We woke up early to get everything packed up and ready for the trip to Canyon Lake, Arizona. We had rented a boat and Dave was preparing to go diving in the lake to look for clues and lost history. We were anxious to get breakfast and packing up the equipment out of the way that morning because we wanted to get Dave down into the water. There were a few nerve racking thoughts going through my mind about the dive because this was the first trip that Dave had dove with us with his scuba gear. We had spent many months planning and prepping for this but yet, the outcome was still unsure. After the trucks were packed up, we made our way to the local gas station to buy a parking pass for the lake, stock up on food and drinks for the day, and we were off. The Superstition Mountains were so beautiful and green that morning and we couldn’t wait to get to the dock so we could accomplish all that we had planned to do for so long. When we arrived to the lake, we went straight to the boat rental shop to pay for our boat. During that time, the rest of the team transferred all the gear from the truck to the docks. Between Ryan’s filming gear and Dave’s scuba equipment, it seemed like there was tons of equipment to unload.
Dave was so visibly excited and filled with energy, we decided to have a ‘sit-down’ interview with him in hopes to capture his thoughts and excitement on film before heading out onto the lake.
In preparation for this trip, we had scouted out (by the use of Google Earth and Topo maps) and selected a few areas of interest we wanted to be sure to check out. After some time on the lake, we had located and made our way to our first area of interest. It turned out to be a very narrow and shallow canyon, but it seemed to be a great spot for Dave to make his first attempt to dive. Now let me remind you, this was late February and even in Arizona, this water was COLD! But this was an important part of the game and Dave was determined to get down in there so he could see what the visibility was. It was something we needed to do on this scouting trip so we could know for sure what equipment we needed to bring on the next trip.
There can be all kinds of clues to be found and explored under the water e.g., possible man made structures, old trail routes, treasure symbols, and much more. But, in order to discover any of that, we first had to see how clear the water was.
After a few attempts of going under, Dave could tell that his visibility was very slim. He explained to us how in some areas, he couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of him. This was a challenge and disappointing for us, but now we know what to expect so we could plan for the next trip. We also were able to see how diving for clues at this location would take more advanced equipment than what we had brought with us this trip. Once Dave’s tanks were out of air and we got him loaded back up on the boat, we decided to hit the throttle and really cover a big part of the lake to document, take pictures, and film as much as we could. Luckily, we had two boats out on the lake with us which helped for filming and spreading out the team so we could cover as much of the lake as possible in a shorter amount of time. It was a lot of fun to make some wakes and sight-see the lake. Canyon Lake is a very pretty place and we can’t wait to come back for another trip and try again. We have the information we need now to be more successful next time. It was a job well done.
A Spanish Arrastra — After docking the boat, no time was wasted in loading up the truck to head out to our next destination, a possible lost Spanish arrastra site within the Superstition Mountains. We parked the trucks in the area we were to search, only to find that there were a LOT of people around. There seemed to be some kind of a school outing or a fundraiser going on. We had no idea what lied ahead, so I changed into my hiking clothes, boot’s, and put my handgun on my hip and we were on our way down the trail. It was a fairly short hike, only 1 1/2 miles to the search area. Like I’ve mentioned before, we had spent several months on the web and reaching out to people to narrow down a small search area so we were pretty confident we were in the area we wanted to be. When we reached our destination area, we found an old abandoned ranch and it’s remains. The area was flat, in a type of cove surrounded by tall cliffs, there was a running stream very nearby, everything met the criteria that we would expect an arrastra to be in.
We searched around the area, leaving no stone unturned. As we followed the stream for about a half mile, I looked around to see how everyone else was doing, the team was spread out walking in an orderly fashion to cover and search the best that we could. We ran into a couple of hikers along the way and I asked them some questions, trying not to give away too much information about the importance of what we were seeking. We spent at least 2 hours looking and we had had no luck, not a clue! There’s a good chance it’s there waiting for someone to find it, but as I’ve mentioned before, this was a scouting trip and we couldn’t spend any more time on it. A scouting trip is a way for us to cover a lot of ground and to look for evidence of many possible clues in an area of interest. We go to get a good idea of what we are up against for the next time. Each scouting trip, we hope to find enough clues to get us to want to come back. You see, treasure hunting and historical research takes a lot of time, dedication, and research. We try to stay focused on sites that seem promising, and not all of them do. But in this case, the area of the possible arrastra looked right for Spanish mining activity and we still believe that it’s there, but we didn’t find any clues of it this time. We don’t know if we were in the right place.
We decided to abandon our search because we were losing daylight and we still had to get to the next destination where Shaun and Antonio needed to reach a peak to do some climbing. We hopped in the trucks and headed out as quickly as we could. Within 20 minutes, we had our gear and were back on the trail. We soon found an area that Ryan and I thought would be a great spot for Antonio to do his interview. Everyone else went ahead to prepare for the climb.
We met up with Shaun and the rest of the group and they were set up and ready to climb. It was a good challenge for them.
Good job guys! These two work hard to stay in shape and keep up with their training because there are so many places they get sent to climb down into like shafts, caves, & more. After we packed up the gear and hiked back down to the cars we decided to go to the famous Lost Dutchman Mine restaurant. The day was over and we needed to wind-down, no better way than sitting at a dinner table, talking about our day and our accomplishments. The Prime Rib was very good and it’s a fun atmosphere.
Stayed tuned for the 4th day blog, our last day. There’s still more, Todd’s interview at Goldfield, Ryan’s film at the Superstition Museum, and more. Stay safe out there and Find Your Adventure!