I moved to Arizona almsot two years ago, and today I met bob’s younger brother, John. John lives in Mesa a few minutes from my house! He and I were a year apart in high school.
John located me on Facebook, and today we got together to go four-wheeling in the desert.Four-wheeling in the desert is a different experience from anything else – for one, you rarely get the vehicle over 5 MPH.
We explored the restricted (but legal) Bulldog Canyon, an area adjacent to the Superstition Mountain wilderness in the Tonto National Forest, under the control of the USDA Forest Service. You must apply for a permit to access the area – all entrances are barred with locked gates. The purpose of the area is to provide the Forest Service ccess with firetrucks in the case of wild fires. Permits are free, but you have to apply at the offices in Mesa for the permits.
You are only allowed to ride on marked “roads” which are mostly nothing more than rock filled washes.
You have an awesome view of the Superstition Mountains if you have a vehicle able to navigate the treacherous mountain trails, er, roads.
We explored the various roads, and discovered hidden treasures. These are sites unseen by onlythe most intrepid tourist – such as the Indian Cave hidden behind a stand of Palo Verde trees. A little further down another road is what is left of an old mining camp. The camp was an old shack built on a foundation of rocks – the wood long gone. The miner might have worked at one of the mines at Goldfield. Or maybe he was working the wash behind the camp.
There are the remains of an old well (a hole in the ground) and the foundation of what was likely a stable for the mules. There is a terrific view of Weaver’s Needle from this vantage point.
The area is small – only a total of eight miles of road – but let me tell you, that 8 miles took well over two hours to traverse. needless to say, you won’t be taking your Chevy Malibu on this trek. But the views are spectacular, and on our drive today we did not encounter another human being.
if you are planning to camp or hike, it is advisable to carry a firearm, as there are bear and wildcats in the area – it is their territory. Always wear long pants and hiking shoes, and bring lots of water just in case.