As I stood in the middle of the road taking photographs, I heard a rattle coming closer, and a brown UPS truck rumbled past us going in the direction of Crown King. I found out later that the Crown King general store and post office gets mail delivery six days a week. Impressive, when one considers that Exit 248 on Interstate 17 is about 27 miles away and that the round trip in good weather takes at least two hours.
In a pamphlet entitled "Crown King: A Brief History," we learned that gold had been discovered here in the 1860s, but Apaches fought with invading miners. In 1875, the Apaches were taken to San Carlos, and, on July 1, 1875, the largest mine, the Crowned King Gold Mine, was discovered.
Crown King is a forested, mountain community. We photographed the rustic general store, the Crown King Saloon, and the Mill Restaurant before resuming our journey. It was late afternoon, and I wanted to get to the Horsethief Basin Recreation Area before dark. One mile above Crown King, Forest Road 62 leads six miles to Horsethief Basin.
Forest Road 62 is narrow, steep, and rough. As we climbed higher, I could see patches of snow on the banks and under the large pine trees. As the sun got lower, the air was becoming cooler with each mile, and it was comforting to know that we had a truck with four-wheel drive.
We took photographs at Horsethief Lake before sunset. The placid water was covered with the reflections of the surrounding trees, clouds, and mountain peaks, but our time for true appreciation grew scarce. We had to leave--if we were going to get down from the mountain before dark.
As we started back toward Crown King and Black Canyon City, we were rewarded with a truly spectacular sunset, from a high vantage point, overlooking the Bradshaw Mountains. We had come looking for stories and photographs and we found them.