Early Saturday morning we headed out to Mineral Mountain Rd in between Florence Junction and Superior. We hit dirt and found the rest of the group who had camped out here the night before.
It looked like a couple of them went heavy on Cazadores the night before so their day was going to feel long! :-)
Within minutes of hitting the road we passed two passenger cars. It was odd to see cars down a road this far that only gets rougher and eventually turns into a 4x4 trail. Just after that we came up behind a group of stock, full size trucks trundling along the trail. We could tell that this whole group was new to offroading. Running boards still intact, big wheels and small tires. We noticed that none of them had radios and I wasn't optimistic about them pulling over to let us by. (A common offroad courtesy, just like on the road, is to pull over if someone comes up behind you.)
After several miles of watching them go rock crawling speed over stuff that was 15-20 mph trail for us we decided to pass when the opportunity arose.
My hopes lifted when they all stopped, but were quickly dashed when they all just stopped in the dead center of the trail. (Another courtesy is NEVER stop in the middle of the trail.) There was enough of a gap for our trucks in the rough side trail so we started to pass. About half way up the line of trucks they all hopped back in and started moving! Inexplicably they just kept cruising along even though our group was now interspersed into theirs...
Thankfully it all ended when their trip "leader" missed a turn and we all took it. One of the truck drivers was nice and apologetic for holding us up. He mentioned they were headed to Martinez mine. One of our trucks was barely able to make it there let alone stock full size trucks. It was about to be a LONG expensive day for them.
Within a mile we came up on a group of Suzuki Samurai's. This underwhelming truck on road is fantastic offroad and well respected in offroading circles. Because of this I guessed that this large group had radios and knew offroad etiquette. Sure enough withing 30 seconds of pulling up behind them they all pulled over and let us pass. What a relief to see friendly offroaders!
This waterfall can be a tough obstacle if you use poor line choice. With the right line it's not too bad and I did it in my truck stock many years ago.
We kept heading for the mine. I forgot how amazing this whole area is.
Heading deeper into Martinez canyon.
We parked at the cabins and hiked to the mine. The trail to the cabins is doable on a dirt bike or even in my 4runner, but it's tough and breakage for a rather stock truck is just too high to risk. Plus a nice hike is always fun.
Old drive belts are still in place!
I love this shot.
Cool cave near the cabins. You can walk in the main entrance and there is a door with a small back exit. Pretty neat. One can just imagine the things it was used for back in the mining days.
Steve's 4runner is doing well.
Notice the grave. Haha. I think it's fake, but it's been there for over a decade that I've seen. (Of course the boots aren't attached to any legs)
On the Coke Ovens trail this is the hardest spot. Well, it's the easiest spot to make a big error.
Great shot by Frank.
Making our way to the ovens.
The charred inside of the ovens.
We camped. BS'd and finished off the Cazadores.
We woke up to a fantastic sunrise!
Off to Battleaxe trail we went.
This washout/sinkhole was worse that I'd seen it, but still drivable as long as you're careful. I wish I got a good shot of how deep it is. The drop off is directly to the left out of the frame.
More great shots by Frank.
Due to the Arizona Trail being worked on in this area the whole trail had been graded flat. We made good time and enjoyed the sites.
We aired back up and ran over to Superior for some great Mexican food. If you want Mexican in Superior skip Los Hermanos which is the obvious one on the main highway and go down old Main St to Cafe Piedra Roja. We were all pleasantly surprised!