23-Apr-2006 -- This lonely confluence is located about 80 air-miles southeast of Phoenix in a vast swath of open desert ringed by the mining towns of Kearny, Kelvin, Ray and the Pinal County seat, Florence. My wife and I were exploring the Pinal Mountains south of Globe over the weekend, and decided to visit this confluence on our way home. For a confluence so close to Phoenix, this one has just one other recorded visit - back in 1999. Are we the only people in Phoenix aware of this silly hobby? Apparently so.
We started our day in Globe, and left town heading south on AZ-77, a pretty scenic route that rises through the dramatic foothills east of the Pinal Mountains, and down into the town of Winkelman and the junction with highway AZ-177. This is Arizona's mining center, and the towns strung out along this highway serve the mines only. Some are among the largest open-pit mines in the world - the old town of Ray had to be moved as the mine encroached on its lands years ago. We headed north a little bit into Kelvin, where we caught the Florence-Kelvin Highway, which is an unpaved (but well maintained) route connecting the two towns. We traveled west on this road for about 10 miles or so before coming upon the turn-offs for the side roads leading near the confluence. We were reliant on the GPS to peg our location - landmarks were few, and although the map showed a power line and road, in the field there were a few such power line roads! Finally we found the one we wanted at roughly 33.023N/111.045W, and headed in.
This road was in okay shape, but in places erosion had created sharp dips that we took care to cross. After about 1.2 miles (2 km) we turned right onto another road and quickly came to a pair of gates. The left one was signed against trepsassing (AZ State Trust Lands) but the right one was not signed in any way and not locked, so we passed through (closing the gate) and bumped a little more to one more gate, also unsigned. After passing that gate, the road condition worsened and we parked at a point almost due north of the confluence slightly over a km away (0.66 mile, said my GPS). To here we had driven a total of 2.8 miles in about 20 minutes. The road definitely requires high clearance and 4-wheel drive, but is reasonably passable.
We walked the continuation of the road until we were astride of a small rise holding the confluence. We entered into the desert scrub - plenty of small yucca and prickly-pear cactus to step around - and zig-zagged toward the confluence, up and down some rises and in and out of a drainage, finding it nearly atop a small hilltop of exposed rock. I took the usual set of photographs and found no evidence of previous visitors. The one-way walk took about 30 minutes. We scared up a number of rabbits and birds (quail) but didn't spy any snakes.
On our way back we went cross-country through the thick yucca, having a little fun navigating using the hills as landmarks. Back at the truck we carefully drove back out the way we came and back onto the F-K Highway. From there it was an easy drive back home.
In regards to what the 1999 visitors described, we saw no signs of the 'Tecolote' Ranch nor of any signs restricting access. My lands-map shows this region to be mostly BLM with some AZ Trust Land inholdings. Hunting is permitted, and it would appear the public is not barred in any way. It's remoteness and general lack of 'flair' probably keeps the region unvisited for the most part. Even so, the views from the confluence were pretty decent, with far-off peaks gracing the horizons.
Photos 1-4 are the required cardinal shots. South, looking at (I think) Black Mountain. Photo 2 is looking East, and Photo 3 is looking North - Beth stands on the horizon doing her best cactus imitation. For the West shot I moved off the point a bit for some better vantages. Photo 5 is our GPS shot. Photo 6 shows the general area of the confluence, and photo 7 is looking back northeast toward Pinal Peak, the big peak off in the distance. An enjoyable confluence!