SAFFORD — Conquistadors and Salado Indians, devout believers and notorious outlaws will all play a part in the Graham County Historical Society’s Fall Trek on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Persons who wish to join the expedition will meet at the parking lot of the Graham County Electric Cooperative, on U.S. Highway 70 in Pima, at 8:30 a.m. that Saturday; departure will be at 9 a.m.
The route will be southwest from Pima through the Cedar Springs country, stopping in Eagle Pass, which some historians believe to be the route the Coronado Expedition followed in 1540. Descending into the Aravaipa Valley, the route turns west into Klondyke with stops at the Klondyke Store and the Salazar Family Chapel, then on to the Aravaipa Wilderness boundary. Desert bighorn sheep are often seen on the canyon walls above this site. Turning south, the group will drive three miles into Turkey Creek Canyon and, after a short, easy hike, visit a small cliff dwelling there, evidence of Salado farmers and hunters who inhabited the canyon seasonally from about 1300 until about 1450.
Returning eastward, the group will stop at the Bonita Store for an account of the beginnings of Billy the Kid’s criminal career in that area. Back to paved roads through Stockton Pass, diehards in the group will search for reported petroglyphs among the boulders east of the pass. The return route will be north on U.S. Highway 191 into Safford, completing the circumnavigation of Mount Graham.
Carpooling is encouraged, and the public is welcome. Vehicles should be in good repair, with high ground clearance preferred. Trekkers should bring lunch and plenty of water. The party will return to Safford by 4 p.m.
The Graham County Historical Society provides educational programs, and preserves artifacts and accounts of historical value from the region. Annual family memberships are $25.
For further information contact Mike Crockett at 928-792-8516.