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Hovatter Camp & Alamo Benchmark, AZ
mini location map2018-11-29
38 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Hovatter Camp & Alamo Benchmark, AZ 
Hovatter Camp & Alamo Benchmark, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 29 2018
Hiking9.20 Miles 717 AEG
Hiking9.20 Miles   5 Hrs   5 Mns   2.91 mph
717 ft AEG   1 Hour   55 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I have done a few hikes west of Phoenix and south of I-10, along Hovatter Road.
I was curious about why the road was named Hovatter, so I did some research and discovered that a mining family had lived about 27 miles south of I-10, basically in the middle of nowhere.
Hovatter Road goes directly to their 'Hovettar Camp'.

They lived on a flat, low mesa in the Little Horn Mountains, in the eastern edge of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. They occupied the land from 1951 to 1976, and called it their "camp".
The family owned the Hovatter claims group. The claims group mined gold, silver and manganese, with their main living coming from manganese.
They actually operated a manganese mill on the property.

Ray Hovatter, his wife and three daughters lived on the property with no electricity, no running water, and no flush toilets. They got water from a well about 1/10th a mile away.
Hovatter Camp was partially bordered by a high wooden fence, and the Hovatter family lived in a line cabin (2 trailers connected), another wooden structure and an old bus.

The three daughters were mostly home schooled, and helped with chores. Mrs Hovatter established an expansive garden of native plant life. In the 1950s, she transplanted dozens of 3 to 4 foot high saguaros and young ocotillos, and bordered their curved driveway with them.
The saguaros and ocotillos are now huge, healthy, and quite a sight.
Even Google Earth picks them up nicely.

They also had a rather short, dirt runway (1,200 ft) at the camp, but my research gave no info on whether it was ever used by anyone. There are rocks on the side of the runway that could have spelled out "HOVATTER" at one time - Google Earth gives a hint of that.

Tragedy struck the family in 1968, when a propane tank exploded, killing one of their daughters. She was buried on the property. The explosion also burned Ray Hovatter (the father) and one other daughter. Both survived their burns.

The father died six years later, in 1974 (natural causes) and was also buried at the 'camp'. Kofa National Wildlife Refuge took over the property in 1976, and eventually disposed of all the buildings, the fence, the water tank and bus, plus all Mrs Hovatter's individual gardens.

All that remains now is that elegant row of saguaros and ocotillos, lining the curved driveway/road, plus the grave sites of the father, and the oldest daughter that died from her burns. Their graves are atop a rise on the camp property. When Mrs Hovatter died in 1992 (natural causes), her ashes were placed over the grave sites.

The only remnants of the numerous gardens are the layers of flat plate stone used for the garden borders.
Google the name Hovatter, and you'll get way more information about their camp, etc.

Well, after wandering around the Hovatter Camp, I hiked south from the camp, climbed up a mountain, (Peak 2073), located two benchmarks, and two reference marks. Then, on the way back to the camp, I located an azimuth mark out in the desert.
It was a good day.
Named place
Named place
Little Horn Mountains Palomas Plain
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
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