Forgotton forest trails?? We traveled through the Old Aravaipa area once more to camp for two nights at the charming Landsman camp, old homestead site, under huge barren sycamores, a running stream, and small meadow of volunteer fruit trees. It is also the TH for the Cobra Grande trail #284, approx 2.6 miles over the shoulder of Cobra Grande mountain and leading to the old and remote Cobra Grande mine and it's road/trail continuation to Black Rock area on the San Carlos reservation.
There is no easy access to this TH, either thru a locked gate and web of roads on the ranch or from the reservation side which I understand is a "Class D" area, for which no permits are issued. The trail ascends through grasslands and scrub, apparently kept up by the rancher and animals. It is in good shape in parts but easily misplaced early on until you are on the good tread rising steadily, passing several spring areas. When we got to the saddle a couple of weathered downed signs. This was the start of the snow on the shady side of the Cobra Grande mtn. Before the saddle good views of the Santa Teresas, the Aravaipa area and the Galiuros. We could also see a little of San Carlos lake from the saddle. The trail now entered a small nice forest of oak and large juniper. The snow was crusty early and sinking to mid thigh on the return.
The trail we could surmise only from cuttings of tree limbs. We saw one recent looking blaze mark. There were some vague sections then we happened upon an old and eroded jeep track. We followed this to the Cobra Grande mine area. The cuts for the old mine were huge, and snow filled. We found a tunnel with two feet of snow at the entrance, it was a relief to go inside. Beautiful colors, mostly post mine stuff with lots of gypsum. Old windlass structure for hauling up ore probably with a hand winch. Shaft untimbered, with carnage at the bottom, javalina skeletons, one that looked like a bear cub and a skunk. We had carried rope and gear and Brian dropped this shaft.
We found a good road near the mine that according to the map went to the Black Rock area and ended before it got to the other end crossing the reservation. Black Rock access is locked off at a ranch.
Looking for more remains hard in the snow. We found an old cabin sans roof in the manzanita and oak brush that looked very old, with perhaps blacksmithing set up for the mine.
Hiking back followed our tracks in the snow, beautiful views with the lowering sun. We also drove and explored near the Princess Pat mine, nothing much going on there but a beautiful canyon with running water and trees and great camping, bad road at bottom, had to use a shovel to help out the FJ.
On the way home lots of poppies in Aravaipa area. Glorious weekend except for the wind.