Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Than Scenery

The drive up Mount Lemmon featured scenes we had only read about, but it did not bring us into contact with one "attraction" that was left to our imagination.
We left the desert just north of Tucson and began the ascent to the village of Summerhaven, located at an elevation of over 9000 feet.

It was only about 26 miles along a paved, easy-driving road to the village, but the drive took over an hour.

This was due in part to the winding nature of the road, but more to the point the drive featured a number of pullouts that offered grand vistas that invited one to linger at the stops.

The photos shown here represent scenes we passed on about two-thirds of the ascent (tomorrow will cover the rest of the distance), and while you view the photos, I want to write about the attraction not found.

We had waited until the temperature in Tucson was in the low 70s before venturing up to Summerhaven, where temperatures could be 25-30 degrees cooler.

At some of the pullouts there were trails that led into the mountains that, in my imagination, may have led to this lost site.

The scenery on this winter morning did not feature the colors of the desert that will appear in the spring.

but there were splashes of brilliance (with the help of early morning sun) that caught our eye as we walked around the pullouts.

Mount Lemmon is in the Santa Catalina mountains, which have been experiencing a gold rush for hundreds of years.
And just below Mt. Lemmon lies one of the great stories of the search for gold in the mountains--the lost city and the lost Iron Door mine.

In an article entitled "Searching for the Legend of the Iron Door Mine," author and prospector William "Flint" Carter wrote:

"The story of the lost mine near Tucson, Arizona has persisted for hundreds of years.

"The legendary Iron Door Mine treasures may still be deep within the Santa Catalina mountains near the CaƱada del Oro ("the Canyon of Gold), north of Tucson.

"The Mine with the Iron Door has been one of the most extensively hunted lost mines in North America. Movies and books have glorified the legend.

"It's real riches have yet to be revealed. That legend, though, may have some truth buried with those treasures. Some people over the centuries have claimed to discover its location.

"The exact spot of this treasure has never been documented.

"This is the study of an existing legend that staggers the imagination and dwarfs the scholarly researcher.

"In less than a few hours from a bustling million inhabitants of the modern city of Tucson, Arizona, lies slumbering the centuries old legend of the Iron Door Mine and its fabulous treasure. Centuries of production in gold and silver bullion still lie concealed in a mine of equal value.
"To date, estimated mineral reserves in the general area in the Santa Catalina Mountains alone would pay the national debt twice over.

"In the early 1970's, after Carter moved to Southern Arizona, he was introduced to the legend of the Iron Door Mine, by Burton Holly, the man who built Hollywood. Over those years, Flint acquired thousands of acres of land mining claims in the area and has maintained some of the largest operating mines in the mountains" (http://emol.org/tour/mtlemmon.html).

But as we prepared for this trip, we came across the ad:


FOR SALE: Silver and gold mine located in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, AZ.

Jewelry grade gold, silver and silica ore in place, carat weight returns. This historic property is a Federal lease - mineral rights only for sale. A 'Proven' past producing mine.

Last shipment 1959, 36% tungsten, bond in place, operations plan applied for 20 acres (87,1200 square ft.) Unsubdivided Pima County, AZ. Asking price is $120,000,000.

Product placement in eight museums worldwide and the Mining Hall of Fame. Terms negotiable and reasonable.

Call Flint Carter at 520-xxx-xxxx for more information. emol.org/irondoor/codystone.html.

We continued our drive, ever on the lookout for signs of the lost mine's entrance, knowing full well that such a search was bound to be unproductive.
And all the while wondering: "How does one sell a Lost Mine?"

No comments: