These are the mountains I look out upon as I sit here at the computer. I see the south face of them, and the traces and slag from the old copper mines at Gleeson. Turquoise Mountain, though, is (shockingly enough) more known for its turquoise mining.
|My other half, maintaining a comfortable distance as we hiked "together."
|Some pretty rocks still remain in the Dragoons
|Ruins near the slag heap. Note the horizontal pipe extending from the right side.
|The intended destination. I got this close!
|The hike back on a stretch of old mining road. Note the two structures in the distance: That's where we parked. The Swisshelm Mountains are in the background, with the snow-covered Chiricahuas at left.
|The path turned the prettiest color of rust for part of the hike. The Chiricahuas are at background right.
|We knew we were close to the Jeep when we hit this fork in the road.
These mountains - the Dragoons - are filled with fabulous ruins, be they of stone-built buildings or concrete mining structures. I have to laugh reading Yelp reviews of the ghost towns here; a lot of readers are distinctly unimpressed because the ghost towns are "nothing but ruins." Some even put "ghost towns" in scare quotes to drive home the point they doubt that such remnants of the past are, in fact, ghost towns. Dear Reader, please note that a ghost town is, de facto, ruins and remnants and tattered, wind-eaten walls. You will not find cute boutiques here with T-shirts and scorpion-filled resin keychains. You're only 15 miles from Tombstone, though, so have at it. Here, you'll be able to visit the wonderful "living" ghost town at Pierce, the many ruins along the Ghost Town Trail (including at Gleeson, a mile from my home), and a shop at the privately-owned town of Turquoise, where you can even buy some turquoise. There's plenty to look at if you get out of your car and walk around those crumbling stone walls along the way.
|Yours truly, old dog-eared ruins among the ruins.
If you go: I'd call this a moderate hike; short, but with plenty of slope, rough terrain, and the nasty-ass mesquite. During warmer months you'll need water and to be very aware of the rattlesnakes. There are open mines, shafts, and pits throughout these mountains, so watch where your feet will fall at every step. The ravines are steep and slippery. There's often no one around, so be aware and be self-sufficient. No bathrooms. No trail guide. No signs. The way life ought to be. And if you pack it in, pack it out.
For further reading: I love this book by Lynn Bailey that I sourced above. If you buy it through this affiliate link, I thank you for your purchase as I may receive a commission. The Dragoon Mountains
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