|View of the Superstitions from the west side|
The Superstition Mountains in southern Arizona offer beautiful views and are a popular hiking and rock climbing destination. Not far from Phoenix, the mountains can be seen for many miles.
The mountains got their name because early settlers heard of the many stories and myths told about them by the Apache and Pima Indians in the area. Later, the legend of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine captured the imaginations of many. To read more about the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, see Nancy Farrier’s earlier post on this blog: http://www.hhhistory.com/2013/04/www.nancyjfarrier.com.html .
|On the east side of the Superstions, near the trailhead of the Peralto Canyon trail.|
The mountains were once known in Spanish as Sierra de la Espuma, mountain range of foam. The most prominent of the range is Superstition Mountain. Other prominent features include Peralta Canyon, Miner’s Needle, Weaver’s Needle, and Flat Iron Peak. Humans have lived in this area for many thousands of years.
Some Apache believe that a hole leading down into the lower world is located in the Superstition Mountains. Winds blowing from the hole are supposed to be the cause of severe dust storms in the Phoenix metropolitan region.
The Pima Indians have a detailed legend about a widespread flood that has similarities to the biblical account of Noah. In this tale, man was created by Cherwit Make, the Great Butterfly, who later became angry because of man’s bad behavior.
Legend of SuhaSuha, a Pima shaman, was warned by the creator, through the voice of the wind, that if people did not change, they would be destroyed by floods. When the people didn’t listen to Suha’s warnings, he and his wife were told to gather spruce gum and make a large, hollow ball. After stocking this structure with water and food, they crawled inside and sealed it.
The flood came, destroying the other people. Suha and his wife eventually landed in their gum ball on Superstition Mountain. Their food was nearly gone, and they were glad to find a prickly pear, or tuna cactus right outside when they opened a hole in the ball. They ate its fruit and waited. When the water subsided, they went down into the valley and created a new civilization.
|This view was much like what stagecoach passengers saw in the 1880s.|
There is much more to this myth, and you can read about it here.
Another Pima tale tells of Hauk, the “Devil of Superstition Mountain,” who stole one of Suha’s daughters. Suha followed and rescued his daughter, but some people believe the evil spirit still lurks behind Supersition Mountain and will not go there.
Giveaway: I decided to use the Superstitions as part of the setting for an upcoming book. If you would like to win a copy of my earlier book set in northern Arizona’s Four Corners area, leave a comment below and include your contact information. Almost Arizona is a historical romance. In it, you will find a sister’s love and her determination to clear her brother’s name when he is accused of murder.
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than sixty published novels. She’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. Her newest books include The Twelve Brides of Christmas and The Outlaw Takes a Bride. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and also a winner of the Carol Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Awards and the More Than Magic Contest. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com .