Rodger, sizing up … Zig Zag.
In “The Zig Zag the path part #1” I discussed the Dutchman’s mine area during and before his time period and prior to 1887. Every time our team is up on the site area, I pray that no one gets injured or killed.
I also realize that this area has remained largely unknown, because of two factors which are 1# is it’s natural defenses which are extremely steep and 2# the access to path way up and the path itself goes through a never ending thicket of underbrush which is razor sharp and will shred your clothing, not to mention your skin. Most places you are standing sideways on one foot, while you are hacking through brush, while tapping the ground to alert rattlesnakes of your presence. One of our guys has nicknamed the climb “Hairball.”
Keep in mind what I stated earlier, Waltz said the access to the path was made easy because the Peralta’s had worn it down and cleared out the thicket with machetes.
The path up is a Zig then a Zag and then another Zig. The problem is when you get to upper middle of the path on Zag, the trail has collapsed down into the canyon below. You are standing on Zag but the last 30 feet connecting you to the second Zig is gone, you are hanging on to a bush which is rooted in unstable ground and can let loose at any moment. Looking up and across you see the old upper path 30 feet away, (the last Zig) but you cannot reach it. You can throw a frisbee and land it on upper Zig, but you cannot get there. In the Dutchman’s day Zag, went all the way and connected to upper Zig. We know this because we can see the rubble from the void down below.
We have been at this choke point at least a dozen times and it is a no go. We have recently found another route, and it works but I cannot give the details until the book comes out.
In 1887 after the Dutchman stopped going to the mine, there was a 7.4 earthquake in the Superstition mountains, the epicenter was between Weavers Needle and the salt river. Keep in mind that the National park service has designated Tonto National Forrest and its boulder strewn terrain the most severe and dangerous, of all national parks in America. Also, it is the most prone to landslides. Lastly, I want to give you an example of what a 7.4 earthquake can do to stationary buildings, and then try to imagine what a bunch of boulders plied up 5000 feet high would do in a 7.4 earthquake!
Mexico City 7.4 earthquake, 95,000 people dead.
The Superstitions more than other area in North America is susceptible, to dramatic and sudden Geophysical changes, in just a blink of an eye.
Everywhere you look, you see canyon after canyon lined with unstable boulders hanging and protruding from every angle imaginable.
The Apache Trail road is over 100 years old and built with, mules, wagons, and dynamite, all by manual labor using sheer brute force, done by hand with road gangs and taking many years to build. It was forever altered by a 100-year-old catastrophic microburst in September of 2019. Route 88 the old Pony Express trail is the only road into the interior. After the 2019 storm, it may be closed forever. I will talk about this in my next post. It is believed that rebuilding Route 88 may not be feasible.
Modern day equipment cannot operate or even reach the area. The only way to rebuild would be with manual labor, including mules and horses hauling in equipment by wagon and could take 8+ years and cost several billion dollars. Below is photo of just part of the road. This type of damage goes from Tortilla Flat to Apache Lake.
The Apache Trail after 2019 storm.
Entryway into the superstition Mountains no more?
1860 vs 2019
What we can clearly see in our canyon, is that the site has been altered dramatically by the 1887 earthquake, add to that a 150 years of severe weathering and you have a site that that is much worse to access than in Jacob Waltz’s day.
When we can share more things, in the book you will be able to fit pieces into the puzzle and then you will see the whole picture. Since our last trip, I have been working hard at arranging the puzzle and putting the parts together. Just recently a most important gotcha that I have been looking for, was found. This is one of the most important finds we have. I have been searching for this for 4 years and I almost gave up. My instincts told me it should be there. In the next post I will get into the Apache Trail Issue, along with another topic. One finale point – One of the reasons I shared the Apache trail devastation is to show how severe the terrain in the Superstition Mountains is and that it does not take a lot to upset the apple cart. The damage on route 88 was from a 100-year storm that dumped 5+ inches of rain overnight. The Apache Thunder- God spoke and delivered a rare microburst of 5.5 inches in just a couple of hours. Observers the next day said there were hundreds of waterfalls spilling out for as far as you could see.
The Apache Thunder Gods are real, for hundreds of years they have protected their sacred site, but with advanced technologies they feel threatened. On September 12th of 2019, they got up from the canvas and scored a knockout. No road – no access. …… almost.