Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009. . . . Road Trip/Recon in Tonto National Forest/Sierra Anchas

It rained quite a bit early Saturday morning. It was unusually cool, cloudy, rainy and wet for August. The high temperature in Phoenix was only 96 degrees. The monsoon season has failed to produce much rain. Local weathermen have been calling it the "nonsoon".

I went on that short hike I was considering. One of my friends I met through political protesting asked me to come along. Between demonstrations and riots, some of us enjoy other outdoor activities where we're not identified as "evil mongers" or "unAmerican Nazis". We went to the Sierra Ancha Mountains in Gila County. It's in the Tonto National Forest just north of Roosevelt lake. We still carried firearms as a precaution.

We embarked from Tolleson,AZ and it took close to four hours to get there. The return trip took just a little bit longer due to minor technical difficulties. On the way, we passed through places like Superior, Miami, Claypool and Globe. I like small Arizona mining towns. We saw a roadside "all kinds of meat" jerky stand and somebody else was selling AKC Lab puppies in the Walmart parking lot in Claypool.

Cherry Creek Road is not much more than a cow path. All of the unimproved dirt roads I traveled on this year seemed to be less traveled and were in worse condition than previous years. Perhaps, the recession is discouraging recreational travel. It's archery deer season and we ran into a couple of hunters. One of them was looking for the wallet he lost. Apparently, he ducked into some bushes to take a dump and somehow managed to drop his wallet. It's really rugged terrain and it might be hard to find.

On the way back, we observed a strange looking woman on the back of a motorcycle traveling westbound on US60 just east of Apache Junction. It was pouring down rain. She was wearing some sort of long blue braids attached to the top of her helmet. I never saw anything like those before. Out of all of the women we saw on the backs of motorcycles during our trip, none of them stood out like her. We were disappointed that she did not show us her boobs.

Trip Status: No casualties
Tonto National Forest in the news. . . .Cannabis Cultivation

U.S. Forest Service land is increasingly fertile ground for pot plants grown by Mexican cartels

Media references to Mexican drug cartels are invariably followed by some variation of the phrase "spill over into this country." Those five words are key to the flak currently being sent up by the federal government—most recently by Janet Napolitano, former Arizona governor and now head of the Department of Homeland Security.

Between 2006 and 2008, the Gila County Narcotics Task Force took down 43 pot farms, eradicating 82,904 marijuana plants, says Task Force commander Johnny Sanchez. All but a handful were on Tonto land.
Top Photo: Looking west, Sierra Ancha Mountains
Second Photo: Cattle chute made from WWII vintage surplus steel airstrip panels.
Third Photo: Adobe house maybe from 1930's? The tree fell down since I was last here. There was still water in the well.
Fourth Photo: Vultures waiting for something to die along Cherry Creek Road.
Bottom Photo: Sedimentary strata along Cherry Creek Rd. This is the point where my friend got his truck stuck in the creek. We ended up using large pieces of the local geology to serve as extra weight to improve traction. After a few attempts, we became unstuck. Before getting stuck, I said, "I wouldn't take my truck there."

"Cherry Creek there is generally good traction in areas with middle Precambian bedrock, but the Tertiary/Quaternary strata tends to turn to mud and sand. Even the younger Precambrian can be problematic some places." -S. M. Sherlock

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