberdeen, Scotland

                                     Veteran of the Spanish American war

                               Headstone written in a Slavic language