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Apache Tears

The Legend of Apache Leap and the Apache Tears

From the Superior, AZ
Chamber of Commerce web site:

According to legend, there is a reminder of the early presence of the battles fought between U. S. Cavalry troops and three recognized tribes:  the Coyotes, Tontos and Pinals, all a part of the Apache tribe.  This story unfolds in the heart of the Superior region.
History records indicated that in July 1870, General George Stoneman deemed it necessary to establish an outpost of the Arizona Military District at Picket Post, in an area just west of present day Superior.  The three tribes held strongholds in the mountains to the north and east and were known to have carried out extensive raids.
In the winter of 1870, a significant raid attracted Company B of the Arizona Volunteers, who soon sighted the Indian lookouts.  Though it was well known that a tribe of Apaches lived on top of Big Picacho, the trail to the top had never been located.  The searches, trailing the cattle, discovered the secret trail, climbed atop the towering cliffs and waited to attack at daybreak.
The Apaches, confident in the safety of their location, were caught off guard and completely outnumbered in the dawn attack.  Nearly 75 Apaches were killed.  Legend says those that escaped their attackers retreated to the cliff’s edge and chose death by leaping over the edge rather than being killed by the opposition.
Those who ventured up the treacherous face of Big Picacho (now called Apache Leap) claimed to have found skeletons.  Relatives of those who died gathered a short distance from the base of the cliff and mourned their loved ones.  Legend says their sadness was so great that their tears were imbedded into black obsidian stones.  When held to the light, they are said to reveal the translucent tear of the Apache.  Found in great abundance near Superior, just a short distance from historic Apache Leap, the Apache Tears are said to bring good luck to anyone who has them in their possession. 

Apache Tears

From Arizona Highways: (Click on text to access page)

Staring into a dying campfire on a crisp desert night,
I let my mind roam over things I’ve heard and read about this country.
Phantom visions come to me in the shape of warriors
so fiercely independent that they chose death before capture.
Or were they just panicked?

The story of Apache Leap isn't often told.
Going back to the days when many white men
looked upon Apaches as less than human, isn't a pretty story

But the name “Apache Leap” and its southeastern Arizona landmark
have long lingered in my head, wanting to be explained.

Since childhood, I have heard a vague story of 75 Apache warriors,
trapped at the top of the cliff by pursuing soldiers.
Rather than surrendering, they leapt to their deaths.....


How to find Tears

Personally, I go out and walk around my yard to find this . I try to garden,
and I till with an old miner's pickax I found in the shed when we moved here.

We have found Apache Tears, bornite, pyrite and quartz.
We have had several Rose Quartz about the size of your head.

I have been told that the State requires a permit for rockhounding on public lands.
I am doing more research on this and will post information as I can find it.

Up at the top of Main Street, if you take the access road just to the right of the driveway to the court house,
you will come to the Old Magma Club.
There is a stone stairway down to Queen Creek, which is a great place to explore and rock hound.
This is a place to look for Apache Tears without making a huge trip.
Anywhere on the Eastern outskirts of town.

For more guaranteed hunting, Astertiki has more specific directions out
to areas adjacent to the old perlite mine:

Distance: NA - About 1/2 mile from the top of the ridge
Difficulty: Easy
Hike Time: NA - Plan to spend about 1 to 2 hours looking for the gems
Elevation: 2690 ft at the top of the ridge, 2580 ft at the site of the gems
Season: Year round
USGS Maps: Picketpost Mountain
Directions from Phoenix Drive East from Phoenix on US 60 and continue East approximately 11.9 miles past the Florence Junction toward Superior. 1.13 mile past the Thompson Arboretum turn South on a dirt Road. Continue South on the dirt road for about 0.9 miles. Park near the blocked road to a private mine.

Click for more from Astertiki.

More resources for Apache Tears information:

World's Smallest Museum, a fantastic Superior spot next to the Buckboard Restaurant

Legend of the Apache Tear

Apache Tear Healing Qualities

More about Healing with Apache Tears

Astrology and Apache Tears

Buy Apache Tears

Native American Legends

Watch for more info on Perlite, the substance Apache Tears are embedded in.


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Page last updated September 8, 2010
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