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2 Photosets

2016-02-21  
Marinette Canal, AZ
mini location map2016-02-21
9 by photographer avatarblack_toes
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Marinette Canal, AZ 
Marinette Canal, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 21 2016
black_toes
Hiking0.25 Miles
Hiking0.25 Miles
 
1st trip
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Very little is left of the Marinette Canal after 106-years. Aka the Marinette Heading Canal, most of it was destroyed by modern housing developments. The canal ran along the east side of the Agua Fria River for 5 or so miles south of what is now Jomax Road. Its purpose was to provide irrigation for orchards and crops at a town called Marinette, which was deserted and became a ghost town. Del Webb bought the property in the middle of last century and turned it into modern-day Sun City.

The canal's beginning starts with a tunnel blasted through rock at the very SW corner of the little range of peaks and river bluffs around Calderwood Butte. It is clearly visible for about 200 feet, although imagination can follow it along for a short distance farther. The ditch lays about 8-10 feet below a wall of rocks that borders it on the W. Few people seem to notice it. The few locals I talked with did not know its history.

I thought of walking down in the ditch but I would have needed a machete to do it. Palo verde, mesquite, brush and cactus now grow where Marinette water used to run. Water is now diverted from a stone-lined riverbed before entering the tunnel. It goes out under a culvert to the Agua Fria's mainstream.

The length of the tunnel is about 60-75 feet and marked on the N with a cement wall with the numeral "1910" etched and painted into it. I assumed that was the year the canal was built. Taggers have left their work inside and out. I didn't go through the tunnel but could easily see all the way through. An old sofa rests at the far end. Must be a local hang-out of some kind. I saw a young man go into the tunnel, talking on a phone.

The Marinette Canal might be of some historic interest to hikers using the southern trail to Calderwood Butte's summit on the north side of Jomax. Just walk west about 100 yards from the unmarked TH, and you're at the canal.
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