Who put the Cold in Cold Springs Canyon
Congratulations flyphi we have successfully descended in the dark on all 3 hikes we have done together.
I'm not sure where to begin with this one. As many of you know. I got on HAZ originally because I was interested in ancient cultures and visiting many of the cliff dwellings of the Southwest. The Sierra Ancha have many interesting examples of these dwellings. More specifically in this Canyon there are 4. One that has been eloquently documented in Cold Springs Canyon Ruins. In going to see first hand many examples of these dwellings within the Sierra Ancha I have really fallen in love with this area of the state. Not just the ancient sites, but the area and diversity of terrain itself separate from the sites. Cold Springs Canyon is one example of why this has happened. In searching this area for the other 3 sites this canyon has become my personal challenge and at times adversary. My interest in this canyon developed when I gained access to Echoes in the Canyon and later Canyon Creek Ruin and Cliff Dwellings of the Sierra Ancha. The only two site tags from the original Gila Pueblo studies were found in the dwellings above V:1:136 in the canyon.
This canyon has no trails and follows the springs and stream bed to it's headwall. Emil Haury will tell you that the upper ruin SAP V:1:64 is found near the headwall although I did not confirm this on this particular trip. What I found was something akin to the entrance of Superman's ice cave.
I can tell you where these dwellings are not through my exploration of the last 6 months and I can give you a pretty good idea where all three are based on photographs and waypoints saved for future exploration. What I can tell you for sure is that no other canyon has challenged me in so many ways. Bushwacking and thorns and shear exposure exploring past v:1:136 on the upper ledge. Night time descents of lower Cold Springs in the dark (twice due to the fact that this just isn't a dayhike leaving from Mesa even at 5:30am).
This canyon does not have the most vertical, is not the longest, did not test me physically as much as Salt Canyon to LCR, but it does require the most focus of any hike I have done. It is literally 4 + miles of focusing on each step rock hopping on loose stones with wet leaves and this time snow and ice to compound the issues. I have yet to leave this canyon with out bloody wounds and bruises I feel for days. I have fallen every time I've been in the canyon proper. Flyphi attempted to crack his patella on this trip only to step on the same stone on the way down and nearly repeat the fall that almost did him in on the way up.
Our goal was to do some exploration and finally make it to the end of this canyon and that goal was a success. I could of done without the sharp wind and 20 degree temperatures which never subsided on this hike. I wished all the way up that I had not left the shell in the truck and that I wore gloves along with my brush gloves. I even questioned my VFF for part of the hike.
In the end however, although I am done with this canyon for awhile I know I will be back and probably within a couple weeks I will forget all the things that make me question why I keep going back and why this particular canyon keeps drawing back.