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Friday, February 12, 2016

Warning, El Capitan Pass, Globe, Arizona

Sign along Hwy 77 at El Capitan Pass near Globe, Arizona, warns to trucks and trailers to use lower gear. The sign lower down the pass, barely visible, warns it’s an 8% grade.
After climbing up the Gila River valley from Tucson, Arizona 77 goes over the Pinal Mountains to Globe, Ariz., via historic, scenic, and steep El Capitan Pass. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic, and shades and tables are there for just that reason!

A historical marker there says that the pass was used by Kearney’s Army, guided by Kit Carson, in its 1846 expedition of the newly conquered US Southwest. But the pass had been known for much longer, used by Spaniards, Mexicans, and Native Americans.

I bet lots of pre-Columbian traders used it for business with the Salado, local pueblo people whom archeologists say traded with Mesoamerican peoples, including the Aztecs. Macaw feathers and Pacific Ocean shells have been found at Salado sites, such as Besh-Ba-Gowah, down the mountain in Globe.

That warning sign to truckers and the heavily laden going north is no joke. The sign further down the pass, tiny and yellow in the distance, warns that the grade is 8%. It’s curvy, too! All the emergency pullouts didn’t make me feel any safer. Trust me. I’m glad that my Promaster City, Kennel, has manual gear control for such occasions.

Liz would have hated going up and down these mountains, even with such a beautiful view. She hated mountain driving and always felt I took the curves too fast, even at 10 mph below the speed limit.

Below is a video I found on YouTube showing a panoramic view of El Capitan Pass. (That is not me in the video.)