CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

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Jim Hatt

CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Jim Hatt » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:55 pm

Back in Feb of 2005, Clay Worst and I were sitting in his office discussing a letter that Al Reser had given me a copy of a few days before. The letter was written in 1957 By George Snell to Chuck Aylor, and described a hiking trip he had gone on many years before with Barry Storm (Author of Thunder God’s Gold) Bill Jenkins (original finder of the gold) and another man named Francis Spichal, in search of the gold described in Storm’s book as Jenkins’ Lost Lode.

Clay and I decided to try to retrace the footsteps of those 4 adventurers and see if we couldn’t find a piece of that rich float laying around somewhere along the way. The full story of that trip can be found at: http://www.desertusa.com/mag07/april07/lostgold.html, and a followup story (JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story) to that one in this Sub-Sub Forum at: http://www.desertusa.com/mb3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=397

This trip resulted in me seeing so many interesting things that I returned to the area alone many times in the years that followed to investigate them all.

One of the things I had seen and photographed was a fairly large cave which was filled with water several feet deep. I never thought much more about that cave until 6-23-09 when Salvador Delagadillo and I were going through some photos on my computer and I came across the one shown below.

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Salvador couldn’t believe there was anything like that in LaBarge canyon and he had never seen it before. He insisted on seeing it. So on the morning of 6-24-09 we parked at the Marina at Canyon Lake and started hiking to it. We made several wrong turns and got into some God-Awful country due to my imperfect memory about the exact location of the cave.

We finally arrived there around 11:00AM. There was less water in the cave than when I had seen it before and it was a little bit of a letdown for both of us. But unknown to us at that time, the best was yet to come. We settled ourselves into shady spots at the entrance to the cave and dug into our backpacks for cold drinks and ham sandwiches we had brought along for lunch. As we sat there eating the sandwiches, Sal noticed the sun was just starting to come through an opening at the top of the cave. It came down at an angle and struck the surface of the water in a back corner of the cave. He sat there watching that sunspot on the water, fascinated by the reflection it was just beginning to project up on the wall of the cave.

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The longer we sat there the larger the sunspot got and the larger the reflection on the wall of the cave got. By the time we finished our lunch the reflection on the wall was almost three feet across, and so focused that we could ripples in the water in the reflected image on the wall.

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By now it was after 12 Noon and although it felt nice in the cave the temperature was rising fast out in the open. I suggested to Sal that we pack up and head for the truck before it got any hotter. “No! No!” Was his response. “This EEES too boootiful to leave!” I could see that I would not be able to drag him away from that reflection on the wall until the show was over, so I made myself comfortable in the sand and stretched out for a nap using my backpack for a pillow.

Gypsy (My 120 pound rottweiler) laid down beside me and put her fat heavy head on my lap for a pillow. Every now and then I would open one eye just a crack and see Sal sitting there silently, staring at the dancing image on the wall. After about 15 minutes without dropping off into my nap, I decided I needed a cigarette. I sat up and asked Sal if he had seen enough yet? “No! No!” was his response again. “EEEEET is not OWER yet, there EEEES STEEL mucho more to go” I sat there puffing on my cigarette as I stared at the wall, and told him that it reminded me of something. “OH YES!” he said. “EEEET looks like doorway to another deemishon, like we could walk right through EEEET and come out someplace else”. He was right!! That was exactly what I was trying to think of as a description of what I was looking at, now almost Six feet across and Four feet high..

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I was never able to get him to leave that cave until the sun had moved so high in the sky that the sunspot was hitting the sandy floor part of the cave, and his doorway to another dimension on the wall had completely closed up and disappeared. The look on his face was one you would expect to see if he had actually been in another dimension and just returned.


The link below, will take you to a streaming video of the cave and reflected image on the wall.

http://i212.photobucket.com/player.swf? ... ave/sc.flv

Jim Hatt

Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Jim Hatt » Sat May 22, 2010 3:34 pm

Note that this phenomenon only occurs during the week of the summer solstice.

On June 24th, 2010, Sal and I will be leading a group of people interested in observing it themselves, to the cave for the event.

Anyone who is in good physical health, able to hike on mountain trails, and wants to go along is welcome if interested.

For further details, and to get your name on the list, contact me at:
"arizona_wrangler@yahoo.com" (without he quotes).

Temperatures are likely to hit the triple digits by midday on that date. So please do not try it, unless you are in shape for it, and know you can hike at least 3 miles (round trip) in that kind of weather.

Jim

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Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by cubfan64 » Sun May 23, 2010 1:25 am

I recall reading that story and seeing those photos before - pretty cool thing to observe :)

I wish I lived close enough to join you guys - see if you can get video again - I'd love to see it again.

Jim Hatt

Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Jim Hatt » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:17 pm

Paul,

The trip yesterday was a good one, in spite of the fact that the temperature peaked at 113 degrees, and we arrived about 60 minutes too late to see the projection in the right spot. By the time we arrived it had already climbed the wall to high to get good photos of. If we do it again next year, we will have to plan to start out about 2 hrs earlier, to insure we hit the prime time for viewing.

By unanimous decision it has now been officially named the Summer Solstice Cave since that is the only week of the year that the projection can be seen.

We had 6 in our group, (7 counting my Belgian Shepherd "Sandy") even tho it was projected to be the hottest day of the year so far. We hit the trail at 8:00 AM, and got back to our vehicles around 4:00 PM. We spent about 6 hours on the trail, and two hours sitting in the cool water in the cave. We really hated to leave, because we knew it was going to be HOT outside of it.

We had representatives of the SMHS - (Barbara Atkinson) Museum Manager, and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Bruce Klewer) and his daughter "Ashley" with us.

Ashley (left) & Barb (right)
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Bruce Klewer
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Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by peterjweber » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:12 am

Jim-

That is so cool. ((remind me not to drink the whodder)).
Sorry I missed the June hike to it. Eclipse the night before.
I owe you a can of beans and two TF root beers...
((Another water-spot...))


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Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by cubfan64 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:21 am

Jim - thanks, that really does look pretty neat!

Jim Hatt

Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Jim Hatt » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:15 pm

Howdy Peter, and welcome to the DUSA forums!

Don't loose any sleep about that can of beans amigo. I was glad to get the weight out of my backpack that day anyway. I just wish I had given them to you at the bottom of Peter's Pass, instead of waiting until we had climbed to the top of it! :?

Ever since that day I have been carrying extra spoons in my pack, thinking of you standing there with an open can of beans in your hand, and nothing to get them out with but your finger spoon. If I remember correctly tho... You emptied that can as fast as anyone could have with a real spoon. ;)

Good to see you here Peter! Hope you enjoy the forums.

Best,

Jim


P.S. You can pay me back for the 2 root beers at Tortilla Flat someday tho. ;)

Jim Hatt

Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Jim Hatt » Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:11 pm

Some of Barb's photos. (Thanks for sharing them Barb)

Looking back at Canyon Lake
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First rest stop
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Second rest stop
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Weaver's Needle from the trail
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Sal in cave
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Bruce in cave
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Sandy in cave
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Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Guz » Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:46 pm

How was the water? Warm? Is it a tinaja or fed from a spring? Great to see another perspective Jim, Give Barb a shout out from Me for the nice pics!


Guz

Jim Hatt

Re: CAVE IN LABARGE CANYON

Post by Jim Hatt » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:13 am

It is a tinaja Guz,

It fills up during the monsoons. There is a drainage above it that channels water right into the top of the cave. The water was chilly, since the sun only hits it for about an hour a day.

Best,

Jim

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