Monday, September 29, 2008
ADVENTURING UP MINGUS MOUNTAIN
I got hot in Sedona–cast my eyes 20 miles north to the Mogollion rim (7000 ft) and 20 miles south to Mingus mountain (7,500 ft)–chose to go south, heeding my own poetic advice about cool:
Where the Cool Is
To all who sizzle at a hundred three,
Come to the mountains and camp with me.
See on your road map the color green
Shows the mountains cool and clean.
For every thousand feet you climb,
Four degrees are left behind.
Keep on climbing and it’s for sure,
You’ll find the perfect temperature
Somewhere between the heat below
And the chill of mountain snow.
Find a spot near aspen trees;
Let God cool you with his breeze.
I paused to appreciate again the premier ghost town of Jerome, a superbly preserved mining town of 450 artist, shopkeepers, restauranteurs and lost souls built on the side of a steep mountain. Every house has a 40 mile view of Verde valley. Once 15,000 people lived here mining the richest vein of copper in the world. How rich was it? A hundred pounds of ore yielded one pound of copper. That’s 48 times richer than copper mines currently operating. Not surprisingly, most of the copper needed for wwII came from here.
I engaged a lost soul, (once prosperous lawyer, got ill, lost everything, now living in his van) got the story—and a bonus–a tip for a terrific camping spot just out of town. So great was it that I stayed 2 nights. The mine Manager came by got charmed by the stealth camper and stayed awhile to give me the facts quoted above. He lives in the house visible across the way. Great view!
Still a bit warm Wednesday, 9/24/08, I decided to go to the top of the mountain at 7,500 ft. Scenic drive up with something over 1000 curves. (locals tell this with pride) Quizzed a trucker enroute who told me where the “magic spot” was. I settled in near the 20 or so transmission towers “invisible to all” and I’ve been here 5 nights in forbidden comfort with 5 bar reception.
4 days in, I got to see a hang glider leap into space and amazingly rise up to 10,000 ft on thermals. Two different types of gliders launch here as the picts show.