|Tom Kollenborn going home to Reavis Ranch.|
As we set in the shade of a Palo Verde (not much shade) he told me the story of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine.
In the early spring of 1948, I was introduced to the Superstition Mountains at First Water by my father. We hiked into East Boulder Canyon then over into Needle Canyon near John Pearce’s old camp. We spent the night and hiked out the next day. I was ten years old and this was my first real introduction to the mountains. The story, the rugged mountain and the serenity of region captured my imagination for the rest of my life.
I started photographing the mountains in the mid 1950’s when I worked for the Barkley Cattle Company for the first time (1955-1965). I spent numerous weekends in the Superstition Mountains visiting as many places as I could. I met many interesting people during these years. I was a frequent visitor to Al Morrow’s camp and I often stopped by Ed Piper’s Camp. I even talked to Celeste Jones on the trail a couple of times when I was in the mountains.
From 1973-2005 I continued being involved with the Superstition Wilderness Area in some way. I have served as a guide, written columns on the area since 1976, published books and continued to visit this rugged mountain wilderness area with my camera.
My mother was born in Mesa, Arizona, and her folks were raised in Tonto Basin. I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, I was back in Arizona before I was a year old and have always claimed Arizona as my native state. I attended public school in Tonto Basin, Globe, Hayden, Winkelman and Phoenix.
My father was employed by the Christmas Copper Company from 1932-1952. We moved to Phoenix in 1952 and I graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1956. I attended Arizona State Teacher’s College in the fall of 1956. I also served and was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. I received my Master’s Degree in 1977 from Arizona State University. I was an U.S. Department of State Fulbright Scholar to Israel in 1986.
I started my teaching career with the Apache Junction Unified School District in 1973. I taught classes for Central Arizona College from 1973-1990 on the history and lore of the Superstition Wilderness Area.
During the past thirty-five years I have developed a large database based on the periodical history Superstition Wilderness Area. I have collected more than 2000 names of people interested in the area, more than 18,000 periodicals, and more three hundred books and publications.
All of this information is easily accessible with the database we have developed. Eventually this database will be available to the public at an on-line site along with a virtual cyberspace museum on the area with rare photographs taken by my father never published or used before. At least this is my dream.
The mountains always have a story to tell, and I enjoy sharing these stories with you, the readers. It’s a constant reminder that the adventures of our youth serve as our memories as we grow older.