Well, I haven't posted here for quite a while so here are some pics of a run my boys and I did this past Saturday. Originally there were about 6 other jeeps that were supposed to go, some from Tucson, and some from Sierra Vista, but they had to cancel, so we went ahead and did the run on our own.
The plan was to run the backside (West side) of the Huachuca mountains to explore ghost towns and mining camps/mines, along with a little geocaching along the way.
Our first stop was the Ghost town of Sunnyside, where we have been numerous times before. However, this time I wanted to explore some of the nearby trails. On my topo maps there looks to be what is called a "jeep trail" that goes over to the Eureka mine. So after grabbing a geocache at Sunnyside, I took a side trail up to where the jeep trail was supposed to be. You can still see the remnants of the trail, but the FS has "no vehicles beyond this point" signs up, so it has been made a hiking trail. We'll have to explore that some other time.
So then we headed up the canyon to Gate 7 which is a gate to Ft Huachuca up at the saddle between Sunnyside Canyon and Garden Canyon. The gate is welded shut and there is a pit where a cattle guard used to be. We had gone up here a few weeks back from the Garden canyon side to get a geocache there and wanted to do it from the Sunnyside side (say that ten times fast, lol) The trail was pretty easy with only one short climb that required 4 low.
After Gate 7, we headed for the Wakefield Mining Camp, and the Wakefield mine. The area of the old camp is now used for dry camping. The side road up to this area is easily done in 2wd, Across the road from the camp there Is a side trail that heads up to another mine site that has a cabin on it. The road here is not too bad but you come to a narrow washed out section that I wasn't about to try, so we walked the last half mile or so up to the cabin. The cabin and mine are on private property, according to the MVUM, but there were no signs or fences, so we walked on up. The cabin is a newer log style cabin (as opposed to the old rock cabins that are usually found near mines. I didn't see any dates on it, but the porch floor was made out of particle board, that is rotting away, so I'd say that it was built within the last 40 years ( I'm totally guessing). The mine is directly down the hill from the cabin. The info that I found on the mine shows it to be the Harper mine that was originally claimed by Mr Harper. He was reportedly killed and the claim was purchased from Mrs. Harper in 1939. A 1960 mining report showed the road being impassable in 1957 due to flood/erosion damage (This is probly the part where I stopped). As we walked up, we did see some somewhat recent vehicle tracks past the eroded part. Also there is a '70's era camper shell up near the cabin, so apparently the road had been repaired enough in recent years (the last 40 or so) to be able to get up there.
After we left the Harper mine, we rejoined the road back at Wakefield Camp site and headed up the canyon. The road here turns extremely rocky with 4 low being used and basically a very bumpy ride over what loose rocks that were anywhere up to 2 feet in size. We stopped at a little side trail near the end and walked the rest of the way, although we could have driven all the way up to the tailing site. The mine shaft is there and there is running water and pipes to drain off the water coming out of the shaft. Up on the tailings, the views are spectacular and you can hear echoes off the canyon walls easily. After a long bouncy ride back down to the Camp area, we headed back down to Montezuma Canyon Rd (the main road that skirts the west side of the mountain range) and continued south, up over Montezuma Pass and down to the Ranger Station/Museum at Coronado National Memorial. The boys found another Geocache there (Place by my Dad) and tried on some of the old armor. After that we stopped by my Dad's house for a visit and some nice ice tea. (My Dad's property is actually inside the national park). All in all, a very nice and fun trip.
Now, on to the pictures. There are pretty much in the order that I reported above.