In October 2009, I had the pleasure of attending the Tombstone Territorial Rendevous, and joined Bill Evans on one of his hikes to Cottonwood Springs, now thought to be a contender for the location of the legendary Iron Springs, where Wyatt Earp shot and killed Curly Bill Brocius. As I like maps, I am providing some sketch maps on top of Google Earth images of the two best contenders for the site of Iron Springs. PLEASE, let me know how I've messed up!!!!
The image above shows the relative positions of Cottonwood and Mescal Springs and the Babacamori River. I have sketched in what I believe to be the wash that the Earp posse would have generally followed from the Babacomori to either spring. I've indicated the locations of the "Lone Mountains" or "lone hills" referenced in the various accounts.
This Google Earth image gives us a view from the northwest looking back to the southeast towards first the Cottonwood Springs site, then the Lone Mountain, rising 1700 feet above the trail, and finally, the Babacomori in the distance. As you can see, the campsite sets below a "plateau" and the Earp party would have had to retreat beyond a very tall rocky prominence to get to any cover.
This oblique shot from Google Earth show the Cottonwood Springs site looking northwest from the southeast. Those of us who hiked out with Bill Evans will recognized how we approached the site, and presumably, how the Earp party did as well.
This Google Earth image of Mescal Springs also indicates the location of a "lone mountain), this one only 200 feet above the trail, and about 400 feet from the spring, a rocky shoulder, and the location of 1880's bullets, caliber .38 to .45 found by archaeologists in the spring of 2008. This was mostly non-Military. A visual analysis of the spring area indicates that men on horseback could indeed approach without being seen.
Compare and contrast the two sites. What do you think?