5. MOUNTAINS OF ARIZONA: EXTENT, CHARACTER, ETC.


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ARIZONA is properly a mountainous country, though there are great plains and valleys in the country, more especially in its southern part. The mountainous districts cover about two thirds of the Territory, and the great plains and valleys about one third.

The main mountain chains are the White, Mogollon, San Francisco, Bill Williams, Pinal, Apache, Cerbat, Juniper, Hualapai, Bradshaw, Peacock, Music, Mazatsal, Santa Catarina, Santa Teresa, Santa Rita, Patagonia, Dragoon, Chiricahua, Graham, Antelope, Cordilleras de Gila, Sierra Ancha, Hacquahilla, besides many others of less note, and small detached spurs, or picacho peaks, generally with local names. The highest peak of San Francisco mountain is 13,000 feet. It is some eighty-five miles a little east of north from Prescott, and is the highest mountain in the Territory. Its northern declivities are covered with snow for ten months in


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the year. The highest peak of the White Mountains, called by the Spanish and Mexicans the “Sierra Blanco” Mountains, is 12,000 feet high, that of the Bill Williams and Union Peak, 10,000, and Mount Graham 8,000 feet. Several others are from 8,000 to 10,000 feet in height. Many of the mountain peaks are noted landmarks, and can be seen for long distances. That of San Francisco, the mountain monarch of all the mountains of Arizona, whose rockribbed summits are ancient as the sun, can be seen in different directions for two hundred miles. The Four Peaks, near camp McDowell, can be seen for over one hundred miles, and Castle Dome in the Colorado River range, nearly the same distance. This noted landmark will be more fully described in a subsequent chapter. Superstition Mountain, thirty miles east of Phœnix, is so named from some superstitious traditions of the Indians respecting its being the abode of evil spirits. The “Dos Cabasas” peaks—two heads—in the northern spurs of the Chiricahua Mountains, one hundred miles east from Tucson, are noted landmarks and can be seen for a long distance throughout all of Southeastern Arizona. Their two bald summits look in the distance like the giant heads of some monstrous Titan of old. The peak of Babaquivora, one hundred miles or more to the southwest from Tucson, is another noted landmark.


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The summits of many of the mountain ranges, especially in the northern portion of the Territory, are wide, level plateaus, covered generally with a splendid growth of pine, spruce, fir, juniper, cedar, and other timber, with clear sparkling mountain springs bursting out at short intervals, at which points there are generally open plats of ground nearly destitute of timber, but covered with a rich coating of wild clover and other nutritious grasses, and reminding one of the beautiful oases in great deserts. These mountain plateaus are well supplied with game, such as bear, deer, antelope, wild turkeys, and in a few places with elk, and also a variety of smaller game.

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