In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Baker Tanks, Wellton, Arizona
Baker Tanks in the desert
Copper Mountains, Arizona
Betty Lee Mine, below Wellton, Arizona - More on Page 2
The building to the right was at one time a camp set up for the Boy Scouts and is still available for picnics and barbecues in the desert.
You'll need a permit from the Marine Base to enter these areas, this is your responsibility.
Download GPS track HERE
The conglomerate rock seen here is throughout the wash in this area of the Tinaja's (tanks). A lot of river stone is embedded in the surrounding red sandstone bedrock which forms most of this area of the wash. Water pools are plentiful here during or after good rain storms.
This is one of the medium sized Tinaja's found in the Baker Tanks area of this wash. The rock formations here are worth a visit even your not lucky enough to see some of the wildlife that visits this mostly dry section of the Sonoran Desert. In the desert has personally seen jack rabbits, coyotes, deer, and bighorn sheep tracks in the immediate area.
The largest tank here is not always this full. When it is however it's not only a long tank but it's also pretty deep in places. There are desert toads that live here and they hatch out after a wet season like this. Something you wouldn't expect to find in such a dry area in the desert.
Continuing along the east side of the Copper Mountains you'll come to a well traveled wash heading west into the mountains. This first wash entrance is a military practice site and it may be off limits. Check your map. The second wash entrance will be into the Betty Lee Mine. On the right is an old powder storage room located on a bench at the end of the road.
Another old rock building located at the end of the road was probably a mine office or part of the smelting plant where they worked the ore. The major part of the ore that was processed here was copper. In the form of Chrysocolla (hydrated copper silicate) a blue rock often resembling Turquoise. See page two for images of the mine itself
Keep looking up in the hills surrounding the wash here as there are several rock buildings in this area erected by the miners and the mine company. Consolidated Mining Co worked this mine from 1910 to 1939. The mine itself has a 700 ft. deep shaft and quite a few drifts off the main shaft. At one time there was an old steam ore crusher at the mine. Is has been vandalized.
As you can see this was a rain water catch they built to use the water to work the ore and also for drinking. This was a really well constructed rock basin. Keep an eye out for rattle snakes in this rocky area.
In a wash just below the one where the Betty Lee Mine is located you'll find another mine shaft that the Game Fish has worked on to make a Tinaja for the bighorn sheep in the mountains here. They built a coffer to catch run off water and direct it into the mine tunnel. This tunnel stays full all year and is a great place for the sheep and other wildlife to get their water.
This is one of the many neat caves in the rocks in this section of the Copper Mountains. Some are big enough to walk into and this one had signs of habitation. Black smoke on the ceiling indicates this may have been used by one of the mine personal.
Looking northwest this is what the wash looks like where the Betty Lee mine is located. It is a little ways up the wash around the bend shown here to get to the mine. Back in the early 1900's there was a road that went up the wash. Even today you can see signs of the old road.
In the north end of the Copper Mountains there are several strange things to be found. One is this large and perfect circle with an X in the center. Of course no one knows if it means anything or is it just something someone did for the fun of it? There is also a rock in this area called signature rock, which is supposed to have a lot of very old names on it. It's location remains a secret.
This trip into the Copper Mts. was not as detailed as we would have liked, but thanks to our friends from Yuma, Arizona it's been added to with views of the Mine and some Military Plane Wrecks in the area. Continue to the next page for more.