Friday, March 19, 2021

A Steep Hike/Climb to the cross atop Camelback Mountain, near Ajo, AZ

 So, Ajo, the town about 11 miles away from my with many towns in the US, has put a big letter A on a nearby mountainside.  The A of course signifying Ajo, much like other towns use the first letter of their name on their respective sites.

Some locals had told me you could drive to the A, turns out, not quite.  You can drive to the base of the mountain, sure...but the rest is a rock-strewn steep "trail" with plenty of ankle-twisting rocks for the unwary and careless!

As usual, especially with this "trail", I lost sight of it several times on the way to the base of the A!  Still, it wasn't too bad and I got to the right side leg of the A with no major problems.

I took off on what I thought was the continuation of the trail upwards but had to backtrack to the top of the A where the actual "trail" was located.  I of course managed to lose sight of this "trail" several times, leading to some steep scrabbling and rock climbing at times.  The plethora of spine covered bushes didn't make things easier either.

Still, soon I was within easy sight of the cross atop Camelback Mountain:

The cross is made of cement/concrete!  I thought, when viewing it from a distance, that it was made perhaps made of wood, but no!  My mind boggled at the effort involved with carrying that much cement and associated materials, water and such up the tough trail. I can't find many details on its construction so I don't know what it took.  Greenway died in 1926 so unless the cross was much later on when they had helicopters; it had to have been manual labor.  Yikes.

Wonder what caused the damage on
the top of the cross?

So, who was this James Campbell Greenway you ask?  In sum, he was a big name in Arizona mining, one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and quite the man of his times.  More info on him here: LINK

To give you an idea of the actual size of the cross

Ajo's huge open pit mine, part of Greenway's legacy I believe

Part of the open pit mining operation, some curious-looking flat
areas to the west of the pit

Telecom tower and part of the town of Ajo down below

Starting my way down

Though I thought I was doing well keeping the trail in sight, it was soon apparent I'd lost it again.  Much traversing, backtracking, climbing down rocks and ravines, finally made it back to the trailhead parking area where Mariko awaited me!  I ended up way off the path, taking at least 30 more minutes coming down than I did going up!  Oh well.  No blood or injuries, it's all good.

Drove back to camp to rest till about 4PM, doing some maintenance on Mariko, trying to remove a stripped screw on the IOTA power distribution panel in the URRV unsuccessfully, and just reading and relaxing with some Vitamin I.  (Ibuprofen).

After 4PM, I rode Yagi around to several different areas and then hiked a bit further in for pics where needed:

It's dark as I type this, and I can hear the noise of the jet engines on the nearby A-10 Thunderbolts doing their night gunnery practice on the range across the highway.  The unique growling noise of their 30mm cannon is heard easily, but I don't find it bothersome.  I find it comforting that they're honing their craft so to speak.

It was definitely warm today, it hit the forecasted high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and almost 90 degrees inside the URRV!  That was when I'd sit outside in the shade of the URRV, it was nice.


Steve Williams said...

Great post Dom. I enjoy learning about the things you see.

Building a concrete cross on top of a mountain with no easy access does seem miraculous to my 2021 mind. But thinking of a mining baron in the 1920s, he probably had lots of labor at his command, or his family did, much like a Pharoah did when building a pyramid. Obstacles are for lesser men.

Sure sounds like you're living the life Dom. Be careful not to wreck it scrambling alone through the rocks!

redlegsrides said...

Thank you Steve for the comments and the feedback again. I tried to be really careful when doing such things by myself but then again one can be too careful as well! I have yet to find a documented report on how the cross got there but I think you are right there was plenty of labor and the man was deeply loved by the community and the miners apparently.

CCjon said...

Dom, do you have a means for sleeping outside when the nights get warm? Being remote and all, not much problem with neighbors.

redlegsrides said...

Well CCjon, I do have a tent but no longer pack the sleeping bag. It actually cools off pretty nicely once it gets dark. This morning I walked to an outside temperature of 53F!