David K. Joyce

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

In mid-March of 2019, I went on a collecting trip with friends Joe and Jinette D'Oliveira from Sudbury, Ontario. They spend a significant amount of time in the Tucson area during winter. They wanted to check out a spot north east of Safford where they heard you can collect agate and, in particular, fire agate. I'm a mineral guy and don't know much about agates but it sounded like a nice day, with nice scenery and nice people! As sometimes is the case, the original reason for going became secondary and the very dramatic, beautiful and unusual scenery that we encountered, ended up being the highlights of the day. In summary, we did successfully visit and collect at the Safford agate locality (fluorescent agates and opal! Not sure about fire agate, yet), saw amazing flowers, visited the Morenci open pit mine and the unusual weathered granite rocks of the Dragoon mountains. Here are photo's of the trip and descriptive captions.

 

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

For the first 20 or thirty miles or so, we enjoyed the views of the Sonoran Desert. As we got about half way up Highway 101 from I-10 to Safford, we started seeing vast acreages of mostly yellow flowers -Mexican Poppies, I think they are called.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

We were a little mesmerized and headed out to immerse ourselves in the flowery landscape. Joe D'Oliveira shot this picture of Riley and me with the Greasewood mountains in the background.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

Riley usually is only interested in food, sleeping, playing and chasing things but even he was impressed! The leaves are not out on the Mesquite trees yet, at that time.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

As he often does, Riley looked at me and seemed to ask "Take my picture?", as he often seems to ask and I do! He is a photogenic little guy! I always feel safe with this impressive example of canine watching over me in the desert.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

We are used to seeing chollas in the Sonoran desert but not surrounded by flowers!

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

Similarly, there are countless prickly pear cacti in the Sonoran desert but we don't usually see them like this!

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

We reached the collecting area which is actually marked by signs. We found little of interest in the designated collecting area except beautiful scenery mostly comprised of the snowy-peaked Greasewood Mountains in the distance with some dormant ocotillos in the foreground.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

Here is a clearer view of the Mountains with Jinette D'Olivera in the foreground. Beautiful! (The mountains, too)

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

We drove further into the area and located a wash and prospected along the wash. Wasn't much in the wash but eventually, we noticed chalcedony in the hill on the north side of the wash. This is part of the hill, with abundant nice prickly pear cacti.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

Here is Joe prospecting in the wash. Note the volcanic rocks in the back ground. The area seems to be mostly layered flows of basalt of varying thicknesses.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

We usually see these wild gourd plants climbing up trees with the gourds hanging down like Christmas ornaments Here they nestled into the basalt.

Recent Activities -Safford, Arizona Trip

After unsuccessfully prospecting up wash, we headed down wash with better luck. It WAS a beautiful day!