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Geocaching in Quartzsite

by Jim Dick

On Thursday, 27 January, 2005 we left for our first Geocaching trip in Quartzsite, Az. We left around 10:15 in the morning. The goal was the Apache Chief Mine which many of us have visited in the past. In the group were myself and Pat, Pete Harpin and his new-to-him pickup, and Ron & Shirley Marabito and their friend, Colleen.

We entered the trail of Gold Nugget Road where there is a "working" gold mine. Signs warn visitors to stay away. The trail runs along a dry wash for quite a distance before heading up a small slope. Along the way is another mine which is called the Belle of Arizona mine. We stopped for a few minutes so new people could view the old miner's cabin and some shafts that were dug in the ground along with a run up the side of a mountain where they apparently found some gold. We ran into a stranger who was also geocaching and he mentioned there was a cache at this mine as well. We didn't bother him for any details as we had our own goal in mind. After taking a few pictures and exploring for awhile we again continued along the trail to Apache Chief.

The trail is interesting as it travels up and down the ridges occasionally crossing a dry bed here and there. It is not much wider than the vehicles and we sometimes meet traffic coming the other way which is always interesting. I have never seen the desert so green as it is this year. The mountains are covered in green and there are flowers beginning to bloom everywhere. We crested a ridge and stopped for a photo op of yellow flowers flowing down a hillside.

After deciding not to take the route through the dry wash on the back side of Apache Chief I suddenly found we were indeed entering the dry wash. Somewhere along the way my memory of the trail had faded. Also there are many more trails in evidence from ATV's that were not there previous years. I told the others to hold up so I could run a distance up the wash to be sure we could get through. After a couple of hard twists we encountered a rock ledge that I was fairly certain Pete would not be able to negotiate due to the width of his vehicle. We then turned back and began to try to locate the other route. As I mentioned earlier there are several new trails that are well worn. Suffice it to say we tried a couple before we actually got to the correct path to Apache Chief. We arrived just in time for lunch and found two other couples who were already there. We set up our tables and chairs and began to enjoy a relaxing lunch while viewing some awesome scenery.

The Apache Chief has a cabin which has evolved over the years to being well stocked with provisions and amenities. There is a path that leads to the top of a hill where someone built an open out house where one can sit and take in a 360 degree view.(G) There are also provisions in the cabin and Moe used to live there with the love of his life. Unfortunately Moe is no moe. He is now buried behind the cabin. When we first visited this place several years ago, the cabin was virtually empty, but it is now well inhabited.

After lunch we began to search for the cache which was up the trail past the out house. Ron found it in a fairly short period of time. He has posted a picture of him signing the book for all of us. The trip home was much quicker as we took the "super highway" out. This road is well defined and a straight shot back towards I-10. The trip was enjoyable and it was a perfect day on the desert.