We were pleasantly surprised by the great condition of the dirt Cherry Creek road on the way in to the trail head, as smooth as pavement for 75% of the drive. While it deteriorated near the end but with some careful wheel placement in a few very rough spots even my CR-V came through unscathed. Ok, so I added a few new Arizona pinstripes, but that's practically a given on many of my trips.
With plenty of shade at the trail head we thought it may be that way for much of the hike. 'Fraid not, as much of the trail would be in the sun. But being a beautiful day with plenty of great scenery it did nothing to dampen our spirits.
The goal in mind was the Pueblo Canyon ruins but somewhere along the way we ended up on the path to the Cold Spring Canyon ruins, although we didn't know it at the time. We continued blissfully along our way until we came across an Arizona Black Rattlesnake in our path. Not one to let an opportunity like this to pass, I extended my collapsible snake hook to move the noisy guy off the trail. Not easy to video the action with one hand while holding the snake up with the other so I passed my camera to one of my 2 hiking buddies for the day. Even though he was not nearly as close to the action as I was he wasn't exactly comfortable enough to keep the camera still nor track the snake as it moved, so you'll have to excuse the video. (My female hiking buddy made sure to stay so far back I'm not sure if she saw any of the action)
Once I cleared the rattler from the trail we continued on until the trail simply died out into impassable brush. On our back track we took a side trip up a steep canyon pretty well covered in brush and trees. In one opening we could see an opening far up a cliff wall that obviously was part of the Salado Indian ruins. Now that we knew where it was, we retraced our steps while scanning the cliffs above us to find the best way to get up to the dwelling. About a 1/2 mile back with some careful observation we located a good spot to climb up.
It took some effort to climb up the slippery wood poles into the dwelling, but it was well worth it. It was amazing how well the structure had weathered the amount of time since it was built, especially with as many hikers like us checking out the ruins for what, probably 50 years or more? Knowing that we were careful not to disturb it any more than we had to.
On the way back to the trail head we noticed what appeared to be another dwelling farther north from where we had been, but being short on time we figured that could wait for another time. Only when I returned home and downloaded my GPS track did I realize we were at the "wrong" ruins. Oh well, that just means it's on the list for a return trip.
Hike and ruins photos are here:http://www.changephoenix.com/10/2010-05-29ColdSpringCanyonRuins.html
Rattlesnake video is here:http://www.changephoenix.com/10/videos10/ArizonaBlackRattler.swf