Monday, August 9, 2010
About the time I think people have stopped looking for the Lost Dutchman mine in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, someone seeing piles of gold in their dreams heads to one of the most nasty places God has to offer in the winter, let alone in the summer!
July 12, 2010, three men went missing looking for Jacob Waltz's lost treasure. They were from Utah, which has its own rugged terrain, but they weren't ready for the deadly Arizona heat. There is a good chance they will be never be found.
While working construction in the Valley of the Sun during the early 1970s, I too fell victim to the lure of Jacob's gold mine. The only reason my bones are not still there bleached white by the wicked Arizona sun is that I did my homework before entering the Superstitions. You have to remember that computers and the Web were not invented yet, so I had to research the old- fashionrd way. It's called a library, and I spent many late afternoons learning about the area I was going to explore.
I read about an old woman prospector who tried to blow up Weaver's Needle looking for the Lost Dutchman and ended up in a Phoenix mental hospital for her effort. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any Web reference to her story and memory fails me as to her name. I also read books by Barry Storm, Robert Allen, Orn Arnold and Barney Barard, to name a few, and without exception, their descriptions of the mountain and the people who have lost their lives there were grim.
If the legends of death won't keep you from entering the mountains, then the terrain itself should. Yes, there are well-worn trails throughout the area, but you can bet once you leave the trails to the good pickings, the terrain becomes your worst nightmare. Sharp rocks, steep cliffs, cactus, critters and searing heat all conspire to bring you down.
I know it's hard to believe that there could also be another danger still present in the Superstitions. That danger is other prospectors who stay in the area full time and are struck with the fever, gold fever, that is. The incidences of murder are real, and I for one would never go back into those mountains because of the prospect of having someone dry-gulch me and dump my body down a mine shaft. I'm not saying that's what happened to the three unlucky guys from Utah, but I wouldn't bet against it either.
I'm just saying,