Sunday, May 1, 2016

Journey Art, Chloride, and Scenic Mountain Roads

While driving through the scenic mountains of Arizona, one often wonders how many small towns had early mining camps, and how far back their history dates. Take Chloride, for instance.

According to Wikipedia, the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in Arizona, Chloride is a one-time silver mining camp in Mohave County. In the 1840’s silver, gold, lead, zinc, and turquoise were found by prospectors in the area. Chloride was founded in 1863. Mining was not widespread until after a treaty with the Hualapai Indians was signed in 1870. Eventually the town grew to a peak of around 5,000 inhabitants. At one time it was the county seat. The population fell to 2,000 by 1917 and was nearly a ghost town by 1944. American author Louis L'Amour is said to have visited between 1927 and 1929.

Where is Chloride, Arizona?

Chloride is northwest of Kingman. It is located on the southwest part of the Cerbat Mountains and has an RV park. Since we did not have any information as to whether they have cell phone signal or internet service, we talked about checking out the area before making any reservations. Our friends had been to Chloride and it was our good fortune when they invited us on a day drive that included Chloride.

Up to the point just before we crossed the cattle gate entering the town of Chloride, we had cell phone service.

It stopped at the gate, and the RV park was up ahead on the left. We soon learned that the old, old rusty iron paraphernalia, marking the fence area to the right of the gate was very similar to iron art that we would see as unique yard ornaments as we drove through the town. The mountain was marked with a big “C” for Chloride.

As we drove about the town, we saw quite a variety of iron art decorations. One house had an iron stick man guard with a spear (left of fore-front). Another house had a bird ornament made of the metal. More pictures can be viewed in the video after you read to the bottom of this post.

Roy Purcell’s Journey Images from an Inward Search for Self

Roy Purcell had been working toward his Masters in Creative Writing and Fine Arts and also worked as a miner. It is said that he gained national attention in 1966 as an artist when he painted “The Journey”. It was a journey of self-discovery from an inward search for self, from which he could never turn back.  The Journey is 2000 square feet of murals on  the granite cliff faces in the Cerbat Mountains near Chloride.  It is said he has returned several times to refresh the murals.

The Journey Images can be reached either by walking over a mile or taking a four-wheel drive vehicle up to the mountain over an unimproved road with many washouts. We really appreciated our friends’ inviting us on this outing. It would have been impossible to negotiate this road in our Chevy van without walking part of the distance.

This mural had detail upon detail blended into this work of art. Every time I thought I had seen everything, other images popped out at me, i.e.:  the serpent, the footprints, the bears painted upside down, and so much additional detail within the scope of each of the images.

There were a lot of rocks, rocks upon which the murals were painted, and rocks atop more rocks. Across the road from the murals were more rocks, and overlooking those we could view the town of Chloride below.

As we retraced our road back into Chloride, we took photos of flowers. The Mineshaft Market and Chloride General Store was our next stop.

Across the street from the store and to the right as I walked down the steps, I spied several beautiful Joshua trees.

To the left of the row of Joshua Trees, there was a house whose yard was enclosed by a type of fence. Floral designs were painted on the street side of the fence/wall.

The scenic mountain road we traveled next was full of many twists and turns with breathtaking views.

This narrow, scenic mountain road was the only way to reach PackSaddle Recreation Site where tent camping was available. We actually met a vehicle coming down the mountain on our way up. The road had many twists and turns and outstanding views on the way.

One and one-half miles further was Windy Point Recreation Site, and three miles further was Cherum Peak Trailhead. The following photo shows the mountain road leading up to the top.

I took pictures of this road leading up to the Trailhead, but we turned around at PackSaddle. From this point, it was also possible to see the town of Chloride, the light spot in the next photo.

There were also photo opportunities of flowers as we descended down the same scenic road we had taken to the top.

To complete our day trip we drove through the town of Dolan Springs and east through a Joshua tree forest, ending up on Stockton Hill Road. We followed that road all the way back into Kingman. By the  time we got back into Kingman, we had a good appetite and decided to get an unadvertised five dollar box meal from Popeye’s Chicken with two tasty pieces of chicken, choice of two sides, and a soft drink that satisfied our hunger.

This was a most enjoyable day with photos of incredible road views and mountain scenes, and colorful flowers along the trail. If you would like to see more photos that I took on today's outing, please watch the video below. Words cannot do justice to the views we enjoyed today.

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