Monday, October 2, 2017

Dutch Hunter's Rendezvous: The Story Continues

September 25, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

The intense interest in the Dutchman’s Lost Mine and the Superstition Mountain continues to prevail today. Men and women from around our nation come to Arizona hoping to find their fortunes. Most find nothing, while some lose their fortunes and others are lucky to get away without the loss of their lives. Sadly, some make poor choices and eventually end up dead. Death or injury is no stranger to the unprepared and inexperienced in this rugged mountain range east of Apache Junction. Prospectors have died from extreme weather conditions, from gunshot wounds, from falls, drowned in flash floods and from natural causes. Ironically the rugged Superstition Mountains are far safer than the streets of Phoenix or the highways of Arizona.

Since the early 1880’s, men and women have searched these rugged mountains for gold and lost mines. The most significant lost mine stories center around an old German immigrant name Jacob Waltz. His mine was allegedly located near a prominent landmark called Weaver’s Needle, just east of Superstition Mountain.

Maintaining a camp in these mountains can be difficult at best. The trails are rough and steep, making it difficult to deliver supplies. Also pack trains (horses or mules) are a very expensive method in which to move needed items into the wilderness. Also all camps are limited to fifteen days by forest service regulations. Camps cannot be established within a quarter-of-a-mile of a water source. This can make camping very difficult in the dry season when water is scarce. One can easily get disoriented in these mountains if they don’t have map reading experience. The lost have died trying to find their way out of the mountains. No one is immune to the dangers that exist in these mountains; however caution and common sense will protect most from serious injury or death.

Each year I am amazed at the people who become involved in the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine. There is a continuous list of new prospectors who are searching the mountains for clues. Many years ago, a businessman and prospector named Joe Ribaudo, who lives in Lake Havasu City, decided he wanted to see the Dutchman 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 and south of the Coke Ovens along the Gila River, east of Florence. The first gathering was small with thirteen attending in October of 2005; however there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea. The next year, the rendezvous was moved to Don’s Camp. This was accomplished with the help of Don’s member Greg Davis. The camp is located at the base of Superstition Mountain near the Peralta Trailhead. Each year the activity is held at the end of October. The gathering has grown. It is a gathering of individuals that are extremely interested in the Superstition Mountains and its many tales and stories. This event has attracted old timers as well as contemporaries anxious to learn the stories of Superstition Mountain.

Clay Worst and friends at the Dutch Hunters Rendezvous.
The third year, Joe handed over the organizing of the “Dutchman’s Rendezvous” to Wayne Tuttle and Randy Wright. Greg Davis continued to make the arrangements for the Don’s Camp for the rendezvous. Joe and his wife Carolyn retired as camp hosts. They will still greet you and say hello. The scheduled activities include a variety of options. Friday night includes sitting around a campfire and entertaining each other by telling stories about the mountains. There is usually a guided hike on Saturday. After dark on Saturday, everyone gathers around the large Ramada to listen to a couple of guest speakers or a program. This gathering at the Ramada is planned also for Friday evening this year.

I have attended for the last six years, and I think it was an excellent opportunity to meet a variety of people from all over the United States who were interested in our history. As I look back, I should have made an effort to attend and report on all of these events. Please don’t get this event confused with Lost Dutchman Days in Apache Junction. This has nothing to do with this particular event or the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, there were three days of this event. The interested, the curious and the very serious showed up for the event last year. Some of the individuals drove from Texas, California, Oklahoma, New York, New Hampshire and several other distant locations. The organizers should be proud of their accomplishment. I didn’t personally count each and everyone in attendance, but I would estimate there were about sixty to seventy people attended last year’s “Dutchman’s Rendezvous” at Don’s Camp.

A number of old time Dutch Hunters attend, and, of course, they are legends in their own right. Many authors who have published books about the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman’s mine attend. I am not sure who are the guest speakers this year; however I am sure they will be interesting. Wayne made a big improvement a couple of years ago by adding a sound system.

The Dutch Hunter’s (Dutchman’s) Rendezvous is an open event, so everyone is welcome. This year’s event is scheduled for October 27, 28 and 29, 2017 at the Don’s Camp just below Peralta Trail Head. There will be guest speakers on Friday and Saturday night at the campfire gathering. The camp is primitive, so you need to bring what you need to be comfortable. Be sure to bring water, food, and bedding if you are spending the night. There is no charge for camping. For more information you may email Joe at

If you’re interested in attending, drive out to Don’s Camp on Friday or Saturday and visit. The camp is located about eight miles east of Highway 60 on the Peralta Trail Head Road. Turn off Highway 60 east of Gold Canyon at the traffic signal into the Peralta Sub-division and drive east through the sub-division onto Forest Service Road 77. The last two and half miles can be a little rough, so slow down. The road will be rough and unmaintained in places, but easily passible. Occasionally the road is maintained. For more information contact Wayne at zentull @ aol .com.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Another Picacho Peak

September 18, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

At dawn on May 11, 1866, a contingent of the 14th, 24th and 32nd Infantries lay poised to attack an Apache-Yavapai village near the base of Weaver’s Needle. The unit was under the command of Brevet Lt. John D. Walker. Walker had a total of one hundred and one men under his command.

The command to attack was given. The soldiers and Pima Scouts swept down the hillside, firing their muskets. The inhabitants of the temporary village were in an array of total confusion. The first hail of musket ball fired by the soldiers and scouts struck the warriors, old men, women and children.

Weaver’s Needle near Pinyon Camp in
East Boulder Canyon.
The first men to reach the village were the Pima Scouts. They clubbed as many survivors to death as they could find. The scouts were then followed by soldiers of the infantry; who reloaded and fired yet another volley at the disoriented Apaches and Yavapais. When the acrid smell of gunpowder cleared the air, some fifty-seven men, women and children lay dead. Twenty-two women and children were taken prisoners by the Pimas to be used as slaves.

The contingent of soldiers and Pima Scouts had two casualties. The Pima Scouts had one man shot in the leg accidentally by an Army musket. One soldier severely sprained his ankle as he jumped over a large boulder. The Army confiscated eleven Mexican flintlock smooth bore muskets and a variety of clubs, lances and bows. All of the confiscated weapons were destroyed at the site. The Pima Scouts estimated three hostiles escaped the attack. This scenario came from a military report on the Battle of Picacho Peak, and not the landmark of American Civil War significance between Phoenix and Tucson on I-10 Highway.

The foregoing was a typical scenario of the Rancheria Campaign waged by the United States Army against the hostile Apache in the Superstition Mountains between the years 1864-1866. There were numerous other skirmishes fought throughout the Superstition Mountain region that were led by the Army. The Pima Scouts were very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the United States Army against their ancient enemy, the Apache.
This particular skirmish was fought near what we call Pinyon Camp today. The site is located just west of Weaver’s Needle. Army field cartographers made reference to Weaver’s Needle as Picacho Peak on their 1866 field sketch maps.
The Spanish word picacho means peak. It is extremely interesting why the military made reference to Weaver’s Needle as Picacho. This inaccurate reference has confused many mapmakers since the Rancheria Campaign. It is quite apparent the name Picacho was accepted by the military because of the frequency it appears in military reports of the period. Weaver’s Needle appeared on the Ives Survey Map of 1853. Also there is sufficient evidence to suggest the landmark was named after Paulino Weaver, an early mountain man, guide, prospector and scout of the region. Some historian’s believed Weaver trapped Beaver along the Salt River, north of the Superstition Mountains, as early as 1837.

Before the Rancheria Campaign was over more than three hundred Apaches and Yavapais were killed in the Superstition Mountain area. The Army had orders to return all hostiles to reservations or destroy them. The Rancheria Campaign became a modern day search and destroy mission for the Army against Native Americans.
This military action occurred in the Superstition Mountain region long before prospecting was routine in the area. Few prospectors ventured into the Superstition Mountain prior to 1870. Large scale maps with accurate place names and landmarks were none existent in these early days. Superstition Mountain was referred to as the Sierra Supersticiones , Sierra Salinas, or the Salt River Mountains.

Another interesting reference involving Weaver’s Needle is the landmark being called Statue Mountain. As one hikes toward Weaver’s Needle from the First Water Trail Head it looks much like a giant bird with its wings slightly lifted ready for flight. This may have accounted for the name Statue Mountain. Maybe it reminded some soldier of the American Bald Eagle ready to take flight.

Yes, the Superstition Wilderness Area has a wonderful history that we all must try and preserve for future generations to enjoy. We are all part of a unique page in Arizona history being involved with such a land of history, legend, and myth.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lost Gold: The Affliction

August 21, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness Area has fascinated and mesmerized those who have walked or rode the trails within the towering spires and deep canyons of this region. The terrain can overwhelm you with beauty, isolation, vastness, tranquility and just pure ruggedness. These 159,780 acres of wilderness continue to attract gold and treasure hunters. Prospectors continue to wander the trails of the Superstition Wilderness Area in search of gold. Most of the gold they searched for was in their minds, according to “Doc” Rosecrans, an old time prospector of the area, now deceased. He spent forty years living along the Apache Trail and occasionally hiked into the Superstition Wilderness to explore a hunch. He published a small book on the Dutchman’s Lost Mine in 1949. His book wasn’t much of a success; however it did get him a threat of a lawsuit from Barry Storm, another author on the topic.

Weaver’s Needle has always been associated in some way with the location of the Lost Dutchman or Dutchman’s lost mine.
Today’s prospectors and treasure hunters still wander the region in search of gold or treasure; however, for the most part, their way of life is slowly disappearing. Strict forest service regulations and the withdrawal of the wilderness from mineral entry, has all but ended prospecting and mining in the region. A few wildcatters still take their chances with the authorities.

Contemporary writers, weekend explorers and the curious continue looking for facts and information associated with events that occurred decades ago. Such research and discussions have been opened to the public through various forums about the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman Mine on the Internet or worldwide web. You might say a new Argonaut has arrived on the landscape for the wilderness area.

The three most controversial topics are the location of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine, the Peralta Stone Maps and the tragic death of Adolph Ruth. These topics continue to attract a wide range of interest among readers on the Internet or the worldwide web. The Internet has changed the way we view and research material today. The forum about the Dutchman’s Lost Mine can be factual and it can be fictional at the same time. It is very difficult to separate the fact from the fiction. After all history is a very thin gray line between the truth and a lie. You can Google up these forums on the Internet. You might want to look at Desert USA, Treasure Net, or The Lost Dutchman Mine.

When somebody claims they have found a lost gold mine, how do you know they are telling the truth? A simple question might be, “Where is the gold?”

If that person were to produce gold, then there would be some interesting repercussions from those interested in where the gold was found. The next question would be, “Did you stake a claim?” Would any person in their right mind stake a claim on a rich vein of gold? Probably not! A claim notice would be an invitation for everyone to come and look at your rich gold mine. I believe this explains the dilemma you would be in. I would believe some old timers might not have told anyone about their discoveries in the hills. This type of behavior could easily explain all the confusion involving the Dutchman’s lost mine.

Jacob Waltz, the legendary “Dutchman”, may or may not have had a gold mine. Nobody knows for sure. When he died on October 25, 1891, a candle box of high-grade gold ore was allegedly found under his bed. This gold proved to be of bonanza quality. The discovery of this candle box of rich ore created a controversy that continues to linger to this day. Where did this gold ore come from? Men and women have searched the high peaks and deep canyons of the Superstition Wilderness Area for the source of this gold ore to no avail.

There are some unscrupulous pseudo-historians who will tell you that the gold came from an old Mexican ore mill on Peter’s Mesa and that other similar fragments of the gold ore can be traced to the Massacre Grounds, supposedly confirming or backing up the story of the Peralta Massacre in 1847. This is a bizarre tale with no historical foundation to support it. To believe such a story is to believe in a fairy tale. My father walked Peter’s Mesa and several other areas west of old George Miller’s place in the late 1930’s, and found nothing but the hard work of old time dreamers. My father never questioned the tenacity and obsession of the old timers that searched for gold in the Superstition Mountains.

The Dutchman’s lost mine continues to be a tale about a lost gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. To many folks, the mine is a figment of somebody’s imagination that continually draws in more dreamers each year. Since the early 1920’s,  more than 170 individuals have claimed they found the fabulously rich Dutchman’s lost mine. The roll of discoverers lists the names of men like Glen Magill, Barry Storm, Robert Simpson Jacob, Charles M. Crawford, Howard Van Devender, and many, many more that allegedly found the mine and reaped its profits. Most of those profits were monies they talked out of innocent and naïve investors. I have watched this vicious cycle for more than fifty years and witnessed the destruction and heartache it has caused to innocent people. Robert K. Corbin successfully tried and jailed a couple of these crooks. Most notable was Robert Simpson Jacob. Jacob was sentenced to ten years in prison for his part in a criminal conspiracy. Even after Robert Jacob was convicted some still believed he had found a bonanza and that the government was trying to keep him from bringing the gold out.

Now you ask me is there a Dutchman lost mine somewhere out in the rugged Superstition Mountain region? Yes, I have dreamed of finding this mine, but I have never found any evidence that really suggested the mine existed. Everything is based on subjective hearsay. Actually, facts about the lost mine just don’t exist. Even the alleged rich gold ore found under Waltz’s bed is based on hearsay information. Yes, there are alleged pieces of this gold that supposedly exist today. The documentation that supports this alleged gold ore is nothing more than hearsay. Even I am guilty of signing an affidavit that verifies I saw the gold ore and jewelry “Brownie” Holmes claims belonged to Jacob Waltz. Again witnessing such a thing is still subjective information at best.

 A very distinguished gentleman once said  “Waltz’s gold ore is what dreams are made of,” meaning who knows where that gold came from that was found under his bed? Dreams help to build subjective ideology. Let’s face it, if you have spent a lifetime searching for the gold of Superstition Mountain there has to be something meaningful to the story. Maybe my father had it all figured out when he basically said, “Yesterday’s adventures are today’s memories.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

Arizona Bound Along the Apache Trail

August 7, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

This image was captured along a portion of the old Goldfield-Mesa City Trail, c. 1915. Photo is from the Southern Pacific Railroad’s “Apache Trail” album.

It was on February 13, 1927, a special train with five cars arrived in Phoenix from Los Angeles. The purpose of the special train was to carry a company of fifty famous Player-Lasky players who were filming a western movie for Paramount Films.

The title of the picture they were filming was Arizona Bound. The director of this western motion picture was John Waters. His assistant director was Richard Blayton. The company motored along the Apache Trail to Fish Creek Canyon where they planned to film several takes of Arizona Bound.

The film centered on the stagecoach days of early Arizona, back in the 1890s.

Betty Jewel played the feminine lead, while Gary Cooper, Jack Dougherty and Christian Frank interpreted the important male parts. The scenes are centered on a picturesque stagecoach and twenty-two-head of horses negotiating Fish Creek Hill. The location managers couldn’t have picked a better site for filming, based on the dramatic and scenic backdrop Fish Creek Canyon provided for the cameras; however, the area was quite remote. It was more than fifty miles from Phoenix.

The story, Arizona Bound, was written by Paul Gangelin. The cameraman for the project was Charlie Schoenbaum, one of the best known cameramen on the coast. Schoenbaum was really impressed with the filming opportunities that he found in this area. Betty Jewel was the only star brought from the coast for the filming. At the time Gary Cooper wasn’t a major star in Hollywood.

The crew motored in a large bus from the Adams Hotel and the Arizona Hotel to their filming site daily. The filming involved extremely long days for the crew under quite primitive conditions.

The storyline of Arizona Bound was woven around the transportation of a particular gold shipment from New Mexico to Arizona in the early 1890s. The entire film was built around Arizona life and scenes.

John Waters directed many of Zane Grey’s stories, turning them into very popular motion pictures. Waters returned to Arizona to film other productions along the Apache Trail. Waters was one of the leading directors in the moving picture industry in the late 1920s. His success focused around new film techniques, new stars and innovations. One important attribute of his films was on “location,” no matter where.

Gary Cooper appeared in this film, and this was one of his first trips to Arizona for the purpose of filmmaking. For any of you who were fans of this legendary actor: yes, Gary Cooper rode the Apache Trail.

The Apache Trail was an enormous attraction to the directors of film in Hollywood. Arizona encouraged film companies to film in Arizona during this period. I served on the Apache Junction Film Commission for ten years, and during my involvement, we had a lot of success attracting films to the Apache Junction region. We had an excellent film commission here in Apache Junction with Cindy Bushboom, Eric Sundt, Ann Cole, Sandie Smith, Sissy Young, Roger Young, Rosemary Shearer and many more. Apache Junction was well represented on the local and national scene. Our members were invited to Hollywood and other California film centers and we prepared dossiers on several film sites in and around the central mountain region and Apache Junction. We sponsored big shows at Apache Land called “Elvis Lives.” We had a large turnout for these programs.

Film in Apache Junction was very active between 1986-1998; another interesting part of Apache Junction history I can relate to. I do apologize for leaving any names off the film commission list. My memory is not what it used to be.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day of the Cowboy

July 31, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Prior to roads and the horse drawn carriage the only means of travel between Superstition Mountain and the surrounding towns was by horseback or afoot. Since those long forgotten days, little has changed within the boundaries of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Today, one must still travel by foot or on horseback. The Department of Agriculture set aside approximately 124,040 acres of land within the Tonto National Forest in 1939 to insure the preservation of natural wonders in the Sonoran Desert. This wilderness was increased in size in 1984 to 159, 780 acres. Today, a continuous flow of hikers and horseback riders travel these ancient Indian and early cattle trails to experience the isolation and tranquility of the Superstition Wilderness Area.

Tom Kollenborn and “Chico” in the Massacre Ground area looking toward the Apache Trail.

The cowboy was a significant part of this geographical region between 1870 and 1990. Only in the last decade or so were cattle permits removed from the Superstition Wilderness Area. Since the first settlers arrived in this area, it has been known as the most hostile and rugged cattle range in the American Southwest. The first cattlemen fought Indians, drought, heat, famine, disease, and winter storms to graze their cattle in the deep canyons and on the towering ridges of the Superstition Wilderness. A very rugged breed of cowman evolved while taming this hostile environment.

These cattle drovers first arrived here from New Mexico and Texas shortly after the discovery of rich mining properties in the central mountains of Arizona Territory. Copper and silver were first discovered around Globe just after the American Civil War came to a close. The first cattle herds arrived around 1870-1871 in the area. The small valley flats between the towering ridges and cliffs of this region we know today as the Superstition Wilderness Area served as grazing range for these Texas cattle brought in by drovers. The discovery of the Silver King Mine in 1875 opened the region to cattle ranching because of the tremendous demand for beef on the hoof. This was the era before refrigeration. Robert A. Irion brought a herd into the Superstition Mountain area from Montana in 1878. He eventually developed the Pinal Ranch (Craig Ranch) at Sutton’s Summit on U.S. Highway 60. Some people know Sutton’s Summit these days as “The Top of the World.” Actually, “The Top of the World” was located down the road toward Miami about six more miles.

The sharp spines of desert flora, the summer heat, the long droughts and the cold winters were nothing new for these early cowmen. Many of the cattlemen came to reap the profits associated with providing beef for these early mining camps that dotted the landscape of central Arizona. The miners purchased tons of beef, making cattle raising a very lucrative industry in the Superstition Mountain area. The somewhat mild climate, good grazing and the nearby market convinced many of the cattlemen to stay on permanently. As the mining industry grew, so did the cattle business. The cowboy was soon a common figure in the isolated canyons of the Superstition Mountain region.

Hardships were very common on these early cattle spreads. There were no permanent shelters or medical facilities. If a cowboy broke an arm or leg his only doctor was his partner or himself. If he picked up a stray bullet, he prayed that he could make it back to headquarters before infection set in. Infection was the greatest killer of man and beast in those days. Survival was for the strongest, because the weak often perished. The early cowboy’s diet consisted of jerked beef, pinto beans, chili and hardtack. His revolver or rifle was his constant companion. Either weapon was used against his many enemies. These enemies could include an occasional Apache, cattle rustler, rattlesnake, lion or bear.

A cowboy’s horse was his most important means of survival and tool. A solid and sound horse meant the difference between life and death in the wilds of the Superstition Mountains. The care of his horse was the most important chore of the cowboy’s daily routine. Most of these cowboys had a string of five to seven horses and rotated between them when working cattle. Providing care for these animals required a considerable amount of time. There was always an animal to doctor, shod, or train. A cowboy’s work was from sun till sun, and his work was never done. There were always fences to mend, water holes to repair, windmills to work on, stock to check, tack to care for and every other job associated with cattle ranching. The advent of barbed wire changed the early cowboy’s way of life in the rugged Superstition Mountain region. Barbed wire forever ended an open and free range. The entire range was eventually divided into grazing allotments. Names like Reavis, Mill Site, Tortilla, First Water, and JF are just a few of these old allotments. When Taylor Grazing was finally established, the option of open range was gone forever. The colorful and romantic life of the cowboy, so often portrayed by western artists and writers, was more fantasy than reality. Dane Coolidge probably portrayed the American cowboy better than any other writer of his time. Russell, Leigh and Remington also portrayed the cowboy on their canvases with extreme accuracy. The modern cowboy artists of Cowboy Artists of America continue to portray the cowboy we know today.

One cowboy would care for a herd, including cows, calves and a couple of bulls.  Most of these herds numbered between a hundred and three hundred head.

Each spring and fall a rodeo (roundup) was conducted to gather the cattle from the open range. The purpose of the roundup was to brand, castrate and doctor calves. Yearling steers were generally separated from the herd and driven to the nearest point of need. A typical roundup area consisted of temporary catch-pens, but most often it was open-ground work without the benefit of a corral. Open-ground work consisted of roping a wild range calf and taking it away from its wild mother. Then you threw the calf to the ground without the benefit of a corral or catch pen, while keeping the irate mother cow at bay. You then branded, castrated, dehorned and completed other necessary chores.

The cattle drovers and cattle barons of the Superstition Mountain area have long since disappeared. The great herds that once grazed the region under the brand of the Clemens Cattle Company and others have also since vanished. At the peak of the Clemans operation more than 12,000 head of cattle grazed the eastern fringe of the wilderness. These huge herds overgrazed and destroyed much of the range. Through the use of careful range management techniques much of the old range is returning to its original state. There are many controversies associated with grazing and non-grazing within the wilderness. Some range managers believe grazing helps to reduce wildfires while other believed, without wildfires the soil becomes infertile. This controversy continues among range managers today.

What distinguished a cowboy from other men of the period? Cowboy’s generally dressed a bit different then other workers because they worked outdoors most of the time. Large brimmed hats were common tools of the trade, Levi trousers, and heavy denim or cotton shirts, and of course pointed toed high top boots with extended heels were popular with cowboys. Cowboys often carried a rope, folding knife, bandana, chaps, and sometimes a Winchester or Colt revolver. These items would probably best identify a range rider of that era.      

Life was not easy on the open range, but it did have its rewards. Those old range riders may not have frequented churches very often, but they were close to their God and the work of his mighty hand. A cowboy’s sense of freedom and free spirit, while on the open range was unequaled anywhere else in the country. Cowboys rode through life uninterrupted by the complexities of urban society. Cowboys generally didn’t lay awake at night listening to sirens, bells and the noise of modern traffic. Their nights were filled with silence occasionally interrupted by the lonesome call of a coyote or other sounds of night. The cowboy recognized the value of sitting astride his horse and traveling with the wind in his face. Hollywood has immortalized the free spirit of the American cowboy, therefore helping preserve some of the ideals of our freedom. These old time cowboys and their horses were true icons of freedom and they definitely have a place in the history of the Superstition Wilderness Area and Americana. Hollywood certainly captured the persona of the American cowboy and his spirit and spread it across America.

The large cattle ranches of the Superstition Wilderness have long since vanished from the Arizona scene. Conservation methods did not destroy them. The high cost of operation, limited grazing and strict controls on public grazing lands have reduced the productivity of these once large cattle empires to almost nothing. Feeder pens are slowly replacing the range beef of the past. Today only a few isolated ranches survive, symbolic of a time forgotten by many. Today men like George Martin, Frank Herron, Shelly Donnelly and Chuck Backus try to hang on to the tradition of cattle ranching in the Superstition Mountain region. These cattlemen and cowboys are certainly a part of the history of the Superstition Wilderness and our American heritage.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dust Storms or Haboobs

July 17, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Summer storms in the desert are often called “the monsoons.” These storms bring massive thunderstorms with dust, heavy showers, lightning, dust storms and sometimes devastating winds called “microbursts.” During the summer months most of the storms over central Arizona and the Superstition Wilderness Area result from warm moist air flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). This warm moist air moves across Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mountains force this warm moist air upward forming clouds filled with moisture, sometimes saturated to the maximum. These clouds release their moisture as they rise and cool. This is known as orographic lift. The massive anvil-shaped thunderheads that form over Superstition Mountain from July to September are normally formed by two methods: orographic lift and convectional activity. The convectional storm clouds result from rapidly rising and expanding warm moist air and falling cold moist air. This uneven heating of the Earth’s surface is caused by the open cloud pattern in the atmosphere.

Lightning can be caused by the attraction of unlike electrical charges within a thunderhead cell. The rapid movement of ice and water molecules going up and down in a thunderhead cell creates friction that results in an enormous amount of energy in the form of static electricity being produced. A single lightning discharge can produce about 30 million volts at 125,000 amperes. This discharge can occur in less than 1/10 of a second. The results of a lightning strike can be horrific. Never make yourself a target for a lightning strike by standing in an open high area or by a natural lightning rod such as a lone tree on a ridge.

The rapid rising and falling of warm and cold moist air also can create violent bursts of energy. This type of activity results in microbursts, both small and large. Small microbursts can develop winds momentarily up to 200 mph. They also can create winds across wide areas up 80 mph. These are the winds prior to precipitation that can create huge dust storms. These dust storms can momentarily be 100 miles wide, over a mile high and capable of moving tons of desert fines (dust). These storms in Egypt and the Middle East are known as “haboobs” as they roar out of the desert. Since the late 1960s this Middle East name has been attached to Arizona dust storms. Some of these dust storms are enormous and extremely dangerous for transportation.

What is the cause of these dangerous dust storms? One of the most recent and spectacular dust storms occurred on Tuesday, July 7, 2011, and was certainly one of the largest ever experienced by this state. These dust storms appear to be far more severe in recent years. A lot of the Sonoran Desert in Central Arizona had been disturbed for housing pad development on thousands of acres, and then the housing boom died. Now this land sets barren and undeveloped. What little vegetation that covered the desert before preparation for development has been removed. Also unpaved roads and the irresponsible use of ATV and other vehicles off road contribute to the problem. All of this certainly plays a part in this problem of dust storms blowing toward the Salt River Valley from Central Arizona. Yes, there are many other factors to include into this equation, including agriculture, arid condition and uncontrolled growth.

The monsoon storms are associated with very dangerous factors we should all be aware of. These factors include dust storms, high winds, lightning, and flash floods. I have mentioned the other factors in previous columns. If you are caught in a dust storm, use common sense to survive. Get as far as you can off the highway right-of-way, park your vehicle and turn off your lights. Don’t keep your foot on the brake pedal. There are still those who drive in dust and fog at very unreasonable rates of speed, endangering themselves and others. If they see your brake lights, they might drive right off the highway and into your vehicle.

Our desert is being disturbed more and more each year, and the dust storms will probably become more prominent, dangerous and severe. If we are not careful we will be looking like Oklahoma during the “Dust Bowl” of the 1930’s. Oklahoma’s “Dust Bowl” was caused by drought, primarily during the 1930’s. There has been an effort by the cities, state, and counties to suppress the problem with some dust control methods such as paving dirt roads and trying to limit the number of acres of land for vegetation removal for development.

These methods only help, however, during periods of drought. Dust storms are part of living in the Southwest deserts.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Charles Edward Barker: All American

July 3, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

I would like to take a moment to write about somebody I have known for more than forty years. He was always a man of his word and a genuine intellectual. He was compassionate, caring and helpful to others. His whole life focused on learning and he was an excellent teacher. Also, most important, his word was his bond. Almost twenty years ago we made a verbal agreement for me to write the Kollenborn Chronicles when he and Chuck Baker launched the AJ News in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon. We agreed to the following conditions. My articles would not be censored or edited except for grammar and spelling. Ed verbally agreed to this and for twenty years his word was his bond. I wrote columns based on a handshake and nothing more. He never broke his word to me nor I mine. You might say our political views were quite different, however, I always considered him the “voice of reason” in Apache Junction. His Editorial “Que Pasa” was always well written and based on accurate information. If he made a mistake he always corrected it, but otherwise stood by his research and his convictions. He honored other people’s opinions and worked in every way to help his community. He certainly made a difference in Apache Junction and made his family proud of his actions and sense of community.

Ed Barker and Tom Kollenborn, 2015.
I am writing about the Ed Barker I knew, not the man that was my editor. He was as much a part of these mountains as any of the others I have known or written about over the years. These men often had outstanding military records and had been brave on the battlefield in the defense of their country. These men and women were Democrats, Conservatives, and Independents; however the color of their blood on the battlefield was all the same, and the color of their skin made no difference when death was all around them. They were united with one common cause and that was defending America and survival. These men believed “united we stand, divided we fall.” Such were men like Major Monte Edwards, Staff Sergeant Edwin Buckwitz, Master Sergeant Donald Shade, Master Sergeant Dennis Mack, Sergeant Ronald (Eagle) DeAndrea and Corporal Charles Edward Barker.

All of these men and many more found the Superstition Mountain to be their “rock” later in life. It was a place to escape from the reality of the past. Ed Barker allowed me to write in his paper about these legendary lands, places and its people and without this opportunity you would not have been reading my words for the past twenty years. This mountain and the many stories he heard was home to Ed Barker.

Ed Barker was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1944, the Volunteer State. He graduated from high school in Knoxville in 1960. Ed earned an athletic scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross in Worchester, Massachusetts. After Viet Nam Ed returned to his education. He then attended Kearny State University (now the University of Nebraska) where he studied history and psychology. After graduation, Ed worked as a psychologist. He also worked as a sports editor for the Hasting’s Tribune. Ed worked for several newspapers over the years including the Knoxville Sentinel, and Atlanta Constitution.

While attending college, Ed Barker was drafted into the Army in 1964 at the age of twenty. He did his basic training and then was assigned to the 1st Air Cavalry Division, 11th Cavalry Regiment, 227th Assault Helicopter Company, in Viet Nam. He served as a door gunner on a Huey helicopter. The mission of his helicopter crew was getting combat teams in and out of battle zones. As a door gunner he protected these teams and other helicopters. He was in the LZ X-Ray at the Battle of Ia Drang Valley in November of 1965. He received two Purple Hearts, Air Medals, Aircraft Crewmen Wings, Bronze Medal for Valor, Combat Infantry Badge, Campaign Ribbons and Viet Nam’s Cross of Gallantry.

After Viet Nam, Ed was a changed man. He ask himself some deep, penetrating questions about life and the political establishment in America that would send young men off to war to be mangled and die for what reason? Yet, when these young men returned home, the general population ignored the Viet Nam veterans, and even accused them of atrocities. Most of the young men who died in Viet Nam were average Americans and they certainly weren’t from privileged families who could easily get deferments for various reasons. Just maybe, when you listen to Bobby Greensboro’s “Broomstick Cowboy”, you might recognize where Ed Barker was coming from. Ed was an extremely deep thinker; very intelligent and had an excellent understanding of psychology. I do know Viet Nam haunted Ed with many bad memories to the final days of his life.

It is men like Corporal Charles Edward Barker who makes “America Great.” It was our veterans who laid their lives on the line for us who provide a future for America. Without their sacrifice there would be no free America. “United we stand, divided we fall.” Ed would always thank a veteran for his service to his or her country. Be proud of America, next time you see a veteran please thank him for his service to this country. If there is to be a memorial for Ed Barker it would be thanking Americans who served in the military during our times of need. Our country and community is a better place because of people like Corporal Charles Edward Barker.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Searching For Real Thing: Gold

June 12, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

We all are searching for something in life. Some of us find the reality of this world a bit offensive and choose another endeavor. This endeavor becomes an object, hobby, or way of life. Looking for gold is a wonderful and sometimes rewarding hobby. I have spent more than thirty years writing about those who search for gold or treasure in the Superstition Mountains. Not too long ago, somebody asked “why do you choose to write about such a group of individuals?” I have decided it is time to explain my interest and why I write about this topic. Nyle Leatham introduced me to the world of writing for a newspaper three or four decades ago when we spent eight days on the Colorado River together rafting between Lee’s Ferry and Lake Mead. You might call the trip an “adventure of a lifetime,” but I have had many more. Of those who are constantly having an adventure of some kind—whether it is searching for Bigfoot or gold—the search for gold appears to be the most popular with them. The following story should peak your imagination.
John Wilburn and I examining placer gold
from the Superstition Mining District c. 1977.

There are those who will tell you there is no gold in the Superstition Wilderness Area and that may be true, however, there is certainly gold deposits around the region’s interior. I have witnessed gold being recovered within five miles of Miner’s Needle. This was a placer deposit worked by an old prospector named Robert L. Garman. Garman started finding placer gold shortly after 1955. He wasn’t really interested in the placer—he believed there was a rich ore deposit nearby. He spent thirty years looking for the origin of his placer gold in the Hewitt Canyon area. He sincerely believed the “Peg Leg” Tumlinson map was accurate and authentic. He had acquired a copy of the map and used it faithfully for more than twenty-five years. There are those who believed Garman found the rich “Peg Leg” deposit believing it was the old Dutchman’s mine. Garman certainly had some very rich samples of gold in quartz with similarities of the quartz in the metamorphic prong of Hewitt Canyon.

There are several individuals who know and understand the geology of the metamorphic prong of Hewitt Canyon. A lot of prospects have been dug in the area and some have been extended to depths of 75 feet or more. Almost all of them have exhibited mineralization, some gold and some silver. However, none have produced any large quantity of gold or silver. The Hatches, Woodburys, Rogers, and others have tried their hand at mining in this area in the 1890’s to 1930’s with little results. The work at Roger’s Trough was brought on by the discovery and development of the Silver Chief Mine just west of Roger’s Trough. There was a good spring in the area and the mine owners set up a mill at Roger’s Trough to process the ore from the Silver Chief. The Woodburys sunk a shaft near the base of the mountain and found a little gold, but not enough to pay for their operation. This was true with other mines in the area. None ever became producers like the Silver King north of Superior.

Monte Edwards and I inspecting a gold claim near Weaver Needle in 1981.
Robert Garman left quite a legacy in his search for gold in the Hewitt Canyon area. He eventually wrote a book about his exploits titled Mystery Gold of the Superstitions (1975). Robert Garman was by no means the first man searching for the real wealth of the Superstition Mountain region. John Wilburn came to Arizona in 1967 searching for gold. He immediately eliminated the Superstition Wilderness Area in his mind and decided the gold had to be in the Superstition Mining District because that was where gold was discovered in the 1890’s. Wilburn devoted the next fifty years to searching for gold in the area around the old Mammoth Mine. He discovered a couple of sites and sold his claims for a good price. He proved there was still gold in the immediate area of the Superstition Mining District. He wintered at the Bluebird Mine working for the Ruizes. For many years he could be found on the veranda of the Bluebird. It was there that people sought him out to hear his stories about gold mining in the area. In recent years I have seen tapes on Facebook of John Wilburn being interviewed about the gold of the Superstition Mining District. Yes, there is still enough gold to attract people to this region in search of it. However, few have found any that has been worth their effort, or the investment of their money or time.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Searching For Bigfoot In Reavis Valley

June 5, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Many years ago I received a call from a man in northern California who was interested in Yeti or “ Big Foot.” He had heard of the Reavis Valley, a landlocked biotic island high above the Sonoran Desert floor, that supported a dense Ponderosa pine forest. He wanted to know how to get to the Reavis Ranch.

I must admit I had heard everything now. A story of “Big Foot” in the Superstition Wilderness Area was preposterous, if not down right laughable.

Then I thought for a moment about another tale about a strange encounter more than eighty years ago when two prospectors hiked into the area of Pope Springs to search for gold.
Are there such creatures in the Superstition Wilderness?
Photo is an artist’s enhancement of a frame from
 the Patterson-Gimilin film.

Late at night something attacked their camp, killed and hauled off their burro before they could even fire a shot. Both men got a good look at the towering beast as it dragged their burro away. The two prospectors stayed up for the rest of the night scared out of their wits. The only thing they could think of capable of carrying off a burro was a large Grizzly bear. Their burro weighed about four hundred and fifty pounds. It would require a mighty large animal to carry off a four hundred and fifty-pound burro.

The story, as I recall, stated that the prospectors described the intruder as a large, smelly, strange animal with a matted, coarse and tangled hair coat. They said it walked on its hind legs and towered at least eight to ten feet in height. When the prospectors told their story, many old timers figured they ran into a large Grizzly bear.

The prospectors said they could not identify the beast as an animal or a human, but did say it smelled like feces and urine and was unusually agile on its hindquarters. They estimated the animal weighed between 400 – 800 hundred pounds. This description could easily fit a Grizzly bear. This same story could have fueled the imagination of noted Big Foot hunter C. Thomas Biscardi.

The Phoenix Gazette on Monday, May 11, 1981, announced, “Explorer Plans Capture of Big Foot.” C. Thomas Biscardi, of northern California, was making an exploration trip to the Superstition Mountain of Arizona to search for Big Foot. Biscardi claimed his latest encounter with Big Foot occurred on Mount Lassen in Northern California. He said he took photographs of the elusive primate but concedes the front-view images of a large hair figure emerging from a clump of trees may not be enough to convince skeptics.

Biscardi reported there were more than eight hundred fifty sightings of creatures matching the descriptions of “Big Foot” in the Soviet Union, Canada and the United States. Biscardi planned to prove their existence and he said he believed these creatures could be the possible missing link.

The researcher had two reports of large human-like creatures in the Superstition Wilderness Area and spent two weeks in the Reavis Ranch area reporting no sightings. He did report finding signs of “Big Foot” in the region. He pointed out Ponderosa pines with scratch marks thirteen feet above the ground indicating a mighty tall animal scratched on the tree. Biscardi also stated there was a sour-sweet smell associated with “Big Foot.” This smell was reportedly found in several locations south of the Reavis Ranch in tall timber.

Biscardi’s exploration trip into the Superstition Wilderness Area may have been a serious attempt to prove the existence of “Big Foot” in the Superstition Wilderness Area, however “Big Foot” was not found. Biscardi said his expedition was disappointing and he concluded in the final analysis that the wilderness area was not large enough to support a population of these unknown creatures.

There was another update in 2007 on “Big Foot” in the Superstition Wilderness Area. It was recently reported that a large upright animal spooked a rider and packhorse near the head waters of Rough Canyon along the northern edge of White Mountain. This story surfaced about five years ago. Rough Canyon is almost impossible to hike through. The area is extremely remote and ignored by many. The rider who reported the large upright animal, was trying to get to the head of Rough Canyon to set up a camp and explore the area for archaeological sites. He claimed he was studying the pattern of inhabited areas north of White Mountain and south of Reavis Mountain. Recent years have produced a lot of interesting characters who explore the Superstition Wilderness Area trying to explain what exists there, whether it is archaeological, fauna, flora or just plain tall tales.

The Superstition Wilderness Area has always been a region that attracted the unusual and unexplained tales and stories. If “Big Foot” exists, it still remains to be proven. I must admit I was riding horse back north of the Reavis Ranch in the fall of October 2000 when a friend and I spotted a large Black bear. The animal ran in the opposite direction from us. I could easily see, if a person had an imaginative mind they could have envisioned Big Foot running across the old pasture in tall grass. The scratch marks on Ponderosa pines reported by Biscardi could have easily been caused by Black bears. Black bears can climb pines like squirrels almost. Often when bears are playing they will slide down trees using their claws. If nothing else, the Big Foot story created interest in yet another Superstition Wilderness Area legend or myth.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Obie Stoker: Fool's Gold

May 29, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Read this post here.

Dinsmore’s Search For The Trail

May 22, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

The lure of the Superstition Wilderness Area has attracted men and women for more than one hundred and fifty years. Some venture into these mountains searching for gold. Others enjoy the beauty and solitude of the deep canyons and towering spires of this wilderness. Thousands have left their hearts and souls among the myths and legends of this mountain. Yet, men and women continue to search this mountain today for that special satisfaction they are looking for in life.

Larry Dinsmore is such a man. Thirty-five years ago he came to this mountain to investigate a story he had read. He wanted to find out if there was such a thing as the Lost Dutchman Mine or the Peralta Mines. Larry had read a book that fired his imagination about lost gold in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain range.

Larry Dinsmore at Charlebois Master Map or Petroglyphs in La Barge Canyon.

Larry’s mother, Goldie V. Dinsmore moved West in 1951 for her health. She taught school in Miami, Arizona from 1951-1954. While living in Arizona she acquired a copy of Sims Ely’s book The Lost Dutchman Mine and sent it to her son Larry. Larry was running the family farm located in Green County, Pennsylvania. Ely’s book fired Larry’s curiosity and he planned someday to visit the Superstition Mountains and look for the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Lawrence Burns Dinsmore was born on December 16, 1915, to John M. and Goldie V. Burns Dinsmore in Waynesburg, Green County, Pennsylvania. Larry was raised on the family farm that had been in the Dinsmore family for five generations. Early in 1937, at the age of twenty-two Larry Dinsmore joined the United States Merchant Marine. He sailed around the World two times by the time he was twenty-three. He entered the Merchant Marines as a seaman and was discharged as a Captain in 1945. He served in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Pacific, and Near East war theaters of World War II. While crossing the Caribbean Sea on May 4, 1942, some one hundred miles south of Gran Cayman Island his ship, the S.S. Tusculosa, was torpedoed by a German submarine. Larry’s ship sank. Larry was eventually rescued off the coast of South America.

After Larry Dinsmore’s service in the U.S. Merchant Marine he returned to the family farm in Green County, Pennsylvania. Larry primarily raised beef cattle, but also started the first Christmas tree farm in Green County. Larry also served as a rural mail carrier for twenty-seven years out of the West Finley Post Office Rt.2. from 1945-1972. It was 1970 before Larry had his first opportunity to examine the vastness of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Larry and his daughter, Anita, hiked into wilderness using the Bluff Springs Mountain trail over Cardiac Hill. He and his daughter made camp near La Barge Springs and spent four days in the area. Larry moved to Arizona and spent three years in Apache Junction pursuing his favorite topic, the Lost Dutchman Mine. It was during this three year stay he had an opportunity to take my “Prospecting the Superstitions” class at Central Arizona College in 1974. Larry’s fascination for the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Peralta Mines kept bringing him back to the mountains.

Sometime in the spring of 1981, Robert K. Corbin, Larry Dinsmore and I rode from First Water Trail Head to Charlebois Spring. Larry wanted to revisit the petroglyphs in La Barge Canyon near Charlebois Spring. The Catclaw and Prickley Pear cactus were quite thick near the site of the petroglyphs. As we fought our way through the Catclaw there were no complaints from Larry. He just wanted to revisit the petroglyphs and have another good look at them. Another time Larry rode with Ron Feldman (OK Corral and Stable) and I up to what we called White’s Pass in the upper drainage of Whiskey Springs Canyon. We were looking for an old horse trail up on top of Coffee Flat Mountain. We found the trail, but ran out of daylight. Larry felt there was always another time to return and explore. He was always upbeat and positive about a situation.

Larry moved back to Pennsylvania in 1974. Each year he gathers his family near one of the trail heads of the Superstition Wilderness and they all trek back into the mountains for several days. Larry, now ninety years old, is proud to talk about his family and how they accompany him into these rugged mountains in search of his dream. Dinsmore’s most recent trip was in November of 2005. Ron Feldman and his crew at the O.K. Corral packed Larry to his camp site in the wilderness once more. He was a few weeks short of his 90th birthday this year when he traveled into the mountains on horseback. This man continues the proud tradition of Dutch hunting in the Superstition Wilderness Area. In a recent telephone conversation Larry told me he had all of his grand children and children convinced there was something in those mountains worth searching for.

Personally, I admire this man’s tenacity and love for an adventure. Not only does he love the mountains and stories, he shares it with his entire family. Each year when Larry’s family gets together to search for the Lost Dutchman mine they have a big family reunion with members coming from all over the United States to Apache Junction.

His struggle to continue doing what he loves is a magic that rubs off on all of us. We are all a part of his adventure. My father once said, “Yesterday’s adventures are today’s memories.” Good luck Lawrence Burns Dinsmore forever my friend. You have my admiration and respect.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Alva B. “Al” Reser

May 15, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Anyone well versed in the history and prospector lore of the Superstition Wilderness Area has heard of Alva Reser. He prefered to be called Al by his friends. Al Reser devoted almost fifty years to his search for the Lost Dutchman Mine. What would possess a man of Al’s background to pursue such a mythical mine? Al’s faith in the mine’s existence never wavered. Al Reser searched for the Dutchman mine in many different locations in the Superstition Wilderness Area over the years. Reser was a partner with several men at different times including Clay Worst, Monte Edwards, Joe Roider, and others. Reser had met many of the old time Dutch hunters such as Abe Reid, Chuck Aylor, and Roy Bradford. Al and I visited many times at my home in the early 1970s and talked about the different Dutch hunters, clues and stories associated with the Lost Dutchman Mine and Superstition Mountain.
Alva B. “Al” Reser

Al often parked his truck above the Quarter Circle U Ranch and hiked into the mountain through Bark’s Draw or the Miner Needle Trail. I first met Al when I worked at the Quarter Circle U Ranch in the late 1950s. Al was a good friend of Henry Jones who took care of the Quarter Circle U Ranch for Chuck Backus. Al would contract Billy Crader to pack his camp and mining equipment into a pre-designated location in the wilderness area. Al often spent three weeks in the mountain at a time. One time I recall visiting with him on top of Bluff Springs Mountain in 1984. He was convinced he had found a new location for the mine. One day Al returned to his campsite on Bluff Springs Mountain and found the entire camp stolen. Whoever removed his camp must have had at least two packhorses. Billy Crader told me later that it would have required at least two packhorses to move Reser camp on Bluff Springs Mountain. Al Reser returned to California very disappointed that year.

Al’s first trip away from Kansas was in 1931. This was the same year Adolph Ruth disappeared in the Superstition Mountains. He read stories about Ruth in the newspapers and soon believed a doctor would not spend time searching for a gold mine unless there was some possibility of its existence. The Ruth story led to Reser’s interest in the Superstition Wilderness Area and the Lost Dutchman mine.

Reser had been considering going into the Superstitions about the time of Adolph Ruth’s death in 1931, but choose not to make the venture at that time.

Alva Reser was born on March 25, 1908 in the little town of Grenada, Kansas to James Milton and Alma Reser. Al was the oldest of six boys. Al’s father was a carpenter and small building contractor. His father’s poor health caused Al to drop out of college to help provide for the family.

Al moved to California in 1934 and went to work for the Ford Motor Company in plant security. He retired in 1957, and devoted much of the winter months searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine in the Superstition Mountains.

Al spent a lot of time around the Tortilla Ranch. He became a friend of Floyd Stone, the owner of the ranch. Floyd Stone liked Al and never complained about him parking at the Tortilla Ranch. John A. “Hoolie” Bacon also knew Al and talked very favorably of him. Hoolie Bacon was Floyd Stone’s partner and father-in-law. Bacon and Stone owned and operated the Reavis and Tortilla Ranches.

Al hiked out of the Tortilla Ranch for almost a decade. He explored Tortilla Mountain and many of its canyons. There was an old cowboy who worked for Floyd Stone who helped Al once in awhile. He would pack Al’s camp into the mountains for him. Even old Elmer Pope remembered Al visiting at the Tortilla Ranch. Pope was an Apache cowboy who worked for Floyd Stone off and on when he was sober.

When Sims Ely’s book, The Lost Dutchman Mine was published in 1953, Reser’s appetite for adventure was whetted once again. He traveled to the Quarter Circle U Ranch at the base of the Superstition Mountains and was referred to Chuck Aylor as a guide and packed by the Barkleys. Aylor and his wife Peg had come to the Superstition Mountains in 1939 to search for treasure. They staked a claim near the confluence of East and West Boulder Canyons, just beyond Boulder Basin. They named their new camp “Caballo” (horse in Spanish) and a nearby mountain “Palomino.”

Chuck Aylor was a guide and packer for Reser on his first trip into the Superstition Mountains in 1954. They remained for a few weeks. About Aylor, Reser says, “He was a good packer and did a good job of cooking.” During this first attempt at “Dutch Hunting,” Aylor took Reser to the camp of old timer Abe Reid, a long-time searcher of the Lost Dutchman Mine. Reser said, “There was nothing else to do but sit and listen to those two guys talk.” One of the most important things about Dutch Hunting is being a good listener said Al. Since those early days, Al Reser had been a good listener and has collected a substantial amount of “material” from many significant individuals who have roamed the Superstition Mountains looking for gold. “I’ve been at the right place at the right time,” he said.

Reser has been in the mountains every year since 1954 at every opportunity and had known and used probably every packer known to the Superstition Mountains. Well known packers such as John DeGraffenreid, Dallas Adair, Jim Walters, Buck Norad, Tom Daley, Slim Fogle, Bud Land, Billy Crader and Chuck Aylor all have packed Al Reser’s camp into the Superstition Mountains over the years. Al recalls Slim Fogle packing him into lower La Barge in 1966 and Fogle died shortly after this trip. Al believed he was the last person Fogle packed into the mountains. Reser’s longest sojourn into the Superstition Mountains was for five-week period of time during the early fall of 1970. Al’s enthusiasm for his endeavor has even motivated him to travel in the mountains during the blazing hot months of summer. Al states that “Dutch Hunter” is a solo avocation for an honest man.

Many years ago I rode into La Barge Canyon with Bud Lane to retrieve Al Reser’s drop camp. I believe it was end of March 1984. Bud and I met Al in camp at about 9:00 a.m. We packed up Al’s camp while he began his walk out to First Water. I figured we would pass Al on the trail. As we continued to ride there was no sign of Al Reser. I couldn’t imagine what had happen to Al. When we approached the trailhead there Al was sitting in the shade of his truck. He finally told us he had been waiting for almost an hour for us. Bud Lane had warned me Al would walk almost twice as fast as the horses. Al was eighty-six years old that day. Bud Lane packed Al’s drop-camps into the mountains for more than a decade. Bud looked at me then said, if any man deserved to find the Lost Dutchman Mine it would Al Reser. Bud Lane respected few men and those he respected didn’t know it.

Al Reser’s health failed in September of 1999. A couple months prior to this Al had been by the house and had asked me about a middle ear infection I had in 1991. He recalled how severely ill I was with the problem. Al had been having problems with his equilibrium and wanted to know how I was cured. I explained to him what caused my condition and the resulting diagnosis. I suggested he visit a specialist. Actually that was the last time I visited with Al. Clay Worst reported Al Reser spent the remaining months of his life in the Apache Junction Health Center passing away on May 10, 2000. He was ninety-two years old.

Clay Worst reported Al’s remains were cremated. Half were sent to California where they were buried beside his wife, Martha. The rest of his remains were carried horseback into the rugged mountains he loved so dearly accompanied by several friends. The mountains he had searched in for much of his life had become his final resting- place. Al spirit is free now wandering the trails of the rugged Superstition Wilderness in search of the Dutchman’s gold.         

Monday, May 8, 2017

Andy Syndbad's Revolver

May 1, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

There has been a lot of speculation about the rifle Jacob Waltz, the Dutchman of Superstition Mountain fame, carried as he roamed and prospected the deep canyons and towering spires of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Many claimed Waltz carried a Sharp’s 45-70 repeating rifle while others said he carried a shotgun. As a reader of this tale, you can have your
Andy Synbad examines
his French LeFaueheaux
 revolver, model 1854,
11.75 mm pin fire.
choice when it comes to whether or not Waltz carried a rifle or a shotgun. Many of the early Arizona pioneers carried shotguns loaded with double 00 buckshot. These weapons were very effective at short distances and easily discouraged would-be attackers.

Several years ago I was visiting with Andy Synbad in front of the Bluebird Mine and Curio Shop. We talked about Jacob Waltz and his weapon of choice.

Old Andy reached into an old weathered leather valise he was carrying and removed an ancient looking pistol. I was amazed to find it was an old pin fire revolver. It was silver-plated and quite unusual in several respects. The pin fire revolvers of the mid-1850s used a highly specialized type of ammunition that was very difficult or impossible to obtain in Arizona Territory at any time. Pin fire ammunition also had a specialized method of powder ignition using a small pin-shaped device that was perpendicular to the cartridge case.

Syndbad allowed me to examine the revolver carefully. The revolver was a French LeFaueheaux Revolver model 1854, 11.75 mm pin fire. Some 12,000 of these revolvers were purchased early in the American Civil War and used by the U.S. I now could see why Andy thought this revolver could have belonged to Jacob Waltz. Some aficionados of the Lost Dutchman Mine story believed Waltz served in the Civil War.

Finally I looked at him and said I didn’t believe Waltz ever carried a revolver, much less a primitive pin fire system like this French revolver. Andy was quite indignant when I questioned the authenticity of his weapon. He then quickly produced a “certificate of authenticity” signed by a Globe, Arizona “Justice of the Peace.” The JP had only witnessed somebody stating the revolver had belonged to Jacob Waltz, the “Dutchman.” I must admit old Andy Synbad had me going for a few minutes. Andy offered the revolver to me for $500 and I turned him down. From that day on he never thought I was serious about the Lost Dutchman Mine. If the gun had actually belonged to the “Dutchman,” I doubt very much it could have led me to his mine in the Superstition Mountains.

Just who was Andy Syndbad? Syndbad had been around the Apache Junction area for many decades. He had prospected around Hewitt Canyon and Carney Springs Canyon as early as 1948. He moved to Apache Junction permanently in 1956. Andy was a confirmed bachelor and loner. He was born April 27, 1903 in Needles, California to a German immigrant family who worked for the railroad. His father and mother returned to Germany when Andy was one year old. Andy’s mother always told him after they moved back to Germany he was born an American citizen and could always claim that right. Andy lived in Germany from 1904 until 1946. The Nazi regime placed Syndbad in a concentration camp in 1938. He was finally released from the concentration camp and assigned to a work detail. This work placed him on the docks and ships during most of World War II. After the war and Germany’s destruction, Andy was able to prove his American birth right and eventually obtained permission to return to land of his birth after more than forty years. There was nothing in Germany for him after the war.

He drove through Apache Junction with a couple of prospecting partners in 1948, but found nothing to his liking. He returned in 1952 and met Hermann Petrasch who lived along Queen Creek. It was Petrasch who lead Andy to the prospects around Carney Springs. It around this time Andy met Carl Boderick, a pioneer metal detecting prospector. Andy spent a lot of time prospecting in the Hewitt Canyon area and on over into the headwaters of Randolph Canyon near the old Woodbury Cabin.

Early in 1958 Andy Syndbad staked out the silver claims located just south of the Goldfield Sub-Station just west of Weeks Wash. Andy sunk a shaft to the depth of 150 feet on his claims. He found a low-grade vein of silver; however it never proved to be profitable. Andy’s mining operation produced no income to live on so he had to find a way to generate a little survival income. He offered odds and ends for at his famous “patio sales”. He had a sign out on the Apache Trail to attract tourists and anyone else who would stop by and purchase something. The “patio sales” aggravated a few people around Apache Junction and they tried to stop him from having his patio sales. Their comments eventually lead to his famous highway sign. Syndbad stirred the ire of local citizens when he put up a road side sign making reference to all of the “old crabs” in Apache Junction and one other unusual individual. Andy’s famous “Patio Sales” were still going on in 1983.

Andy Syndbad’s health really began to decline by the early 1980’s. He had miner’s silicosis. He suffered so much from silicosis he committed suicide on December 4, 1986. I suppose Andy’s legacy will be his tenacity to search for gold on a claim he believed contained a bonanza. He chose the life he lived and I personally doubt he was unhappy with his place in life.

I remember him cursing those “dang” people for building houses under the cliffs of Superstition Mountain spoiling his view of the old Thunder God’s mountain. He was afraid someday rocks would roll down from the cliffs of Superstition Mountain and destroy their homes. Again, that was how Andy sometimes viewed progress. I might add the last major earthquake that dramatically altered Superstition Mountain was in 1887, more than a hundred years ago.

I would like to thank Eric Sundt of Apache Junction for his information on the old French LeFaueheasux revolver Model 1854.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Origin of the Dutchman's Lost Mine

April 24, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

When did the first prospectors and miners arrive in the rich gold fields that are between Superstition Mountain and Oroahi Mountains? Historians believe the first prospectors in the area were Mexican miners from northern Sonora. They began prospecting this area after 1790. It was between 1790 and 1830 Mexican farmers and miners moved up into what is now Arizona territory by using the river routes. The Mexican miners may have worked this area from 1825 thru 1850. Most of the Mexican miners probably came from the Gila and Santa Cruz river areas. The first Anglo-Americans arrived on the scene about 1863 from the Bradshaw Mountain region. These prospectors wanted to get out of cold mountains and into the warmer desert for the winter months. They found the Apache a major problem and soon retreated back to the Bradshaws.  The Mexicans tried to erase any prior record of their work hoping to protect their gold mining operations in the area. The Mexicans didn’t have the resources to really develop mining in the Goldfield area. These types of hostilities kept prospectors and miners out of the area for a few mores years. When the first prospectors from Mesa City arrived in 1881, it wasn’t long before claims began to show up in the area.  Ed Jones staked one of the earliest gold claims in 1881. The claim was named the Lucky Boy.  William A. Kimball staked another claim at the Boulder-Buckhorn in 1886. Later Anglo-Americans worked the veins of gold in the area that had been worked previously by very primitive mining methods employed by the Mexican miners.

The area was opened to mining soon after the Indian Wars came to a close. The Army brought the Apaches under control in 1886.The surrender of the famous war leader, Geronimo, at Skeleton Canyon in Southern Arizona ended the Indian Wars in Arizona.

A newspaper article appeared in the Arizona Daily Herald in 1879 describing an incident that occurred west of Superstition Mountain prior to the closure of the Indian Wars.  The incident involved two Mexican brothers who had been attacked by the Apache. One brother was killed and the other escaped. The brother that survived the attack by the Apaches carried out a bag of rich high-grade gold ore. These brothers were named Peralta. Both Oren Arnold and Barry Storm knew this story and had information about the incident. Many contemporary historians believe this is the origin of the legendary Peralta story and their many gold mines in the Superstition Mountains.  Oren Arnold always said, “Don’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” Oren wrote quite a story about the Peraltas in his book Superstitions Gold. Barry Storm was a researcher who bent the facts toward his way of thinking. Even earlier writers such as Pierpont Bicknell picked up on the Peralta story of 1879. Bicknell did not let the truth stand in the way of a good story either. Bicknell’s January 13, 1895 story in the San Francisco Chronicle was an important contribution to the legitimacy of the Lost Dutchman Mine story therefore creating a foundation for the Peralta story. One inconsistent fact based on another man’s reputation followed by another began to weave a story of lies and misinformation that eventually produced a legend.

Yes it is true, miners and prospectors have been digging gold out of the region between Superstition Mountain and the Oroahi (Goldfield) Mountains since 1850. Some claim the old Kimball Mine (Palmer Mine) produced around 3,000 ounces of gold in the late 1880’s. Between the years1886-1892 various prospectors and miners mined a little gold from the Gold Fields, but not enough to make the area a major producer of gold. However, in1892 a real productive gold vein was discovered in the Goldfield mining area. This was the Black Queen. One vein after another was discovered leading up to the Mammoth Mine in 1893. The Mormon stope produced $3,000,000 worth of gold in four years between the years of 1893-1897. This mine proved the Goldfield area a worthy gold producer in Arizona Territory.

During the period 1880-1910 the entire area was considered a part of the Superstition Mountain region. Little is known about the region before 1880 until about ten years ago when an old Mexican family journal was found in Phoenix. This journal revealed some very interesting information about the Salt River Valley and what the Mexican community did to survive. Many families raised goats as subsistence animals. They herded these animals around the fringe areas of the developing irrigated fields in early Salt River Valley. Some families moved on eastward along the Salt River. Two Gonzales boys and two Peralta boys were herding goats along the Salt River near a camped group of Pima warriors that hunted Apaches in the Superstition Mountains. They told the boys there were no more Apaches in a lush valley just west of the mighty bluffed mountain. The boys started herding their goats toward the valley. While their goats grazed they found small outcroppings of gold. There wasn’t much gold in these outcroppings, but enough to keep them interested in digging. When they returned home and told their families about their discovery they were warned not to tell anyone. The Mexican families knew they would be murdered for something as precious as gold. The Mexicans from along the Gila, Santa Cruz and the Salt Rivers continued to work these outcroppings in the Goldfield area for several decades before the first prospectors arrived in the area around 1880’s. At the first sign of the Anglos the Mexicans began to conceal their mines along Weeks Wash and in the surrounding valleys, they then abandoned the area. Eventually the Anglos discovered the Goldfields.  The old Mexican families never had enough capital to develop what they knew existed and belonged to them near the Superstition Mountains.

The gold claims and small mines west of Superstition Mountain became part of the Superstition Mining District some time during the late 1880’s or early 1890’s. The pounding of a large stamp mill could be heard across the desert from 1893-1897. The mill provided considerable gold bullion for its investors. Stamp mills are very interesting pieces of machinery. A visit to the Superstition Mountain Museum on the Apache Trail (State Route 88) near Mountain View Road will give an idea of what a stamp mill looked like. They have a real one on display at the museum grounds.

One of the richest prospects discovered in the valley between Superstition Mountain and the Oroahi (Goldfield) Mountains was the Bull Dog mine. Many clues to the Bull Dog fit the story of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. Clues such as an eighteen-inch vein, a pointed peak, brushy draw, three red hills, back from the northwest end of Superstition Mountain, and on a ledge above a wash are significant in the story of the Dutchman’s lost mine. Did Bicknell, Arnold or Storm make up their stories or did they base them on facts of the day? There is little doubt in the minds of historians today about these men being the perpetrators of the legendary Dutchman’s lost mine story in the Superstition Wilderness Area.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Charlebois Petroglyphs

April 3, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

The Charlebois petroglyphs site is probably the most maligned pre-historic rock-writing site in the Southwest. The site is located just upstream from the confluence of Charlebois and La Barge Canyons. Prior to the heavy pumping of the ground water in the Salt River Valley, the seeps and springs along La Barge Canyon were verdant oases for the early inhabitants of the region. The pre-historic Native Americans hunted Bighorn sheep, Mule deer, and other animals in the area. Archaeologists claimed it was the success of these hunts that were recorded on the canyon wall in La Barge.

The Petroglyphs of La Barge Canyon are often incorrectly called the “Master Map by treasure hunters.”
Some time around the turn of the 19th Century prospectors and treasure hunters found their way into the Superstition Mountains. They cast their critical eyes upon on these figures carved in stone by the ancient hunters in La Barge Canyon and believed they had found an ancient Spanish treasure map. It wasn’t long before the petroglyphs were known as the Spanish Master Map. One man promoted this scenario more than any other individual. This man was John T. Clymenson (Barry Storm). Storm was not the only man to promote the Master Map in La Barge Canyon as Old Spanish rock writing. Oren Arnold used the Master Map in La Barge in some of his writings (1930-1972). Another man who never let the truth stand in the way of a good story was Barney Barnard. He called the petroglyphs a master map also. Most writers have included the stone writings in their books somehow.
The Bighorn Mountain Sheep were
often depicted in Petroglyphs by
the Native Americans on rocks
 throughout the American Southwest.

I first visited the Inscription Rock, in 1954, with my father. Dad thought it was important to check it out. He studied the rock for a few minutes and was convinced it was nothing more than petroglyphs. I traveled to the site several times between 1954-1959. Each trip produced some new markings on the rock.

Sometimes the alterations were minor; a couple of times the alterations were major.

The petroglyphs in La Barge Canyon, known as Inscription Rock, require a nine-mile hike from First Water Trailhead. First Water Trailhead is located Northeast of Apache Junction on the edge of the Superstition Wilderness Area. Drive northeast on the Apache Trail (SR88) from Apache Junction 4.9 miles to First Water Trailhead Road (FS78). Turn right on First Water Road and drive to the parking lot, approximately 2.5 miles. Hike into the mountains on Dutchman’s Trail (104) to East Boulder Canyon, then over Bull’s Pass and down into Needle Canyon. Follow the Dutchman’s Trail (104) on into La Barge Canyon. Once you are in La Barge hike about 1.5 miles up canyon to the confluence of Charlebois and La Barge Canyons. The petroglyphs are located in La Barge about 200 yards up the canyon on a rocky outcrop on the left side of the canyon.

This is an eighteen-mile round-trip. Only those who are in excellent condition and experienced hikers should attempt this trip. The hike should only be made between the middle of November and the 1st of April. Always be sure to carry an ample supply of water. Charlebois Spring is an excellent area to camp and a good source of water year around. Please leave the petroglyphs as you found them. Only take photos of this Native American Inscription Rock.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Don't Be a Victim of Snakebite

March 27, 2017 © Thomas J. Kollenborn. All Rights Reserved.

Just recently, a 67 year old man from California visiting the Mirage area was bitten by a Western Diamond Back rattlesnake when he was inspecting his RV. He had heard a strange noise under it.

A five-year-old girl was bitten by a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake in a dry wash along I-17 Highway north of Phoenix. She was rushed to the children hospital for treatment. This is a tragic way for us to be alerted to the dangers involving poison reptiles while we are in the outdoors during snake season.

This year 2017, we are experiencing an extremely warm February and March. Rattlesnakes are out and moving about. Several sightings have been reported. The snakes like basking in the warm rays of the morning sun.

Reptiles, meaning most cold-blooded animals become very active when temperatures begin to rise into the mid-seventies and eighties. In the spring reptiles come out of hibernation and begin their search for food. August and September are traditionally the most active months for rattlesnakes on the Sonoran Desert at elevations below 4,000 feet. In late fall when temperatures drop below seventy-eight degrees reptiles begin to prepare for hibernation. I have lived in the Sonoran Desert for the past seventy years and I have encountered hundreds of rattlesnakes. If the truth were known, most of us who walk or hike in the desert will pass by ten snakes for every one we see. Under most conditions a rattlesnake is very difficult to spot unless it is disturbed and it moves. Rattlesnakes generally rattle before they move, but not always.

A rattlesnake can easily be identified by the triangular-shape of its head and the rattles on its tail. A closer examination will reveal an elliptical-shaped pupil in its eye. Believe me I don’t usually get that close to look! This trait is common to poisonous snakes of the Sonoran Desert. All rattlesnakes will have a pit organ near the nostril orifice. Rattlesnakes come in a variety of colors and patterns. Most rattlesnakes found in our area will have rings around their tails above the rattles. The color of these rings will alternate between black and white in various shades. The visibility of these rings will depend on the species. The Western Diamond Back rattler’s rings are very pronounced and stand out, where as the rings on an Arizona Black is not very visible because of the blending of the rings. Occasionally a rattlesnake will lose it rattlers; when this occurs, the difficulty of identification increases.

Rattlesnakes are ectothermic vertebrates (cold-blooded animals), meaning they lack an appropriate physiological mechanism for maintaining body temperature. All cold-blooded animals are at the mercy of their environment. The air and ground temperatures will dramatically affects all reptiles in their environment. This condition directly affects their daily rhythm of activity in their habitat.

There are six species of rattlesnakes in our area. They include the Western Diamond back (Crotalus atrox), Mohave (Crotalus scutulatus), Arizona Black (Crotalus vidiris), Black-Tailed (Crotalus molossos), Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes), and the Tiger (Crotalus tigris). These animals have a very highly developed mechanism for injecting venom therefore making them very successful predators on the desert. A rattlesnake’s diet is composed of small rodents 82% to 85% of the time.

Reptiles, including rattlesnakes, like cool shady spots during the spring, summer and fall months. During the winter month’s, rattlesnakes generally go underground and hibernate. They usually choose caves and old mine tunnels. Occasionally dens of rattlesnakes have been accidentally uncovered by construction equipment and hundreds of rattlesnakes are found at one time.

Rattlesnakes have been known to come out of hibernation if temperature warm up to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The functioning temperature for a rattlesnake is 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and it effective temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit to 96 Degrees Fahrenheit. The effective temperature is the temperature at which the snake moves about and hunts for prey. Direct exposure to heat or sunlight in elevated temperatures will kill a rattlesnake in 10 to 15 minutes.

You might say rattlesnake season is twelve months a year in the lower Sonoran Desert if temperatures rise above 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months. Rattlesnakes are most commonly sighted from the first of April until about the middle of October. These animals are primarily nocturnal and prefer the hours after sundown and before sunrise. Most victims bitten by rattlesnakes are generally bitten ½ hour before sundown and up to two hours after sundown. It is estimated 72% of all bites occur during this period.

There are some interesting facts about rattlesnakes. The oldest known rattlesnake in captivity was 30 years and 7 months. This snake was a Western Diamond Back (Crotalus atrox). The largest rattlesnake officially recorded was an Eastern Diamond Back (Crotalus adamatus) at 7 feet 4 inches. The largest Western Diamondback was measured live at 6 feet 8 inches. There have been many wild claims about ten to fifteen-foot rattlesnakes, but usually these are snakes that were measured after death and their skin had been stretched. The average distance a rattlesnake can strike and effectively inject venom is approximately one-third of its body length.

Some eighty per cent of all rattlesnake bites are the results of carelessness or the handling of rattlesnakes by older juveniles or young adults. It is now estimated some twenty per cent of rattlesnake bites are accidental or legitimate. About fifteen per cent of rattlesnake bites are dry socket-bites, meaning no venom was injected into the victim. The Arizona Poison Control Center and other medical resources reported some one hundred and twenty-one Crotalus envenomizations for the year 1991. This statistics quadrupled in 2003. Again statistics have almost quadrupled for 2005. These numbers continue to increase each year as our population continues to grow and more people head for the outdoors.

How do you know a rattlesnake has actually bitten you and if the reptile injected venom? There are several signs and symptoms of envenomization. First there will be fang marks. These fang marks can be singular, dual or even a scratch. Fang marks are generally a very small puncture wound. A burning sensation usually follows the injection of venom by the reptile. A metallic or rubbery taste in the mouth often follows a bite, but not always. The tingling of the tongue or numbness can also occur. If a rattlesnake has injected venom into its victim, local swelling will occur within ten minutes. The amount of venom injected is generally indicated by the severity of edema or swelling at fang puncture site. Nausea and weakness is often associated with snakebite. Black or blue discoloration will generally appear near the site of the puncture wounds caused by the snake’s fangs after three to six hours. Every snakebite victim should be treated for shock. Shock is a greater threat to the victim’s survival then the actual venom of the snake.

The following is the recommended first aid for a rattlesnake bite. Call 911 immediately, snakebite is a medical emergency. If medical help is several hours away the following treatment is recommended. Calm and reassure the  victim and decrease the movement of the limb. Identify the snake if it is possible without further risk of another bite. It is not recommended to use a constricting band or tourniquet unless you are a medical professional. Many snakebite victims have come into emergency rooms with a constricting band, such as shoelace, completely obliterated by edema or swelling. It is extremely important to move the victim to a medical facility without delay.    

The following are some things we can do to prevent rattlesnake bite.

When walking in the desert or in any area known for reptile habitation, always look where you step, or place your foot, or feet (Caution should always be used at night, late evening, and early morning). Always look where you are placing your hands or fingers. Use extreme caution before placing your hands where you can’t see what you are touching.  Always look before sitting down, especially around or near boulders or brush. Think before defecating or urinating in the outdoors. I have observed a variety of bites during the past fifty years that resulted from total lack of common sense. Small children must be closely supervised at all times in areas of possible snake infestation or inhabitation.
If you and your family observe these basic rules you should be safe from snakebite. Again, watch where you put your hands, feet and where you sit. As urbanization continues at the desert edge in Arizona the threat of snakebite is always a reality. Small children have become the tragic victims of snakebite in recent years because of little or no supervision by parents or responsible adults.

I have tried to be as thorough as I can with accurate information about rattlesnakes in Arizona. It is important to take note, the better understanding we have of reptiles, the better chance we have of not becoming a victim of snakebite.

I would like to thank Jude McNally, and his staff, Arizona Poison Control Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, and Dr. Findlay E. Russell and his enormously valuable resource Snake Venom Poisoning printed by Scholium International, Inc., Great Neck, New York 11021. This book is a physician’s desk reference for snake venom poisoning.

For information call Arizona Poison Control System 1-800-362-0101. (The state legislature may not be funding the Arizona Poison Control Center because of budget cuts this year.)

For snake removal in Apache Junction call Apache Junction Fire District - 480-982-4440.
Tom Kollenborn directed the Snake Alert program for the Apache Junction Unified School District for seventeen years. He attended workshops and worked closely with the University of Arizona Poison Control Center and Medical Center.