Thursday, May 10, 2018

Devil's Chasm, Dead Cow

Looking west towards Picacho Peak
Something motivates us to drive all the way back to our Link Road semi-wilderness to camp in warmth. (It is yesterday's snowy exploration of Kenish-Ba.) 

We opt for 3 days off from exploring in order to contemplate  the growing moon.  There is a small hill just south of our camp.  

On the night of the full moon, we climb to the top of the hill and settle in to watch sunset and moon rise.

Looking east

The photos aren't terrific, but can you sense the awe of moon rise over the desert? Q nicely provides shelter, but insists that we spend most of our waking hours outdoors.

Well rested and a bit more browned by sunshine, we set off following directions for four hikes that all originate within a few miles of each other in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness.  Our first night's camp puts us within range.  Across the lake we see the mountains that hold the Tonto National Monument cliff dwellings where we stood last week.
Looking across the valley towards Tonto Natl Monument
Cherry Creek ruins
The first day we misidentify our nondescript dirt road and hike about 10 miles before realizing that we won’t get to the cliff dwellings this way. We return to Quiggy and discover (with a little help from an ATV group) that our road is just a bit further north. (A day later we find a nearly bleached out sign identifying road #38.)  

As we are entering the canyon where the dwellings are a mere 500 feet away, we meet Becky and Ann from Sedona who confirm the location of the ruins. 

Along the canyon creek bed we find one big bone and a bit of hide. Who had dinner here?

The next day as we begin our hike up Devils Chasm we find a recently deceased cow. She may have wandered into this steep canyon, became too thirsty to resist trying to get to the water - and slipped. As we study her position, we’re hopeful that she hit her head hard enough not to be aware.   I take no photos of the dead cow.  "Thank you" i hear you say.  She keeps us from camping in the otherwise beautiful campground at the base of the hike.

View from forest road to cliff dwellings

Previous hikers left climbing ropes and straps - for which we are grateful. 
(See more photos on FB.)

The hike up Devils Chasm is a mere 1.5 miles but the climb is 2400 feet of elevation. There are terrific photos and description at

We meet a father-son duo as they are descending. They are far muddier and tired than are we.  "Use the ropes even if you don't trust them.  It is the only way to get up the scree and into the ruins."

The 3 mile round trip 4800 foot climb and descent leave us muddy - and with aching muscles, bruises, and scrapes; but very happy and well maybe just a little smug.

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