2008 Trip Report - Valentine and Truxton (MOE)
Valentine & Truxton
October 26, 2008
By: Dan W. Messersmith
The group started showing up at 7:00am at the Kingman McDonalds on Rt. 66. First in the door were Jim and Jeanne Jacobs. Next in were Haul and Mary Reddick, then myself. After that, I did not note, but also joining us today were Dick and Connie Taylor, Sue Baughman riding with Buck and Karol Buckner and the braveHomer Meek who left his wife in Laughlin while he joined our trip. We had some newcomers on the run todayalso: Keith Jacobs and Allen Jacobs (son and grandson of Jim and Jeanne), Shelley Lossing with Martha Prumers and Stephanie Johnson with Jim Luke. Our K-9 contingent were my Buddy, the Taylor’s Sassy and Stephanie’s Hooch. We were on our way a little after 8:00am and heading out of town via historic Route 66. Along the route a gave a small orientation on the geography that surrounds the Hualapai Valley and some of the history. Just past Valentine we left the highway to begin to work our way over to and up the Cottonwood Cliffs. We ran into a private property, no trespassing sign, which made us have to regroup. Both the Jacobs and Taylors had been up the trail we wanted to reach via a different approach further up the highway so we headed for it. We found the turn and after a short comfort break we were on our way up the cliffs.
Sue informed us this was the first weekend of deer hunting so we needed to watch for hunters. This is a beautiful but fairly steep ascent with 4x4 being used by most if not everyone from the start. We worked our way along until we reached the top. While stopped at a Y in the road to check the maps, two guys in an ATV came along. We visited with them and were informed that the mines we wanted to visit are no longer accessible because of locked gates on one of the big ranches in the area. Regrouping, we decided to take a different route and noodle around in the opposite direction. As it had been some time since I had been in the area and the Jacobs had been there more recently, I asked Jim and Jeanne to take the lead from there on. Jim did so and about 30 seconds into his leading, declared we were lost. Several of us checked our fuel gauges, food and water supplies and declared we couldn’t be lost as we had full gas tanks and were too welled supplied at the moment. Jim agreed and continued on. Along the way Jim kept making all of these remarks about being lost. Finally, we believed him, but we knew Jeanne was in the Jeep with him and we trusted her to keep him on the correct trail with her superior navigating skills. We were correct to believe in our instincts about Jeanne.
We looped around with Jim looking for and finding the trails less traveled. All-in-all a job well done as we
used our 4x4 vehicles and skills for most of the morning run. As lunch approached, Jim promised we would be sitting pretty in the shade of large cottonwoods enjoying our lunches in 30 minutes. Forty-five minutes later he promised it would be only five more minutes. Fifteen minutes later he promised it would only be two more minutes. He got the last one correct as we approached an old ranch site with large cottonwoods and what I believe was an old and giant walnut tree. It was a great lunch stop and the ranch site was very interesting and most of the group explored and photographed it. I do not know the ranchers who once lived there, but the site is worth another visit to review in detail and certainly worth some research as to which ranching family had lived there. We took the time at lunch to GPS the site and locate it on our topo map. After lunch we gathered around under the cottonwood to induct Jim into the highly coveted position as a MOE Trail Boss. With all pomp and circumstance we could muster we made (actually Jeanne made) Jim sit in a red camp chair (red being MOE’s primary color). Then I made a few remarks as to why we were gathered. Some other comments were made by other Trail Bosses (Haul and Dick) and with a formal presentation of a red MOE ball cap embroidered with Trail Boss on the back, Jim was duly inducted. We then got back on the trail and headed toward Truxton Canyon to view an area of where the railroad cut through a beautiful tree-lined part of the canyon. The Jacobs and Taylors had been there before at this time of year and had encountered some beautiful fall foliage. We worked our way to the site and parked at an overlook just as two trains passed each other in the canyon. The foliage was beginning to change color, but had not reached its peak. We went to a lower overlook and were there just long enough to be greeted by one more passing train. Earlier, as we had entered the canyon, I had related to the group that Lt. E. F. Beale and his camel corps had traversed this very canyon five times as Beale worked to survey and build his all-weather wagon road through northern Arizona in 1857 to 1860.
The Buckner’s and Sue took their leave at that point and headed for home. The rest of us decided to head for the historic Hackberry Store for a late afternoon ice cream break. We ended our journey at the store and said our farewells and broke for our respective homes. It had been a great day run with nice 4x4 trails, beautiful landscapes, spectacular Kodak moments, and great fellowship. Jim
had done a great job as Trail Boss with his expertise of the route and good humor along the way.