Sunday, October 22, 2006

Four Peaks

This morning we slept a bit later than usual because we stayed up last night to view the Orionid Meteor Shower, it was a good viewing night, clear sky, zillions of stars and a stiff neck afterward from gazing skyward.
Anyway, we decided we'd go for a short jaunt so we headed for a short route we'd passed on a previous trip. The road was pretty good by Jeeping standards, with just a few minor washouts and a couple of undercarriage scraping boulders in the roadway. We began our ride on FR 429, an uphill climb overlooking Roosevelt Lake to the north and Four Peaks to the west, from there we took a plateau road FR 336 heading east toward the Superstition Wilderness. 
Four Peaks (elevation 7657 Feet) is an Arizona Landmark which can be seen for many miles away, located within the Four Peaks Wilderness and not accessible to motorized vehicles. It's the home of Four Peaks Amethyst Mine, a very old mine once worked by the Spaniards who explored Arizona in the 1500s. The gems found in this extremely isolated location were of such excellent quality that they were sent to Spain where they became part of the Spanish crown jewels. The mine itself is privately owned and mined only on an occasional basis because access by helicopter or hiking makes full time operations impractical.
We'll probably be heading back to FR 336, the temperatures were rising this afternoon so we decided not to do any hiking.  Through our binoculars we could see some interesting remains of what looked like an old placer gold mining location. I know we'll go back to check it out!
This is a view of Four Peaks taken from FR 429. It's quite an imposing sight to see soaring above the desert floor. I can't imagine mining at that altitude and on a mountainside to boot!

This is an Amethyst from Four Peaks Mine