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December 31, 2015 deeplink respond

Some Cluff NW Canal Preliminary Field Notes has just been
posted here with its sourcecode here.

freely available on the web from multiple sources. 

December 12, 2009 deeplink respond

I thought I might catalog some of the prehistoric ag
items you might find while wandering around our 
local bajadas...

LITHICS - most any rock that appears to
have been purposely broken. Especially
if distinct from all the other local rocks. 

REWORKED LITHICS - Similar rocks that
appear to have secondary chipping. Typically
flakes are knocked off a core. The flakes are
then reworked into tools. 

POTSHERDS - Broken pieces of pottery.
Differ from rock by their uniform thickness
and grainy interior. Very rare in ag sites. 

TRADEWARE - Fancier potsherds that are
decorated by paint or slip. Often dateable
and strong indicators of trade patterns .

MULCH RINGS - Circular rock groupings
typically three feet in diameter. Often found
as a dozen or so in a spaced group. Likely
used to retain moisture for a single agave
Sometimes wrongly called a "cairn".

ROASTING PIT - Similar rock groupings
somewhat larger in diameter but always with a 
distinct internal depression.

CHECK DAM - Small semicircular rock
arrangement across a drainage. Forms a
small upstream "field", often five feet square.

APRON - Secondary rock structure below
a check dam, apparently to prevent erosion
by slowing water overflow .

CANAL - Often looks like a very smooth
hiking trail. Always flat with a very slight
slope. Very long. Purpose oriented.

LINEAR FEATURE - Rather long and
rather straight low rock wall across a
gentle slope. Forms an upslope field.

TRINCHERA - Definition varies.
May be a longer and not as straight
low rock wall used for water control.
Often associated with steeper slopes.
Easily confused with CCC boondoggles! 

GRID ELEMENT - A rectanglar low
rock border, typically twelve by twenty
feet across a usually gentle slope. May
rarely have a single mulch ring in the middle.

GRIDS - A grouping of grid elements.
aranged side by side or sequentially
up slope. Tens of thousands (!) of these
appear to be locally present. 

FIELD HOUSE - Single rectangular
group of higher rock walls, typically six feet
square. Always at an ag site when present.

HABITATION  SITE- Multiple rectangular
grouping of higher rock walls. Often associated
with potsherds and trash dumps. Almost 
always destroyed by extensive pothunting.

Normally somewhat distant from ag sites. 

December 9, 2009 deeplink respond

The number and stunning variety of "off the bajada"
prehistoric ag sites here in our Gila Valley continues to 
amaze me. It is enormously difficult to wander around
outside without finding a new and unexpected one.

Virtually all of our mountain fed streams seem to have
elaborate canal systems whose 13th century engineering
appears well beyond stunning. Some of these exceed
ten miles in length; others are hung on a mesa side
90 feet above the local terrain; and others include
aquaducts that are well above grade. One appers to
have a "three way switch" that routes water to a
triad of wildly different drainages. And flows to this day. 

It is not unreasonable to conclude that the 13th century
population may have exceeded the present day one.
Yet an enigma remains: The number of ag sites vastly
exceeds the number of known habitation sites. 

As best as is known, the entire system was a giant
booze factory, converting agave into mescal.

Or, alternately the related ag grids were the first instance of 
prototypical Dilbert cubicals. The Alice PMS Revolt of 1385 
would clearly explain the latter decline in population. 

November 28, 2009 deeplink respond

Another recent surprise is that nearly all of Desert
Magazine issues are now readily available online.

Bee had three travel stories in them herehere, and 

November 21, 2009 deeplink respond

What drought? Very old maps here show an "artesian
hot well" in, of all places, Hot Well Wash. Newer maps
show it as a "hot well".

If you go to this bone dry site, you will find a large water
channel, ruins of a small,  a medium, and a large windmill
of progressively newer age, and derelict pieces of even 
newer medium, larger, and humongous pumps.

Meanwhile, BLM is having to add solar boosted pumps
to their Hot Well Dunes artesian souces. These are
likely related to the same aquifier. 

More on similar topics here

November 5, 2009 deeplink respond

Many years ago, a certain New York editor who had
never been off the block at Lawn Guiland visited a
Texas ranch. He was amazed at how greasy the sheep
were and asked why they greased their sheep.

The ranch hands had a big laugh over this and tried
to explain lanolin. Then they moseyed up the draw to 
the cow oiler.

October 28, 2009 deeplink respond

The ancient oriental art of TI WUN ON consists
of getting totally snockered but always doing so
in a professional and workman like manner.

October 20, 2009 deeplink respond

Just found out that nearly all of the New Mexico
subastas are going to be sold at auction!

Sales and shipping to New Mexico aren't quite as
bad as they used to be. Yeah, there's still the language
barrier and the hassles at customs.

One main problem was that all the New Mexico truck 
tires are all a different size and spacing, so everything 
needed  reloaded at the border crossings.

Fortunately, there are now REVERSIBLE truck tires that
can simply be insided out at the New Mexico ports of

More details at your nearest New Mexico embassy .

October 12, 2009 deeplink respond

Dr. James Neely, professor emeritus of the University
of Texas at Austin will be presenting a rare and major
free lecture on Prehistoric canals of the Safford Basin this
Saturday October 17th at 6:30 PM in the Jupiter Room
of the EAC Discovery Park Campus.

Discovery Park is located at 20th Avenue and Discovery
Park Blvd ( aka 32nd street ) in Safford, Arizona. 
Telescope access. muiseum tours, and simulator rides
may also be available.

More info by contacting Harry Swanson at
(928) 428-6260 or <harry.swanson@eac.edu>

October 2, 2009 deeplink respond

Turns out the OTHER new Safford water tank is also an
equal opportunity demolisher. Totally trashing unique prehistoric
habitation and agricultural sites.

So far, it plowed right on through the twin boobs canal. I've yet
to determine further damage. It does seem to only be trashing
prehistory, compared to the other water tank which has taken out
both prehistoric as well as totally unique CCC depression projects .

"Shovel ready" strikes again. 

What is really sad about all this is that a little bit of forethought
and a slight rearrangement could have bypassed most of the
damage. At a negligible change in total cost. 

September 3 , 2009 deeplink respond

One of the more curious features just added to our 
Gila Dayhikes library page is the Deadman Canal.

This canal is routed along the HIGHEST point
on a bajada ridge and then gets "switched" in
three different ways to support three dirt tanks in
three wildly different canyons.

There is some suggestion that the original canal
is in fact prehistoric and dates from the thirteenth
century. Which makes its engineering even
more stunningly impressive.

August 26, 2009 deeplink respond

Added several upgrades and improvements to our
Gila DayHikes library page. 

We are now up to 241 main entries and almost 365

August 24, 2009 deeplink respond

Managed to get back to the Nancy's Rockpiles enigma.

Some evidence is accumulating that this is really a CCC
boondoggle of one sort or another. There are a few classic
punched oilcans present and some markings on at least a
few rocks that suggest steel tools. The desert varnish and 
lichen contrast appears too high for prehistoric. As does the
utter pointlessness and lack of windblown fill. 

And the fact that the irregular structures are along drainages 
rather than across them. 

The local evidence is overwhelming that the CCC had a scant few
good and useful projects intersperced with great heaping
bunches of utterly worthless money-down-the-drain busywork.

Local new stimulus packages seem to be following an identical 
throw-the-money-away path.

August 9 , 2009 deeplink respond

A certain town which shall remain unnamed ( despite
their sharing their western boundary with Thatcher, AZ )
decided to build a new water tower.

Apparently nobody noticed that all those funny rocks
everybody kept tripping over at the site was a
thirteenth century indian ruin of high cultural
significance and major scope. 

The new pipeline itself also qualifies as an equal
opportunity demolisher as it took out a CCC
historical water diversion project.

This was apparently railroaded thru after another
site location got NIMBYed.

Your tax dollars at work.

August 8 , 2009 deeplink respond

The concept of "Lets keep the Cave / Fossil / Ruin / Hike a 
secret so the bad guys can't find it" never was a very
good idea. These days, web and other developments make
the concept wildly less than utterly useless.

The first hints that all was not well emerged many decades
ago when the stunning discovery was made that the secret
dirty hippy insider underground publication for everybody 
ripping off the phone company was ----> The Bell System 
Technical Journal!
 And that the key component needed
was included free in every box of Captain Crunch cereal. 

Long before the Streisand Effect

Back then, you actually had to know what a technical library
was and where to find one. And going to a remote physical
location involved several trips and a lot of luck. Rather than
simply saying N 33.16482 W 110.70876. GPS, of course.

Many thousands of people are now routinely into orienteering
and especially geochaching. Making finding any location trivial. 
And freely publishing it world wide even less so. 

Having the location instantly gives you a topo map and detailed
satellite imagry via Acme Mapper. Or land ownership via 
GIS sites such as this one or tax roll sites such as this one

And most everybody now has ready access to the insider'e
papers and publications. Or shortly will have. Such seemingly
innocuous inclusions as including two foot contour lines on
a ruin site sketch can tell you exactly where the ruin is in a few
minutes of topo searches. As can fitting two bends in a stream.

Doing your own low cost aerial photography has become
trivial, and shortly should approach super cheap.

As with such stupities as DRM or copy protection or draconian 
NDA's, there always will be more bad guys than perceived good
ones. And they always will be smarter than you and always will 
have accesss to more research materials and more time to 
patiently explore nonobvious links and obscure source materials. 

Yet another approach involves the Freedom of Information act.
But this route instantly brands you as a bad guy and draws
attention to yourself. 

So, excessive secrecy is almost always totally pointless.
Besides usually having the exact opposite of its intended

One possible solution is not drawing attention to something
"secret". By not being that way in the first place. A second 
is to actually trust people who, on the average, are likely to 
benefit your research rather than hurt it. 

A third is one both cavers and Apple computer has used --
put nonspecific but unique names on stuff that does not hint
on their location, but exactly tell you how "they" found it.

BTW, there's an outstanding Master's Thesis topic 
waiting for somebody at N 33.16482 W 110.70876. 
Especially if things turn out to be not what they seem. 

August 7 , 2009 deeplink respond

A fascinating series of reprints to Desert Magzine
can be found here

The "yellow boxes" that appear to be blatant
censorship are really just OCR screwups. More
often than not, you can second guess the missing

More on similar topics here.

July 6, 2009 deeplink respond

BLM has a number of interesting and free
web download papers..

#1 -- Sonoran Desert Prehistory
#2 -- Southeast Arizona Archaeology
#4 -- Pinenut Kaibab Anasazi Site
#5 -- Patayan Country Peoples
#6 -- Lower Colorado River Resources
#7 -- Aravapia Ecology & History
#8 -- Bonita Creek Ecology & History
#9 -- Harquahala Solar Observatory

July 4, 2009 deeplink respond

One of the more minor skirmishes in the "indian
wars" was our local "Battle Mountain". More
correctly called the Battle of K-H Butte.

The injuns won this one 4-0 in double overtime.

The actual battle ranged from Cedar Springs, thru
two other locations, and ended up at K-H Butte.
Very little remains in the area today.

The best info is available is in an expensive and
hard to find book. Titled, of all things, The
Battle at K-H Butte

Local copies can be found in the EAC Library or
the Pima Museum. 

More on similar topics on our Gila Dayhikes page.

July 3, 2009 deeplink respond

Only in Thatcher...

The new construction project is a combination feed
store and beauty salon.

June 27, 2009 deeplink respond

One of the leading indicator species of overgrazing
is -------------> cows.

June 18, 2009 deeplink respond

One of the many enigmatic mysteries of the 1898 
Safford to Morenci toll road is "Why is there a 
PVC pipe inside the shoulder rockpiles?

My guess is this:

The original road construction consisted of removing
rocks and piling them on the ( usually southern ) edge 
of the ten foot wide pathway. These rocks were then
loose and formed a continuous bunker some three feet
or so wide and two feet or less high.

Ranchers like to bury their stock tank PVC to keep
the water cooler, minimize damage, and prevent
ultraviolet lifetime trashing. Digging a "real" trench
through extremely rocky soil is both expensive
and time consuming. Not to mention painful.

So, my guess is that they simply laid the
pipe BESIDE the shouldder rockpile and then
MOVED the loose rocks over to cover.

June 15, 2009 deeplink respond

Certainly one of the most extreme of extremeophiles
are the snottites. Little known is their increbible acidity
comparable to concentrated sulphuric acid. Their
ph is sometimes less than unity

Stuff like this makes extraterrestal life a virtual certainty.

No, I am not making this up. 

June 13, 2009 deeplink respond

Got back to the tollgate area. Turns out that 
Tollgate Tank has several rather impressive
dams associated with it. And that there are
several layers of historic interest.

So far, I've been unable to find any vetted
historical documentation of the toll road. But
I think I convinced myself that such docs
do exist somewhere.

A popularization and extraction for the December
1953 issue of Desert Magazine has these possibly
accurate facts..

     The main honcho was one Francisco 
     Montes, aided by Vicrtoriano Corrasco, 
     Andres Serna, and Emilo Lopera. And 
     later by a Luther Green who was involved 
     in a stage route over the toll road. 

    The toll road was apparently built in 1899 
    and used through 1917
. Toll charges were
     originally fifty cents, later dropped to thirty. 

Please email me if you have any more credible docs
on this.

May 29, 2009 deeplink respond

As a general rule, any topo map feature named 
"cave" or anything remotely suggestive has long
ago been checked by Southwestern cavers.

Cavers use binary geology: There are two kinds
of rock, limestone and shit. Except for some
minor lava and gypsum examples, juat about
all decent caves demand limestone. Not just
limestone, but a karst topography where water
can create sinkholes and such.

One intriguing area I have yet to explore is the 
"Pothole Country" six miles north of Mule
. There's also a "Cave Canyon" and
a "Pothole Canyon" in the immediate area.

"Pothole" can have several meanings. No
telling exactly what they had in mind. 

The geology is almost certainly a useless
volcanic mudstone, and the area seems little
known to cavers. While on Gila National
, a long ago exploration attempt
met with distinctly unfriendly local ranchers. 

There's new high resolution imagry on
Acme Mapper. But, as usual, the best
is suggestive but not good enough. 

Real cavers can be found here, here, and
here and here. Although somewhat out
of range, I've added this site to our
Gila Hikes library page. 

May 11, 2009 deeplink respond

Found the original documents for the McEniry Tunnel!

This was a scam ( then called a swindle ) to tunnel 
clear thru Mount Graham for a total distance of
twelve miles, revealing untold riches in gold and
silver, besides $300,000 worth of timber and 45,000
horsepower worth of hydro. The leftover water
would irrigate at least 25,000 acres by using 30
miles of canals.

The total known mineralization of Mount Graham,
of course, is approximately zero. There are only
the tiniest mineral explorations of no consequence
at the extreme range ends. The rock is all intrusive
precambrian gniess or granite. Neither PD nor FM
has expressed the slightest interest in this range.

Getting info on this "somewhat optimistic" proposal
has been tricky. First because it originally was
called the Triumph Tunnel, and later referred
by locals as the Mammoth Graham tunnel. 

Over the years, a number of misspellings of 
"McEniry" confused the issue. The spelling
here comes from his signature on the above
document. Many credible sources ( including
Arizona Place Names ) have gotten it wrong. 

The tunnel was only driven a few hundred feet
and remains of interest today. It is just a plain
old empty horizontal mineshaft. Easily visited.

More on similar topics in our Gila Dayhikes library.

May 3, 2009 deeplink respond

Chemistry 101: If you are not part of the solution,
than you are part of the precipitate.

April 21, 2009 deeplink respond

Here's a "click to expand" image of the cliffhanger

Many thanks to Harry Swanson for this photo.

April 19, 2009 deeplink respond

Made two more trips to the cliffhanging canal. And
the engineering remains orders of magnitude beyond

What we have here is a thirteenth century canal system
literally hung on the TOP edge of a steep mesa. Often as
much as NINETY FEET above the valley floor. As part
of a system that is at least 12.5 kilometers (or eight
miles) long. Not to mention several hundred feet of 
above grade aquaduct!

Major portions of the system are still amazingly well 
preserved and undisturbed.

Besides the obvious question of "WHY?", many 
questions remain. Was water hand carried to the mesa
top? What happens at the East End of the mesa where
the terrain simply quits? After miles of carefully controlled 
slope, are steep drops inevitable? What leveling instruments
were used for such precision? Why is much of the canal
brim full of fine sand? 

Watch out for the cliff. "What Clliiiiffffffffffffff.... ?"

April 12. 2009

deeplink respond

Google Maps has just upgraded all of the really bad
satellite photos of the Gila Valley. And possibly other areas
as well.

Resolution is still not good enough to resolve many prehistoric
artifacts. Although the more blatant CCC projects and the 
main Safford grids are now quite apparent.

Further improvements are supposedly in the works. 

Particularly improved are the Fort Thomas area, Morenci,
the Haekel portion of the San Simon, and the Lower Blue. 

Acme Mapper is often the better choice because it includes
scrollable topo maps, USGS DOQ B/W imagry. and more. 

April 4, 2009 deeplink respond

Mysterious artifacts abound in the desert southwest
and especially here in the Gila Valley. 

One of the more obviously intriguing examples are
the "hotdog formations" 5 miles SxSSE of Swift
Trail Junction. AKA SW quarter of section 9 or
somewhere near N 32 39' 45" W 109 41' 39"

These are three foot high dirt "bunkers"
 with rock
buttressing that are several dozens of feet long.
Also nearby are ( apparently useless ) rock check 
dams piled much higher than usual. Use is, to say the 
least, nonobvious. 

They do not seem prehistoric in that there is no
association with potsherds, lithics, fields, or habitation sites.
The rocks also seem to have been moved a significant
distance, most likely by wheeled transport. They also
look "too new". 

The nearest 4WD track is 900 feet south and the
property is BLM Rangeland. Expanations of rifle
range backdrops, scouting projects, erosion control,
cattleguards, hoaxes, movies or vid commercials, kids 
pissing around, drug dealers, UFO landing sites, or 
rancher improvements all seem unlikely. There are 
no obvious trash artifacts, modern or otherwise. 

I am at a loss to explain these. The simplest thing
is to blame them on the CCC. Who have proven
adept at doing totally useless stuff in strange ways.

Nearest CCC camp was 8 miles away at Noon Creek.
The artifacts do not show on available images

A tiny bit of supporting evidence is that some of 
the rock arrangements show "Italian stone masonry"
careful arrangement and placement quite similar to 
those of other known CCC sites. No concrete is used.
The motif is distinctly unsouthwest.

Your comments welcome.

Some similar projects are found here

April 1 , 2009 deeplink respond

Few people realize that the word "gullible" 
does  not appear in any major dictionary or 
spell checker.

March 31, 2009 deeplink respond

An extremely interesting history of Southwestern fire
lookout towers and trees appears here

I personally worked Gentry, Barfoot, Monte Vista, and 
Miller Peak. And climbed many more. Besides using the 
names of many others in our Marcia Swampfelder spoofs. 

One day an untrained relief lookout worked a neighboring
tower. "Dispatcher Dispatcher there's a fire!". Showing
extreme restraint over blatant radio protocol violations,
Dispatch asks where the fire is.

"Right over there in those trees!".

March 28, 2009 deeplink respond

With some recent discoveries, I guess I want to revise
my list of high technology in the Gila Valley. Presented
here in order of cubic wonderment....

1. The safford grids
2. The AD 1300 cliff hanging canal and aquaduct
3. Mount Grahm International Observatory
4. Morenci solvent extraction and electrowinning.
5. The Mount Graham Aerial Tramway
6. The five Morenci Southern Railway Loops
7. CCC infiltrating water spreaders.
8. Ubiquitious WiFi webb comm
9. The Ash Creek flumes
10. The Emigrant Canyon Marble Quarry
11. The tomato factory
12. Cotton drip Irrigation and real time GPS

More on similar discoveries here

March 27, 2009 deeplink respond

Found the cliffhanging canal! This is part of a AD 1300
era canal system that was at least eight miles long and
included above-grade aquaduct features.

The engineering on this is orders of magnitude beyond
stunning. At places, the canal is EIGHTY to NINETY 
feet above valley floor. Not yet sure exactly why they
did this. 

Professional papers by others are in process. I will post 
links to them when and as preprints become available. 

March 24, 2009 deeplink respond

The Gila Valley is littered with hundreds ( and possibly
thousands ) of CCC project remanants. To me, the
overwhelming majority of these appear to be utterly
pointless busy work boondoogles. 

The definitive source for CCC anything is the National
 All 725 cubic feet of it. 

Two useful free books that are easily downloaded
appear here and here. A national support orginizition
appears here with an Arizona chapter here. And more
Arizona stuff here. Direct appeals for research help 
can be made here.

Local camps included Sanchez, Noon Creek, Treasure
Park, and Colombine. Plus possible subsites at Guthrie, Eden
( Aravapia Road ), Pima , and Fort Thomas.

Useful local projects included the Noon Creek campground,
the Jacobson Canyon bridge, Heliograph, Webb Peak, and
West Peak Lookouts, and the Colombine Ranger Station. 
Larger spillways in Fort Thomas and Eden appear to have 
long been breached or rendered useless. 

Projects that appear worthless to me do include
the entire rock city at Sanchez and many hundreds of 
serpentine check dams that seem to me to be of no use
whatsoever. Supposedly, these were "water spreaders
for water infiltration". I'd guess that virtually all of the
water simply evaporated. Some of these exhibit exceptional
quality stone masonry work. 

For some strange reason, landfills remediated
in the 1970's seem associated with certain CCC projects.

A very real problem is effectively separating the CCC
constructs from legitimate prehistoric water control
projects. Some guidelines appeared here.

In general, if it was larger, more obvious, "newer", more anal,
and pointless,  chances are it was CCC rather than prehistoric.
Especially if it clearly shows up on satellite photos.

More on local Gila Valley adventures here.

March 22, 2009 deeplink respond

The resolution of the DOQ Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles
on the Acme Mapper is one meter. These are digitally
corrected aerial photography that the USGS uses
to generate their topo maps. They are often black
and white only.

For certain areas, DOQ may be the best resolution that is
freely available to you. 

Google color satellite photography varies with location and
age. Resolutions of remote portions of the southwest remain
pathetic at approximately 20 meters or worse. Resolution

for typical areas is often around one meter, and the best of
their city imagry is half that.

The latest satellites offer sixteen inch resolution to the feds
that is downgraded to twenty five inch resolution to future
Google updates. 

Google street views are done from roving vehicles and
can offer exceptional resolution. Depending on range,
signs on buildings can often be read.

As we saw a few weeks ago, street views dating from
April of 2008 are newly available for the Greater
Bonita-Eden-Sanchez metropolitan area.

Now if we can only get Craig's List attention...

March 16, 2009 deeplink respond

A useful website for Arizona land ownership appears 

The generic name for this sort of thing is GIS. As in
geographic information systems. A tutorial site appears

And pictures of nearly every house in an entire county here
Usefuleness elsewhere depends on who is offering what 
for why.

March 14, 2009 deeplink respond

The handiest way I have found to email a location of most
anything to anybody is to use Acme Mapper

Usually, you will select satellite and an appropriate scale.
Center the item on the crosshair and click mark. Then link 
to this page.

Since the email link may end up over one line long, be sure
to prefix and postfix any link with "<" and ">". 

Three areial resolutions are typical: Really bad ( such as
aound Fort Thomas AZ ), about a meter ( such as around
Safford, AZ ), or better than half a meter ( such as downtown
Phoenix ). Sadly, prehistoric structures are hard to spot
even with the finest resolution offered today.

The highest resolution is sometimes available using 
Acme's DOQ feature. But this is black and white and
at best only marginally better. 

Decimeter resolution everywhere sure would be nice.
In stereo with uv and ir options, of course.

March 13, 2009 deeplink respond

A church in Gila Bend has decided not to get a 
chandelier. Turns out nobody in the congregation 
knew how to play one.

March 7, 2009 deeplink respond
There are many rock structures here in the Gila valley.
Some of these are prehistoric indian agricultural work,
and some are CCC busywork projects from the 1930's. 

Telling which from what can create problems. Here are
a few guidelines...

      CCC projects tend to be anal. Prehistoric projects tend
      towards zen and in harmony with the land..

      CCC projects are often obvious on satellite photos.
      Prehistoric projects are usually subtle or invisible.

      CCC projects are usually linear. Prehistoric projects are
      often associated with grids, fieldhouses, cairns,
      or roasting pits..

     CCC projects may have obvious modern features
     such as survey markers, railroad rails, concrete,
     wire grids, or integrated wide farm roads.

    Prehistoric projects may have lithics, trincheras, or
    checkdams with aprons associated with them.
    But potsherds are often rare at an ag site.

    CCC projects tend to be wider, with three to 
    four feet being typical. Stones are often
    precisely fit "masonry style" with tight 
    tolerances and well defined project edges. 

    Some CCC projects tend to be crisp and
    pristine. Prehistoric projects tend to show their
    age and are often partial or ill defined. Or
    show flood damage. 

   Prehistoric projects usually use nearby rocks. CCC
   projects may truck or otherwise import different
   rock styles from remote areas. 

More on similar topics on our Gila Dayhikes library page. 
March 6, 2009 deeplink respond
The USGS has a website with fascinating and
highly useful minerals info you can find here.
February 21, 2009 deeplink respond

Just in case you have not met them yet, the
Acme Mapper website is an incredibly useful
resource. This combines Google streets with
aerial photos with topo maps and bunches more.

Particulaly useful is their center crosshairs that
instantly gives you latitude and longitude. You
can also dial in lat lon to reach any referenced
location. An Options link gives you a choice
of lat lon formats. 

Their "DOQ" gives you the original BW aerial
photography on which topo maps were based.
This often is the highest resolution you can get
but is limited to black and white.

It sure would be nice to have better resolution,
especially of the lower res areas. Stereo would
sure be handy, as would two more planes of
IR and UV imagry.

February 17, 2009 deeplink respond

I thought I was fairly familiar with our local Marijilda Canal
system. Which I had wrongly been crediting to early farm
pioneers in the 1800's. Turns out it was a small part of a much larger
and more complex native american system dating from the 1300's.

Apparently they simply stole the plans.

I just received a portion of a yet to be published paper and map
of this original system. It is clearly one of the more stunning of
many early Gila Valley water projects.

Firstoff, the origional system was at least 12.5 kilometers 
( or nearly eight miles ) long! It was designed with cutoffs
so that any catastrophic flood would completely miss nearly
all of the system except for an easily repaired head end.

Amazingly, there was an aqueduct or "above grade" portion
where the canal crossed a drainage. And a fairly long
"cliff hanger" portion where the canal was literally stuck
high on the side of a steep mesa. 

Finally, the far end of the canal ended in a large loop.
Exactly why it does so is a mystery, since any canal
( especially a prehistoric one ) has to have a gradient
to deliver useful amounts of water.

Portions of the canal system remain remarkably well
preserved. I'll try to post a better reference when the
paper becomes available.

February 4, 2009 deeplink respond

Our ancient grid systems here in the Gila Valley
are much more extensive than most people even imagine.

Besides highly concentrated northern grids, there are
many isolated and smaller examples to the south. Typically
these are gently sloping near mesa tops in areas with
bunches of loose rocks in the 2 to 10 pound class. The
rocks are typically rounded river cobbles and are not
worth a damn as higher wall construction materials.

Several classes of rockwork are apparent...

     Rectangular grids, often 12 x 25 feet or so,
     singly or in groups. In a somewhat erratic

     Round rockpiles perhaps three feet in
     diameter. Some with internal depressions.

     Arc shaped check dams across small 
     drainages, some with distinct downstream

These tend to be well away from habitation sites of
multi room ruins. Potsherds are almost entirely
absent, and lithics are somewhat scarce.

Some of these are masked by more modern
structures such as early Mormon irrigation canals,
CCC projects and even modern rock walls and
rearrangements. In general, the CCC projects are
far more anal and precise. But proper attribution of
simpler structures remains a problem.

My latest discovery is a linear feature that extends
nearly a mile and exactly follows a constant elevetion
topo contour. Calling it a "canal" is premature and it is
not at all obvious what the water source or its destination
was. There seems to be no modern interest in the area.

Aerial and satellite photos are maddeningly infuriating
because their resolution is way too low. Their copy
protection features are easy to misinterpret as well. 

A few more details here.

January 30, 2009 deeplink respond

Our local "Southern Grids" area has an incredible 
variety of prehistoric grids, roasting pits, ruins,
trincheras, and such. Some of which are covered

Trouble is that the same area has great heaping
bunches of CCC water control projects. And the
two can easily be confused. More to the point,
it is difficult to accuratly guarantee any particular
simpler construct is in fact prehistoric.

In general the prehistory folks had more potsherds
and lithics. And were much more in tune with nature.
The CCC was far more anal and rectangular. Plus
may have included obvious survey markers or
chunks of railroad rails. Some structures obviously
had an Italian stone mason as a foreman. With
transit accuracy and one inch tolerance. 

Sometimes deciding whether you are looking at one
or eight centuries worth of erosion can help. On
lesser features, the distinction is far from obvious.

A further confusion is that depressions attributed to
Mescal roasing pits could in fact have been natural
and caused by the hugely trunked mesguite trees once 
in the area. Almost always, though, a depression in
any non-karst area is man caused. 

Enigmatic are the check dams with downsteam
aprons. At present, these appear in use by both cultures.
one possible explanation is that the CCC liked what they
saw and simply stole the plans.

January 23, 2009 deeplink respond

As any geologist will tell you, there are three
kinds of rocks: Ingeneous, Sedentary, and Metaphoric.

January 20, 2009 deeplink respond

While Black Range Lodge remains my favorite
bed and breakfast because of long term friendships,
I can also highly recommend Casitas De Gila.

Casita's highlights include remote hot tubbing under
the stars in one of the finest dark sky locations in
the country, a bunch of easy new riparian stream trails, 
a superb mini art gallery, free WiFi, panhandling horses,
and acess to a group of telescopes and terrestrial optics. 

The two B&B's are an easy two hour trip apart. Both are
in the parts of New Mexico you can't get to. With superb
stuff in between to visit. Stop off and buy our wilderness
 while you are on the way.

January 13, 2009 deeplink respond

One of the real dangers of attempting humor in any
public or semi-public form is "them" not getting the joke.

I was recently appalled at a failed humor attempt when nobody
in the audience had the slightest idea who Dilbert was! 

One glance at our local rock grids dating from the 1300's
and their astonishing similarity to the Dilbert cubicals jumps 
right out at you.

In fact, If I took my Marcia Swampfelder skills and 
combined them with a one time ability to sling the shit
on anthro papers, I bet I could come up with a credible
peer reviewed paper that these were in fact the prehistoric
Dilbert originals.

This would take no more of a leap of faith than most
other archaeological papers routinely make. 

Meanwhile, free Dilbert movies are offered here.

January 10, 2009 deeplink respond

A digital camera optimized for Draganfly
use could be made ridiculously lighter, smaller,
and less power hungry than an ordinary one.
But whether the quantities would justify the
engineering is another matter entirely.

Firstoff, you would get rid of the "Heinz
Catsup Bottle" effect and make no attempt
whatsoever to make the design look like a
classic 35 mm camera. Fixed infinity focus
will work just fine, eliminating any and all
autofocus needs.

There would be no need for a LCD display
and its ungodly power gobbling backlight.
Nor for a conventional viewfinder. Much of
the digital signal processing could possibly
be downloaded to the base station. With less
than half of the camera actually in the air. 

And you might actually put a dozen or more
of these on a single platform, eliminating the
need for pan and tilt. You simply pick and
power the one that is pointed in a useful direction.
most of the circuitry could be shared, so only
the sensors and lensing would be multiple.

The potential for integrating camera and
platform, power and nav here is enormous.

January 8, 2009 deeplink respond

The Direktor of the Ministry of Propaganda for a 
major government bureaucracy sends this along:
            “Gila Valley Day Hikes” Topic of   
                  First 2009 Brown Bag Talk 

Author and researcher Don Lancaster of Thatcher 
will present the first talk of 2009 in the Bureau of 
Land Management’s (BLM) popular Brown Bag Lunch 
seminar series. “150 Gila Valley Day Hikes” will be the 
topic of Lancaster’s talk on Tuesday, January 13, at 
noon in the BLM conference room. 

The public is both welcome and encouraged to attend. 
Bring a lunch or snack and a drink and enjoy the talk 
and accompanying audio-visual presentation. 

Hikes to be discussed vary in difficulty from easy 
walks for families with small children to extreme 
canyoneering. Most hikes have recently been verified
for access and conditions. 

Anyone that has attended one of Lancaster’s evening talks 
at Discovery Park can attest to his knowledge and sense 
of humor. When asked what locations will be discussed, 
he said “Most hikes are less than an hour’s drive from 
the Greater Bonita-Eden-Sanchez Metropolitan Area.” 

Lancaster has posted brief descriptions of many of trips on
his website at http://www.tinaja.com/gilahike.shtml

Places to avoid will also be briefly covered. 

The BLM office is located at 711 14th Avenue, at the 
intersection with 8th Street, in Safford. For more information, 
contact Diane Drobka at 348-4403 or Dave Arthun at 348-4428.

January 7, 2009 deeplink respond

Was looking for come cost effective way to
photograph the Safford Grids, as well as search
for newer ones. Not to mention cave exploration.

Apparently there have been some stunning 
improvements in radio controlled model helicopters 

One leader in the field appears to be Draganfly.

Their best units appear to be a triangular platform
with six electrical motors, two at each apex. A 
complex gyro and computer system makes the
sysstem easily flyable and quite stable.

These remain pricey, but there should be some
lower cost systems evolving from them. GPS
tagging is also newly included.

December 26, 2009 deeplink respond

I've been revisiting some of our local indian
ruin sites. Despite competent researchers,
the Gila Valley has lacked an obvious champion.
Yet its population and influence apparently
were among the highest in the American 

The area is confusing to say the least, as
pottery styles represented Hohokam, 
SaladoAncient Pueblo PeoplesMongollon, and 
, among others. Clearly complex trading
routes went through the area. 

There were elaborate irrigation systems.
Both from the Gila River and riparian
side canyons. Not to mention many thousands 
of water enhancing grids that may have been part of
an elaborate aguave to mescal booze factory.

Or possibly the world's very first prehistoric Dilbert

Many of the sites have been outrageously
pothunted. Others have been obliterated by
anglo constuction.

Modern agriculture has also  trashed the tops 
of many sites. But they may lie pristinely buried, 
awaiting subsurface radar techniques for modern 
excavations. When all is said and done, plows do
not normally go all that deep.

Some interesting reading appears herehere, and here
More on our Gila Hikes library page. 


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