Both the house we stayed at in Gold Canyon and the condo we are staying at now in Apache Junction offer great views of Superstition Mountain. It anchors the Superstition Mountain range which was formed by volcanic activity some 25 million years ago. The Lost Dutchman State Park is located on the mountain’s western side. It gets its name from Jacob Walzer who is said to have discovered a mother lode of gold there and whispered its location on his death-bed to the owner of the boarding house where he met his demise. Some people believe the gold is still there waiting to be discovered. Some Apaches believe the hole leading to the underworld is located on the mountain.
I am fascinated with the large saguaro cactus that grow naturally here everywhere and are featured on the yards of so many private homes. Some of them are between 100 and 200 years old. It takes 75 years for the saguaro to grow an arm. The cactus visibly expand when it rains to soak up moisture. I’d love to be here in spring when the saguaros bloom with white and yellow flowers. I have seen many saguaros with large holes in them. These are made by birds who nest in the cacti. A saguaro can be up to 60 feet tall, weigh up to 4,800 pounds and have up to 25 arms.
I took a picture of this sign after my friend Rudy told me about Don Donnelly. Don was the owner and founder of the Don Donnelly Stables in Gold Canyon, Arizona. Donnelly was a nationally known cowboy and a passionate desert conservationist. He loved to tell stories about the Superstition Mountains and cowboy life. He was sometimes called Arizona’s John Wayne. He died of a heart attack at age 54. I was interested to discover that he was the stepson of Ernie Friesen, a former mayor of Steinbach, Manitoba where I grew up and lived and worked for most of my life. Ernie and his wife Leis were also members of my church and I often sang duets with their daughter Debbie. After his wife Leis passed away Ernie moved to Arizona and married Don Donnelly’s mother Evelyn. The world is a small place.