CHAPTER XXI. LEAVING TUBAC—THE NINEVEH OF AMERICA...


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LEAVING TUBAC—THE NINEVEH OF AMERICA—SILVER-LINED AND VERDURE-CLAD—THE DAWN OF ARIZONA—BOLD MOUNTAIN SCENERY—THE SANTA RITAS—THEIR MINES.

AT day break we were anxious for a start with a double interest in view; we were to visit the Santa Ritas; and we were to stop on our way and see the old ruins of the ancient mission church at Tumacacori about three miles from the town of Tubac. It was a brilliant morning, the rarity and clearness of the atmosphere drawing the mountains almost up to our very threshold. Some few of the Spanish-Indian-Mexican element were out basking in the morning sun. We have remarked before, what a diversity of interests and combinations and characters Arizona affords. In this place one is forcibly reminded of traveling among the ancient countries of the east. With its handful of deserted and ruined mud houses, one and two stories high, with evidences of an attempt at some previous day, to arches, pillars, columns, etc., one is reminded of a Nineveh or a Babylon. These


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old ruins seem now to have no ambition but to crumble away and become things of the past. One building I noticed, larger and better preserved than the rest, had a cupola. This was the old presidio, or fort. The place is not wholly deserted, a few of the houses being inhabited by the phlegmatic Mexican greaser waiting for ‘‘something to turn up.’’ The principal object of ambition and life consisted of a flock of goats owned by the man who kept the overland stage hotel. (The reader must be well acquainted with this class of building in Arizona by this time.) The goats, having a predilection for high elevations, will often occupy the top of the ruined walls, which gives the whole a quaint appearance to the new comer, who views this scene for the first time.

Looking in the direction of the Santa Ritas we realized we were approaching a section of country more diversified and picturesque. As we neared the foothills and crossed ravines and gulches, we mounted plateaus stretching for miles away, and abounding in prolific growth, choking themselves with each other for the very ground's sake, on which they thrived. Here we would cross an extended mesa, and there gradually wend our way up some gentle hill-side, leading up to the base of the ruder mountain. Here, we will ford some gentle running stream and finally find our way into the gorges and defiles of the mountains—


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mountains silver-lined and verdure-clad. The land included in our trip from Tubac and into the heart of the Santa Ritas reminded us of frontier trips in fair California of old, when the camp and the log hut were the fashion; but with California as an incentive, and the immigration from the east, which is already vastly on the increase, Arizona will not exist so long in embryo as did her neighbor State, California. In addition to her mineral wealth, the grazing lands of Arizona will attract remarkable attention henceforth. Arizona is full of a system of small clusters of mountains seperate and distinct in themselves, thus giving throughout, a vast area of foot-hills and elevated plateaus favorable for sheep and goats. At no distant day the whole eastern Arizona—the San Francisco Mountains, the White Mountains in the northeast, and the Santa Ritas and Cero Colorado in the southeast will be a marvel of shepherds and their flocks.

Approaching the Santa Ritas the effect is a pleasing and cheerful one. It relieves the barrenness of, and forms a very consoling contrast to the sandy mesas you have traversed in the forepart of your journey. Leaving the Santa Cruz valley, you pass a pretty undulating prairie land, and to the head of you, you have a second view of the picturesque and fertile San Gabriel valley in the Southern part of California. So well is this valley reproduced in the approach to the


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Santa Ritas that you almost fancy it is trying to rival its neighbor State. You look in vain for the extensive wheat fields and orchards of a Baldwin, or the rural and sanitary hotel and lovely grounds of a Cogswell. And it would not take hall the nerve and judgment of either of these worthy Californians to grasp the opportunity to utilize these mountain lands to the same extent.

Amid the breezes wafted over this charming lea from the canyons of the Santa Ritas is destroyed the recollections of the heat of the desert and puts in one the vim of a miner and prospector. With the unlimited product of grasses, the pleasing and interesting specimens of the cacti of this capricious land, yielding everything, and the narcotic and invigorating air which was constantly wafted into our nostrils as though it was a solid substance rather than a gas; and lastly with the silver tongued Santa Ritas looming out before us, summoning us to share her opulence, is it any wonder that our spirits were allured to build air castles, or out nerves and muscles strengthened for the most arduous toil?

To the front old Picacho del Diablo, rolls boldly out upon the plain, capped by its commanding peak, one of the two great peaks of the Santa Ritas, the highest south of the Gila River. In and around the rugged surface and crevices, of her barren walls, we knew, was a favorite


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defence and fortress of the murderous Apaché. From behind these natural breast-works, many an innocent prospector and sturdy pioneer has been popped off his buro or horse, and the animal taken to add strength to these mountain devils, for further raids.

Just before reaching the immediate vicinity of the Santa Ritas a peculiar formation of rock in a deep gulch or ravine attracted the interest of all our party. Large, oval and columnar shaped rocks protruded from the banks, and others stood upright in the centre like sentinels. They were of lime and sandstone formation; but in shape resembled some of the rock formations of the upper Colorado Canyons, or of the immense colmunar basaltic rocks on the Columbia River, in Oregon. The ones in the centre reminded us of mummies capped with a prodigious flat broad crusty formation, as if they had got their custom from the huge sunbrimmed hats of the Jesuit Fathers that came up into this country in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; or from the sombrero of the more modern Mexican. Sentinel-like, these interesting objects guard one of the approaches to the Santa Ritas.

Over knoll and meadow, gulch and plain, invigorated by a dry atmosphere and brilliant sun, as alluring as one ever had in crossing over the Sierras on the Central Pacific Railroad, we traveled on, cheered by the knowledge that in two hours more ride, we would

SAND STONE FORMATIONS FOUND IN THE RAVINES OF THE SANTA RITA MOUNTAINS.


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be at the works of the Aztec Company's mines, where we were to be led into all the interesting and wonderful modus operandi of opening up rich mining districts.

To the members of the company themselves, there was one all absorbing interest—the very one that had been the incentive to the journey itself. Recent croppings had assayed $343,86 to the ton; and their object was to arrange for putting the mines under active operations at once.

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