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Saddle Mountain Easy Mines - 4 members in 25 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Nov 14 2015
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop, AZ 
Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 14 2015
Tough_Boots
Hiking16.50 Miles 3,701 AEG
Hiking16.50 Miles
3,701 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Mormon Grove - :next: Saddle Mtn Trail - :next: Sheep Creek Trail - :next: Thicket Spring Trail - :next: Mazatzal Divide - :next: Peeley TH - :next: Mazatzal Divide - :next: Cornucopia Trail - :next: road 25A - :next: Sunflower Mine - :next: unmapped jeep road - :next: Saddle Mtn Trail - :next: Mormon Grove

I really like this loop. Its challenging and extremely diverse in regards to scenery, type of trail, and quality of trail. Today was a perfect day for it and we managed to catch up with some of the folks meeting at the Peeley TH this morning. That trail builder machine they put to work in there is basically magic. The Cornucopia was totally transformed since the last time I was on it. The new signs are also impressive. We saw a bald eagle in McFarland Canyon and some coatimundi along Alder Creek :D

My only bad note is that due to the fire, the lower half of the old jeep road connecting the Sunflower Mine to the Saddle Mtn trail is being swallowed up. I think that road is a hidden gem of the Mazzies and would hate to see it forgotten and disappear.
_____________________
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan
Nov 14 2015
clairebear
avatar

 Photos 178
 Triplogs 158

37 female
 Joined Oct 26 2011
 Tempe, AZ
Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop, AZ 
Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 14 2015
clairebear
Hiking16.50 Miles 3,701 AEG
Hiking16.50 Miles
3,701 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
I had a great time on this trip- there are so many good things to say about this. It was my first proper hike in the Mazatzals and I came away with a good appreciation for this area. Kyle put this loop together and it defiently showcases a spectrum of the wilderness along with varying degrees of trail types and conditions.

Starting off, we set a good pace on the saddle mountain trail which winds along the side of the mountains. The trail is open and wide. One one side of the trail the rugged mountains rise up and the other side the earth drops off into views of rolling hills and wilderness for miles. Not too shabby. Eventually the trail drops us down into McFarland Canyon. We stopped for a break in a nice little clearing and continued following the canyon upstream for a bit. Kyle and 9L spotted an Eagle along this portion. Eventually the trail leaves McFarland Canyon via a small side canyon. The trail narrows and goes uphill for this portion. The foliage along the trail was very dense and we had to pay attention to stay on the trail. Once we got to the high point the trail was very good and easy to follow for miles. We breezed onto the Mazatzal Divide trail and ran into the group of Haz'ers from the GPS Joe Tribute. Good timing to run into everyone :) 9L and Kyle chatted for a few minutes with Larry and others. Then we continued toward the Peely TH and they went the opposite way. We paused for a few minutes at Peely TH to relax and eat our lunch before hopping back on the Mazatzal Divide trail that would bring us to the juncture for our loop.

At the juncture we left the Mazatzal Divide trail and followed the Cornucopia Trail. These trails were both very wide and easy to follow. We stopped and saw the remains of what was once a blue delivery truck and not too long after we saw some very cute and scared coatimundi who ran away and would not let us stop to take pics of them. We had more beautiful views and fall colors through this portion of the hike as we walked through another dry creekbed. Eventually the trail becomes narrow and runs parallel to the creep bed while gradually rising. This put us back on another Jeep Road just above the sunflower mine. We ran into some friendly jeepers and a dude with a large gun going for a walk to check out the mines up from the road. We continue to follow the trail upwards towards a saddle. Decent trail through this part, but there was some deadfall to navigate past. Past the saddle we ended up getting off route and had to turn back a little bit. Just some challenging routefinding fun. The rest of the way back was a bit of a blur for me. The uphill was gradual but it seemed eternal until we finally connected back onto the Saddle Mountain Trail and back to the Jeep.

This was a great day in a beautiful wilderness.~ I anticipate many future hikes in the Mazzies :D
_____________________
Nov 14 2015
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 170
 Photos 4,848
 Triplogs 1,619

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop, AZ 
Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 14 2015
John9L
Hiking16.50 Miles 3,701 AEG
Hiking16.50 Miles
3,701 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Loop hike with Kyle & Claire. We headed for the Peeley Trailhead and saw Hank and the rest of the HAZ crew who were remembering GPS Joe. We also saw FOTG and the dogs. We took our lunch and then returned to our trailhead passing the Sunflower Mine. Along the creek we saw a large pack of Coatimundi.
_____________________
Apr 12 2015
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 31
 Photos 2,166
 Triplogs 1,073

62 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Saddle - Thicket - West Fork - Cornucopia, AZ 
Saddle - Thicket - West Fork - Cornucopia, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2015
mazatzal
Hiking11.67 Miles 2,457 AEG
Hiking11.67 Miles   6 Hrs   50 Mns   1.97 mph
2,457 ft AEG      55 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Parked at FR25 / 25A junction and hiked up FR25 to Mormon Grove TH, take Saddle Mtn trail to McFarland Canyon and continue on Thicket Spring trail to West Fork trail to Cornucopia trail and take that back to 25A and return to the 25/25A junction.

The area is recovering a bit from the Sunflower fire. The new posts installed by Shawn and team look good and will be even better when the signs are added :lol: We saw an Arizona black buzzworm along Saddle Mtn trail.

The area seemed eerily quiet today. From the time we left the Beeline to getting back we saw no people and no vehicles anywhere in the area except on the drive back we saw one pickup. There are usually at least a few people/vehicles at all the camping spots along FR 25.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
_____________________
3 archives
Nov 30 2013
evanshiker
avatar

 Routes 16
 Photos 921
 Triplogs 41

male
 Joined Jan 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 30 2013
evanshiker
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles
1,400 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This is a little tardy and I apologize, but I thought I should post it anyway since there has been no trip report on this hike since last summer when the trail and trailhead were still closed in the aftermath of the Sunflower fire of 2012.

Two friends, one of whom I had not hiked with since the '70s, wanted to give their legs some exercise. I suggested this trip, as defined by GPSJoe (another of his many contributions to this site and the hiking community, bless his soul). They thought it sounded great and set it up. I had done this hike back in 2010 and enjoyed it very much. Then I remembered that the Sunflower fire in 2012 had burned over this area, and wondered if a trip now would be that enjoyable. I checked the trip reports and found that none had been filed since last summer (2013) and it said that the Mormon Grove trailhead, the starting point, was still closed. What to do? We decided to see if it was open, and if it wasn't to go to plan B which meant another destination.

We were pleasantly surprised to find the trailhead and trail OPEN! So we decided to go with plan A, and to check on how the area was recovering. The old corral at the trail head is essentially gone, as are the signs at the intersection of the trail in with the AZ Trail.

But we were also pleasantly surprised to find that the fire was spotty, hitting some areas and not others (not uncommon in wildfires). The trees were burned badly in the fire areas and will never come back - but the undergrowth is bouncing back in surprisingly fine fashion (in our opinion).

I left my camera in the car, but BobF, one of my hiking partners, took lots of photographs which he kindly allowed me to post on this site. You can see for yourself, how the area looks, thanks to Bob.

One problem that remains is that trail erosion has resulted from rains since the fire (also, not uncommon after wild fires). In places, the trail is in poor shape, but passable.

Two other surprising things resulted from this trek:
First, the mercury processing plant and most of its artifacts have been removed from the site. This includes the rock crushing equipment, the buildings, the old truck, and the mercury condenser. Still left are the concrete pads and the steel ball mill. I suspect the ball mill is packed with re-hardened rock dust and weighs way too much to attempt to remove. I don't know when and how this removal happened. The roads in and out don't look like there has been big equipment brought in, so it remains a mystery to me. Maybe someone on this site knows the answer to this mystery. Helicopter?

The second thing is that in another act of forgetfulness, I left my hiking pole at one of the mining audits up canyon from the processing site (this is not at all surprising to my wife). I didn't realize that I didn't have it until several miles away on our trip back to the trailhead. I wasn't going to extend the trip by 4 miles just to get it.

But, to turn this lemon into lemonade, SuzanneT and I decided to hike into the site on the following Tuesday, our regular hiking day, to attempt to find my pole. But we decided to go in another way. We chose to use FR 25A, so we parked at about the intersection of FR25 & 25A and treked in from there. I'm glad that I didn't drive this road, since there are several areas that involve rock crawling, which my Xterror is not equipped to do. But it is an interesting hike (and a shorter route in) along Sycamore Creek, which was flowing. There were lots of fall-painted Sycamore trees along the creek bed.

Suffice it to say, that I did find the hiking pole on this trip, giving cause for celebration - mission accomplished. Thanks for listening.
Geology
Geology
Cinnabar
Culture
Culture
Memorial
_____________________
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace. -- Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD – 117 AD)
Apr 07 2013
zekemorgan
avatar

 Triplogs 1

31 male
 Joined Feb 22 2013
 Phoenix, AZ
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 07 2013
zekemorgan
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles
1,400 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was closed on 4/7/13 due to the Sunflower Fire from a year ago.
_____________________
Apr 18 2012
JuanJaimeiii
avatar

 Routes 562
 Photos 7,617
 Triplogs 1,598

52 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
The Dean
Went out on a hike with Dean to check out the old Sunflower Mine. We took the Cherokee as far as I felt comfortable going up 25A. I found a nice pull off spot just passed the creek crossing. From here we hiked up the road and explored around the mine and its surrounding shafts. Really cool stuff indeed. From here we continued on up the road and then found another old mine. Not sure which one it is. The road up was long and steep so Dean decided to take a break and head back.

I continued forward and the old jeep road soon turned into hiking trail. About half a mile further I came to a junction and turned right. I was heading towards these two peaks that I considered climbing. Unfortunately the bushwhack looked a little too thick. Anyway shortly there after I ran into a guy hiking the other direction. He was out camping for the week and was on a day hike. I asked him if he knew the name of the trail we were on and he said it was a section of the Arizona Trail (Saddle Mountain). Okay cool enough. He went his way and I continued on to a point where I turned off the primary trail to a spur trail. It lead me into a large grassy meadow and on the other side was a berm. From the top of the berm I had a great vantage of everything below and to the west.

At this point I turned back so as not to leave Dean too long and headed back to the Jeep. With a little help from him we were able to navigate out of the rough rocky road. It would be easy to spend a few days just exploring this area with all the mines and old roads leading in all directions. Fun day for sure!
Culture
Culture
Truck Remains/Wreckage
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
_____________________
Apr 18 2012
The Dean
avatar

 Photos 29
 Triplogs 64

53 male
 Joined Jun 20 2011
 Phoenix
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2012
The Dean
Hiking6.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
JuanJaimeiii
Juan needed an easy hike today, just joking, he is a machine. The Grand Cherokee lived up to the jeep name once again, 25A is 4 wheel drive only.We went as far as we felt the Jeep could go without a possible very large repair bill. From there we hiked up the road and when you get to a small mine take the road to the left. The old structure is a cool old thing to see and explore. Up a little further are three mines, the one is a little scary. This was a great hike and a beautiful area. Thanks for driving John.
_____________________
Mar 24 2012
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 20,568
 Triplogs 1,922

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Saddle Mountain Mine TourPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 24 2012
CannondaleKid
Hiking12.10 Miles 2,681 AEG
Hiking12.10 Miles   7 Hrs   26 Mns   2.03 mph
2,681 ft AEG   1 Hour   28 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
We planned our trip based on the 'Easy Mines' hike description by GPS Joe and loading what I now know was his Feb '06 GPS track, which was a bit more than the hike description of 7.6 miles and 1400 AEG. But by adding a bit of bushwhacking in an attempt to include the Story Mine to the loop hike we ended up with well over both figures... no wonder why Tracey was complaining more than the usual. [-(

Oh well, it was great weather, we saw a bunch of mines such as they were (not much) and the equipment left at Sunflower/National Mine, met one hiker and a group of ATV'ers who were having a good time with Bud Lights at the mine. Glad we passed them loading them on their trailers as we drove out FR25 so we wouldn't have to worry about passing them driving home.

I found a lucky/unlucky horseshoe on the trail... unlucky for the horse that lost it and hopefully lucky for me. We'll be hanging up to see if it brings me luck... yeah right! I don't wait for luck, I seek opportunities to capitalize on.
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
_____________________
CannondaleKid
Mar 20 2011
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
LSM to Sunflower Mine, AZ 
LSM to Sunflower Mine, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2011
Tough_Boots
Hiking15.50 Miles 3,321 AEG
Hiking15.50 Miles
3,321 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Little Saddle Mountain to Saddle Mountain to old jeeps roads leading to Sunflower Mines + side trips onto other sections of jeep road.

This is the second time I've done this route and really enjoy it. I took a friend with me who is not an avid hiker but training for a marathon so I figured she'd be fine. It was cool, breezy, and overcast-- perfect weather.

We reached the Sunflower mines and apparently everyone with a burly 4x4 decided to be out there today. As we descended into the area from the old jeep road, we could see a group of almost 15 vehicles pull up which was kind of annoying. I had wanted to check out the jeep road that ascends above the mines so we decided to head up there, eat lunch, and hope the group wasn't staying long. That road is only about half a mile but really really really steep. There's nothing up there-- we even climbed off-trail a little higher. I have no clue why that road exists but never need to hike on it again.

We could see them leaving so we headed back down. There was another group of two 4x4's hanging out but we figured that was better than 15 so we hiked down to the processing facility for a looksee.

Before going on this hike, I had checked out another set of roads (via satellite images) that I remembered intersecting the road between Saddle Mountain and the mines from my last hike down there. I had asked Grasshopper if he knew anything about them and he reminded me that GPSJoe had mentioned these on a hike description and had found nothing of interest there. I made a track for the roads and thought "maybe" we'd check them out. Well... we made a wrong turn on the way back and checked them out :lol: . GPSJoe was right-- nothing there.

We got back on track and made it back. There must have been a stampede at some point during the day because the Little Saddle Mountain trail was littered with fresh cow pies. IT was a pretty great day. The creeks were flowing less than I had hopes but water was still plentiful on LSM. Saw 6 of the mines today!
Culture
Culture
Truck Remains/Wreckage
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
_____________________
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan
Nov 20 2010
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
25A / Sunflower Mine / Cornucopia, AZ 
25A / Sunflower Mine / Cornucopia, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2010
Tough_Boots
Hiking10.50 Miles 2,137 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles
2,137 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Searching for Joe
Tough_Boots wrote:RachelT and I got to the meet point pretty early and found Cabel and Thoreau who informed us of being shut out of the TH. After thinking more about Randal's suggestion of the Sunflower Mine, we decided to head that way since we could get access and knock that slight suspicion out. Also, its more in our skill set than bushwacking off-trail up drainages around SAR teams that don't want us there. We were out there a few weeks ago and thought we might be able to notice any changes like weakening openings, slides, or items laying about. We hiked up 25A, explored the canyon directly below the processing facility, the facility itself, and the surrounding mines. We also climbed a good ways up the jeep road above the mine area. We were able to keep radio contact with Cabel and Thoreau which was extremely useful. At the end of 25A, we headed up Cornucopia dropping into drainage areas. The drainage areas running parallel to the trail are easy to maneuver but those going east-west are like trying to step through a cage door. If this is any indication of how it is closer to the ridgeline, then be careful folks. We turned around at the northern intersection of Thicket and Cornucopia because the sky looked like it was about to war on us. We saw no SAR in these areas. The sky cleared as we got back to our vehicles making me wish we had stayed out there longer-- but I'm also glad we were able to stay away from where SAR was focusing.
_____________________
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan
Nov 20 2010
Randal_Schulha
avatar

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

59 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Cornucopia - Thicket Spring LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2010
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking8.50 Miles 900 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   7 Hrs      1.21 mph
900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
Mike Mattes
Hiking up FR25A looking for Joe in the Sunflower Mine/Cornucopia Mine corridor... :(

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5664&start=160#p62954
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
_____________________
2 archives
Nov 20 2010
RaRoc
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 1
 Photos 116
 Triplogs 79

35 female
 Joined Apr 24 2010
 Eugene, OR
25A/Sunflower MIne/Cornucopia AZ, AZ 
25A/Sunflower MIne/Cornucopia AZ, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2010
RaRoc
Hiking10.50 Miles 2,137 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles
2,137 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
Tough_Boots
Went up with Tough Boots to see if we could be of any use looking for Joe. Sad day with a fruitless hunt, but I'm glad we were able to try to do something.
_____________________
Oct 31 2010
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
LSM to Sunflower Mine, AZ 
LSM to Sunflower Mine, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 31 2010
Tough_Boots
Hiking13.50 Miles 2,927 AEG
Hiking13.50 Miles
2,927 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
RaRoc
Today's hike turned out to be much more interesting than I had planned. Some fall color on the Little Saddle Mountain trail was a nice surprise. We took the LSM trail up to the Saddle Mountain trail and then cut over to the old jeep road described by gpsjoe in his description for Saddle Mountain Easy Mines.

Let me tell you one thing, that jeep road down to the Sunflower Mine maybe a steep slog to come back out on, but it is one of the hidden gems of the Mazzies. The first little bit is rocky and obnoxious but give it a minute-- it turns into one heck of a nice trail. Soft trail with lots of shade, pine, and oaks.

The Sunflower Mine is also a pretty cool destination. We decided not to go in the mines. One was flooded, anyways. The processing buildings are also fun to check out. Those guys may have had crappy jobs, but at least they got great views. Also, rain turns the floor to mud so its a great place to spot animal tracks.

We returned the way we came and noticed that someone must have planted a couple things by the intersection of Saddle Mtn and LSM. It looked to us like squash and maybe tomatilla?
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
_____________________
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan
Oct 31 2010
RaRoc
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 1
 Photos 116
 Triplogs 79

35 female
 Joined Apr 24 2010
 Eugene, OR
LSM to Sunflower Mine, AZ 
LSM to Sunflower Mine, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 31 2010
RaRoc
Hiking13.50 Miles 2,927 AEG
Hiking13.50 Miles
2,927 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
Tough_Boots
This hike was pretty spectacular. We saw lots of great flora, including banana yuccas and some squash growing wild. The fall color was starting to sneak in through the Mazatzals, and I was really glad to do this route when we did. The old refinery looks strangely appropriate juxtaposed with the amazing canyon views -- giant abandoned machinery might be an unfortunate human imprint but it makes for some visual drama.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
_____________________
Sep 17 2010
georgesteel
avatar

 Routes 6
 Photos 303
 Triplogs 36

56 male
 Joined Dec 13 2003
 Perth, Scotland
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2010
georgesteel
Hiking5.60 Miles
Hiking5.60 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We only had enough time to get to the Bonus mine before we had to go back. The mine entrance seems to have colapsed compared to the other photos.
Flora
Flora
Banana Yucca
_____________________
Apr 13 2010
evanshiker
avatar

 Routes 16
 Photos 921
 Triplogs 41

male
 Joined Jan 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2010
evanshiker
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles
1,400 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great hike - thanks to Joe for writing it up. Would not have known about it otherwise. For our hike the wild flowers were blooming, temps were in the 60s, and not a soul on the trail to interrupt the solitude (except for my hiking partners) or break the vistas. Isn't it great to live in Arizona. Look up cinnabar on wikipedia to get some additional info and history about it before going. Also from wikipedia:

"Abandoned mercury mine processing sites often contain very hazardous waste piles of roasted cinnabar calcines. Water runoff from such sites is a recognized source of ecological damage

Historically, mercury was used extensively in hydraulic gold mining in order to help the gold to sink through the flowing water-gravel mixture. Thin mercury particles may form mercury-gold amalgam and therefore increase the gold recovery rates.[3] Large scale use of mercury stopped in the 1960s. However, mercury is still used in small scale, often clandestine, gold prospection. It is estimated that 45,000 metric tons of mercury used in California for placer mining have not been recovered.[56] Mercury was also used in silver mining."

Caution: I would not drink the water from Sycamore Creek or its tributaries. Also, if you pick up some cinnabar when visiting the mines/plant and take it home to process, be aware that many people have died at home from inhalation of mercury fumes when they tried to refine gold from old jewelry (or drive off the mercury from cinnabar).
Culture
Culture
Mill Mine Shaft
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
_____________________
To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace. -- Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 AD – 117 AD)
Feb 19 2010
azdesertfather
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 59
 Photos 1,185
 Triplogs 789

45 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Saddle Mountain Mine TourPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 19 2010
azdesertfather
Hiking5.75 Miles 1,188 AEG
Hiking5.75 Miles   2 Hrs   9 Mns   2.67 mph
1,188 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Had to hike in from FR25A, too rough a road to make in the truck we were in. On the way in, we saw a vehicle had just his one of the rocks in the road earlier that morning, punctured their oil pan, and there was a line of oil down the road for quite a ways. Don't know how they managed to get out, but they must have!

Made it to Sunflower Mine, and discovered a few other little mines along the way. Found nine in all in the immediate vicinity around the Sunflower processing plant, and explored them all. We cautiously navigated them all, most didn't go in very far, but one WNW of the processing site went in a good ways, as well as up and down. The downshaft must have been nearly 100 feet.

Didn't do the whole route, the guy I was with wasn't up to it. Did take a dip in West Fork/Sycamore Creek, though. That was some wicked cold water! Waded into my knees and just couldn't manage to get myself to go any further. :o

Last time I was at the processing plant I noticed a circuit board out there next to a busted up toilet. Today I figured out that it came out of a busted up television set. Since I was down there in December, somebody put a plastic skeleton in the bathtub that sits in the creek next to the plant...too funny, will post the picture.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
Dec 11 2009
azdesertfather
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 59
 Photos 1,185
 Triplogs 789

45 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2009
azdesertfather
Hiking15.25 Miles 3,734 AEG
Hiking15.25 Miles   5 Hrs   45 Mns   2.65 mph
3,734 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Really fun hike. Started out at the Cross F TH, taking the 344 to the Little Saddle Mountain Trail #244. At the intersection with the 91 I took the Saddle Mountain via Mormon Grove trail to the turnoff to the mines. Turnoff to the mines isn't marked of course, but if you know where to look for the trail (GPS!) it's pretty easy to find.

While going up the Little Saddle Mountain trail, there were cows EVERYWHERE, and because the terrain was a little rough off the trail, I basically had a dozen or more cows running from me up the trail almost the entire way. I finally lost them just before the 91.

The mines were really cool to see, I saw 5 mine shafts in all and the processing plant. I didn't go into any of the shafts, however...alone, no one around, NOT a good idea ;) The one spot where it is reported that there are two mines I actually found 3 mine shafts. I did a little more exploring in the area, looking for other shafts, but didn't find any. With all these mines, I'm curious now, I've got to find some reading on the history of the mines in that area.

Outside of seeing a couple of cars at the abandoned processing plant, the only other person I saw all day out there was a hunter on the way back. As I turned on to Little Saddle Mountain, a hunter shot a grey fox just in front of me. I was maybe 200 yards away. It wasn't an adult fox, was still fairly young.

A bit muddy out there, there was some buildup on the shoes to scrape off...but nothing compared to Bob and my trip out to the area earlier this year!! Some ice about 5000 ft, mostly frozen mud puddles...but not really any snow.

Early on I saw a pretty interesting cactus, I'm posting it with my pictures from the mines. There was a little water running in Cat Spring and the spring just north of it, which was a welcome sight after the months of no rain!

Yeah...I made my year's goal of 400 with this one! Not bad for a husband and dad of 2, working a 50-hour+ job!!! :y:
Culture
Culture
Truck Remains/Wreckage
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
Apr 25 2009
Grasshopper
avatar

 Guides 42
 Routes 458
 Photos 8,104
 Triplogs 508

74 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Saddle Mountain Easy MinesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2009
Grasshopper
Hiking8.80 Miles 2,826 AEG
Hiking8.80 Miles   5 Hrs   40 Mns   1.55 mph
2,826 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Sunflower/Sunnyside Mine Complex-
"The Sunflower Mine was discovered in 1911 by E.H. Bowman. Bowman intending to find gold instead discovered a rich vein of cinnabar. Cinnabar, an ore of mercury, was used in the amalgation of gold and was an essential part of gold mining. The mine was later purchased by the Sunflower Mining Company. A large processing facility was built onsite to break down the ore into mercury whereby it was shipped by wagon and eventually truck. The workings consist of impressively sized open cuts, tunnels and underground stoping. From 1913 to 1965, an estimated 3,973 flasks of mercury were produced and 2,140 pounds of copper. Also very notable was 764 ounces of gold and 1,095 ounces of silver."

Ever since GPSjoe discovered the "shortcut" route from the Morman Grove TH to access this historic piece of old Arizona mining history, I knew I would soon be going back for another visit. Not only is this hike (which goes in & out of the Mazatzal Wilderness Boundary) very scenic, but now with this new, shorter way to access this most interesting Sunflower & Sunnyside Mining Complex (with 11 different mine audits and the complex mercury processing facility), this new GPSjoe hike description adds a whole new level of enjoyment for us hiking/history buffs!

Also, now with a majority of these 11 mine audits having been recently explored (YR'06-07) in a detailed pictorial(with captions) by the professional mining organization/website "ironminers.com" (see GPSjoe's 2/18/09 trip log for details), we can now visit these mines in person having previously viewed the complex undergrown structures via this website. Visiting in person all these different "mine audits" in the side of a hill takes on a whole different perspective after first having viewed the inner construction online.

For my return visit this day I found it necessary to download GPSjoe's posted GPS routes for all these mines, especially helpful in locating the two (lower & upper) Sunnyside Claim mines.. for which this "upper" Sunnyside mine you can claim as a real victory IF you are successful in finding it! It was a lot of fun trying to locate it which I was finally successful in doing by following the downloaded GPS route on my 30ft screen.

Today I located 9 of 11 total mine audits that GPSjoe has listed (Ref: GPSjoe's 2/22/09 pic set, pic maps #26 & #27). I somehow missed the two- lower & upper UNKNOWN MINES. A good reason for another visit! :)
Geology
Geology
Cinnabar
Culture
Culture
Mill Mine Shaft
Named place
Named place
Sunflower Mine
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
average hiking speed 2.02 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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