Al and I are finally feeling like ourselves again. That nasty crud that went around seemed to linger with a cough and lack of energy. That being said, it felt wonderful to get back out on the trails…..hike more than thirty minutes that is.
Cave Creek Regional Park has some great trails assessable from the campground or picnic area. It’s Saturday morning and Al and I head out on the Clay Mine Trail. We walk past the fenced off abandoned mine and continue up the steady incline toward the Overton Trail. It’s a gorgeous, sunny Arizona morning. Last night’s extreme winds have moved on leaving behind a light breeze………a very welcome breeze.
Shortly after passing the Clay Mine we pass a Park Ranger walking in the opposite direction. I comment, “Beautiful morning”. He responds with arms spread upward, “You like my office? Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid to do this”. Sounds like the dude really likes his job! He continues, “Hey, I’ll be opening the mine and giving tours, if you’re interested”. “Most definitely. We’ll catch you on our return”, I respond.
Al and I continue on our journey taking in the desert beauty. Each Saguaro Cactus is original and unique. Some of the Barrel Cactus sport the most amazing red thorns. Hmmm….perhaps a separate post on cacti is in order 😉 As I continue to click away, hubby chuckles and says, “Are you sure you have enough photos of cactus? You might want to take a few more”. Yes, I detect his sarcasm, but each Saguaro Cactus seems to have its own personality.
We complete the Overton Trail and pick up the Clay Mine Trail which will return us to the campground. The fenced entranced to the mine is open. A large storage container sits at the entrance. Al and I reach inside and grab a hard hat before proceeding into the mine. With hard hats on, we bend over walking through a narrow tunnel. It isn’t long before we’re able to stand up in a carved out room and greeted by the Park Ranger.
The Ranger reiterates the story posted on a sign at the entrance of the mine. He has a binder filled with copies of newspaper ads from the 1800’s. Various elixirs and ointments were made from the chalky like substance extracted from the mine. Most products were a mere “snake oil”. However, one product was marketed primarily as a medicine to help with dysentery, similar to today’s Kaopectate.
Although this mine was closed many years ago, the mineral Kaolinite is still mined and used in many products currently available on the market such as soaps and cosmetic products.