CHAPTER V. ARIZONA, THE FUTURE COUNTRY OF THE STUDENT AND THE HUSBANDMAN...


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ARIZONA, THE FUTURE COUNTRY OF THE STUDENT AND THE HUSBANDMAN—THE FERTILE VALLEYS OF THE PLAIN—THE UNIQUE BARRENESS OF THE DESERT—SUNDAY MORNING AT EHRENBERG—THE MOJAVE INDIANS—THE MOUNTAIN PANORAMA SCENES

TO the ethnologist and the archeologist generally no other beaten route offers more inducements than our course to the Santa Rita Mountains; and certainly it has some of the most beautiful valleys and mountain scenery in the territory, except the route from Ehrenberg, on the Colorado River, to Prescott, the capital, in the Sierra Prieta Mountains.

About two hundred miles from the river, going directly east, you enter and pass through the land of the Pimo Indian, two hundred and fifty miles brings you to the old pre-historic ruins of the Casa Grande at the time of the building of which, the mind of man, as the legal investigator would say, ‘‘“runs decidedly


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AN INDIAN WATCHING THE APPROACH OF EMIGRANTS ON THE PLAINS OF ARIZONA


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to the contrary”’’ which simply means that man don't know anything about it. Three hundred and ten miles brings you to the metropolis of Tucson (from Too-son). Three hundred and sixty miles brings you to the ruined city of Tubac, and to the old mission ruins of Tumacacori, and about four hundred miles to the famous Santa Rita Mountains and their wonderful silver mines. Many of the famous Pedros Pintados (painted rocks), such as are seen at the Moqui villages in the north eastern part of the Territory, are to be found on this route. These things we will describe in turn.

As the traveler leaves the Colorado River going east, he passes over the great Colorado basin. Some misapprehensions, I find, exists in the minds of new comers to Arizona, concerning this basin. They conflict it with what is generally known as the ‘‘Colorado Desert.’’ This is a mistake. In times gone by when the vast section of Southern California and the eastern part of Arizona was considered as one great and unknown desert, the whole was indefinitely called the ‘‘Colorado Desert.’’ But it is not so now under the more modern surveys and divisions. The ‘‘Colorado Desert’’ lies wholly in California. The term


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‘‘Colorado Desert’’ is a proper name given in honor of the great Colorado River, it is true, which courses very near to it. The term Colorado not being used here as either a descriptive adjective nor an adverb of place; but simply a proper name given to it in honor of the great and curious river which flows so near. Indeed the Colorado has enough grand and curious features of its own without claiming any from the great desert which lies beyond it to the west. Then we will dispense with the idea at the present of the Colorado basin being a desert. It is true, that in its general appearance it resembles that of a desert, but personal observation and experiences on my part, with proofs that have been brought to my notice, shows that these basins of the rivers of Arizona are very fertile and prolific. Like the famous Walla Walla wheat districts in Washington Territory, which a few years ago would not bring fifty cents to the acre, but now are producing seventy bushels of wheat to the acre and creating a clamor among those seeking wheat-growing locations, so will be—yes are—these basins of Arizona attracting the attention of the enterprising and frugal husbandman. Deserts are not always great Saharas, consisting of a large tract of level


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A MOJAVE INDIAN CHIEF AT EHRENBERG.


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sandy plains stretching their way across untold acres and sections of land. In Arizona this is especially illustrated. Those sections of Arizona truly desert, are rocky stony mesas of which there are several in the State; but neither of the extent nor numbers alloted to them. Some of the most potent of these arc to be found in the northwestern part of the Territory in Mojave County. However, as we have intimated the region of the Colorado basin extending for a distance of from fifty to seventy five miles east of the river into Arizona, has all the apparent barrenness of a desert. For miles and miles in many latitudes, there is one unbroken level of a sandy surface dotted here and there with an undergrowth of sage brush, mesquite, palo-verde, and the indomitable cacli. One important desert characteristic to be found largely in Arizona, is the lack of water. In traveling over the sections just alluded to, the traveler has to resort to his canteen filled with water, for a day or two's march. The stage coaches and freight trains across the plains have to carry large hogsheads of water for their animals. This is one of the many things that increases the freight rates in this Territory. In Arizona one has all the facilities for experiencing


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a travel on a desert without going to Africa. The monotony of some of these trips ‘‘across these deserts’’ is great, and yet they are interesting in their very monotony, and under the well managed regulations of some of the stage companies.

I remember a ride of this kind I had in the early course of my travels, from Ehrenberg to Prescott the capital. It was during the month of August, and the thermometer stood about 115° Fahr. The morning was a bright one. The burning and brilliant sun, seemed to cast a glaring halo around every thing. The sand of the riverbank which crept up to the very door sills of the houses, and then crept all around them to the back door, was one burning strand. I doubt whether I could have walked in my bare feet upon it. It was Sunday, and the Indians about town, having learned from the whites the custom of attiring themselves in their better dress on that day, were out in their fresh new pieces of calico; and with tawdry feathers, or charms of beads around their necks; were strutting up and down the shores of the river to my intense amusement. You will understand when I use the word calico, it is not as we would consider it an article of dress; but simply a piece of


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MOJAVE INDIANS AT EHRENBERG TAKING THEIR SUNDAY WALK.


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calico two or three yards long, thrown around the shoulders like a shawl and allowed to come below the hips—in some cases down to the knees. Should the wind blow, or from any cause whatever, this article of apparel showed any signs of becoming loosened from the body, they would guard their person with it, with all the grace, modesty and cunning of a belle.

Six horses to our coach and we pulled out of Ehrenberg for Prescott. Each man filled his canteen with water. Two large kegs were filled for the horses, and put in the boot. The whole of this day was a desert ride. On the right of us was sand, on the left of us was sand; to the front of us was sand and behind us was sand. In the distance, and all around us was the ever present indefatigable, persistent mountain, ever the pleasing and interesting society of the Arizona traveler. Up the river were the great ‘‘Needles’’

Almost immediately upon leaving the town we struck a dry sandy bed, into which the wheels of our coach buried themselves to twice the depth of the fell. The day's journey throughout, was one continuous level plain of similar substance save an occasional relief of a fertile plateau.


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The first great diversion of these trips is the peculiar and interesting mountain ranges and groups that dotting these plains in all directions, seem to hem you in on every side The mountains of all this country are peculiar in their formation, being broken up in clusters or patches, and dotting the plains and valleys in a most beautiful relief. They occupy such relation to each other, or are so diffusely distributed that they completely encircle you on all sides, and at all times, and at every compass. One will often travel hundreds of miles and although passing seemingly beyond his present encircled position with the mountain ranges, he is as rapidly encircled by others. Ahead of him be will see an opening or gap between two mountain spires which would seemingly let him out upon some almost endless plain. No sooner has be scarcely got through these—nor when, nor how, he scarcely knows—than he is as mysteriously encircled by another, as fully diversified and interesting as the former. You seem to be constantly within some huge amphitheatre, or miniature world surrounded by all the grotesque and wonderful upheavals of mountain formations. In front of you for instance, may now be seen some spires or turrets finding their way into heaven.

MAP OF THE ANCIENT PROVINCE OF TUSAYAN, ARIZONA.


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To the right, pinnacled peaks and boulders fret the azure blue sky. To the left, domes and pyramids rear their ponderous heads as if not to be moved even by faith, and behind you to the west, truncated cones and towers and spires; and spires and towers and cones pierce the golden horizon of a setting sun.

This tantalizes your powers of description. How you get into these natural panoramas you never know. As you ride along, some change of mountain view ahead will take place as if by magic. It will fasten itself upon your notice. Being prompted to look around to find your bearing, when lo! the whole panorama has changed. Let you watch ever so closely, you can never discern nor comprehend exactly how you got away from your former scene of enchantment. The mathematician can understand this, and explains it by the deception of the lateral angle, in its vast field of extent over large and unaccustomed plains or areas. Some of these mountains were one, five, eight, ten, and even twenty miles away, but their lapping, relapping, crossing and rounding each other, would produce the effect described.

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