Mar 25, 2015

Devil's Chasm, AZ

Speaking of going back to places I've visited before, Cherry Creek was one more of those. I actually mapped Cherry Creek road back in a past life for the GVT. I've ridden dirt bikes up it and driven it several times. One thing I had never done was hike up to the Native American dwellings scattered along the upper reaches of the cliffs along it.
It was time to check that one off the list. Kelsey and I drove from Phoenix, through Globe, past Roosevelt Lake and onto Cherry Creek Rd. We decided to camp near the trailhead. Not a bad spot to be despite the downpour of rain!

No, this pic isn't edited. It was that green and vibrant.

 photo DSC00809.jpg  photo DSC00795.jpg The old Corral was a good campsite.  photo DSC00813.jpg  photo DSC00800.jpg Time to get out of bed and make some breakfast!  photo DSC00806.jpg Bacon, Coffee, Eggs, and Green Hatch Chiles. These are the perfect fuels for hiking. :-)  photo DSC00815.jpg Okay, as much as I'd like to just eat food and sit on my fat ass, it's time to get hiking. UP THERE. We'd end up hiking about 3,000 Feet of Elevation gain in just 2.2 miles. That's fairly epic by my standards. It was awesome.  photo DSC00817.jpg photo DSC00818.jpg Of course this area looks much different than the Arizona most think of, but it's even shocking to me when I remember I'm only a couple hours from my office.  photo DSC00823.jpg As we ascended the views and geography changed constantly. It was like 4 hikes in one.  photo DSC00824.jpg  photo DSC00830.jpg Between the rock spires and the inverted cliffs above it seemed like the normal laws of nature didn't entirely apply here.  photo DSC00835.jpg The "plug" as it's called for obvious reasons. It's hard to get the scale from photos, but this rock was somewhere around 30 to 40 feet tall. The only way up was underneath the small rock on the far right side. There was an opening just big enough for a person wearing a small backpack. Hikers with actual backpacking packs had to tie ropes to their bags and pull them up once they climbed through.  photo DSC00837.jpg The prettier half of the team climbing up.  photo DSC00842.jpg  photo DSC00845.jpg Looking at the walls is just staggering.  photo DSC00846.jpg This creek appears to run year round from what I've seen, but after the recent rain everything was slick. These ropes were sketchy at best, but without them these wet rock climbs would have been pretty stupid.  photo DSC00850.jpg After a lot more pretty views and almost loosing the faint trail several times, you are close. Lots of slipping and sliding in the mud later. photo DSC00858.jpg So close that you may not even notice it if you didn't know what to look for.  photo DSC00857.jpg After what feels like MUCH more than a paltry 2.2 miles you made it. The front door, as it were.  photo DSC00862.jpg  photo DSC00864.jpg You can see the remnants of the different levels above.  photo DSC00867.jpg The holes on the right were where logs where actually built around. The timber would support the second story flooring. Most of this had long since burnt.  photo DSC00868.jpg Some remnants of the wood was still there. This is how they dated the structures. The tree rings indicated when and what time of year the wood was cut to be used for construction. This area is all from 1280 to the mid 1300's.  photo DSC00869.jpg  photo DSC00871.jpg Besides Native Americans at the time being shorter in stature I assume the reason for the small door ways was strength. The larger the opening the more likely it was to eventually collapse.  photo DSC00872.jpg Most any and all artifacts, of which there were once many, have been removed by earlier Archaeologists for preservation in the 1930's. This grinding stone was still there. It was so smooth you could picture the many long hours of use it got.  photo DSC00879.jpg  photo DSC00878.jpg The door on the far side of the dwelling led out to a small shelf. I wonder if that's where they threw any trash or waste? Who knows, but it was also one hell of a master bedroom view.  photo DSC00883.jpg Here's said view.  photo DSC00887.jpg Looking back to the dwelling.  photo DSC00886.jpg Wood reinforcement over the doorways and other openings.  photo DSC00891.jpg Looking down on the dwellings from an overhanging cliff.  photo DSC00894.jpg This one room had some of the roof bracing intact.  photo DSC00896.jpg  photo DSC00875.jpg  photo DSC00876.jpg The outer wall follows the natural cliff face almost to the millimeter. No room for any mistakes here.  photo DSC00900.jpg After a beer (yes, it's worth it to carry a heavy beer all the way up there) and a sandwich we headed down. When you're not looking for Indian Ruins or gasping for breath it's easier to take in the sites.  photo DSC00904.jpg  photo DSC00907.jpg  photo DSC00912.jpg  photo DSC00854.jpg  photo DSC00909.jpg  photo DSC00910.jpg Was that the end. No way. Time to explore some side trails in the Cruiser, whatever condition they may be in.  photo DSC00796.jpg We did eventually run into Bob the Bull. He was oddly aggressive for any cow I've seen in the last couple years. I thought he might charge Goose for minute there.  photo DSC00921.jpg Driving along, picking bad lines to make the photos look "cooler."  photo DSC00955.jpg After some exploring we got down to another camp spot along Cherry Creek for the second night. Okay, I'll hang out here.  photo DSC00922.jpg So we did.  photo DSC00929.jpg  photo DSC00928.jpg  photo DSC00926.jpg Quite an old tire. Hmmm, I'm trying to picture what besides mining equipment would run this tire. Sort of like a foreign market Michelin XZL in some ways. Massive.  photo DSC00933.jpg  photo DSC00932.jpg I sometimes get questions about my homemade gas can trash can so here you go. 1. Find a worthless rusted out jerry can. 2. Cut off top. 3. Put hinge and compression lock on it. 4. Profit in trash. The Basura Box:  photo DSC00936.jpg  photo DSC00953.jpg Any night camping is a good one. This one was no different. On the way home we decided to take the long way. I always do that on the way home if I can. We stopped at an overlook of Roosevelt Lake  photo DSC00972.jpg  photo DSC00971.jpg Then we took the Apache Trail along Apache Lake, Canyon Lake and back to Phoenix. It did not suck.  photo DSC00978.jpg  photo DSC00979.jpg  photo DSC00981.jpg Well, you've done it again. You've wasted another hour of perfectly good and useful time looking at my trip pictures. ;-)  photo DSC00980.jpg