good stuff if you are interested in Sonora history

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#2
Good stuff Roberto................

Those are some LEAN looking Indios.

Most certainly before the days of kilos de manteca de cerdo and bolsas de Tecate con heilo now available on every street corner.

The hunter with the bow and arrow setup looks like he's all geared up for some big game like a chubby Chuckawalla or Desert Iguana.

The guy making mezcal looks like he can't wait for the ounce or two being produced for a weeks worth of work.

I have an original mint copy printed in 1912 of the Carl Lunholtz book "New Trails in Mexico" an account of his expedition to North Western Sonora in 1909-1910. Incredible reading of first time experiences of a Norwegian explorer to the very regions that we now call our second home.

It has two maps in the back cover slip case that show the original settlement at the freshwater seep in Cholla Bay named "Hanam metjurtivaxia" and shows two small islands off of what is now known as Pelican Point. The other map shows what we now call Whale Hill as "Sea Lion Bluff". It shows a stamp mill with a railroad track at Bahia de San Jorge leading to the mines at Sierra de La Pinta

JJ
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
#3
Good stuff Roberto................

Those are some LEAN looking Indios.

Most certainly before the days of kilos de manteca de cerdo and bolsas de Tecate con heilo now available on every street corner.

The hunter with the bow and arrow setup looks like he's all geared up for some big game like a chubby Chuckawalla or Desert Iguana.

The guy making mezcal looks like he can't wait for the ounce or two being produced for a weeks worth of work.

I have an original mint copy printed in 1912 of the Carl Lunholtz book "New Trails in Mexico" an account of his expedition to North Western Sonora in 1909-1910. Incredible reading of first time experiences of a Norwegian explorer to the very regions that we now call our second home.

It has two maps in the back cover slip case that show the original settlement at the freshwater seep in Cholla Bay named "Hanam metjurtivaxia" and shows two small islands off of what is now known as Pelican Point. The other map shows what we now call Whale Hill as "Sea Lion Bluff". It shows a stamp mill with a railroad track at Bahia de San Jorge leading to the mines at Sierra de La Pinta

JJ
I read Lumholtz as well. Great read, a good story for anyone interested in Sonora. I have several maps published with the book as well. The revolution was going on then too !! I am searching for another copy as I loaned out my copy and read it some years ago.

How about organizing a recreation of part of the route with ATVs??

I have been to the stamp mill site, the RR line and the mine at Sierra Pinta. A good day trip. Last time I tried to go to the mine the military stopped me. Said there was a firing range across the road. I'm ready to try again in company of others.

Read Gillispie's Goldif you can find a copy.
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#5
Roberto............

An off-road day trip following some of Lumholtz's routes could be a blast! If and when it cools off a little!

I haven't read his "New Trails in Mexico" since I bought it twenty years ago. Last night I re-read chapter 16 "Travelling along the Gulf of California", talk about an eerie case of deja vu!

We drive that route every trip to RP and back to Yuma a couple of times a month. Before the building of the coastal highway we would sometimes drive from Yuma to El Golfo then drive the beach down to Salina Grande, take a North East trail along the edge of the salt flats and hit the RR tracks at Estacion La Soda then follow the track down to RP. That was a real seven hour adventure every time!

Along that route are the natural occuring "pozos" or wells as the Mexicans call them, as detailed in the book. These are in fact not wells at all but artesian springs where fresh water is forced to the surface due to several geological factors. The fresh water originates from rainfall on the Pinacates and takes years to seep through the rock and sands down to the coast.

The first one encountered heading South from El Golfo is on the beach at Campo Tornillal. Today there is a collection of mostly abandoned trashy trailers and shacks at the spot, but up against the cliff you can still see a little group of Screw Bean Mesquites "Tornillo" whose ancestors gave the place it's name. At one time fresh water flowed freely from the base of the bluff as it had for many thousands of years. To the indigenous locals that place must have been like a space station on Mars. The Screw Beans have pretty much been pushed out by several huge Athel Tamarisk trees planted by modern day residents. The Tamarisk trees AKA:"water thieves" now take up so much of the spring water that there is no longer surface moisture present.

The next and most dramatic pozos are in the middle of the salt pan known as Salina Grande. These can easily be seen from the coastal road and appear as dark green clumps of Tules, Nut Grass, a few California Fan Palms and of course Tornillo's.

If you care to walk out to one you will really be in for a surprise as crystal clear drinkable fresh water gushes to the surface under pressure! This in the middle of a flat of pure salt where none of these plants could ever survive, again, like a space station on Mars. Lumholtz mentions that the salt from this pan at one time supplied all of the salt needs for Tucson and Phoenix.

The next major pozo is near the RR tracks at Estacion La Soda. Evidence of close to the surface fresh water can be seen by the group of Athel Tamarisk trees that were planted there many years ago.

The next major pozo is located at Cholla Bay, originally known as Campo La Cholla. There is a black rock outcropping on the beach near the most Easterly shacks where once again, someone planted a few Athel Tamarisks. The slightly salty fresh water at this spring has a heavy flow just below the high tide line so can been seen at almost any time.

So Roberto, yes this could be an enlightening experience for a small group all on a one day trip. BYO beer and burritos. I'm game if anyone has any interest.

JJ
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
#7
Salina Grande and overnight, Maybe October. That only after we honor the ancient tradition and run the length of the flats. The night sky has to be incredible out there.
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#8
Roberto..........

Gillespie's Gold.....

I did find a brand new never opened 1973 edition signed by the author on Amazon.

An excellent read, some right down home stuff. Some really crazy tall tales as well: feeding the "Lions" bagged cat food, hunting Pronghorns for dinner on the slope down to Bahia San Jorge, Sea Trout every day, Clam stew every day, Manta Rays attacking his dog in the surf, on and on.

Any idea where his "private" road to San Jorge began? Sounds to me he cut off of the Sonoita-Caborca road, crossed the dry lake at Ejido Almejas then over the hill and down to the existing road to the bay completely avoiding Puerto Penasco other than to occasionally buy cigars.

Thanks again for the tip on the book!

You might look out for another good Gulf of California read: " One Hell of a Ride" The Life and Times of Lou Federico, By Lou Federico. Another very well-off "gold digger" type doing similar things on the other side of the Gulf, published in 2004 about his times in the 60's hanging out with Ray Cannon, John Wayne, Earle Stanley Gardner and others. I found a new edition signed by the author on Amazon as well a few years back.

JJ
 

MIRAMAR

Well Known Member
#9
I've been told the dirt road started about 10 miles outside of Sonoyta, where the abandoned "tech park" on the east side of the road is.
 

Roberto

Well Known Member
#10
I've been told the dirt road started about 10 miles outside of Sonoyta, where the abandoned "tech park" on the east side of the road is.
I f you drive it from the mine road you will see where It comes out. Y ears back a group of AZ club people passed me coming that way when I was at the mine. I think Miramar's comment is correct . You might study the Google map for clues.
 

brokenwave

Well Known Member
Forum Supporter
#13
We have seen Bobby Unser 3-4 times in RP. Close to 30 years ago, when I first started going down.
We ran into him at La Cuerva 2-3 times. We were down with my father-in law who is an ex midget/sprint car guy who raced against
the 3 Unser brothers and other ledgends back in the early 50's at the Phx/South Mountain race way.
I'm pretty sure his brother Al was there one time.

Also ran into him and friends going up Cholla's Comp Hill one time. (they had some rally fast rails that day).

Last time we saw Bobby, my father in-law and him, both rather intoxicated after reminiscing about the good
ole days of dirt racing over drinks (2 hours worth of it), decided to race down Francisco Kino Blvd and a few other streets.
It was a wild weekend. We never ran into him again.
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#17
My October 1908 first edition cost me $150.00 twenty years ago. Never opened, with uncut pages, color plates and the map still folded in a slipcase inside the back cover.

A real read, especially considering it's all about PP's now off limits back yard.

JJ
 

audsley

Well Known Member
Forum Supporter
#18
If you guys have run out of things to read about this area, try Charles Sheldon's The Wilderness of the Southwest, edited by Neil Carmony and David E. Brown. I bought a copy through Amazon just before my sheep hunt on the Cabeza Prieta in 2014, and it wasn't expensive. Except for a short chapter about the Grand Canyon, the book deals with his hunting trips and explorations along the border in southwestern Arizona and Mexico. He visits the Pinacate and a wasteland call Sierra del Rosario and has a very interesting trip to Tiburon Island and surrounding area. All this takes place 1911 to 1922, and Sheldon travels with some of the same people who traveled with Lumholtz and Hornaday. I'm amazed at what they were able to do given the limits of their equipment and gear back in those days.
 

dirtsurfer

Well Known Member
Forum Supporter
#19
If you guys have run out of things to read about this area, try Charles Sheldon's The Wilderness of the Southwest, edited by Neil Carmony and David E. Brown. I bought a copy through Amazon just before my sheep hunt on the Cabeza Prieta in 2014, and it wasn't expensive. Except for a short chapter about the Grand Canyon, the book deals with his hunting trips and explorations along the border in southwestern Arizona and Mexico. He visits the Pinacate and a wasteland call Sierra del Rosario and has a very interesting trip to Tiburon Island and surrounding area. All this takes place 1911 to 1922, and Sheldon travels with some of the same people who traveled with Lumholtz and Hornaday. I'm amazed at what they were able to do given the limits of their equipment and gear back in those days.
In the Hornaday book they chronicle the sheep that were in the Pinacate region, sadly I think they killed most of them.
 

Jungle Jim

Well Known Member
#20
Hey Aud............

Thanks for the tip on that book by Sheldon, we are online as I write looking for a copy.

Your mention of "a wasteland called Sierra del Rosario" is outstanding. It's a range so close but now so inaccessible due to the presence of the Cartels and the restrictions of the Biosphere Reserve. Once, one of my most favorite places, we used to camp out there in a south facing canyon with giant vertical granite rock slabs covered with five thousand year old injun graffiti and thousands of impact scars from 50 cal. and 20 mm. projectiles from US Army WWII aircraft. The range is unusual in that it has an east-west alignment while almost all others in the region have a north-south alignment. This means that the north face of the range is almost always shaded from the direct sun. While the south face gets burnt to a crisp. That range is loaded with Bighorn Sheep that used to be almost fearless of humans. I've had many come right up to our camp at night sniffing around our Jeep, mostly looking for water I assumed.

There is no road to get to the Sierra del Rosarios from the north, one must cross almost ten miles of small drifting dunes which makes it off limits to most larger 4x4 vehicles. The southern access would be through the gigantic dunes that you can see from the Coastal Highway. The only vehicles that can do it would be serious dune buggies as the dune heights and deep swales make it almost impossible for even a modern Jeep. There is a trail from the east, now off-limits because of the reserve that was the old infamous Camino del Diablo. The ruts made by wagons then later early autos are still evident, cuts through the flats are up to five feet deep even today. At one time there was a rest stop with gas and whatever at the mouth of the canyon that I mentioned. The cement slabs of structures are still there. Nearby are crap heaps just loaded with stuff that would make a metal detector have wet dreams.

Years back, when I had a scientific interest in that "Island in the Dunes" I constructed a bunch of trap lines, actually pitfalls, to order to see if there were any oddities there that had been isolated from the hard ground long enough to maybe differ from the outlying types. I did in fact collect quite a few animals, mostly lizards and snakes that weren't much different but now isolated from their relatives that now live many miles to the east. These included Horned Lizards, Earless Lizards, Collard Lizards and Geckos.

I finally had to give up my studies there when the narcos established an airfield south of the rest stop at El Saguaro between the highway, the Sierra del Alacranes and the trail south to the dunes and on to the range. I often wonder how many hundreds if not thousands of innocent little critters have fallen into those death traps since I last checked on them

JJ
 
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