Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gold Creek Rockhounding


After doing a bit of outside work around the house this morning, we decided to go for a short jaunt.

We've read about Gold Creek in Tonto Basin and heard it was a good place to hike, especially for amateur rockhounds. Gold Creek was the location of several placer gold mining operations as well as being the site of a bloody massacre. In 1862, five soldiers on a scouting mission from Fort McDowell came upon two Apache Indians hunting in Gold Creek. The soldiers shot the Apaches on sight and then proceeded to mutilate their bodies, taking their grisly "souvenirs" back to Fort McDowell. The soldiers were reprimanded for their behavior and served six months in the brig. Their punishment was an unpopular decision at a time when Apaches were routinely slaughtering settlers in the area. 

Since the temperatures were in the 80s today and there wasn't much shade, we didn't hike as far as we would have liked but we were able to bring back some beautiful rocks for our garden. Slate, Cinnabar and Quartz worn by the water of the creek were real nice finds for us. Nope, we didn't find any gold, but from what we saw there, there's a possibility of finding some when we return. Hey, you never know.
The only critter we saw was a  large, green, hooded lizard dashing across the rocks on his hind legs. He looked a bit like a mini dinosaur. Being on the shy side, he didn't pause for a photo opportunity.