The Cowboy on the Hill
The Cowboy was a gunslinger. Came riding into town on his horse. No one knew exactly from where. Back then Arizona was just wide open desert. The Cowboy was in search of a home.
Up on the top of a small hill he stopped, knowing he had found the perfect place. From the hill he could take in views of the Superstition Mountain and all the gold it held.
As time went by the Cowboy had settled quite nicely into his small camp on top of the hill. Every day he would ride into the mountains searching the trails. Treacherous, cactus covered, mountain trails leading foolish men to their deaths searching for gold.
Each night as the sun went down he would build a small campfire to cook his meals then settle in for a night’s rest. The coyotes would yip and howl echoing through the night under a sky filled with countless stars.
The Cowboy rose every morning before the sun, riding his way further and further back into the mountain each time. His horse now so familiar with these trails, the Cowboy would simply sit back in his saddle and let his trusted friend lead the way. Day in and day out the Cowboy would ride into the mountain from his hilltop camp.
Before long stories in the local town began to swirl…
See, the Cowboy was known in town as a gambler and a gunslinger. Depending on who told the story, the Cowboy had killed as many as 20 men in a single gunfight. But because he was also known to play an honest game of cards, no trouble was ever had. His poker face remained at all times. Not much small talk. No questions. No one knew his name.
Lately the Cowboy hadn’t been coming in to town as often. This made the towns folk wonder if the Cowboy had struck gold and if so, why wasn’t he spending any of it in town?
Along with the ever increasingly wilder stories came jealousy and greed. Hatred swirled around the collection of store fronts and saloons that was “the town”. Someone needed to go find out exactly what that Cowboy was up to!
One night an angry group of men gathered and rode out into the desert to the base of the Cowboy’s small hill.
As they approached the hill they could see a light glowing from inside the tent. Quietly they fanned out. The men crept closer and closer when the light inside the tent suddenly went out. Rapid fire shots rang out. Men scattered in all directions.
By morning the story had spread across the valley that a cowboy on a hill had gunned down 10 armed men seeking his gold.
The stories sent gold seekers from miles around to come and try to steal the Cowboy’s gold now believed to be buried somewhere in his small hill. The story had spread far and wide with more and more gold in each retelling.
Armed men coming at him from every side. Wave after wave of bullets flying. The Cowboy the lone target. But after each attack, the tent on the small hill was still standing.
Fear swept the towns folk. Was some type of magic at work here? One lone Cowboy couldn’t possibly fight off dozens of men coming for his land and his gold. How was he getting supplies? How could it be possible?
But as unbelievable as it was, not a single man that had set out to conquer the Cowboy’s small hill came back alive.
Fewer men were now willing to risk their lives by going to the hill knowing it was certain death. A different kind of fear had set in. Now no one wanted to go anywhere near the Cowboy or his hill.
The Cowboy was never seen again. No remains were ever found. His tent, battered in the wind, finally blown away by a roaring monsoon. To this day not a soul has ever come forward claiming to have found gold anywhere in or around the hill.
Years later as homes started being built in the area stories resurfaced, though this time the stories were not about gold or even the cowboy. This time the stories were about strange sounds coming from the small hill. Moans and groans. Gun shots. Men yelling.
Some believe you can hear the haunted echoes from the gun fights of the past. Others simply dismiss these sounds as coyotes calling into the night.
The Stamp Mill
I have some fun “PDR” or “positive desert reporting” for you this gorgeous Monday! At exactly 10 am this morning I watched the 20- Stamp Mill ore crusher demonstration at the Superstition Mountain Museum. If you have not watched the demonstration of this massive machinery get ready to mark it on your calendar!
Like most women I know, I love gold and have spent my entire life just fine with not knowing exactly how gold is found, produced, made, or whatever. I just like gold in the shiny jewelry form… handed to me in a pretty box.
But reality is, if I had to go climb a dangerous, cactus covered mountain and blast holes into it hoping to find rocks that possibly have gold hidden inside only to lug those incredibly heavy rocks back down that mountain on a mule…? Then go smash those rocks hoping there is enough gold inside to have been worth risking my life for?!?!
This is not going to happen. Not ever. Certainly not for jewelry.
It truly amazes me that anyone did this. But they did. Countless men have lost their lives following maps and trails into the Superstition Mountain searching for gold. The Museum is filled with books retelling true stories about the famous and not so famous gold miners. The more I read the more I am fascinated.
These stories of mining gold become eerily real as you stand there with the amazing Superstition Mountain as the back drop while the men running the Stamp Mill explain the process then proudly fire up their rock crushing machine.
It happens once a month, it’s free and the scenery is spectacular.
October 10 @ 10 am Demo is the last Monday. November through April Demos are once a month, twice daily on Saturdays.
November 12 @ 11 & 1
December 3 @ 11 & 1
not so fast…
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