Over the years former Arizona Attorney General Bob Corbin and I made many trips into the Superstition Wilderness Area checking on various sites associated with the story of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. We traveled to some of the most remote areas of the wilderness.
Often these trips required us to pack light and not take much in the way of food. We usually had one packhorse, therefore limiting the number days we could camp. Our packhorse carried our bedding, food, tents and feed for the horses.
I remember one trip in particular, during the mid 1980s. We both had four days available for an extended pack trip. It was on this trip Bob volunteered to bring our food for the three days. We picked up the horses at the O.K. Corral and hauled them out to First Water.
Our objective was to spend a few days on top of Peter’s Mesa. From First Water Trail Head to the Salt Flats on Peter’s Mesa is about twelve miles. Bob was very interested in visiting an area known as Pistol Canyon.
Our day of departure was uneventful. We saddled up, packed the packhorse and were on our way. Once we arrived on Peter’s Mesa, we set our camp between the old Rock Dam in Peter’s Canyon and the beehive up the canyon. This campsite always had sufficient water for the horses.
The first day required most of our time riding into the area and setting up camp on our arrival. The next day we began our exploration of Peter’s Mesa. First, we made our way over to Pistol Canyon and looked around. We walked over to the stone arch and then looked for marked stone. We didn’t find much of interest the first morning. We then decided to break for lunch.
Jokingly, I ask Bob what were we having for lunch and he said. “Spam sandwiches and green chili.” I like Spam and the green chili was great.
After wandering around Peter’s Mesa all afternoon, we finally built a fire and settled in for the night. We were tired and our supper was Spam and chili again. I liked Spam, but I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked it this well. The next day was a repeat of the first day. After two days of Spam sandwiches, I was beginning to tire of our cuisine.
After our third day on the mesa, with Spam and Ortega green chili still our main diet, I was ready for the ride out.
We did a good job of exploring the central portion of Peter’s Mesa. We found several old landmarks, but we didn’t find exactly what we were looking for. Of course, I was never certain exactly what Bob was looking for up on Peter’s Mesa.
Bob did say Peter’s Mesa played a significant role in many of the stories about the Dutchman’s lost mine in the Superstition Mountain. It was here some claimed Joe Deering had found a Mexican mill and smelter.
Monte Edwards was convinced the old Agave pits were actually sites where the Mexicans smelted gold and silver. Peter’s Mesa is covered with Agaves and the Yavapai harvest them and roast the hearts in big pits. The Agave hearts were staples in their diet. We found several of the old pits, but no silver or gold.
We were finally convinced a lot of dreamers walked the trails of Peter’s Mesa looking for a lost mine. If there was gold on Peter’s Mesa, it would have to wait for another day.
Also, Robert Jacobs maintained a camp on the west edge of Peter’s Mesa at the head of Squaw Box Trail between 1978-1984. Jacobs made ridiculous claims of thousands of pounds of gold bullion at his place of operations; however few people believed Jacob’s claims.
Yes, Peter’s Mesa has played its role in the legacy of the Dutchman’s lost mine. Bob Corbin and I returned to camp for another night after a long day on the mesa.
The next morning Bob wanted to find a point on the imaginary line running between Weaver’s Needle and Four Peaks that allegedly intersected Peter’s Mesa. This line was on the Gonzales Map. I am not going to go into detail as to who Gonzales was, but some claim he was a survivor of the Peralta Massacre on the northwest end of Superstition Mountain.
We spent most of the third day looking for this point. I am not certain we ever found it. This line runs NNE from Weaver’s Needle toward Four Peaks. According to some stories, a rich mine is located on this imaginary line.
And yes, we had Spam and Ortega green chili again for dinner. As we packed up the next morning for the journey out to First Water, I told Bob that Peter’s Mesa would be known as “Spam Mesa” from this day on. He laughed and said he really liked Spam.
I must admit it was a quick way to prepare all meals, and it was filling. Now Spam Mesa is a part of the Superstition Mountain legacy in our minds.