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.