Friday, March 11, 2011

Canyon Curiosity 2: Not a fort

Photo by Carol Tornow, taken in the dam area
This constructed* artifact at the top of Dead Man's Hill** has been called many things: A fort, a Hohokam dwelling, a forest ranger's house. But it's never been any of those. (Although it may serve as a mountain lion perch on occasion.) It's a water tank, originally used like a water tower, i.e., to drop water into the restrooms in the dam area and other points below. It hasn't been used for many years, though. If you hear water sloshing around up there, that is from the new water lines; they run up over/under/through the hill.
Which brings us to the malodorous part of this Canyon Curiosity. That sulfur/sewer smell that occasionally sullies the air in this area. Carol Tornow wrote it best: The sewer smell as you approach the front side of Dead Mans Hill** occurs when the sewage from the restrooms at Rattlesnake Creek is pumped up over the hill through the sewer line.  Alas, there is no getting rid of this smell, but it does only occur when the pump is turned on.  If visitors ask, tell them it is only a problem for a few hours at a time, and only in that section of the road (thankfully).

*The ERA made bridges 1-4 (more on those later) and the dam; the WPA bridges 5-9. The CCC built recreation facilities. I'm guessing that the CCC built this water tower, but please correct this if you know better. See also David Lazaroff's book: 'Sabino Canyon: The Life of a Southwestern Oasis', pp: 95-100.
**Heading into the canyon on the road, not so bad; heading out, you can see why it's called that. About 3/4 of a mile in - and before mile marker 1, in any case.

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