Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Day in the Superstition Mountains

Apache Junction, Arizona is situated at the base of the Superstition Mountains.
Sun setting on the Superstition Mountains
These mountains have long been a place of unexplained paranormal stories and thus the name. We set out to explore them as soon as I returned from Montreal. First stop was a museum that explained the history of the area. While there we met a couple who told us the best way to see the mountains was to take a 100 mile circular drive through the mountains with a side trip to see the world's largest copper mine. (We've learned that everything is the "worlds largest or best" here in the US).
 So off we went into the mountains:
First stop. The copper mine. The mining company was kind enough to provide a viewing area where we could get a good look into the mine and some information panels telling us about the mine.
Below is a panorama of the mine 
It was impossible to get a picture of of the complete mine with my camera. Below is a photo showing very large trucks working down in the mine. They are like the huge trucks used in the oil sands.
And this is a fly over photo of the mine from one of the panels:
It is large indeed!

We left the mine, and headed further into the mountains and the Tonto National Forest. There were a lot of mining operations along our drive:
And then we came to the Tonto National Monument. An area preserved by the Federal Government because it contains cliff dwellings occupied in the 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries. 

It looked like a long way up but worth the climb:
Cliff dwellings are at the red X in the upper left corner
So after reading these rules we were off:
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The saguaro cactus in this area are huge:
As we were at a pretty high altitude stopping for a lot of breaks was a must:
About half way up
Finally close to the top. The people on the trail in the lower right will give you some idea of the size of the cliffs.

You can see the rooms inside the cave
It was very impressive to see what the Salado did with so little.
Then we headed back down to the car:
And on to Roosevelt Lake. You can see the lake in the distance above. When we were driving across the Arizona desert towards Phoenix a truck pulling a fairly large boat passed us:
We couldn't help but wonder what they were going to do with a boat in the middle of the desert. Now we know:
Roosevelt Lake is located in the Tonto Basin and was created by the Roosevelt Dam:

A beautiful bridge spanned the entrance to the dam area. Its story is very interesting:
I hope you can read the information. Left click to enlarge. Or read more about it's construction here.
 My photo of the bridge:
We then crossed the bridge and headed back to Apache Junction - a beautiful drive through the mountains.

To enlarge the pictures simply left click on them
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  1. Great pictures, brought back some good memories:)

  2. Thanks for the tour! We didn't get up to that area last year but definitely intend to get there next year. Looks like you had a long but fun day:)

    1. It was a long day, and a long drive, but well worth it and I definitely recommend you do it.


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