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Hike to Gleason Flat - Salt River Canyon, AZ
mini location map2018-03-21
16 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Hike to Gleason Flat - Salt River Canyon, AZ 
Hike to Gleason Flat - Salt River Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2018
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking4.10 Miles 612 AEG
Hiking4.10 Miles   4 Hrs      1.03 mph
612 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Grasshopper
GH and I decided to drive down FR303B to Gleason Flat on the Salt River on day 3 of our 5 day camping trip near Haystack Butte. It would be a short day with plenty of time back in camp to cook a dinner of jambalaya with smoked sausage and garlic sauteed shrimp. The drive ended up being a 4 mile hike due to partially washed out road conditions where FR303B does the final descent to the Salt River. As we hiked down the hillside to Gleason Flat I pondered what had gone on here in the past.

The remains of some type of mining activity could be seen on the reservation side of the river near the mouth of Medicine Creek. Some research after returning home revealed that the mining stuff was the remains of a gravity concentration plant for extraction (benification) of manganese from ore that had been mined near Medicine Butte. By 1967 it had been dismantled. The greatest production of ore from these mines, approx 12,000 tons, occurred in 1955 and 1956.

A landing strip can be seen on the south side of the river. It did not appear to have been in use for quite some time. US General Land Office Records show that William L Nail patented a homestead of 63 acres on Gleason Flat in 1919 under the Homestead Act of 1862. I'm not sure whether this is the William L Nail who was born in 1850 or his grandson William L Nail who was born in 1899. Since it took 5 years to prove up on a homestead it probably was the elder. Notes from a biography of Jesse W Ellison who founded the Q-Ranch east of Young in 1895 mentions the Nail boys, William, Pete and George, all living at Gleason Flats for a time with their only schooling at the Q-Ranch. Their mother was Sarah Mattie Ellison, daughter of Jesse W Ellison. These same notes say "old man Nail" lost the ranch at Gleason Flat and bought in Pleasant Valley. Somehow the homestead site eventually reverted back to the Forest Service.

So a hike to Gleason Flat provides scenic views of the Salt River Canyon, a chance to get your feet wet, maybe even do a little fishing, and ponder the history of this place.

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