October 15, 2012 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.
We are now well into the 21st century, and the intense interest of lost mines in the Superstition Mountain area still prevails. Men and women continue to come to the Superstition Wilderness Area hoping to find their fortunes. Most find nothing and others are lucky to walk away.
Adventurers and prospectors have been injured or died from extreme weather conditions, from gunshot wounds, from falls, drowned in flash floods, dehydration and sun stroke to name a few.
Since the early 1880s men and women have searched these rugged mountains for lost mines and treasure. Gold is the natural magnet that attracts the modern day adventurer. The most significant lost mine story centers around a German immigrant name Jacob Waltz. His infamous mine was allegedly located with a 2-mile radius of Weaver’s Needle, a prominent landmark east of Superstition Mountain.
Each year I am amazed at the people who become interested in the search for the Lost Dutchman mine. There is a continuous list of new prospectors who are searching these rugged mountains for clues.
Several years ago a businessman and prospector named Joe Ribaudo, who lives in Lake Havasu, decided he wanted to see the Dutchman’s legend carried on by some kind of annual gathering. He came up with the idea of the “Dutch Hunter’s Rendezvous.” He held the first “gathering” just west of Twin Buttes along the Gila River east of Florence.
This first “Dutch Hunter’s Rendezvous” was small with only thirteen people attending in October of 2005. However there was a lot of enthusiasm Dutch Hunter’s Rendezvous 2012 for the idea. The next year the rendezvous was moved to the Dons Camp with the help of Dons member Greg Davis. The camp is located at the base of Superstition Mountain at a site at the end of Peralta Road.
Each year the activity has been held toward the end of October and has continued to grow.
The third year Joe Ribaudo handed over the organizing of the “Dutchman’s Rendezvous” to Wayne Tuttle and Randy Wright. Greg Davis continued to make the arrangements for the Dons Camp for the annual rendezvous. Joe and his wife, Carolyn, remained camp hosts providing some shade and cold water.
The scheduled activities include a variety of options for attendees. Friday includes sitting around various campfires and telling stories about the mountains and the many characters that searched for gold there. There are usually two hikes Saturday morning. One is a very difficult hike over rough terrain and the other hike is over much easier terrain and gentler slopes. After dark on Saturday evening everyone gathers at the Ramada to listen to a couple of guest speakers.
I attended last year for the first time and found it an excellent opportunity to meet a variety of people from all over the United States who were interested in our local history of the mountains. This event is not connected with the Chamber of Commerce or the Superstition Mountain Museum. Last year’s Rendezvous included
three days of events. The interested, the curious, and the very serious showed up for the events last year. They traveled from such distant places as Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, California, New Hampshire, New York, Illinois and other states. The organizers of this event should be proud of their accomplishment. I would estimate approximately a hundred people attended last year and the event is growing.
Noted Dutch hunters, historians, and authors attend this gathering. Many of the authors have published books on the history of the area.
Over the years Clay Worst, Bob Corbin, Jack San Felice, Bob Schoose, Gregory Davis, Jack Carlson and Dr. Thomas Glover have attended the event and added their signature to it.
The “Dutch Hunter’s Rendezvous” is an open event, so everyone is welcome. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 26, Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28. The guest speaker will be Dr. Thomas Glover.
There is no admission, no charge for camping, and all activities are free, based on first come first served. The gate will not be open until Friday morning. The camping is primitive, so you should bring what you need to be comfortable.
Be sure to bring water, food, tent and bedding if you plan on spending the night. If you don’t bring a tent you will have to sleep outside or in your vehicle. There is no electricity or running water. There are restroom facilities. For more information you may email Randy Wright at Djui5 at yahoo dot com.