Monday, April 23, 2007

Prescott Valley to Phoenix

Climbing the elevation from Prescott Valley into Prescott did not prepare me for the delights to be found in Prescott. The valley, unfortunately looks so much like every suburban neighborhood in every city – complete with strip malls, franchise retail businesses, and fast-food. That’s all and fine and good, but not my mission. But, as I entered Prescott, though clearly modern, I see that the town has done a great job of maintaining its historical integrity - great shopping, restaurants and other businesses in wonderful old buildings.

I was even more excited as I continued to climb elevation out of Prescott into the Prescott National Forest. It was early in the morning, the air was crisp, and I’m moving from near desert into pine trees. It doesn’t get any better. Then, as I start my trip down, I’m again amazed by the views of the valley and the winding roads, complete with large cactuses growing right out of the rocks.

Then, desert again, until I come upon Yarnell – I would live there! To me, this place felt more peaceful than did Sedona. Surrounded by fertile valleys, cattle and horses roaming the range, this small community was well-kept and filled with friendly folks.

Moving southward, this oasis quickly ends and I’m back in the desert, but not without a destination. More ghost towns – Stanton, Octave, and Weaver. These, were also disappointing for someone who loves a preserved, but not restored ghost town. There’s not a whole left. Stanton has become an RV park, but to their credit, have preserved some of the old sites and are restoring others. As I traveled up the rutted dirt road, I found that Octave is privately owned and heavily posted – no trespassing. Interestingly the postings list the “Octave Development Company” as the owner of the land. What does that mean? More cookie cutter houses?

However, down the road is little Weaver – not much left, but interesting. A little cemetery that always makes me wonder about those folks that lived here so long ago, and a few ruins.
Backing out, I continued southward to Wickenburg, where I took a side trip to the old Vulture City Mine. What a wonderful surprise!! This privately owned ghost town and mine were an absolute delight! I told Marty, the caretaker, that I felt as though I had finally found another ghost town that I liked as much as I did Rhyolite, Nevada. This extremely intact ghost town provides a number of buildings including the mine, a blacksmith shop, assay office, power building, several houses, a bunkhouse, saloon and more. An old hanging tree still stands where some 18 men were executed, most for high grading.

From 1863 to 1942, the mine produced gold worth more than 200 million dollars and still the vast tailing are said to include some $600,000 worth of gold.

The great thing about this place is you are allowed to go into the buildings, many of which still contain some of their original contents, such as a large antique refrigerator in the back of the saloon, bed springs in some of the homes, old cans and utensils, and original mining equipment. There is a nominal charge to view the ghost town.

From here, I made my way back to Phoenix into another quagmire of congested traffic to join up with hubby Dave, who flew in from Las Vegas to join me in the rest of my adventure.

1 comment:

Granny J said...

Hi from Prescott -- I'll bet you didn't go from Prescott to Yarnell via Skull Valley, because you would have found an excellent western general store that serves ranches and residents! By the way, Octave sounds a lot more civilized that the last time we were down that way probably 15-20 years ago. Then it has owned by a real mining loner who had the property posted with all sorts of "you're dead if you cross this fence" type signs. The UPS driver who served that area had a special call he used to get the old miner out & to the gate for his packages.