Thursday, November 18, 2010
AS THE SUN COMES UP IN THE CITY
Tuesday 11/16/10 It was a balmy 50 degrees as we rode out of Mesa with a high of 75 predicted. Great cycling weather! Smooth, flat pavement with designated bike lanes! The going was slow navigating the numerous construction sites and just finding our way through the maze. We took a short detour to visit Pam Eisenburg who is the sister of a friend of Ann's since childhood. Pam and husband Craig have a beautiful home with a view of Camelback Mountain and an African Leopard Tortoise refuge in their backyard. Although Pam kindly offered to have us stay the night, we felt the need to keep moving down the road toward our goal. We combined riding on city streets with several miles of riding on the Arizona canal bike paths. There, we saw a grove of giant eucalyptus trees planted in 1920 as wind breaks for a citrus grove. Each morning we carefully plot our course through all the townships that seem to connect with Phoenix. Ann is like a cliff swallow zipping through narrow canyon walls as she navigates her way through streets and turns. East of Phoenix we catch glimpses of shadowy mountains in the distance that our map suggests are the Superstition Mountains. An enduring legend associated with these rugged mountains is "The Lost Dutchman Mine". The legend is about Jacob Walz, who was actually German rather than Dutch. He came out of these mountains one day in the 1870's with mule-loads of gold ore. There were many attempts to track Walz back to the source of his wealth, but all failed. After spending some time patronizing Phoenix saloons, Walz would disappear into the Superstitions only to reappear months later with another load of ore. He left a deathbed riddle in 1891 that continues to frustrate treasure seekers. Walz said, "There's a great stone face looking up at my mine. If you pass three red hills, you've gone too far. The rays of the setting sun shine on my gold. Climb above my mine and you can see Weaver's Needle." As we rode toward a setting sun, there were, no doubt, some people in those mountains looking for that lost mine.