Beauty of Seven Falls

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

King Canyon Trail to Gould Mine in the Tucson Mountains

Heart of Gould....
by Kirk DeLong

A century ago down deep by lantern light
Do you not feel me through trembling hands
Wrapped around aggregated steel?
Piercing thy heart, gutting thy soul, with hammer strike
Draining earth’s veins of silver and gold
Making wealth, making war upon her back.
Come lay with me, healing trembling hands
I give way to these century mortal scars.
As I trek the miners’ track
Silently nature seeps in soaking my senses
My hands drawn in prayer
Our hearts forge to heal as one
Through grace, through beauty
Nature mends my soul
Step by step trekking the miners’ track….
printed with permission from author

This beautiful poem was written by one of our members as we hiked this trail.   Kirk writes poetry and has taken to creating and reciting as we are on the trails. I heard him as he was creating this one and asked if I could post it on our blog and he agreed.  This is what he felt along this particular hike, and I thnk he speaks for us all - absolutely beautiful.
Beautiful view of King Canyon Trail
We began our morning at the King Canyon Trailhead heading for the Gould Mine.  The Gould Mine was one of four mines of some consequence in the Tucson Mountains: Old Yuma, Gila Monster, Mile Wide, and Gould mines.  An investor named S.H. Gould filed 19 claims for the Gould Copper Mining with high hopes of striking it rich.  Unfortunately, as with many mining ventures, he encountered financial difficulties.  He was able to obtain additional funding to continue his mining, but an assay reported that the copper vein that was found only had 3 to 4 percent copper content per ton of ore.  For all the effort and investment only 45,000 pounds of copper with a value of $9,000 had been taken from the mine.
Gould Mine shaft

That’s just history, but we live in the moment.  What the miners left behind were interesting mining shacks, mine shafts, and trails that we can follow to breathtaking views of the surrounding areas.
Totem saguaro?

JoAnn - On the case
Beautiful canyon views

What's your best guess?  Cistern, Outhouse, line shack....idk
There were eight in our party this morning – Connie, Judy, Kirk, Linda, Danielle, JoAnn, Marisa, and myself.  The weather was a little cool starting out, perfect for hiking.  But, as you can see by the picures below, it was not long before we all started warming up and coming out of jackets.  Perfect!

Jackets stowed!
Everyone keeping hydrated

This is not a particularly difficult hike but took a little maneuvering and sure-footedness, and I started wondering if the men had to hike up to the mines every day or if they camped at the mine.  I found one picture online which showed one of the mining camps and it seemed to be at the base, not near the mine.  After a short water/rest/photo break at the mine entrance we proceed up the trail to the saddle where the Sendero Trail meets the Hugh Norris Trail. 

Connie, Judy, Linda
Marisa and Kirk
At the saddle you can see very good views of surrounding mountains – the Santa Rita Mountains to the south with Mt. Wrightson and Mount Hopkins the dominant peaks.  My problem is this – when I am up top, I need another map pointing out the different peaks as I haven’t memorized them yet.  I’m working on it though.  I can readily identify Sombrero Peak and Picacho Peak. 
View of Sombrero Peak from the saddle

View of Picacho peak from the saddle
The saddle was our turn-around point and we headed back down the trail to the Mam-A-Gah picnic area to have our lunch break.  

Mam-A-Gah is named for the deer dance of the Tohono O’odham Indians and I have heard recently that the ceremonial dances still take place.  I wish I could find out when those happen.

Who's watching who
How appropriate that we would see a large stag on the trail....

Nothing can prepare you for some of the views we experience on these trails.  Pictures can’t convey the beauty, and words can't convey the feeling of accomplishment when you reach your goal.

More views through our eyes:

Nest of a cactus wren is my guess - nobody home though 

We made it!

In the saddle...

And finally, this little baby mitten was found and left on a post and seems to be saying bye bye, and so will I.....

See you on the trails.....

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