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Steve Bowser

Greenie
Sep 5, 2023
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Ahwatukee, AZ
Awesome! Thank you so much, way more than i was hoping for. Yes that is exactly what i was looking for. I appricate it greatly.

Looks like an fun scramble up to yet another interesting canyon putting one onto Malapais.
Hiking from the La Barge Canyon entrance through the Lower Box is fun, getting around the Tank (my photo) is a little tricky. Once you exit the Lower Box it's easy until you reach the sharp turn south that leads up on Malapais. Once you're heading south it can get rough, we call that Upper L Canyon. From a diary in the Superstition Mountain Historical Society Archives, a Dutch Hunter in the early 1960's wrote that he and friend were hiking up through Upper L Canyon and camped for the night. While there he said just for fun he used his pick to scratch "JW 1869" into a boulder in the bottom of the canyon. I've looked for it a couple of times with no luck.

Steve
 

PotBelly Jim

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Dec 8, 2017
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In Ron Feldman's last book, he talked about searching this particular canyon. He and Brian Lickman hit it pretty hard back in the day, they found the "JW 1869" inscription and thought "L" canyon was the one displayed on the Ortiz Map.

A pic of the inscription is on pg. 128 of his book "Lost Dutchman Mine; Evolution of a Treasure Hunter."
 

PotBelly Jim

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And to throw another log on the fire, Wiley Jones had told Jim Bark that there was a very old trail leading up there between Geronimo Head and Malapais, and that's where his Pima friend led him (to a "Mexican" mine) before he got scared and left, saying "Busca", telling Jones to search ahead of where they were on the trail.

Geoff, what led you to want to investigate this area?
 

Steve Bowser

Greenie
Sep 5, 2023
12
56
Ahwatukee, AZ
In Ron Feldman's last book, he talked about searching this particular canyon. He and Brian Lickman hit it pretty hard back in the day, they found the "JW 1869" inscription and thought "L" canyon was the one displayed on the Ortiz Map.

A pic of the inscription is on pg. 128 of his book "Lost Dutchman Mine; Evolution of a Treasure Hunter."
Brian Lickman told me 10 years ago about his finding the inscription and gave me a photo. If I remember correctly Brian found it in the 1970's and told Ron Feldman about it. It's been almost 50 years since Brian first discovered the inscription so it may have eroded over time and is not recognizable any more.

Steve
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

Jr. Member
Nov 30, 2019
35
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Hiking from the La Barge Canyon entrance through the Lower Box is fun, getting around the Tank (my photo) is a little tricky. Once you exit the Lower Box it's easy until you reach the sharp turn south that leads up on Malapais. Once you're heading south it can get rough, we call that Upper L Canyon. From a diary in the Superstition Mountain Historical Society Archives, a Dutch Hunter in the early 1960's wrote that he and friend were hiking up through Upper L Canyon and camped for the night. While there he said just for fun he used his pick to scratch "JW 1869" into a boulder in the bottom of the canyon. I've looked for it a couple of times with no luck.

Steve
Hah, the "tank" section is the kind of hiking/scrambling/climbing i live for. Climber for nearly 30 years now, and made my living doing it for a few of those.

There sure are a lot of inscriptions with JW out there. I believe there are others in needle canyon with 1761 and 1847 along with a JW as well.

The JW 1869 found by RF would be located in the gulch they called the "Canyon of gold" which i believe as a novice to be the left hand split of this L canyon after the tank area a bit more hiking. Interesting to find a note that someone owned up to carving it, that is the first i have read of it. Thank you!
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Nov 30, 2019
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In Ron Feldman's last book, he talked about searching this particular canyon. He and Brian Lickman hit it pretty hard back in the day, they found the "JW 1869" inscription and thought "L" canyon was the one displayed on the Ortiz Map.

A pic of the inscription is on pg. 128 of his book "Lost Dutchman Mine; Evolution of a Treasure Hunter."

And to throw another log on the fire, Wiley Jones had told Jim Bark that there was a very old trail leading up there between Geronimo Head and Malapais, and that's where his Pima friend led him (to a "Mexican" mine) before he got scared and left, saying "Busca", telling Jones to search ahead of where they were on the trail.

Geoff, what led you to want to investigate this area?
I say this with knowledge only from books and fourm posts over the years, and im well aware that many of the things i have read could be altered or twisted for various reasons.

I was under the assumption the ortiz map fit the top of malapais, and that Al resser believed that. Hearing you sayin RF and BL believed this canyon was the one was not something i had entertained. I can only guess it would fit as a mirror image?

What led to me this area was actually the lack of any information, lack ofdiscussion, beyond very small tidbits that have popped up in posts and here and there in various books. Ill list some below to throw another log on the fire =)

Abe Reed claimed at one point an old apache told him that they had covered 4 mines on Malapai at some point.
I could entertain the thought of Bradfords lost house being in this area, if he followed the old trail up geronimo, onto the saddle before malapai and then down to labarge via the narrow unnamed canyon on the malapais side.
I have read somewhere, and cant find it at the moment, that the ruins of a house or a cave, were found either east of lower labarge box in the L Canyon or higher up towards malapai.
There is a semi hidden (appears to be a box canyon from labarge) North-South running narrow brushy boulder filled canyon with a flat area above it, that fits a ton of other clues including climbing up to see weavers and the 4 peeks area.
If you were to find exposed quartz outcrops in this geology, it could be in an area like this where erosion has weathered down the dactite, exposing veins.
It is said quartz has been found in the area.
There is a waterfall at the base of the narrow canyon.
There is what appears to be a natural circle of rocks above a interesting ledge that would have to be approached from the side.

I will always admit i know next to nothing about who has searched where and for how long, but it feels odd that an area like that is not discussed more often. Im certain it has been searched in totality. Its also just a really cool spot, that probably gets very little traffic, and im drawn to those areas.
 

PotBelly Jim

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This is a good thread.

Geoff, not sure if you've been up there or not...there's an easier trail to the upper "L" from Canyon Lake. Not that any of those trails are easy. I'll say this, I don't think you're a novice...at all. There are ruins up there, and its pretty rough. I doubt it's been searched in totality. It's too rough. I'm impressed you came up with this area, as you say it's not talked about a lot.

I don't think the Ortiz Map would have to be mirrored to fit. If you're going in there, by all means stop in and talk to Ron first. It's on the way ;)
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Nov 30, 2019
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Geoff
Abe Reid said an Apache told him that they had covered 4 mines on Black Top Mesa. Just to put things right.
It would seem there is a discrepancy then, as in a book ive read TG states that, and i quote, "Al told me Abe reed knew an old Apache past 80, and as a boy he helped cover four mines on Malapais. Al always said that the cowboys,m men like Whoolie Bacon, said there were four good mines on Malapais."
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Nov 30, 2019
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This is a good thread.

Geoff, not sure if you've been up there or not...there's an easier trail to the upper "L" from Canyon Lake. Not that any of those trails are easy. I'll say this, I don't think you're a novice...at all. There are ruins up there, and its pretty rough. I doubt it's been searched in totality. It's too rough. I'm impressed you came up with this area, as you say it's not talked about a lot.

I don't think the Ortiz Map would have to be mirrored to fit. If you're going in there, by all means stop in and talk to Ron first. It's on the way ;)
I have not been up there, but plan to be shortly! Thanks for the trail advice, i have been going back on forth on the best approach. I would assume you are talking about the boulder canyon trail head but staying left (east) and following LaBerge to the lower box. I appreciate it!

I dont see the Ortiz map fitting anywhere, but i could be looking at it wrong. With so many versions of that map even if one is real its hard it would be hard to filter out the chaff. The Barrigan version feels original to me and has a lot of detail not shown on others. I cant fit that one at all. Could be a problem of scale. I dont put much stock in any of the maps though.

I havent been in the mountains since the 90's, sadly. Trying to make use of a couple business trips to PHX for a month each visit, mid October-mid November and February-march next year. I will try to make the rendezvous, but my work schedule is heavy and i may not be able to fit trips into the mountains with the rendezvous.
 

deducer

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Jan 7, 2014
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It would seem there is a discrepancy then, as in a book ive read TG states that, and i quote, "Al told me Abe reed knew an old Apache past 80, and as a boy he helped cover four mines on Malapais. Al always said that the cowboys,m men like Whoolie Bacon, said there were four good mines on Malapais."

Not necessarily a discrepancy. In "Thunder God's Gold" Reid is told by the Apache that he had helped to hide four mines on top of a "black-topped hill due north of...Weaver's Needle."

However, later in the book, Reid said that he was also told by the Apache that while he remained on the "black-topped hill," the rest had gone up to "hid four more further up canyon." Malapais is due north of Black Top Mesa. The canyon in question could well be La Barge going north from Marsh Valley.
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Nov 30, 2019
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Not necessarily a discrepancy. In "Thunder God's Gold" Reid is told by the Apache that he had helped to hide four mines on top of a "black-topped hill due north of...Weaver's Needle."

However, later in the book, Reid said that he was also told by the Apache that while he remained on the "black-topped hill," the rest had gone up to "hid four more further up canyon." Malapais is due north of Black Top Mesa. The canyon in question could well be La Barge going north from Marsh Valley.
Excellent info, thank you. One of the few books I have not read, and it’s leaving me
ill informed. I wouldn’t agree that statement told to Reid proves the 1st set of covered mines occurred on black top Mesa, however.

I do recall reading somewhere that Geronimo Head was also called a black mountain or some other name with black in it. It is also north of the needle, with quite a few interesting options for other covered mines up canyon. From black top mesa, up canyon could only be weavers needle or bluff springs?

It has always felt that a lot of searchers want/wanted the location to be on black top mesa. I do understand there is a wealth of information out there that I won’t ever see or hear. From the limited info I do have to work with, i personally don’t understand the fascination.
 

Cubfan64

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I say this with knowledge only from books and fourm posts over the years, and im well aware that many of the things i have read could be altered or twisted for various reasons.

I was under the assumption the ortiz map fit the top of malapais, and that Al resser believed that. Hearing you sayin RF and BL believed this canyon was the one was not something i had entertained. I can only guess it would fit as a mirror image?

What led to me this area was actually the lack of any information, lack ofdiscussion, beyond very small tidbits that have popped up in posts and here and there in various books. Ill list some below to throw another log on the fire =)

Abe Reed claimed at one point an old apache told him that they had covered 4 mines on Malapai at some point.
I could entertain the thought of Bradfords lost house being in this area, if he followed the old trail up geronimo, onto the saddle before malapai and then down to labarge via the narrow unnamed canyon on the malapais side.
I have read somewhere, and cant find it at the moment, that the ruins of a house or a cave, were found either east of lower labarge box in the L Canyon or higher up towards malapai.
There is a semi hidden (appears to be a box canyon from labarge) North-South running narrow brushy boulder filled canyon with a flat area above it, that fits a ton of other clues including climbing up to see weavers and the 4 peeks area.
If you were to find exposed quartz outcrops in this geology, it could be in an area like this where erosion has weathered down the dactite, exposing veins.
It is said quartz has been found in the area.
There is a waterfall at the base of the narrow canyon.
There is what appears to be a natural circle of rocks above a interesting ledge that would have to be approached from the side.

I will always admit i know next to nothing about who has searched where and for how long, but it feels odd that an area like that is not discussed more often. Im certain it has been searched in totality. Its also just a really cool spot, that probably gets very little traffic, and im drawn to those areas.
Your comments are really well thought out! I'd say if nothing else, you've picked a great "out of the way" place to do some digging around in (figuratively)
 

PotBelly Jim

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Storm had the tendency to "mis-report" certain key facts from stories that he'd heard from locals. I also get the impression that Storm told some of these stories differently in order to "shoe-horn" them into his own theories. And, he also seems to have done it to protect certain sites. I know for certain that this was done in two stories Storm had gotten from locals. Either they told him a twisted tale, or he twisted it. I doubt it was the locals because their stories never changed before or after Storm's books....it was Storm's telling of it that was different.

Whether or not Storm did this in relation to Abe Reid's story, I have no idea. Storm reports Reid found a piece of gold ore on what is almost certainly Storm describing Black Top Mesa, and Storm says Reid thought it was from one of the mines his Apache friend told him about. But as Deducer points out, Storm says Reid's Apache friend said there were 4 upper and 4 lower mines that they covered. I think Deducer is right that it doesn't rule out that one or more of those mines may have been on Malapais.

On the other hand, as Geoff points out, we have a word of mouth story independent of Storm that went from Abe Reid, to Al Reser, to Thomas Glover. People who knew and trusted each other. Pretty straight forward with no ambiguity IMO. Al certainly believed, at some point, that there was a mine on Malapais, and that Abe Reid had told him that in relation to his Apache friend's description. Also sounds like Whoolie Bacon thought there were 4 there. My question is why did Whoolie Bacon think there were 4 mines on Malapais?

Geoff is right that there is definitely quartz there. Which seems out of character for the geology. I'd agree with Geoff that in order for that to happen, there's some rock exposed that isn't volcanic ash.

Attached is kind of an interesting story that sort of rings true and might tie into what Abe Reid told Al Reser...it was never reported in any Dutch Hunter books that I know about:
 

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markmar

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Oct 17, 2012
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Seems a hike for fun turned into a LDM and another Mexican mines hunt. If Storm would have a site to protect sending people to another sites , then that would be BTM. The most of his research was around this " black topped hill ". He searched all the NW rocky tail of BTM for the Jenkins source of gold, despite he wrote how that mine was somewhere close to Second Water spring. Also Reid wrote his name on the petroglyph map atop BTM.
I have nothing to hide or protect on Malapais, but if there would be a Spanish or a Mexican mine, for sure would be depicted on a map, and there is none map which shows a mine on Malapais. Ortiz map is for a mine close to LaBarge Canyon but on its west side.
To visit BTM would have more " fun " and adrenaline than on Malapais. At least on BTM would existed a chance to find a gold mine.
 

Matthew Roberts

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Geronimo Head mountain was in the early days known as Lewis Mountain.
It was Malapai that was once known as black mountain.
The Black mountain we know today was formerly known as Charleboise (Charley Boy) mountain.
All these names were changed, moved, switched and added when the official topo maps were updated in the late 50,s early 60's.
Al Reser took over Roy Bradford's camp in upper Deering canyon at the southeast base of Malapai Mountain in about 1960.
There are a few mine diggings in that southeast base of Malapai not far from Reser's camp.
Al showed me those diggings and a trail long forgotten that led up to the top of Malapai that no one would believe possible.
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Geronimo Head mountain was in the early days known as Lewis Mountain.
It was Malapai that was once known as black mountain.
The Black mountain we know today was formerly known as Charleboise (Charley Boy) mountain.
All these names were changed, moved, switched and added when the official topo maps were updated in the late 50,s early 60's.
Al Reser took over Roy Bradford's camp in upper Deering canyon at the southeast base of Malapai Mountain in about 1960.
There are a few mine diggings in that southeast base of Malapai not far from Reser's camp.
Al showed me those diggings and a trail long forgotten that led up to the top of Malapai that no one would believe possible.
Thank you, that is amazing information for those of us who dont have historical roots to the area. I dont recall reading that about Malapai before.

I have seen some images of what could be a cattle trail, could be something else, but really look like a human trail in a spot that is possible to get to but tough, for sure, on the west side of Malapai. I wonder if its the same? Probably not with the passage of time.
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Seems a hike for fun turned into a LDM and another Mexican mines hunt. If Storm would have a site to protect sending people to another sites , then that would be BTM. The most of his research was around this " black topped hill ". He searched all the NW rocky tail of BTM for the Jenkins source of gold, despite he wrote how that mine was somewhere close to Second Water spring. Also Reid wrote his name on the petroglyph map atop BTM.
I have nothing to hide or protect on Malapais, but if there would be a Spanish or a Mexican mine, for sure would be depicted on a map, and there is none map which shows a mine on Malapais. Ortiz map is for a mine close to LaBarge Canyon but on its west side.
To visit BTM would have more " fun " and adrenaline than on Malapais. At least on BTM would existed a chance to find a gold mine.
Deering Canyon tunnel.jpg

What do you think they mined here, on Malapai?
 

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Geoffnotjeff

Geoffnotjeff

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Storm had the tendency to "mis-report" certain key facts from stories that he'd heard from locals. I also get the impression that Storm told some of these stories differently in order to "shoe-horn" them into his own theories. And, he also seems to have done it to protect certain sites. I know for certain that this was done in two stories Storm had gotten from locals. Either they told him a twisted tale, or he twisted it. I doubt it was the locals because their stories never changed before or after Storm's books....it was Storm's telling of it that was different.

Whether or not Storm did this in relation to Abe Reid's story, I have no idea. Storm reports Reid found a piece of gold ore on what is almost certainly Storm describing Black Top Mesa, and Storm says Reid thought it was from one of the mines his Apache friend told him about. But as Deducer points out, Storm says Reid's Apache friend said there were 4 upper and 4 lower mines that they covered. I think Deducer is right that it doesn't rule out that one or more of those mines may have been on Malapais.

On the other hand, as Geoff points out, we have a word of mouth story independent of Storm that went from Abe Reid, to Al Reser, to Thomas Glover. People who knew and trusted each other. Pretty straight forward with no ambiguity IMO. Al certainly believed, at some point, that there was a mine on Malapais, and that Abe Reid had told him that in relation to his Apache friend's description. Also sounds like Whoolie Bacon thought there were 4 there. My question is why did Whoolie Bacon think there were 4 mines on Malapais?

Geoff is right that there is definitely quartz there. Which seems out of character for the geology. I'd agree with Geoff that in order for that to happen, there's some rock exposed that isn't volcanic ash.

Attached is kind of an interesting story that sort of rings true and might tie into what Abe Reid told Al Reser...it was never reported in any Dutch Hunter books that I know about:
Well said, and that is a GREAT story i had not come across. Lots of fun research to do. I feel like with anything involving humans the truth is always partial and presented from a self centric ideology instead of the top down view we can easily assume the information to be.

I do think that being open to information and being able to change where you look, instead of changing clues to fit your location, would be the only way to ever find anything. I think RF is a good example, after dedicating so much time to one location, the ability to take a different look may have led to some amazing things.

The insanity of trying to unwrap information passed by word of mouth around campfires amongst friends and fellow searchers over 100+ years will always be a challenge.
 

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