National Geographic : 1929 Jan
ARIZONA COMES OF AGE Photograph by Clifton Adams "THE WORLD'S COLDEST TRAIL," HUNTERS MIGHT WELL CALL THIS! Thirty million years ago, geologists estimate, this hard rock was soft mud, and a dinosaur walked across it. In it he left his giant three-toed tracks. You can see them now, each toe's sharp point plainly marked in solid stone. In and near the Hopi town of Moenkopi, in northern Arizona, these tracks occur. Their size can be estimated by the man's hand, placed beside the dinosaur's footprint for comparison. hunters even from Australia and South Africa. The Silver King, in its heyday, was like a mine of King Solomon. From it were dug veritable chunks of pure silver. Its superintendent, tradition says, would ride about with a string of silver wire many feet long twisted around his sombrero. Stealing was common. Men on the big ore wagons would throw off rich pieces to be picked up by confederates. It was said the dust in the 5-mile road from mine to mill would have run many dollars a ton in silver. When stone buildings at the old Vulture Camp were torn down, somebody who knew the camp history decided to run this old building stone through a stamp mill. It yielded $20 a ton in gold! A "GOLD RUSH" IN MOTOR CARS Mules, dragging their trace chains, up turned something bright and shiny one day, near Tombstone. It was pure silver. That claim, quickly filed, made mule drivers rich. As late as 1927 Arizona saw a "gold rush," when old prospectors hit a ledge be tween Tucson and Phoenix. But this time men went in motor cars, with thermos bot tles, oil stoves, and folding cots, with traf fic "cops" blowing tin whistles along the highway to control the crowds-a far cry from the days of old, when only rifle shots could stop a stage. The old desert rat of yesterday, the pro fessional prospector, or "optimist of the hills," whose "miner's compass" was the swinging tail of the pack mule he fol lowed, is getting scarce now. Storekeepers, gamblers, and saloon men used to grub stake him, and not a region in Arizona but has been gophered and pecked at by this lonely man of the burro, coffeepot, pick, and blanket. Now and then one of these lone pros pectors, as in the case of Schieffelin and his famous Tombstone strike, hit it rich. In these old-timers, faith and hope never die. In a land of gamblers, the greatest of all is the prospector. But luck is less and less a factor.