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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Bradshaw mountains of central AZ range from Sonoran desert type terrain at the southern edges, to heavily wooded pine forests complete with turkey, squirrel, and deer. Not what the typical non-Arizonian would think of when they think of Arizona.
They are also riddled with old mines. Some known, some lost and waiting to be found by me. Occasionally, someone falls into a long-forgotten mine hidden under foot...and i am sure some of those peoples' fates have never been known.

One of the central roads of the Bradshaw's is Senator highway. Do not be fooled by this name...it is anything but a hwy, and is passable high-clearance vehicles only. It gets its name from the Senator mine, which has become an almost amusement park for amateur spelunkers in the summertime, despite the dangers involved. One web site, now-defunct, on amateur exploration claimed that the Senator had "miles" of tunnels.

I've ridden Senator many times...but there is so much to explore here...and today i wanted to try a new route on a road called Golden Eagle road ( again, named after a mine ). My favorite staging area is just a few miles north of the Senator mine...

After warming up and heading off, i soon passed the Senator...and like usual, there was a Ranger parked, no doubt exploring the handy-work of man in times past. After crossing the Hassayampa creek ( soon to be a river ) in chilly weather, i turned up Walker road and found, yet again, snow and mud. I want's sure it was even slick until i hit the brakes...but the Pioneer does that trick whenever there is slop involved.
I stopped to take a pic of Hassayampa lake; A man-made damming of the Hassayampa "river" of the same name to serve the mines.

Fenced off and posted: I am amused that what was once the site of such hard labor is now the playground for the ultra rich...


The Hassayampa itself is quite interesting because it flows mostly underground, and nobody seems to know quite where it comes from. I'm told that some scientists have claimed that it may flow from as far away as Nevada, but i have seen no such claims elsewhere.

After snapping a pic of the lake and dodging RZR's and Rangers, i headed on up the hill and soon crested at the junction with Poland road, then began a decent until Golden Eagle road was encountered in a sharp turn. From here on, i was in virgin territory.

Climbing to the summit saw some side roads where i rolled through between plenty of fallen firewood and silent pine needles. These all proved to be short and dead ended, so back to GE road i went, and soon created the summit, and started down the west side of the mountain.

Once across, i was greeted by a blast of warmer air and spectacular views of the lower lands to the west.


I was also greeted by a road that clearly was no longer meant for pedestrian car travel, with steep drop-offs on the lower side...


The rock also began to take on the rusty hue that signifies mineral extraction, and soon i was confronted with a side road that lead back up the mountain, and proved to have several mines...


..and remnants of mans' attempts at fortune...


..and still more impressive views to the west...


This road soon turned impressively steep and rocky, and crested at Mount Trittle, all of 7800 ft in elevation. The top of the world, with the peak very narrow...only enough for the trail...


At this height, i had a hard time breathing when i took a stroll for photos. Just down from the summit was another trail that looks promising...but was impressively rough. I decided to leave this for a later date. After the ride, i would discover that this was the road i intended to take...but more in that in a minute.

Once back down the mountain and on what i thought was GE road, i quickly came upon a gate informing me that mining was still taking place here, and no one was allowed in. Bummer...and a quick end to what i thought was a long road, but looking at maps after the fact, i can see that the trail up to, and just down from the summit is actually GE road, and this is where i should have went. It was pretty gnarly, and i may save it until there is another vehicle for support in case something goes wrong.

Back up and across to Senator hwy again...scaring up what might have been a trophy buck, i took a few side trails that came to nothing, and then shot out Poland road, and after a few miles i realized that i had been on the backside before and just didn't know it.

This passes by Mt Union, with a lookout tower i have visited before on quad, but not this day. I made it to the gap below and hung out with some pretty nice cow pens...


...until word came that my dogs had done their escape artist thing again, and i needed to head home to do some fence re-inforcing.

So it was that the ride was cut short. I headed back over Mt Union, over rock and through snow. Thumping along through the trees.
No doubt, the ghosts of those Pioneer's who worked this land in centuries past looked on from the shadows, wondering what this contraption was, and who piloted it.

This area is rich in history, and nearly every road-sign has a name with some sort of interesting story behind it. I've only scratched the surface here....but i will be back again.

Full album.


Poland AZ.


More crap about the Bradshaws.
 

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This is not what I expected from the little I know or have seen in AZ DG (that would be a good name for you) your a real ambassador for your state. I am curious you never mentioned what they mined there? Wasn't that area known for silver or was that just NV.
 

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You need your own off road show! When I am done reading your post I wish I was there. Keep them coming.
 

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Very nice.
Thank you for sharing.
 

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I always enjoy you taking us along on your rides DG, great photo's and write up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is not what I expected from the little I know or have seen in AZ DG (that would be a good name for you) your a real ambassador for your state. I am curious you never mentioned what they mined there? Wasn't that area known for silver or was that just NV.
I believe it was a combo of things lie gold, silver, and copper, with copper and gold being the main objectives.

Thanks all.
 

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these are some amazing breathtaking shots, love the one showing all the mountains.
what camera were you using to take these pictures?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
these are some amazing breathtaking shots, love the one showing all the mountains.
what camera were you using to take these pictures?
LOL....its actually a Cannon S3 i got about 8 years ago. A whopping 6 megapixels...

Hope to be upgrading soon.
 

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LOL....its actually a Cannon S3 i got about 8 years ago. A whopping 6 megapixels...

Hope to be upgrading soon.
It's not how many megapixels you have, it's how you use them!

Your pictures about make me sick.... I hate heights, hahaha. Makes me feel like I'm right there, and I just want to pull that Pioneer a little bit further back.:D

Thanks for taking the time, to take us along DG.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Your pictures about make me sick.... I hate heights...
Apparently, i can't escape them. If i ever take this thing down to sea level, I'll never want to come back. Instant HP gain.

Again, thanks for all the accolades from everyone.

BTW, i just spent a few hours reading some dirt bike adventures of the same area. 9403C ( on down in the post ) looks to be the trail i saved for another day. They also mention that there was once a gate at the top of a nasty hill climb, which explains the pipe stuck in the ground in the middle of the trail.

Turns out there are miles of ST around here as well. Some pretty sick looking stuff. I love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I told you i'd be back again...

Today the Brother-in-law and i got back to this area in slightly warmer temps...yet several sections of Senator hwy were still sheets of ice.

Today was a good day, like nearly all on the trail. The Pioneer, for whatever reason, seemed to have its dander up and was running strong and smooth as we revisited Mt Trittle again...


Heading back down, we stopped at the 1st mine shaft pic in the 1st post, only this time we looked in, and there are rails for a mine cart! Tempting to explore this one...we shall see!

Last time i was out here on a side road and met up with a hunter in a truck who advised me that a perspective trail i was looking at "just went out there and ended". He was right...it only went about 4 miles, skirting the top of the mountains with great views before it turned to single track...


Great little trail i almost missed.

Anyway, gliding through the pines and back to Senator hwy, we headed south again. The plan was to make a loop on FS89/89A using Crooks Canyon rd to connect the 2, and do exploring of some side trails in the area that i have never ridden. Time caught up to us, and the side trails didn't get done, as you have to get back across Senator before it gets too late, lest you freeze your ass off.

On the way down, you pass historic Palace Station en-route to the FS89 split. At this point, you are in solid pine forest, and what looks like classic mining country. Looks aren't deceiving...as there are tons of abandoned mines in this area.
Then, after the 89 split, in only a few short miles, you go from pine forest, to classic mid/high-desert chaparral, warmer temps, and an band of oatmeal colored landscape that makes for interesting formations as you drop towards the community of Wagoner.


It is surprising to find a creek in this terrain...


We ate lunch at this tiny creek, while a group of SxS's and ATV's roared by...one of several groups we encountered today, and the most i have ever encountered while riding in this area.

Once at the bottom of 89A you are dumped onto Crooks canyon rd where you head west for a few miles to an unmarked trail that takes you back north, and eventually to 89. This lower trail is very interesting in that in first crosses relatively lush washes, then climbs a series of step switchbacks in that same band of oatmeal soil that is spread across this area....



Once you climb a bit, you leave the lower terrain and begin to hit the more familiar terrain of high-desert chaparral i live in, and eventually FS89.

Slowly the climb is made, gates are crossed, and you reach higher elevations. Winding your way across the mountains and deep canyons, complete with chilly shadows and thick underbrush. Cattle graze here, and i must wonder what else comes out of this remote area after dark...deep in the desert's hidden crevices. Only Pioneer tracks are left as testament to our trespasses this day.
And soon you reappear in the pines south of Palace station, as the sun is getting low, and the cold begins to nip at your fingers.

One more surprise is glimpsed out of the corner of my eyes heading back north. Despite having ridden through here many times, i spot a old road leading down to the creek, and decide to check it out. At the bottom are remains of one of the Pioneers of this land...


It's too small for residence...so who knows why it was here. We only know that they liked Michelob...
And back on the trail north to the vehicle. Crossing creeks, eating dust, breathing cold mountain air. Another day's adventure done.
 

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Did hearing all those other SxS's roaring past at lunch today make you shake your head at their noise? It had to be intrusive to your zen as you sat and ate by the flowing waters.
 

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man that last pic looks like a great lil campspot. dg I felt like I was reading a review for a trail. kudos on the info
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Did hearing all those other SxS's roaring past at lunch today make you shake your head at their noise? It had to be intrusive to your zen as you sat and ate by the flowing waters.
No. I love the sound of quads/SxS's in the morning. I mean evening. Sounds like...victory ( over tree hugging Eco Nazi's ).
 

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Man that was nice and you have the gift of words for sure! I wish we had trails like that in West Tennessee. Some folks just have all the luck! lol
 
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