Monday, February 25, 2008

Slate Creek Hike


A Beautiful day! Clear blue sky, sunshine and 70º makes it a perfect Arizona day. Since the trails are still too muddy for good Jeeping, we decided to take a hike up Slate Creek. We were trying to locate a possible ghost town in that vicinity when we made the skeleton discovery a few weeks ago. We were able to locate the few remains of a mill which once stood alongside Slate Creek. The mill was used to crush rocks in order to remove the raw ore. The mill was an unusual one because it served two purposes, one to crush stone and the other was to grind grain. One side of it was devoted to ore, the other contained a grist mill, serving the residents of the area back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Not much remains of the mill except a few foundations, flooding in the area had pretty much decimated any remnants. At least we knew we were on the right track because the mill indicates there were enough people in the area to support a mill.

Slate Creek itself was full of surprises. We've never seen the kind of deep purple slate that lined the creek. Beautiful small waterfalls and erosion has created lovely little pools of crystal clear mountain water. The colors have to be seen to believe. Be sure to check out the pictures, the colors are well represented in the shots of the creek. As we progressed up the creek, we saw traces of mining having been done in the area, pipes and pieces of ore car track protruded from the river bed. We also came upon an old grave...Oh NO..NOT another one!  Whew, this time it was just a grave, no bones and no name to identify who it belonged to, just a simple cross made of some sort of pottery. Just above the grave was an old Juniper tree and in the center of the tree was a wreath which once stood on the grave, but over the years, the tree had grown through the wreath, raising it in the air as it grew. Not a bad final resting place, a very peaceful scenic spot.
We'll return again, there's still a ghost town to be found somewhere out there....